Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

02/09/2018 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 316 RESTRICT ACCESS MARIJUANA CRIME RECORDS TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public Testimony --
*+ HB 315 CONFIDENTIALITY OF ANIMAL & CROP RECORDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 129 FISH & GAME: OFFENSES;LICENSES;PENALTIES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 129(JUD) Out of Committee
        HB 315-CONFIDENTIALITY OF ANIMAL & CROP RECORDS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:10:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 315, "An  Act relating to the  confidentiality of                                                               
certain  records  on animals  and  crops;  and providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:10:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINA CARPENTER, Director,  Division of Environmental Health,                                                               
Department  of Environmental  Conservation (DEC),  turned to  the                                                               
PowerPoint  presentation  titled,  "HB  315:  Confidentiality  of                                                               
Animal and Crop Records," slide  1, and advised that the Division                                                               
of  Environmental  Health  worked  with  Governor  Bill  Walker's                                                               
office to  introduce HB  315 because  for at  least the  last 10-                                                               
years,  the division  has heard  from the  agricultural producers                                                               
that they  would like  the same level  of protection  provided to                                                               
other  commercial  industries.    This  protection  would  be  by                                                               
keeping  the  animal  importation   and  animal  testing  results                                                               
confidential.   This  legislation,  she  explained, would  afford                                                               
those  producers   the  same  protection  currently   offered  to                                                               
commercial fishermen, for example, the  Department of Fish & Game                                                               
(ADF&G) has  a similar statute.   This  bill amends AS  03.05 and                                                               
adds new sections  authorizing the records held by  Office of the                                                               
State  Veterinarian (OSV)  to  be  confidential, she  reiterated.                                                               
This  has  been a  coordinated  effort  with the  Departments  of                                                               
Environmental  Conservation   and  Natural  Resources,   and  she                                                               
advised  that  this  presentation   will  reference  the  records                                                               
contained  in  the Division  of  Environmental  Health, but  this                                                               
would also give  similar protection to the  Department of Natural                                                               
Resources (DNR),  Division of Agriculture,  who often  holds crop                                                               
testing records.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:12:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENTER turned  to slide 3, titled "HB  315: Need Overview"                                                               
and explained that farmers requested  this legislation because if                                                               
they  work  with  her  division  on  disease  issues,  that  that                                                               
information  may be  subject to  a public  records release.   The                                                               
division  views   this  as   an  agricultural   Health  Insurance                                                               
Portability  and Accountability  Act of  1996 (HIPAA),  and would                                                               
provide those testing  records and animal health  records held in                                                               
the division as confidential.   Therefore, this legislation would                                                               
be  more  protective of  public  health  because it  would  allow                                                               
producers to  engage with the  division early  on if there  was a                                                               
disease  outbreak or  a  morbidity event  in  which the  division                                                               
could respond.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENTER  then turned  the  presentation  over to  Dr.  Bob                                                               
Gerlach,  Alaska State  Veterinarian  regarding the  role of  his                                                               
office and the records the division is often responsible.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:14:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. BOB  GERLACH, State  Veterinarian, Division  of Environmental                                                               
Health,  Department of  Environmental Conservation  (DEC), turned                                                               
to  slide  4,  titled  "Office of  the  State  Veterinarian"  and                                                               
advised  that his  office is  to responsible  for the  following:                                                               
prevention,  control, and  eradication  of  diseases in  animals,                                                               
including  livestock  and pets;  safeguard  the  health and  food                                                               
production in the state; and  prevent public health issues.  Many                                                               
of  these functions  rely  on his  office  to gather  information                                                               
necessary to investigate an outbreak  of a disease and know where                                                               
the risks  are that are  involved with  the disease.   This would                                                               
include:  where  animals  are housed;  animal  movements;  animal                                                               
imports; animal  test records;  and provide  disease surveillance                                                               
records  to  show proof  of  concept,  or  proof of  the  state's                                                               
freedom from disease.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:15:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GERLACH turned  to slide  5, titled  "Program Functions  and                                                               
Record  Examples,"  and advised  that  the  Office of  the  State                                                               
Veterinarian   (OVR)   maintains   reportable   disease   records                                                               
containing  reference data  from slaughter  plants, laboratories,                                                               
farms, and veterinarians.   He explained that  this slide depicts                                                               
some of its program functions,  and basically these are different                                                               
functions available  to collect the  data it needs  to understand                                                               
the risks  involved with diseases  in the state.   Many functions                                                               
