Legislature(2021 - 2022)GRUENBERG 120

03/16/2021 11:00 AM FISHERIES

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Audio Topic
11:00:35 AM Start
11:01:27 AM HB26
11:47:19 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 26 CONFLICT OF INTEREST: BD FISHERIES/GAME TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         HB 26-CONFLICT OF INTEREST: BD FISHERIES/GAME                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:01:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TARR  announced that  the only order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  26, "An Act relating to  participation in matters                                                               
before  the Board  of  Fisheries and  the Board  of  Game by  the                                                               
members of the respective boards;  and providing for an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TARR  pointed out that  this legislation was  introduced by                                                               
Representative Stutes at the beginning  of the session.  Then, on                                                               
[3/12/21] the House  Special Committee on Fisheries  made it into                                                               
a  committee bill.   She  invited Representative  Stutes to  make                                                               
opening remarks.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:02:02 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES shared that  she sponsored this legislation                                                               
as House  Bill 87 in  the Thirtieth Alaska State  Legislature and                                                               
as House  Bill 35 in  the Thirty-First Alaska  State Legislature.                                                               
She explained that  HB 26 would allow both the  Board of Game and                                                               
Board  of  Fisheries  to  benefit from  the  expertise  of  their                                                               
members,  facilitating  more   informed  decisions  and  stronger                                                               
resource  management.   The legislation  has been  well supported                                                               
over the years.  Last year it went  as far as the Senate, but the                                                               
legislature left  early [due to  the COVID-19 pandemic].   United                                                               
Fishermen of Alaska has been  very supportive of this legislation                                                               
for 14  years.   The bill  provides that when  a board  member is                                                               
conflicted out,  he or she  may join  in on the  conversation and                                                               
discussion but may not vote.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
11:03:39 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
THATCHER BROUWER, Staff, Representative  Geran Tarr, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  introduced HB  26 on  behalf of  the House  Special                                                               
Committee  on  Fisheries, sponsor.    He  drew attention  to  the                                                               
various documents provided in the  committee packet for committee                                                               
members  to  consult  for  background   information  or  help  in                                                               
answering questions.   He stated that HB 26 would  change the way                                                               
the  Board  of  Fisheries  and  the Board  of  Game  function  by                                                               
allowing members  to deliberate  on the  subjects for  which they                                                               
have declared  a personal or  financial interest according  to AS                                                               
39,  the  Alaska  Executive Branch  Ethics  Act  ("Ethics  Act").                                                               
Consistent  with current  law,  the  legislation still  precludes                                                               
members with a conflict of interest from voting.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROUWER  noted that board  members are currently  required to                                                               
divulge a conflict of interest  if they or their immediate family                                                               
members  are involved  in a  subject that  is being  deliberated.                                                               
The conflicted  member can no  longer vote or even  deliberate on                                                               
that issue.  The Ethics Act  defines immediate family member as a                                                               
spouse, a conjugal co-habitant,  child, stepchild, adopted child,                                                               
parent, sibling,  grandparent, aunt, uncle, and  spouse's parents                                                               
and  siblings.   Title 39  currently prohibits  a public  officer                                                               
from taking or withholding official  action to affect a matter in                                                               
which the  member has personal  or financial interest.   Official                                                               
action  is  defined  as  advice,  participation,  or  assistance,                                                               
including  for  example  a  recommendation,  decision,  approval,                                                               
disapproval, vote,  or other  similar actions.   In  other words,                                                               
the  member cannot  deliberate on  the topic  that is  before the                                                               
Board of Game or Board of Fisheries.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
11:06:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROUWER said  financial interest is defined  as interest held                                                               
by a  public officer  or immediate  family member  which includes                                                               
involvement  or ownership  in  a  business that  is  a source  of                                                               
income,  or from  which  will  result in  a  person receiving  or                                                               
expecting to  receive some financial  benefit.  It  also includes                                                               
holding a position in the  business such as an officer, director,                                                               
trustee, partner,  employee, or the  like, or holding  a position                                                               
of management in that business.   Personal interest is defined as                                                               
an  interest held  or  involvement  by a  public  officer or  the                                                               
officer's  immediate family  member, including  membership in  an                                                               
organization,  fraternal, nonprofit,  for profit,  charitable, or                                                               
political,  from which  or as  a result  from which  a person  or                                                               
organization receives a benefit.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROUWER stated that HB  26 clarifies that a conflicted member                                                               
