Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/28/1996 05:13 PM FSH
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HJR 51 - SPORT FISHING GUIDE LIMITED ENTRY Number 0063 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted that HJR 51 had been sponsored by Representative Joe Green, whose legislative assistant was present. Number 0091 JEFFREY LOGAN, Legislative Assistant to Representative Green, introduced HJR 51 on behalf of the sponsor, who was in another meeting. He presented the following statement: "HJR 51 proposes a constitutional amendment to grant the state the authority to limit entry into the sport fish guide profession. HJR51 is needed because the state's authority to impose such limits is not clear at this time. We believe that without a constitutional amendment, any attempt to limit sport fish guides will surely be followed by litigation. "While it is anticipated such limits will be the conclusion of a public process, based on scientific data, HJR 51 does not address the specifics of implementing such restrictions. HJR 51 simply grants a clear and concise line of authority from the voters to the state." Number 0175 MR. LOGAN explained that what Alaska had was a "Catch-22" situation. The fisheries needed attention, which equated to some type of resource management. "Resource managers can't take the action they believe is necessary without the authority embodied in the constitutional amendment," he said. Number 0233 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN noted that he had heard HJR 51 in the House State Affairs Committee and was therefore familiar with the resolution. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN referred to the rights already in the Alaska Constitution regarding commercial fishing. He noted there had been discussion about whether a charter boat operator who took clients out and collected money for it was actually a commercial operator. Chairman Austerman mentioned that the constitution, as currently written, did not specify whether a commercial fisherman could be a sport operator; he asked if that was part of the problem. Number 0307 MR. LOGAN replied, "We believe that is part of the problem." He directed the committee's attention to a memorandum dated December4, 1995, from George Utermohle, Legislative Counsel for the Division of Legal and Research Services, Legislative Affairs Agency, to Representative Green. That memorandum, which was in the committee packets, addressed the problem alluded to by Chairman Austerman. Mr. Logan referred to the second paragraph, which read, "The courts may construe `any fishery' to include sport fisheries as well as commercial fisheries." He explained, "We were hoping with HJR51 to clarify `that may.'" Number 0361 MR. LOGAN brought to the committee's attention the proposed work draft that had been delivered to committee members' offices that afternoon. He suggested that draft might address Chairman Austerman's question. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN wondered whether they could just define a sport operator as being a commercial fisherman somewhere in the existing statutes, without having to go through a public election to change the constitution. MR. LOGAN replied that would certainly be a lot simpler and less work, if it would be as effective. "It's an avenue we'd certainly like to explore," he added. Number 0425 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted that Representatives Elton and Davis were present. MARK BUCHNER testified via teleconference from Valdez, indicating he had not had time to review the draft. He thought the current limited entry program was too restrictive. Number 0520 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN pointed out that the bill had another committee of referral, the House Judiciary Committee, where additional hearings would be held. BRUCE BLANDFORD testified via teleconference from Valdez, saying he had been a sport fish guide for about 18 years. Like Mr. Buchner, he knew too little about the intent of the bill to comment. He asked, "If the tourism keeps expanding and the number of fishing guides is kept stationary, ... what happens to the increased amount of tourists who want to go fishing that aren't able to find a guide?" Number 0609 ERIC STIRRUP, Owner and Operator, Kodiak Western Charters, testified via teleconference, voicing strong support for HJR51. "I think the history book is well written on resource management," he said. "Our industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Our resources are not growing by leaps and bounds. And it's time for all of us to face the music." He expressed preference for limited entry over an Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) system. "Let's put the tool on the Board of Fish's plate for them to use limited entry as an option," he concluded. Number 0696 KENT HALL testified via teleconference from Sitka, saying he ran a charter operation there. "I guess I don't have any strong feelings one way or the other," he said. "One of the things I'd like clarified is if the state agrees to a limited entry, will that just be in the state waters?" For example, he wondered if fishing for halibut more than three miles from shore would be included. Number 0743 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN commented that the bill, as he read it, would go to the voters to change the constitution. It provided authority to impose a limited entry system on the charter boat operators. The bill being considered that evening would take the question to the voters to the state of Alaska as to whether they wanted to allow limited entry to take place in the industry, he elaborated. Number 0790 KEITH GREBA testified via teleconference from Sitka, saying he believed something in the