related to  the animal input  records that OSV has  gathered data                                                               
from a health certificate, as  well as input records from animals                                                               
coming into the state which  provides animal inventories, disease                                                               
test records  for these animals,  origin, and destination  of the                                                               
animals, he  explained.  Therefore,  he offered, in the  event or                                                               
an  outbreak,  the  OSV  could determine  the  location  of  that                                                               
outbreak and where those animals  traveled to and from the state.                                                               
It   also  involves   reporting   of   morbidity  and   mortality                                                               
investigations that the  OSV may be involved in  with other state                                                               
agencies.   Many  of these  programs  are certification  programs                                                               
such as, the  dairy program and the produce  food safety program,                                                               
wherein if  a producer  wants to  enter a  market they  must meet                                                               
federal   requirements  and   provide   his   office  with   this                                                               
information and  provide testing information to  qualify and sell                                                               
their products.  He explained  that the Chronic Waste and Disease                                                               
Program  or  the  National   Poultry  Improvement  Plan  provides                                                               
certification for these producers to  show that the products they                                                               
are  producing are  free  of  disease, have  a  high standard  of                                                               
quality,  or validate  the  quality.   For  example, he  offered,                                                               
Grade  A milk  to  be sold  within the  state  requires proof  of                                                               
animal health  and proof  and verification  of food  safety being                                                               
produced.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:17:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. GERLACH  turned to  slide 6,  titled "Alaska  Animal Imports:                                                               
OSV  Records," and  advised that  the slide  depicts some  of the                                                               
import records  OSV collects, and  verification of the  number of                                                               
imports associated  with the  number of  animals coming  into the                                                               
state.   The  slide illustrates  the  increase in  the amount  of                                                               
information  gathered  and  records  that OSV  maintains  as  the                                                               
farmers and  backyard operators  begin to  import animals  or own                                                               
animals  in the  state.    The Produce  Food  Safety Program  was                                                               
recently  created,  due  to  an   FDA  requirement,  wherein  OSV                                                               
collects  data and  information on  many agricultural  farms that                                                               
requires  the farmers  to provide  some  personal data,  business                                                               
data, and proprietary data.  He  noted that many other states are                                                               
gathering  this  same information  and  requiring  that state  to                                                               
address  this   issue  and  provide  protections   for  personal,                                                               
proprietary, and business data to  protect these individual farms                                                               
and businesses.   Except, he said, also allowing  release of that                                                               
data, when necessary,  to follow-up on an  investigation if there                                                               
is  an  outbreak,  determine  the source  of  the  outbreak,  and                                                               
perform  the  functions  of  which  the OSV  is  required.    For                                                               
example,  he  explained,  provide animal  health,  ensure  animal                                                               
health, protect  public health, and  make sure food safety  is of                                                               
primary concern.  In that regard,  he advised, in the event of an                                                               
outbreak,  "we   do  share  that  information"   with  the  OSV's                                                               
collaborative  partners  to   perform  these  investigations  and                                                               
determine what could be done  to mitigate this threat and correct                                                               
an outbreak.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:19:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GERLACH turned  to  slide 7,  titled  "Disease Outbreaks  in                                                               
Alaska," and noted  that the slide depicts an example  of some of                                                               
the disease  outbreaks that have  occurred in Alaska,  and offers                                                               
an appreciation for the number of  diseases.  He pointed out that                                                               
the  slide shows  some of  the  diseases that  may solely  affect                                                               
animals,  and  in  those  cases  it  works  with  the  following:                                                               
veterinarians  in  the  state;  the Department  of  Fish  &  Game                                                               
(ADF&G) because  the state does  not want a domestic  outbreak to                                                               
move  into   the  wildlife;  the  United   States  Department  of                                                               
Agriculture (USDA);  and if the situation  involved public health                                                               
issues  it  would  work  with  the  Division  of  Public  Health,                                                               
Department of Health  and Social Services (DHSS), as  well as the                                                               
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
[Slide 8 was described at timestamp 2:21:30.]                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:20:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. GERLACH  turned to  slide 9, titled  "HB 315:  Benefits," and                                                               
advised  that  the  intent  of this  legislation  is  to  protect                                                               
personal, proprietary,  and business information, yet  share that                                                               
data when  necessary to  protect animal  health resources  in the                                                               
state, public health,  and food safety.  He explained  that it is                                                               