can  lend his  or her  expertise  to the  discussion while  still                                                               
being  unable to  vote  on  that matter.    He  pointed out  that                                                               
members of the Board of Fisheries  and Board of Game are selected                                                               
based on their  "knowledge and ability in the field  of action of                                                               
the board and with a view  of providing diversity of interest and                                                               
points of  view in membership."   So,  he continued, HB  26 would                                                               
allow those members to share  their knowledge and would allow the                                                               
members of the  full board to make the  sound resource management                                                               
decisions  with all  the  available information.    Often in  the                                                               
fishing and  hunting world, financial  or personal  interests are                                                               
tied to  knowledge of a particular  fishery or hunt.   The person                                                               
with an  aunt, uncle,  or brother  who owns a  permit or  a guide                                                               
license or  the person  who owns a  permit or  license themselves                                                               
may be the  only person on the board who  understands the nuances                                                               
of what is being  discussed.  An example of how  common it is for                                                               
a member of  the board to recuse themselves is  that in the 2017-                                                               
2018  Board of  Fisheries meeting  cycle, a  board member  had to                                                               
recuse him/herself from 54 of  the 242 proposals that were before                                                               
the board,  that's 22  percent of  the time.   Both the  Board of                                                               
Fisheries and Board  of Game are tasked  with allocating Alaska's                                                               
precious resources.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:08:23 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  requested a description of  how the changes                                                               
proposed in HB  26 would affect what legislators  are required to                                                               
disclose or declare as a conflict of interest.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROUWER  replied that HB  26 deals with the  Alaska Executive                                                               
Branch  Ethics  Act.    The   Legislative  Ethics  Act  is  quite                                                               
different  in  that  legislators   disclose  their  conflicts  of                                                               
interest but are still allowed to  vote on the matter.  [Under HB
26], a  member of the Board  of Fisheries or Board  of Game would                                                               
be able  to disclose that  information and that would  allow them                                                               
to  deliberate, but  it would  not allow  them to  vote.   So, it                                                               
would still be more restrictive than the Legislative Ethics Act.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  posed a  scenario in  which a  board member                                                               
declares a conflict  of interest and asked  whether that conflict                                                               
could be overridden by a majority vote of the board members.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROUWER offered his understanding that  if there is a vote of                                                               
the majority of members [the  conflicted] board member [could be]                                                               
allowed to  participate and to  vote.   He deferred to  Mr. Glenn                                                               
Haight  to  provide  clarification.   In  further  response,  Mr.                                                               
Brouwer confirmed  that HB  26 just  allows for  deliberation but                                                               
not a direct vote in the matter.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:10:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The committee  took an at-ease from  11:10 a.m. to 11:18  a.m. to                                                               
address technical difficulties with the online audio system.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
11:18:30 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROUWER  provided a sectional  analysis of HB 26  as follows:                                                               
Section 1 would  amend AS 39.52.220(b) to allow Board  of Game or                                                               
Board of  Fisheries members to  take official action,  defined by                                                               
Section 3 of the bill as  deliberating but not voting on a matter                                                               
that they  have a personal or  financial interest in.   Section 2                                                               
would  amend AS  39.52.220(a) to  exempt Board  of Fisheries  and                                                               
Board of Game members from  the provision in the Alaska Executive                                                               
Branch  Ethics  Act  that  prevents  them  from  deliberating  on                                                               
matters  that they  have  a personal  or  financial interest  in.                                                               
Section 3 would  amend AS 39.52.220 by adding a  new section that                                                               
allows  Board of  Fisheries  and  Board of  Game  members with  a                                                               
personal or financial interest in  a matter to deliberate but not                                                               
vote  [on  that  proposal  or subject  being  considered  by  the                                                               
board].  Section 4 would establish an immediate effective date.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
11:19:52 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY stated that,  generally, she sees the wisdom                                                               
behind the intent  of the bill, and it makes  her think about how                                                               
it  works in  tandem with  appointments to  the board    that  it                                                               
should  as  much  as  possible  represent  all  the  stakeholders                                                               
because  they will  be giving  their  opinions.   She noted  that                                                               
statute does not state a  certain designation for stakeholders on                                                               
the board, but that it has  been a traditional practice to try to                                                               
get  representation   from  the  different  stakeholders.     She                                                               
requested clarification  in this regard because  she is concerned                                                               
