Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 17

04/04/2005 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 227 ALASKA SMALL LOANS ACT TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ HB 192 FISHERIES BUSINESS LICENSE; BOND TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
*+ HB 179 WRONGFUL FILING OF LIS PENDENS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ SB 25 GENETICALLY MODIFIED FISH TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
= HB 180 WORKERS' COMPENSATION
Heard & Held
SB  25-GENETICALLY MODIFIED FISH                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ANDERSON  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be  SENATE  BILL  NO.  25   "An  Act  relating  to  labeling  and                                                               
identification of genetically modified fish and fish products."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KIM ELTON,  Alaska State  Legislature,  said the  United                                                               
Fishermen  of  Alaska   support  SB  25,  which   is  called  the                                                               
Frankenfish  bill.   It is  a  product of  the Joint  Legislative                                                               
Salmon  Industry  Task Force,  he  noted,  where members  of  the                                                               
fishing industries  and legislators  came together to  tackle the                                                               
challenges facing the industry.   He defined genetically modified                                                               
fish as  those fish whose  genetic structure has been  altered at                                                               
the molecular level by means  not naturally possible.  A glow-in-                                                               
the-dark aquarium  fish has been  allowed on the market,  but now                                                               
there is  a pending application  for genetically  modified farmed                                                               
Atlantic salmon.   He said it is assumed that  many other species                                                               
will follow.   A United  States and Canadian company  is creating                                                               
genetically modified fish  to sell around the world.   He said SB
25 is  simply consumer notification,  which is all the  state can                                                               
do on  this issue.   It  requires labeling  for retail  sales, he                                                               
concluded.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked about a naval blockade.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON  said it is a  difficult situation for Alaska.   In                                                               
this arena, all  Alaska can do is  to try and draw  a bright line                                                               
between wild, natural fish and industrially farmed fish.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  noted that  the biotech  industry said                                                               
it has struck down mandatory labeling in the courts.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:07:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELTON said  at  the  federal level  there  is debate  on                                                               
labeling  regulations,  but  there  have been  no  problems  with                                                               
consumer notification on  labels at the state level.   In Alaska,                                                               
farmed fish must be labeled, he added.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  TWOMLEY, Middle  School Student,  Juneau, said  SB 25  is a                                                               
good idea  because there are  unknown concerns  about genetically                                                               
modified seafood on humans and  the environment.  Consumers could                                                               
be physically  at risk,  he said,  and people  will be  unable to                                                               
avoid that risk.  Genetically  modified fish will affect Alaska's                                                               
economy as  well by transmitting  diseases to wild salmon.   They                                                               
may also take  over the habitat of wild salmon,  he noted.  Short                                                               
of  ending this  industry,  genetically modified  fish should  be                                                               
labeled, he concluded.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:11:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD  moved to report  SB 25 out  of committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and zero fiscal notes.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  objection, SB  25 was  passed out  of the  House                                                               
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                

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