not that  the OSV would collect  it and not share  it, because it                                                               
does  share that  data  in  a general  format  when  there is  an                                                               
outbreak  to  let veterinarians  and  farmers  know there  is  an                                                               
issue, and that  they should increase their  biosecurity or their                                                               
preparedness  in order  to prevent  the  infection from  entering                                                               
their farm or affecting their animals.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:21:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENTER  turned to  slide  8,  titled "HB  315:  Sectional                                                               
Analysis," and  advised that  Section 1 amends  AS 03.05  to make                                                               
certain animal and crop records,  maintained by the Department of                                                               
Environmental Conservation  (DEC) and  the Department  of Natural                                                               
Resources (DNR),  exempt from  the Alaska  Public Records  Act if                                                               
they  contain  personal,  business, or  proprietary  information.                                                               
This legislation does allow the  Office of the State Veterinarian                                                               
(OSV) to  disclose that information if  the department determines                                                               
there is a threat to the health  or safety of an animal, crop, or                                                               
the public.   Section 2 allows  DEC and DNR to  adopt regulations                                                               
to implement  the Act, and  at this time  DEC does not  foresee a                                                               
need to adopt  regulations.  Section 3 provides  for an immediate                                                               
effective date, she said.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:22:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENTER  turned to slide  9, titled "HB 316:  Benefits" and                                                               
added to  Dr. Gerlach's  testimony by  noting that  HB 315  has a                                                               
number of benefits specific to  the agricultural industry growth.                                                               
It is the hope  of OSV that by engaging with  the OSV more often,                                                               
that there  will be  more routine  surveillance testing  of crops                                                               
and animals which  would results in a higher  quality product for                                                               
sale with increased  production efficiency.  There  would also be                                                               
early identification and  testing of sick or dead  animals and in                                                               
the event of  a disease outbreak, it would be  contained, and the                                                               
OSV would keep that proprietary  data confidential from potential                                                               
competitors.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:23:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX referred to  Dr. Gerlach's testimony that a                                                               
reason for the bill was to  prevent public health hazards and not                                                               
end up with  the public health hazard  of a sick animal.   In the                                                               
event the sickness  is a public health hazard, she  asked why the                                                               
testing is voluntary.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR. GERLACH  answered that some  of the testing is  voluntary and                                                               
other testing is required based  on state and federal regulations                                                               
for access to markets in the sale and movement of animals.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:24:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX requested an  example of what disease tests                                                               
are voluntary and what tests are not voluntary.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GERLACH  responded  that there  is  no  required  salmonella                                                               
testing in poultry, such as a  backyard chicken house or a large-                                                               
scale  producer selling  eggs.   Salmonella  is  a public  health                                                               
disease  that  can  cause  illness in  people  and  those  people                                                               
performing voluntary testing use the  results to show the quality                                                               
of their  product and use  that information as a  sales marketing                                                               
tool,  in  comparison  to  other  producers.    Required  disease                                                               
testing,  for example,  would be  brucellosis  testing for  those                                                               
animals producing milk  to be sold for consumption  in the state,                                                               
the  Grade A  milk and  cows  must be  tested.   He offered  that                                                               
brucellosis is  very transmissible  through animals and  can make                                                               
them  sick, but  also  can  be transmitted  to  people and  cause                                                               
severe illness, he explained.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:25:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  surmised   that  brucellosis  testing  is                                                               
mandatory,  and  salmonella  is   voluntary,  and  asked  whether                                                               
brucellosis is lethal and salmonella is not lethal.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GERLACH explained  that brucellosis  was  identified in  the                                                               
early 1900s  as a widespread  disease within the  animal industry                                                               
with  current  continuing  pockets   of  brucellosis  within  the                                                               
wildlife in Alaska and the Greater  Yellowstone area.  Due to the                                                               
wide distribution  of dairy products  throughout that  early time                                                               
period for  brucellosis, and with  the advent  of pasteurization,                                                               
the testing  is still required  because it is a  venereal disease                                                               
that can spread  silently through a herd  causing severe problems                                                               
and put the farmer at risk.   Salmonella, he explained, can cause                                                               
severe  illness but  it  is  such a  widespread  disease that  is                                                               
routinely found  in the  environment throughout  the state.   The                                                               
intention here is to try to  decrease the risk for a transmission                                                               