about assuring that the expertise is balanced, so to speak.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  responded that she can  definitively say the                                                               
statute does  not designate representation.   She said historical                                                               
tradition  has been  to have  three  commercial positions,  three                                                               
sport  positions, and  one subsistence  position.   As well,  she                                                               
added, there  has been some geographic  historical tradition that                                                               
more recently has not been as closely followed.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES said that  when working on this legislation                                                               
there was tremendous pushback on  those issues.  It was therefore                                                               
decided that the  most important thing was to allow  for the area                                                               
of expertise to  participate and she backed  away from [including                                                               
either of the two historical traditions in the bill].                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY  expressed her hope that  the practice would                                                               
be upheld by administrations.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
11:22:12 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  commented  that  he  is  robustly                                                               
supportive of HB 26.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
11:22:36 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES added  that  HB 26  allows  a little  more                                                               
transparency because  when an individual is  excluded from giving                                                               
his or her  area of expertise the member still  does it, but just                                                               
not in public.  The bill  would therefore provide the public with                                                               
more transparency.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
11:23:19 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
GLENN  HAIGHT, Executive  Director,  Board  of Fisheries,  Boards                                                               
Support  Section, Alaska  Department  of Fish  and Game  (ADF&G),                                                               
provided invited  testimony regarding HB  26.  He noted  that the                                                               
Boards Support Section facilitates the  work of the Board of Game                                                               
and  Alaska's   80-plus  locally  led  fish   and  game  advisory                                                               
committees.  He  stated that the Ethics Act  factors heavily into                                                               
the board meeting  process.  Prior to board  meetings the members                                                               
are encouraged to review the  proposals, which can number between                                                               
20 and  200 proposals,  and see whether  they have  any potential                                                               
conflicts.   To  the extent  they do,  members are  encouraged to                                                               
work with  the chair who is  the ethics supervisor for  the board                                                               
and to  also work  with the attorney  general's office  to figure                                                               
things  out so  that coming  into  a meeting  members know  which                                                               
proposals they  likely will be conflicted  out of.  At  the start                                                               
of every meeting, ethics disclosures  are made and handled there.                                                               
It is  not unusual for  there to not  be any conflicts,  there is                                                               
often a couple, but occasionally there are dozens.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. HAIGHT  drew attention to  page 4 of the  background document                                                               
on the Ethics Act process and  stated that the Board of Fisheries                                                               
has many more  allocative monetary issues than does  the Board of                                                               
Game, which  is what creates a  lot of those conflicts.   For the                                                               
Board  of Fisheries,  he noted  that every  three years  starting                                                               
from 2005/2006  a bit  of a  bump can  be seen  in the  number of                                                               
recusals, which  is the  Southeast finfish  meeting.   He related                                                               
that the board has a  longstanding member from Petersburg who has                                                               
family members in  the commercial fisheries and the  member has a                                                               
few permits  as well, which  creates dozens of recusals  for that                                                               
one individual  at that meeting.   So, it  can be seen  from this                                                               
document how this impacts meetings from  year to year and that it                                                               
depends on the subject matter and the board members.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
11:25:55 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HAIGHT  spoke to personal  and financial conflicts.   He said                                                               
he has not seen many personal  conflicts but recalled one where a                                                               
board  member's  brother  was  an   attorney  who  worked  for  a                                                               
corporation  that had  crafted  a proposal  and  the brother  was                                                               
advocating  for the  proposal at  the board  meeting.   The board                                                               
member recused himself from anything  dealing with that proposal.                                                               
The other example was where  a board member's wife was testifying                                                               
for her  corporation against  a proposal.   The chair  found that                                                               
that created a  personal conflict and in that  instance the board                                                               
member did not  agree.  When that happens,  the determination can                                                               
be challenged and then  it's up to the rest of  the board to vote                                                               
on it.  At that specific  meeting the individual was recused from                                                               
that  proposal.   That starts  to address  Representative Vance's                                                               
question,  Mr.  Haight  continued,  about  whether  a  board  can                                                               
override an  ethics conflict.   Once a  conflict is  determined a                                                               