nature of HJR 51 should be done, whether it be through limited entry or a moratorium. He expressed concern that if the bill was enacted, people might just sign up because they had heard about it and would try to get themselves a license. Mr. Greba suggested looking at some type of point system that used economic dependence as a priority, so that people with time and effort invested in the industry as a means of supporting their families could have a viable future. He agreed with previous testimony that something needed to be done. Number 0901 JAMES FITZGERALD testified via teleconference from Kenai, saying he was speaking on behalf of his wife, who had begun guiding on the Kenai River the previous year. His wife was in favor of HJR51 and wished to see some sort of limitation or cap put on it "through attrition." Every year, he said, a number of guides dropped out for one reason or another; it would not take long to have a cap that way. Number 0965 GARY HULL testified via teleconference from Kenai, presenting a prepared statement: "I am in favor of limiting the number of guides on the Kenai River. The limited entry permit should be owned by the guide, and the guide should have the right to sell the permit at the termination of his business. Preference on selecting limited entry permit holders should consider the following: "1. Higher preference for local guides. The income they derive from guiding is reinvested into our community. "2. Higher preference for guides with a substantial financial investment, such as owning their own boat and equipment. Guides with little or no investment generally work for someone else. They use boats and equipment owned by others, and are not responsible for advertising and booking clients. "3. Preference given based on number of years a person has guided on the Kenai river and not rivers in other states or areas. "Since the limited entry permit process will be a lengthy process, I have recommendations that may effectively limit the number of guides in the future. These things could be implemented easily without congressional action. They are: 1) registration for the permit must be done in person each year, during the months of January and February; 2) guides would be required to pay for a three-to-five-year permit, which would demonstrate commitment to the guide industry, and increase the initial investment; 3) every guide, including drift boat guides, should have to belong to an Alaskan-based UA consortium; 4) to qualify for a permit, a person would have had to have fished in Alaska three out of the last five years; this qualification is similar to that of the Assistant Guide Outfitter's license. I would like to urge the House Fisheries Committee to consider these points. I request that the committee members support that limited entry permit be owned by the guide, so he can realize some of his investment back at retirement by selling his permit along with his business." Number 1127 LANCE DOMONOSKE testified via teleconference. A Kenai River drift boat guide, he supported HJR 51. He thought there was a severe problem with growth on the Kenai River. "I think this legislation would really apply here," he said. From 1993 to 1994, there had been 45 new Kenai River fishing guides; from 1994 to 1995, it jumped again by another 71 guides. "Most of these guys are concentrated in about 35-40 miles of this river," he explained, saying the total number of guides was approximately 317. He hoped the local resident guides would be kept in mind. "We have a lot of people blowing into town that really don't have a vested interest in the industry at all," he added. Number 1220 BRAD ADAMS testified via teleconference from Kenai, saying he had fished professionally on the Kenai River for the past 12 years. He strongly supported a limit in the sport fishing industry. He indicated it was critical to the industry "to limit ourselves." He felt it had been needed for several years and wanted to see something happen "the sooner the better." Number 1264 JOE HARDY testified via teleconference from Kenai, saying he was a Kenai River guide. "I do not support HJR 51," he said. "We do, however, have a problem with the number of guides working the Kenai River and other areas of the state. However, we should not create a group of privileged citizens, privileged to have a limited entry guide permit. The state constitution is fair. Fish and game belong to each and every state citizen, with equal opportunity for all to utilize the resources, whether it's commercial or for sport. There are other and better ways to solve the problem." Number 1300 MR. HARDY listed possible solutions. He referred to HB 175, which he suggested could be passed to register all guides statewide. Minimum professional qualifications could be established so that a person could not just go in a door and get a license. The license fee on the Kenai could be raised, for example, to $2,500 a year, with $7,500 a year for nonresidents. A three-year permit could be required. The licensing period could be from January 1 to March1, with the requirement of having to apply in person, which would favor local residents but would not disqualify any nonresident who wanted to come get it. Number 1338 MR. HARDY thought all guides statewide should be subject to a drug- testing program. He said, "there's been some watering down of the Coast Guard regulations for licenses on the Kenai River and we need to go back to what we had before and we need to require a full, uninspected motor vessel license, not a special Kenai River license." He emphasized that the problem could be worked within the confines of the state constitution. "Hunting guides are regulated," he said. "There's no reason why fishing guides can't be regulated also under the same guidelines." Number 