of disease  to people.   In  the event  a person  ate a  raw egg,                                                               
their chance  of ingesting salmonella  could be upwards  of about                                                               
10 percent  of the  commercial eggs  having salmonella,  he said,                                                               
and cooked eggs  may be lower.   He said that it is  not based on                                                               
the  OSV's determination  but  what federal  or  other laws  have                                                               
already been required.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:28:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  asked whether  that was a  long-hand way  of saying                                                               
there was  a risk benefit  analysis, and based on  that analysis,                                                               
"they are choosing" what is and is not mandatory.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR. GERLACH answered in the affirmative.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:28:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  commented  the brucellosis  risk  benefit                                                               
analysis happened 100 years ago.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR. GERLACH  agreed, and he  advised that if  brucellosis disease                                                               
moves  from  state to  state,  there  are strong  regulations  to                                                               
prevent  that spread  between any  cattle or  elk in  the Greater                                                               
Yellowstone area, and the states  of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.                                                               
The implications of a disease  spreading causes a great impact on                                                               
the general  commercial industry, and  in the event  that disease                                                               
spread within  the commercial industry within  the United States,                                                               
that  could  impact  global  trade issues  with  respect  to  the                                                               
movement of  animals and animal  products out of the  country, he                                                               
explained.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:29:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  surmised  that  the testing  is  for  the                                                               
industry and trade as opposed to public health.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR. GERLACH answered that the  testing performs both purposes, it                                                               
protects the industry and commerce  on a local, state, and global                                                               
commercial level; as well as protects public health.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:30:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN said that  the Matanuska-Susitna Valley is                                                               
proud  of  its  agriculture,   particularly  the  "Alaska  Grown"                                                               
program piece.  He referred  to the Senate State Affairs Standing                                                               
Committee  wherein Ms.  Carpenter had  mentioned partnering  with                                                               
the Division of Agriculture to  investigate abuses of the "Alaska                                                               
Grown" program, and he asked her to speak to that issue.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENTER  advised that, under  current state law, if  DNR is                                                               
looking  into an  abuse of  the "Alaska  Grown" program,  the OSV                                                               
could provide that  information to DNR.   Under this legislation,                                                               
the OSV  would no longer  be allowed to provide  that information                                                               
to DNR  unless there  was a  public health  risk.   Although, she                                                               
said, because the  "Alaska Grown" program is  voluntary, it would                                                               
be possible for  DNR to require those  animal importation records                                                               
as  part of  its verification  process  and remove  DEC from  the                                                               
middle of the process.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:32:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  offered  concern  that  when  addressing                                                               
confidentiality, some of the  information regarding which animals                                                               
are  [imported into]  Alaska will  be  harder to  access for  the                                                               
public.  There  may not be a robust  and aggressive investigation                                                               
into  the  prosecution of  abuses  regarding  the "Alaska  Grown"                                                               
program, and  he asked the  last time someone was  prosecuted for                                                               
abuse of this program.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENTER  advised that the  "Alaska Grown" program  is under                                                               
DNR and she could not speak to that issue.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:33:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP asked  Dr. Gerach whether he was  part of the                                                               
family from Glennallen.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GERLACH   advised  that  his  family   was  originally  from                                                               
Pennsylvania and not from Glennallen.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:33:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  surmised that the  gist of this  bill is to  try to                                                               
put  farm  and ranch  producers  on  equal footing  with  seafood                                                               
producers and the  manner in which information is  handled.  This                                                               
would be with regard to  disease and the confidentiality of those                                                               
records, and when  the department can make  public those records,                                                               
and be  treated in the  same manner  as the seafood  industry, he                                                               
offered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GERLACH added  that this  would also  provide protection  of                                                               
personal  and  business  data,  not  just  from  any  proprietary                                                               
business data.  He explained  that for anyone running a business,                                                               
it would be  protection of their business and  marketing plan, it                                                               
is not solely related to food safety issues.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:34:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  offered  a scenario  of  one  particular  producer                                                               
having  a diseased  product  and asked  whether  this bill  would                                                               