board member needs to step down.   He said he has not seen a time                                                               
where a  conflict has been  determined, a board member  agrees he                                                               
or she  is conflicted, and the  rest of the board  votes to allow                                                               
them    that does not happen.   The board member  can challenge a                                                               
determination  and then  the board  must vote  on that,  but once                                                               
someone is conflicted out, he or she is not participating.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. HAIGHT  said financial  conflicts are much  more common.   He                                                               
advised that here is  not a lot of case law  that helps guide the                                                               
Ethics Act and  how the boards work with it.   But, he continued,                                                               
one court  finding said that there  is a threshold of  $5,000 and                                                               
when that  is approached it  meets the threshold  of substantial.                                                               
So,  when  reviewing proposals  board  members  will think  about                                                               
whether it can impact them to  that extent, but it isn't hard and                                                               
fast and  board members  are challenged  in figuring  out whether                                                               
they have a potential conflict.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. HAIGHT stated  that meetings are fairly standard    there are                                                               
always  introductions,  ethics  disclosures, staff  reports,  and                                                               
public testimony.  He said  the Board of Fisheries has committees                                                               
that  go through  each proposal  with the  participants and  then                                                               
there  are deliberations.    The way  conflicts  of interest  are                                                               
currently  treated  is that  board  members  who have  an  ethics                                                               
conflict will stay at the  table through staff reports and public                                                               
testimony, but  once into committee or  deliberation a conflicted                                                               
individual  will  stand up  and  go  to  the audience  or  remove                                                               
himself or herself from the  table.  He offered his understanding                                                               
that under  HB 26 conflicted  board members would simply  stay at                                                               
the table and be able  to ask questions through the deliberations                                                               
and participate  in discussing the  merits, but simply  could not                                                               
vote.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:29:36 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
FRANCES  LEACH, Executive  Director, United  Fishermen of  Alaska                                                               
(UFA), testified in support of HB 26.   She noted that UFA is the                                                               
largest commercial  fishing organization  in Alaska,  composed of                                                               
37  multi-gear  and  regional commercial  fishing  groups.    She                                                               
stated that for over 10  years UFA has supported the conflict-of-                                                               
interest bill for the Board of Fisheries and Board of Game.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEACH  related that before  coming to UFA she  worked several                                                               
years  for  the Board  of  Fisheries.    From attending  over  50                                                               
meetings of  the Board of Fisheries  and Board of Game,  she said                                                               
she has seen  firsthand how this bill would be  beneficial to the                                                               
board  and  public  process  that these  boards  are  known  for.                                                               
Currently, a  board member with a  conflict on a proposal  is not                                                               
allowed  to participate  in  the deliberations.    Yet, Board  of                                                               
Fisheries and  Board of Game  members are chosen by  the governor                                                               
to  represent their  region and  because they  have expertise  in                                                               
fisheries,  be it  sport, commercial,  subsistence, or  a science                                                               
background in  fisheries.  For  comparison, she posed  a scenario                                                               
in the legislature of a committee  holding a hearing on a bill to                                                               
rename a  bridge in a town  within a legislator's district.   She                                                               
pointed  out  that  if  the legislature  followed  the  Board  of                                                               
Fisheries  and  Board of  Game  rules,  the legislator  for  that                                                               
district  would be  asked  to leave  the table  and  go sit  with                                                               
members  of  the  public,  unable  to weigh  in  or  provide  any                                                               
insight.    When fellow  legislators  asked  questions about  the                                                               
bridge the  legislator would  not be  able to  answer.   She said                                                               
this is what is happening on  the Board of Fisheries and Board of                                                               
Game  right now.    Ms. Leach  attested that  she  has seen  what                                                               
Director Haight described  where board members talk  to the board                                                               
members who  have been  conflicted out and  ask them  about their                                                               
insight, all  of which is  off the record.   It would be  so much                                                               
better, she maintained,  to have these discussions  on the record                                                               
before the public and for all board members to benefit from.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
11:31:55 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.   LEACH  addressed   the  other   objective  brought   up  by                                                               
Representative Story  about getting board members  from different                                                               
regions  and qualified  board members.    She said  UFA is  often                                                               
trying to find  good candidates for the Board  of Fisheries whose                                                               
names can be provided to the  governor.  However, UFA often hears                                                               