1367 MR. HARDY concluded by saying, "Above all, whatever system we choose must be fair and give reasonable access to new or aspiring guides and not create a special, privileged class." Number 1387 ALAN LEMASTER testified via teleconference from Gakona, asking why it was felt there was a need for limited entry or a constitutional amendment for that purpose. "Do you feel that all the rivers of the state need to be limited entry, or just certain ones," he asked, "and, if so, which ones?" Referring to a question posed earlier, he said, "in terms of definition, what is the difference between the sport fish guides and the commercial fisheries as it is noted in our constitution and in our laws?" CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN replied that the bill permitted the state to do limited entry in the sport fish business. It did not set out any criteria on who, what, why or where. If the resolution was passed, it would go to a vote of the people to decide whether they wanted to limit the sport fish operator. At that point, all the discussion would take place on rules and regulations specifying how the limit would occur. Chairman Austerman asked if that had answered Mr. Lemaster's questions. Number 1487 MR. LEMASTER replied yes, it did answer the question as far as this particular bill was concerned. He indicated he wanted to know if it was felt that limited entry was necessary on all the rivers of Alaska and, if not, which fisheries were being addressed. He added, "Or do you care at this point?" Number 1510 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN responded, "We didn't draft this bill. We are the fish committee that hears the bills that are assigned to us by the speaker. Representative Green is the one who drafted the bill and feels that it's time to limit the sport fish charter boats, apparently, or he would not have drafted this and presented it to us." CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted there was a committee substitute before them, version C and asked for a motion to bring that before the committee. Number 1574 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved that the committee adopt for use CS for House Joint Resolution\C, dated 2/28/96. There being no objection, it was so ordered. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to testimony by Lance Domonoske indicating he wanted to see more details. Representative Davis explained that in a resolution that would go before the voters, as this one would, the question would simply be asked, "Should the state of Alaska adopt statutes and rules and regulations and allow for limited entry of sport fish guides?" If the resolution passed, it would be on the ballot. It would then be up to the general public and special interest groups to "go out and sell it," either through committees, associations, task forces or individually. Similarly, anyone opposed to it, as Mr. Hardy was, would also try to bring their viewpoint to the voting public. Number 1674 REPRESENTATIVE CARL MOSES expressed concern that "how we get into these kinds of situations is because of one part of the state." He pointed out that in large parts of the state, sport fish guiding was virtually unheard of. "That's slowly developing," he added. He emphasized there were areas of the state with no problem. "I have a lot of interest in seeing Adak developed, for instance," he said, "and there isn't a sport fishing guide out there." He thought there were two guides in Unalaska, where tourism business was just developing. "If you create something like this for one part of the state, you do harm to another part of the state," he concluded. Number 1716 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS responded that question had come up during the testimony. He suggested someone from the Department of Fish and Game could provide an answer. However, he assumed that if the resolution passed, it would be somewhat on an as-needed basis, for example, on the Kenai. Representative Davis mentioned attempts to impose restrictions through the Kenai River Advisory Committee that had been "shot down by the Attorney General's office." "If this did pass, I think it would come up as requested," he said. "It would not affect areas that do not have a problem and that do not have, even, any sport guides in them. That would be my understanding," he stated. "Whether that's legal or constitutional or not is another question." Number 1780 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN emphasized that, with HJR 51, the voters would be asked to establish the right for the state to create limited entry for this purpose. "It would behoove us as citizens to make sure that, when that's done, it is done in the way we want to see it done," he said. "I've often envisioned that if they did something like this, that it would be done by fishing management areas, so that each area would have its own number of permits and they could at least have some kind of control on it." Number 1907 GERON BRUCE, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Fish and Game, affirmed that if the resolution were to pass by a vote of the people, it would authorize the Alaska State Legislature to develop a limited entry system for sport fish guides. "And you then would have to pass subsequent legislation which would actually set up the program," he said. "And you could design it however you wanted to design it. It could be statewide or it could be modeled more after the one that exists for the commercial fishing industry, which is on not only an administrative-area basis, but also on a species basis. So, you could design it however you want, but that would be a second step. The initial step, and the step that you are contemplating right now, is simply to ask the people of the