allow the  public identification of  that producer or  would this                                                               
prevent the identification of that one specific producer.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. GERLACH  answered that the  information would be  released to                                                               
other  collaborative partners  in the  event of  a public  health                                                               
threat,  or in  order to  investigate, contain,  and remove  that                                                               
threat.     Thereby,  allowing   the  continuation   of  business                                                               
throughout the  state so  that other  producers are  not involved                                                               
and  impacted by  that disease  outbreak or  contamination, or  a                                                               
public  health   threat  associated   with  their   products,  he                                                               
explained.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:36:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  referred to  slide  6,  noting that  the                                                               
state  has imported  more than  95,000 animals  during this  last                                                               
year and asked whether that is a trend he expects to continue.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GERLACH answered  that that  trend is  expected to  continue                                                               
because there  are a  large number  of small  backyard operations                                                               
importing poultry  for meat  and egg productions  and sales.   He                                                               
also noted an increase in swine  and cattle to meet the needs for                                                               
local market demand in restaurants and stores.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:36:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN noted  that 401  horses were  imported in                                                               
2017, and he asked Dr. Gerlach  to speak to what is driving those                                                               
imports.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR. GERLACH  referred to the chart  for 2016 and noted  there was                                                               
not "too much of a variation,"  but there had been an increase in                                                               
pleasure horses and pack/work horses  entering the state used for                                                               
guides and trail rides.   The number of pleasure horses increased                                                               
drastically  and  the  movement  throughout  the  lower  '48  has                                                               
increased much more than is being seen here, he advised.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:37:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked Dr. Gerlach to  address the concern                                                               
that this confidentiality makes it  harder for the public to know                                                               
whether an animal  entered the state from Canada  or was actually                                                               
Alaska grown.   In the event the animal was  not Alaska grown but                                                               
yet someone  puts that label onto  it, he asked how  this bill is                                                               
serving, through  confidentiality, to  sweep that fact  under the                                                               
rug.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENTER reiterated that the  "Alaska Grown" program is held                                                               
under  DNR  and it  is  up  to DNR  to  make  sure the  producers                                                               
qualifying  for  that  program  meet  DNR's  requirements.    She                                                               
deferred  to DNR  to  address the  concerns  from producers  that                                                               
other producers may not meet those requirements.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:39:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  pointed out  that it  was clear  the DEC  could not                                                               
answer any questions about the "Alaska Grown" program.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  asked whether  there  was  a DNR  person                                                               
online to address those issues.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  said the committee  would move to  public testimony                                                               
because someone online is from DNR.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:40:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN opened the public hearing on HB 315.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:41:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRYCE WRIGLEY, Alaska  Farm Bureau, advised that  the Alaska Farm                                                               
Bureau is  deeply committed to  strengthening security  in Alaska                                                               
by growing  more of its own  food.  This, he  commented, requires                                                               
commitment  from  farmers  and  statutes/regulations  encouraging                                                               
local food production  and processing.  He pointed  out that this                                                               
legislation is  important because  it will encourage  farmers and                                                               
ranchers  to  communicate their  concerns  about  their crops  or                                                               
animals to the state agencies  without fear that information will                                                               
become  public.   For  example, he  offered,  a competitor  could                                                               
leverage  information  about a  neighbor's  problem  in order  to                                                               
increase  their  own  market  share.     Also,  he  offered,  the                                                               
voluntary testing of animals or  agricultural products allows for                                                               
early detection  of a disease  and allows treatment to  be taken,                                                               
thereby,  decreasing the  potential for  more serious  outbreaks.                                                               
In  spite of  the  benefits,  he related  that  many farmers  are                                                               
reluctant to subject their animals  or products to this voluntary                                                               
testing because the results of  those tests are not confidential.                                                               
He said that  the Alaska Farm Bureau believes  the state agencies                                                               
should function as a resource  to help its members be successful,                                                               
and that  cultivating that partnership  is vital to  developing a                                                               
strong  local food  system in  Alaska.   He  then encouraged  the                                                               
committee to pass this bill as it  does no harm and it will build                                                               
trust between the state's food  producers and the government.  In                                                               