that people  don't want to put  their names in because  they know                                                               
they are  going to  conflict out  on most  of the  proposals, for                                                               
which board member John Jensen is  a great example.  In Southeast                                                               
Alaska she  has seen Mr.  Jensen conflict out of  many proposals,                                                               
yet he  is the  expert for  Southeast and is  supposed to  be the                                                               
voice.    It's a  shame,  she  continued, because  people  making                                                               
decisions for  Alaska's precious  wildlife and  fishery resources                                                               
should be  qualified and  bringing expertise  to the  table; they                                                               
should not be muted.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEACH noted  that HB 26 would not allow  the board members to                                                               
vote.   It would  just allow  them to  share their  knowledge and                                                               
expertise during  transparent deliberations, which  would benefit                                                               
everyone.   This bill  will benefit all  user groups,  she added,                                                               
not just  commercial fishermen.   She  concluded by  stating that                                                               
UFA looks forward to continuing its support of HB 26.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:33:17 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked whether  a board  member who                                                               
is conflicted out can move to  the public seating at that meeting                                                               
and then  come forward as  a member of  the public to  testify on                                                               
proposals.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEACH offered her belief that  that has happened in the past,                                                               
but  that  the   member  could  not  offer   comment  during  the                                                               
deliberations.    She  deferred  to   Mr.  Haight  to  provide  a                                                               
definitive answer.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. HAIGHT responded that board  members are advised that if they                                                               
are recused,  they may provide  public testimony.  He  also noted                                                               
that  a recused  Board of  Fisheries  member can  engage in  that                                                               
board's committee process, but he hasn't seen it happen a lot.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
11:34:54 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARK  RICHARDS, Executive  Director, Resident  Hunters of  Alaska                                                               
(RHAK), testified in  support of HB 26 as currently  written.  He                                                               
stated  that RHAK  is a  hunting  conservation organization  with                                                               
about  3,000   members  that   advocates  for   resident  hunting                                                               
priority.  He  noted that RHAK supported  this legislation during                                                               
the last session.   He said he is well versed in  what goes on at                                                               
meetings  because for  the past  15 years  he has  attended every                                                               
Board of Game meeting for RHAK  and has attended various Board of                                                               
Fisheries.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RICHARDS advised  that  the problem  the  bill's sponsor  is                                                               
trying to  correct is that the  member of either board  who has a                                                               
conflict  is often  the most  knowledgeable  about that  specific                                                               
proposal,  and  the fish  or  wildlife  resource, and  should  be                                                               
allowed   to   at   least  participate   in   the   on-the-record                                                               
deliberations  while  still being  recused  from  voting.   There                                                               
should be  no allusions of  what goes  on when members  of either                                                               
board  are not  on the  record, he  added, members  speak to  one                                                               
another privately  on issues  before them.   For example,  when a                                                               
member is conflicted  out because he or she  commercial fishes in                                                               
an area  that a proposal seeks  to modify, it is  only prudent to                                                               
ask  that member  for  his  or her  thoughts  about that  fishery                                                               
resource,  harvest   limits,  catches,   and  allocations.     He                                                               
maintained that having those discussions  on the record among all                                                               
board  members during  deliberations would  benefit everyone  and                                                               
give the  public a better  understanding of the issue.   However,                                                               
Mr. Richards  clarified, RHAK does  not support  allowing members                                                               
with a conflict of interest to vote on that proposal.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:37:18 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  whether RHAK  has supported                                                               
previous iterations of this legislation.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. RICHARDS  replied yes, RHAK supported  the legislation during                                                               
the last session.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
11:38:01 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR opened public testimony on HB 26.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
11:38:12 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
VIKKI JO  KENNEDY, testified in support  of HB 26.   She said she                                                               
agrees  that [conflicted  board members]  should not  be able  to                                                               
vote, but that their expertise is needed.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
11:39:57 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MALCOLM  MILNE, President,  North  Pacific Fisheries  Association                                                               
(NPFA), testified in support  of HB 26.  He noted  that NPFA is a                                                               
commercial fishing  industry group  based in Homer,  comprised of                                                               
about 80  members.  He  said NPFA has supported  this legislation                                                               