state whether or not they want to amend the constitution to allow you to develop such a program in state law." Number 1854 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS agreed that was the point that would cause people to promote or not promote HJR 51. The resolution addressed what restraints the legislature would or would not be under in developing statutes. "There are some questions that I think everybody needs to feel comfortable with," he said, "before they would want to promote it or not promote. And, of course, if they don't want to promote it, then they probably don't support the resolution." Number 1895 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN noted that Representative Joe Green, sponsor of HJR 51, had joined the meeting. MR. BRUCE referred to the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission and said, "that's probably the closest model you have and it's probably a reasonable assumption to think that a system devised for sport fish guides might take that as, at least, some model to start from." Number 1992 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to an earlier question about jurisdiction outside the three-mile limit. He asked Geron Bruce whether sport fishing outside that boundary could be limited. CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN suggested that might have to do with whether or not there was an Fisheries Management Plan (FMP). Number 1947 MR. BRUCE responded, "Yes, I think that would be a part of it, whether or not the council had delegated to the state any management authority." He added, "You could have a limited entry system, and under that system, people limited could go out and fish in the federal zone, subject to whatever the federal rules were there. So, it's not an either/or answer. It's possible but it would depend on the interaction between the state and the federal government." Number 1962 MR. BRUCE explained what must occur before a fishery goes to limited entry, using the current commercial system as a model. First, the participants had to request it. Second, there had to be evidence demonstrating a resource conservation issue was involved. And third, the participants requesting it had to provide information that CFEC could look at to determine that the requesting participants were suffering economic distress. "In the case of the guided sport fishery," he said, "you don't have that kind of information available like you did in the commercial salmon fishery before limited entry came into effect. And you really need something like House Bill 175 in place in order to provide that kind of information base, before you could really answer those kinds of questions and go to a limited entry system, even if you had the constitutional authority." Number 2023 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked, under that scenario, what sort of time period Mr. Bruce anticipated would be required if the resolution passed and was deemed desirable. He wondered if Mr. Bruce was talking about a year, five years, or how long. Number 2034 MR. BRUCE replied that he could only guess. He indicated he would defer to Frank Homan from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) for an answer. "Just my own personal guess would be that you would be looking at, probably, no less than two or three years and maybe as long as five years," he said. Number 2078 FRANK HOMAN, Commissioner, Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, indicated that Geron Bruce was correct. "The current limitation system that we use for commercial fisheries requires us to look back at least four years," he said, explaining that was the normal period of time, although it could be longer. Number 2108 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if, in looking back, data already there could be used or whether they would start from ground-zero to establish data. "There's bound to be a significant amount of data on escapement, catch and all that sort of thing in certain fisheries now," he said. Number 2120 MR. HOMAN replied that the way it worked now was using existing data. "The benefit in the commercial fisheries is that we are able to use fish tickets for past catches and harvest levels," he said. "So, we have fish tickets for every commercial fisherman who has harvested fish in Alaska. Unfortunately, with the sport fish area, we don't have that data that defined. As Geron mentioned, House Bill 175 gives a framework for gathering that kind of information." Number 2153 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said, "We see published figures, though, of numbers of fish, by species, in certain areas, probably those areas that are most susceptible to needing this kind of assistance." He asked if those historical figures would not be appropriate or adequate to use for this. Number 2168 MR. HOMAN replied there were gross figures developed by Department of Fish and Game biologists. "I can't speak to the details of how they do that," he explained, adding, "but I don't believe that they're defined to the individual fisherman, as ... commercial fishing is." He indicated the harvest level for commercial fishing was identified to specific harvester. "I don't believe that information is available on the sport fish side," he added. Number 2201 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN expressed confusion, saying, "If there were a certain number of fish in there and there are a certain number of guides now, there isn't an analogy that would be useful to say that we either are approaching, we've exceeded, or, to some degree, say there is a necessity to, in this fishery, limit, but maybe over here, it's just getting close and maybe in the next five years we've got to do it. It seems you can do that on historical figures." Number 