working together, they can transform the state's food (indisc.).                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:42:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN,  after  ascertaining  no one  wished  to  testify,                                                               
closed public testimony on HB 315.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  advised Mr. Keys,  Division of Agriculture,  that a                                                               
member has  questions regarding the  "Alaska Grown"  program, how                                                               
it intersects with HB 315, and  the position of the Department of                                                               
Natural Resources (DNR) on this legislation.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:43:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ARTHUR KEYES,  Director, Division  of Agriculture,  Department of                                                               
Natural  Resources  (DNR),  related  that  it  is  important  the                                                               
farmers'  trust   the  government  when  they   have  a  problem.                                                               
Certainly,  Dr.  Gerlach  was   professionally  speaking  on  the                                                               
livestock side of things, and on  the plant side, he advised that                                                               
the Division of  Agriculture provides testing for  the farmers as                                                               
needed.   As  Mr.  Wrigley  had advised,  he  stated  that it  is                                                               
important  the farmers  trust that  when they  go to  DNR with  a                                                               
problem,  that DNR  is able  to help  them address  their problem                                                               
without fear a  neighbor may be able to use  the legal Freedom of                                                               
Information Act  (FOIA) process to  use that  information against                                                               
the farmer  on the marketing side  of things.  He  expressed that                                                               
the importance of  trust could not be  understated, including the                                                               
importance of the relationship between DNR and its farmers.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:44:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  asked the  last  time  someone had  been                                                               
prosecuted for an abuse of the "Alaska Grown" program.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEYES answered  that  he  could not  say  there  had been  a                                                               
prosecution, but  there was a  2016 lawsuit wherein the  State of                                                               
Alaska sued  the Mat-Su  Chapter of the  Alaska Farm  Bureau over                                                               
the use of the logo.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:45:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked whether the  fact that cattle  or a                                                               
horse  had   been  imported  from  out-of-state   is  proprietary                                                               
information  or  should  that information  be  available  to  the                                                               
public.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEYES opined,  after listening  to  Dr. Gerlach's  testimony                                                               
today, that  an animal  being imported into  the State  of Alaska                                                               
would not be protected information,  and the proprietary business                                                               
information attached to that would be confidential.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:46:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  asked  whether  "becoming  confidential"                                                               
would make it more difficult  for the public to determine whether                                                               
an animal had been Alaska grown.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  pointed out  to  Representative  Eastman that  Mr.                                                               
Keyes'  answer   was  that  the   information  that   the  animal                                                               
originated in Canada was not confidential.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEYES answered that Chair Claman was correct.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  verified that the  confidential information  has to                                                               
do more with disease issues,  such as brucellosis and salmonella,                                                               
but  in terms  of the  fact  where the  animal originated  (audio                                                               
difficulties).                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:46:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked whether  this bill would  make that                                                               
type of  information more difficult  for the public to  obtain or                                                               
would it stay the same as it is currently.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  asked which information Representative  Eastman was                                                               
referencing.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  answered,   specifically  regarding  the                                                               
origin of an animal.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEYES responded  that finding out the number  of animals that                                                               
came in  from Canada is fine,  but the information of  the origin                                                               
of his  neighbor animals is proprietary  information because that                                                               
is not in the public's interest, he opined.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:47:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN surmised  that  the effect  of this  bill                                                               
would  be  to include  that  information  with other  proprietary                                                               
information.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEYES  said he was not  sure he understood the  question.  He                                                               
opined that  wherever the farmer gets  the cattle he puts  on his                                                               
farm,  it  is  not  the neighbor's  business  where  that  cattle                                                               
originated.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  related that he  was confused because he  had asked                                                               
Mr. Keyes  whether obtaining  a permit to  import an  animal from                                                               
Canada was  public information and if  so, how can it  be private                                                               
that the animal in his backyard is from Canada.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEYES deferred  to  Dr.  Gerlach because  he  is the  better                                                               
person to  answer this  specific livestock  question.   He opined                                                               
that there  is information  on the import  tags where  the animal                                                               
originated and the  farm.  As Mr. Wrigley had  noted, it would be                                                               