all along in its different  versions and continues to support the                                                               
bill in its current version of HB  26.  He said he echoes all the                                                               
information that  has been provided in  favor of HB 26  and urged                                                               
the bill be moved forward.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
11:41:00 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BEN   MOHR,   Executive   Director,  Kenai   River   Sportfishing                                                               
Association (KRSA), testified in opposition  to HB 26.  He stated                                                               
that  KRSA  does not  see  the  need  at  present to  modify  the                                                               
longstanding   ethical  guidelines   that  are   applied  to   an                                                               
allocative  body  like the  Board  of  Fisheries.   He  said  the                                                               
current  conflict  of interest  procedures  already  allow for  a                                                               
conflicted board member to participate  in the public process and                                                               
arguably to  a greater  degree than the  public on  matters where                                                               
the member has a direct financial interest.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MOHR  maintained that  formal deliberations  are the  part to                                                               
emphasize  within the  process of  how proposals  move through  a                                                               
board  meeting.    He  likened the  formal  deliberation  as  the                                                               
closing argument  on a matter    the final opportunity  for board                                                               
members to sway  one another and the time to  assure that all the                                                               
boxes  are  checked  off  for   the  board's  legal  obligations.                                                               
Allowing a conflicted  member to participate to  a greater degree                                                               
in deliberations, he stated, could  have impact on how the actual                                                               
proposal is implemented long term.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. MOHR asserted that HB 26  would expand the influence of board                                                               
members  who  have direct  financial  interest  in matters  under                                                               
consideration.  He said current  conflict procedures are not new,                                                               
unknown,  nor untested  because they  have been  in place  a long                                                               
time and  have been  reasonably effective.   He  expressed KRSA's                                                               
belief that  loosening the  long-standing ethical  guidelines for                                                               
this allocative body is not in the public interest.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:43:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR closed  public testimony  after ascertaining                                                               
no one else wished to testify.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
11:44:16 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE noted  there has  been concern  about undue                                                               
influence.  For  example, as stated by the  last witness, passage                                                               
of HB 26  would give board members influence on  decisions.  But,                                                               
she continued,  as stated  by an  earlier witness,  questions are                                                               
asked off the record and  deliberations among board members occur                                                               
because  of that  board  member's expertise  on  the topic  under                                                               
deliberation.  She asked whether  there are ethical repercussions                                                               
if someone were to witness these deliberations off the record.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. HAIGHT  replied that he  does not personally get  involved in                                                               
discussions about  proposals with board  members, so he  does not                                                               
have any direct  experience on that.  He cited  the Open Meetings                                                               
Act, which  for the  Board of Fisheries  prevents more  than four                                                               
board  members from  getting together  off the  side and  talking                                                               
about things.   But, he continued, he doesn't know  that there is                                                               
anything that prevents  a board member who has  been recused from                                                               
talking about it off to the side.   He said he doesn't fully know                                                               
what the answer is to Representative Vance's question.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE commented  that  all kinds  of stories  are                                                               
heard  about what  goes on  regarding members'  deliberations and                                                               
influence.   She  said it  seems that  HB 26  would provide  more                                                               
transparency  to the  public  if these  discussions  were on  the                                                               
record, so she  finds it interesting that there  is opposition to                                                               
having this on  the record, yet the conflicted  members can still                                                               
provide  public  testimony.    She offered  her  hope  that  this                                                               
complicated process  can be  simplified and  provide transparency                                                               
for everyone involved.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
11:46:53 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
[HB 26 was held over.]                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 26 Sponsor Statement 3.12.21.pdf HFSH 3/16/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 26 Version A 2.18.21.PDF HFSH 3/16/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 26
HB 26 Fiscal Note - DFG-BFG 2.19.21.pdf HFSH 3/16/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HB 26
HB 26 Boards of Game and Fisheries Ethics Process Overview and Recusals 2.1.21.pdf HFSH 3/16/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/31/2021 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/9/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 26
HB 26 Informational Document BOF-BOG History and Process 03.06.19.pdf HFSH 3/16/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/31/2021 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/9/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 26
HB 26 Letters of Support 3.16.21.pdf HFSH 3/16/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/31/2021 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/9/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 26
HB 26 Sectional Analysis 3.14.21.pdf HFSH 3/16/2021 11:00:00 AM
HFSH 3/18/2021 11:00:00 AM