2233 MR. HOMAN responded, "You're correct in looking at the total catch in an area. And if -- the Kenai is one that's popular now -- it was determined that the number of salmon taken in the Kenai area was exceeding a number that could potentially develop into a resource conservation problem and/or causing economic distress amongst the fishermen, then you could look at a limited entry system." He explained that on the commercial side, the CFEC looked at the number of participants that had been in the fishery the last four years. That established a maximum number, which was the highest number that had participated in any one year. "But over the four-year period that we look at, there are many more fishermen than that," he pointed out. On the commercial side, they looked at fish tickets from all participants. Individually, the participants were then ranked against each other and the line drawn when they reached the maximum number established. "So, that's why you need to specify the harvest to the individual," he said, "so that they can be properly ranked amongst all the other individuals." Number 2299 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS referred to commercial tickets and suggested the king salmon tags "would be a similar guide in this respect." MR. HOMAN agreed that would be one source of information. "And I don't know, specifically, if that's identified to the sport license holder or to the sport guide operator," he said. "That's something that would have to be looked at." He added, "at this point, what happens in the commercial side is not necessarily what would happen on the sport fish side. And as you indicated, this resolution is only allowing the state to develop a system." Mr. Homan noted that if this passed by public vote, legislation would be developed. He pointed out that the opportunity to design the program specifically would come at that point. "And you could include the whole state or sections of the state or a particular species," he said. "You'd have complete flexibility with legislation, if it was authorized by this resolution. All of the concerns that were brought up today could be ironed out during the legislative process." Number 2365 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON mentioned that, as an example, the state could limit the number of liquor licenses and used to limit the number of big game guides. He pointed out they were talking about a common property resource. However, they were not denying access to that resource. Instead, they were talking about denying a guide a business practice or license that would allow a person to operate as a guide. He asked for clarification on the difference and why a constitutional amendment was needed. Number 2417 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN said, "It sounds to me like we'd have to research back to what they did in the '70s, when they passed the original limited entry." MR. HOMAN said in order to limit the number of sport fish guides, constitutional authority was needed. He suggested there could not be unlimited access to that fishery except for the number of permits. If those were freely transferred, as occurred on the commercial side, anyone could buy a permit and enter the fishery. TAPE 96-8, SIDE B Number 0007 MR. HOMAN explained there was a clause in the constitution that said fish and wildlife were open to all. "That was why the limited entry constitutional amendment for commercial fish was passed in '72," he said, "because before that, they couldn't restrict the number." Number 0026 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS clarified that Mr. Homan was referring to commercial fishers. He then added, "if we designated guides as commercial fishers, then they'd fall into the authority already vested in the constitution." REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN said, "On that point, we formerly had the big game commercial services board, which regulated the commercial use of hunting and fishing ... and there wasn't a limit on the number of guides." He referred to the Owsichek case involving whether a guide could own a usage area. REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked whether that board limited the number of guides in an area. "For example," he said, "do they limit the number of bear hunting guides in Southeast Alaska?" Number 0074 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied, "No, they limited the amount of areas that they could hunt in and restricted them to three areas, but there was no limit on amount of guides that could actually use the area. They had to register and the way they managed the resource, if there was an over-harvest, they would use things like a drawing hunt or a registration hunt, or adjust seasons and bag limits. But constitutionally, you can't limit the amount of guides in an area at this point." He added, "It might be an appropriate thing to address, constitutionally, at some point, maybe with this bill." Number 0107 STEPHEN WHITE, Assistant Attorney General, Natural Resources Section, Civil Division (Juneau), Department of Law, indicated that Representative Ogan had at least pointed to the answer to Representative Elton's question. He referred to the 1988 Owsichek decision in the supreme court. That decision said that the equal access clauses, which included the common use clause and the other clauses of Article VIII, protected equal access to the resource by guides as well as by people actually taking the resource. Thus, the clauses had to be amended to allow limited entry for guides as well as for fishermen, hunters or other groups that might be contemplated. Number 0145 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked, "What about the back door suggestion, where you change the designation