detrimental  to  a business  to  have  it  out there  for  public                                                               
consumption.   Although,  he said,  that does  not mean  a person                                                               
cannot know an animal came  from Canada, but there is information                                                               
that should be protected.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:49:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. GERLACH explained that every  animal coming into the state is                                                               
required to  have an  ear tag  listing the  source of  origin for                                                               
that animal.   In the  event they are specifically  arriving from                                                               
Canada, they must have a Canadian  specific ear tag, as well as a                                                               
tattoo  or a  brand.   Those  animals are  identified from  their                                                               
source,  which is  extremely important  to  trace if  there is  a                                                               
disease outbreak or  an issue with the health and  safety of that                                                               
product, he explained.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:50:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  said that he understands  it is important                                                               
for the department  to have that information  but offered concern                                                               
that the public may not readily  have that information.  He asked                                                               
whether the tag is required to  stay with the animal for the life                                                               
of the animal or only when they come into the state.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DR. GERLACH  advised that the tag,  through federal requirements,                                                               
is  forbidden  to  be  taken  out of  that  animal  until  it  is                                                               
slaughtered or processed for food.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:50:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   EASTMAN   asked   Dr.   Gerlach   whether   this                                                               
legislation  will make  the  information  regarding the  animal's                                                               
origin more difficult to obtain, or not have any effect.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR. GERLACH answered that if  the question is whether this animal                                                               
is Alaska  grown, that would  be directed toward the  Division of                                                               
Agriculture to evaluate the circumstances,  where that animal was                                                               
raised,  and how  long  it  was raised  in  Alaska, to  determine                                                               
whether  it met  that label  requirement.   With  respect to  the                                                               
number  of animals  coming into  Alaska, OSV  publishes a  yearly                                                               
chart  to let  people know  how many  animals have  been imported                                                               
into  the  state,  which  is   part  of  annual  information  OSV                                                               
distributes  to  veterinarians,  farmers,  and  the  Alaska  Farm                                                               
Bureau.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:51:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  re-asked  his question  in  a  different                                                               
manner, as  a member of the  public, will this bill  make it more                                                               
difficult from him  to determine whether a  particular animal was                                                               
imported.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GERLACH advised  that if  Representative Eastman  was asking                                                               
him whether  he could tell  advise if Chair Claman's  cattle were                                                               
Canadian cattle, he would say, "I  will not tell you that because                                                               
that's proprietary  business where  he has his  cattle."   In the                                                               
event Representative  Claman is marketing the  cattle and selling                                                               
them  to  Representative  Eastman  through  the  "Alaskan  Grown"                                                               
program,  then  Representative  Eastman   would  go  through  the                                                               
Division  of Agriculture  to determine  whether those  cattle met                                                               
the requirements of the "Alaskan Grown" program.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:52:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  said  she was  thoroughly  confused,  and                                                               
surmised  that the  public  can  find out,  due  to this  permit,                                                               
tattoo, or whatever,  what animals have arrived from  Canada.  In                                                               
the  event her  neighbor imported  an animal  from Canada,  it is                                                               
public information as to "where that animal is, correct?"                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GERLACH said  that  that information  can  be obtained,  but                                                               
through   this  regulation   and  proprietary   information,  how                                                               
Representative  Claman  is  building  his cattle  herd  to  enter                                                               
different markets  is his business  plan, and it is  protected as                                                               
proprietary information, personal information.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:53:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  surmised that under this  bill, the public                                                               
will not be  able to know where these cattle  originated, it will                                                               
only be allowed to know that  100 head of cattle came into Alaska                                                               
from Canada.  She further  surmised that, in whose backyard those                                                               
cattle have landed, the public will be not allowed to know.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GERLACH  answered  that Representative  LeDoux  was  correct                                                               
because these  cattle came in through  Canada and met all  of the                                                               
USDA health  requirements to come  into the country and  have met                                                               
all of  the Alaska  requirements that they  are healthy  and free                                                               
from infectious/contagious disease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN commented  that if a person was  worried about where                                                               
their neighbor's cattle originated, they  could walk to the fence                                                               