of a lodge owner or a charter boat guide to a commercial user?" He further asked, "Can you do that statutorily without the need of a constitutional amendment?" Number 0160 MR. WHITE thought that was not feasible because essentially that would, by statute, change a provision in the constitution. He explained that the exception in the constitution allowing limited entry into commercial fisheries spoke about fisheries and fishermen. It was adopted in the context of distress and problems in a commercial fishery. "If you would go in and attempt to define fish and fishermen as guide operators, you'd essentially be amending the constitution by statute," he stated, "and I think that's real problematic. In other words, when it was adopted, it was anticipated that it was commercial fishing, fishermen and fisheries. One of the problems with just taking that language now and trying to interpret it, broad enough to cover guides - sport fishing guides - is it just begs for people to challenge it under the constitution and we're going to be tied up in court for a long time. This is the cleanest, easiest way to get to the result that people want." Number 0220 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS thought there was no question that the intent of that constitutional amendment was to deal with commercial fishermen with big boats out in the water catching a lot of fish. He asserted that fish guides taking five or six people out were commercial fishermen. "And I think the fishery that they're fishing in is a commercial fishery," he said. "But when you get back to the intent of the limited entry as it is in the constitution now," he said, "I think it does fall out as a different story." Number 0251 MR. WHITE said, "We looked back through the legislative history of when this came before the voters in the legislation in 1972 and there was no testimony ever discussing guides in any capacity. It was all commercial fishermen. So, looking back to what the people thought they were adopting at that time, it would be problematic now, even if we now know that it is a problem that does include guides." Number 0269 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN responded, "But in 1972, we didn't really realize that there was going to be half the state living on one river system, basically." MR. WHITE said, "And if you do it by statute instead of constitutional amendment, we'll try to defend it." Number 0278 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON referred to the constitutional amendment approved in the early 1970s and pointed out it did not say "commercial fishermen," but rather, "fishermen and those dependent upon them for a livelihood." He said he assumed "them" referred to fish or the fish resources. "It seems to me that language fits, almost exactly, a Southeast Alaska troller or a charter boat operator," he said. "I appreciate the position you're in, and I would certainly be the first one that would guess that you're absolutely correct that somebody's going to challenge it in court if, in fact, we did try to do it statutorily." Number 0317 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN commented, "I'm the sponsor of the bill but I still have heartburn with the whole concept when I read that this does not restrict the power to limit entry into any fishery for purposes of resource conservation - which certainly is a fact that we have a problem with - or prevent economic distress among fishermen. And we have that," he said. "There's a significant economic distress among fishermen, assuming fishermen are professional fishermen, or as well as personal use, and dependent upon them for a livelihood. It seems to me, even without this modification, that a strong case could be made that this does, in fact, allow for limited entry among sports fish guides." He asked Mr. White, "What would your opinion be if you were asked to defend this, that there is, for some reason now, a limit imposed and somebody challenged it in court, would you be willing to defend, without these underlying portions of this?" Number 0380 MR. WHITE asked, "Without changing it?" REPRESENTATIVE GREEN replied, "Just the way it is, without these changes." MR. WHITE replied, "after exhaustive research, we came to the conclusion it was totally equivocal." He added, "It was unclear either way and we would certainly defend it." He said he could not predict what the result would be because the history of the clause did not indicate either way. Although a good-faith effort would be made to defend it, the whole issue would be tied up in court for a long time. "And if you want to avoid that, the easiest thing is to amend the constitution," he concluded. Number 0399 CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN responded that had been one reason he had discussed defining commercial fisherman under statute to include the sport operators. He thanked Mr. White for his comments and noted that the bill's next committee of referral was the House Judiciary Committee. Number 0420 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN moved that CSHJR 51 move out of committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 0442 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said, "I don't object because I think it does need to move on. And I want to commend the sponsor because I think we're beginning to address an issue that is extremely important." He referred to earlier testimony about the need for data and said he hoped that would increase support for HB 175, which began to provide that data and to allow intelligent decisions to be made on this constitutional amendment and other issues. "I'm looking at this as a pair," he said. "But I'm not sure we can get to where you want to go until we get the data that is in HB 175."