and wave the cow over and read its tag.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:55:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN asked  whether any member has  a potential amendment                                                               
for HB 315.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  said  that  he does  have  an  amendment                                                               
because the witnesses  have not been able to answer  the state of                                                               
the  enforcement   of  the  "Alaska  Grown"   program,  and  this                                                               
legislation  will limit  the  ability of  public  to oversee  and                                                               
identify what  is "Alaska Grown."    He related that  it puts all                                                               
of the  onerous on the  department "to do  so," and he  has heard                                                               
concerns that  the department is not  aggressively pursuing those                                                               
investigations even  when credible  information was offered.   He                                                               
said he would like to  receive information from the department as                                                               
to the  last time it prosecuted  someone for that type  of abuse,                                                               
and how robust is its investigation process.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN asked  Ms. Jennifer Currie, Department  of Law (DOL)                                                               
whether there  are any provisions  in the criminal code  or other                                                               
code that would allow for  criminal prosecution related to misuse                                                               
of the "Alaska Grown" program.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:57:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER    CURRIE,    Senior   Assistant    Attorney    General,                                                               
Environmental Section, Department of  Law (DOL), advised that she                                                               
is  unaware  of   any  criminal  provisions  that   would  go  to                                                               
prosecution for improper use of the "Alaska Grown" program.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:57:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  (audio difficulties)  asked whether there  has been                                                               
any  practice in  the  Department  of Law  (DOL)  to bring  civil                                                               
actions relating to misuse of the "Alaska Grown" program.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CURRIE  replied  that,  unfortunately,  she  represents  the                                                               
Department of  Environmental Conservation  (DEC) and it  does not                                                               
have that  program, and  she was unaware  whether there  had been                                                               
prosecutions.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN commented,  or at least civil cases  if not criminal                                                               
prosecutions.     In  order   to  get   Representative  Eastman's                                                               
questions answered  they would  need a  different section  in the                                                               
DOL.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:58:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   asked  whether   any  of   the  cannabis                                                               
operations  adopted   the  "Alaska   Grown"  program   for  their                                                               
operations.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  advised that  "we  don't  have the  testing                                                               
down"  even for  the  facilities  the state  does  have to  teach                                                               
[laughter through comment - indisc.] much less "Alaska Grown."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN commented  that as a legal matter, it  must be grown                                                               
in Alaska because it is illegal to cross state lines.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:59:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX opined  that marijuana  producers can  use                                                               
the label "Alaska Grown."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEYES  responded that currently,  no marijuana  producers are                                                               
allowed to  use the "Alaska  Grown" logo with their  crop because                                                               
that program  is run through  the Division of Agriculture  and it                                                               
is not accepting marijuana producers'  applications.  The primary                                                               
reason  being that  it uses  a lot  of federal  dollars for  that                                                               
program and  it is still  an illegal  crop on the  federal level,                                                               
which would  jeopardize the division's funding  for that program.                                                               
Also,  he  said, to  Representative  Eastman's  question, if  the                                                               
division  saw  or heard  of  a  violator possibly  using  "Alaska                                                               
Grown" improperly,  it would contact that  person and potentially                                                               
remove them from the "Alaska Grown" program.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:01:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN asked  Mr. Keyes,  as Director  of the  Division of                                                               
Agriculture,  whether he  was familiar  with  any civil  lawsuits                                                               
filed  against  anyone  in  connection with  the  misuse  of  the                                                               
"Alaska Grown" program.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. KEYES  reiterated that  in 2016, a  civil lawsuit  was filed,                                                               
and  pointed out  that  during the  two years  of  his tenure  as                                                               
director, the division has contacted  various retail outlets when                                                               
the "Alaska  Grown" program  was used  in a  questionable manner.                                                               
He related  that on  every occasion  that the  division contacted                                                               
the vendor, the problem was rectified with minimal issues.                                                                      

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB129 ver D 1.29.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Updated Fiscal Note DOA-SSOA 2.9.18.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Amendments #1-3 2.9.18.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Amendments #1-3 HJUD Final Votes 2.9.18.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB315 ver A 2.9.18.PDF HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB315 Transmittal Letter 2.9.18.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB315 Supporting Document-Public Comment.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB315 PowerPoint Presentation 2.9.18.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB315 Fiscal Note DEC-EHL 2.9.18.PDF HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315