Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 124

02/16/2005 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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01:05:39 PM Start
01:07:31 PM Overview: Enstar Natural Gas Company
01:48:52 PM HB107
02:27:55 PM HB130
03:06:54 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Moved Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
Moved CSHB 107(RES) Out of Committee
HB 107-ATTY FEES: HUNTING/FISHING INTERFERENCE                                                                                
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                              
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 107   "An Act providing  for the award  of full                                                              
actual attorney fees  and costs to a person aggrieved  by unlawful                                                              
obstruction or hindrance  of hunting, fishing, or  viewing of fish                                                              
or  game;  amending  Rules  79  and  82,  Alaska  Rules  of  Civil                                                              
Procedure;  and  amending  Rule  508, Alaska  Rules  of  Appellate                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS  moved  to  adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                              
substitute  (CS)  for  HB  107,  Version  24-LS0444\Y,  Utermohle,                                                              
2/11/05, as  a work draft.   There being  no objection,  Version Y                                                              
was before the committee.                                                                                                       
JIM POUND,  Staff to  Representative Ramras,  noted the  change on                                                              
page  2,  line  20,  which  allows  the  prevailing  party  to  be                                                              
entitled to reasonable actual attorney fees and costs.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said he was going to offer  an amendment to                                                              
exclude  commercial fishermen  from HB  107 because  he thinks  it                                                              
could lead  to numerous lawsuits  between fishermen,  since anyone                                                              
who receives  a citation can be  considered unlawful.   He said he                                                              
is not  going to offer  an amendment because  he wants  to protect                                                              
fishermen  from other  kinds of  intentional  obstruction, but  he                                                              
wanted to discuss it.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  said she  is  not concerned,  because  the                                                              
fishermen  would still  have to  prove how much  they lost,  which                                                              
might be difficult.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS  said he  thinks  "the potential  here  for                                                              
commercial fishermen to be suing one another is horrendous."                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  RAMRAS  said  the  intent was  to  protect  hunters  and                                                              
trappers, "and now  we seem to be inside of a fishnet."   He asked                                                              
if  Representative  Seaton  would   like  to  offer  a  conceptual                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  he  wants  to  protect  the  fishing                                                              
industry  without  allowing  the  kind  of lawsuits  he  spoke  of                                                              
previously.  He  added that he supports the exemptions  of the law                                                              
enforcement officials.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE   CRAWFORD   said  that   Representative   Seaton's                                                              
concern is  valid, so  he suggested  keeping commercial  fishermen                                                              
under Rule 82 of the Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON said that might be a good suggestion.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO   said  he  could  not  get   by  the  words                                                              
"reasonable,  actual" in  the bill  because they  can be  mutually                                                              
MR. POUND  said that  the definition  of "intentionally  obstruct"                                                              
would not be relevant to fishing competition.                                                                                   
2:02:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD  said the  bill also says  "hinder," which                                                              
will have as much weight at "intentionally obstruct."                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  that  is exactly  what  a  fishermen                                                              
wants to do: try to get situated in a superior position.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  said that either person who  loses must pay                                                              
full  attorney fees,  so  that may  eliminate  the possibility  of                                                              
frivolous lawsuits.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON offered Conceptual Amendment 1:                                                                           
     Section 3;                                                                                                                 
       Insert "Commercial fishing operations will remain                                                                        
          under Rule 82, Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure."                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO made  an objection  and asked if  commercial                                                              
hunters should be included.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  RAMRAS said there  is a  significant difference  between                                                              
commercial fishing and commercial hunting.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO said if  a guiding service  were to  move in                                                              
on a  competitor, someone  might be  hindered, and  he said  it is                                                              
worth discussing.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON   explained    that   lawful   competitive                                                              
practices will protect those guides, as far as he knows.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  said he wished a commercial  guide were here                                                              
to make sure.                                                                                                                   
MR.  POUND  said  that  the  committee  addressed  that  issue  in                                                              
reviving the  guide board, and  there is existing  statute dealing                                                              
with guiding.                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS said  he  forgot that  they discussed  that                                                              
bill, and he can support the bill with the Amendment 1.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO withdrew objection.                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS asked  whether there was any further  objection to                                                              
adopting conceptual  Amendment 1.   There  being no objection,  it                                                              
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  moved  to  report CSHB  107,  Version  24-                                                              
LS0444\Y,  Utermohle, 2/11/05,  out of  committee with  individual                                                              
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO objected to  discuss the terms  "reasonable"                                                              
and "actual."    He said he  doesn't think  the two  words can  be                                                              
combined sensibly.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  explained that  as long as  actual attorney                                                              
fees  were reasonable,  the prevailing  party will  get the  full,                                                              
actual  fees, but it  would have  to be  determined reasonable  by                                                              
the judge.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  said Representative Seaton is  accurate; it                                                              
just gives the judge discretion on what is reasonable.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked why not just say reasonable.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  replied that if it just  said reasonable it                                                              
gives too much leeway  to the judge, who might not  even take into                                                              
account what the fees actually were.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  said he does not  get it and thinks  it is a                                                              
matter  of  grammar and  not  interpretation.   Adding  actual  to                                                              
reasonable adds silt to the water, he said.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  suggested  the committee  ask  Legislative                                                              
Legal Services.                                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR  RAMRAS said  that  the bill  will  find its  way to  the                                                              
House Judiciary Standing Committee, which can deal with it.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD  suggested  the  committee  get  a  quick                                                              
The committee took an at-ease from 2:13 PM to 2:21 PM.                                                                          
2:21:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  POUND stated  that he  found  the terminology  in the  Alaska                                                              
Rules  of  Civil  Procedure:  "and  shall  pay  reasonable  actual                                                              
attorney fees incurred..."                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO withdrew his objection.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  moved  to  report CSHB  107,  Version  24-                                                              
LS0444\Y, Utermohle,  2/11/05,, as amended, out of  committee with                                                              
individual  recommendations  and  the accompanying  fiscal  notes.                                                              
There  being no  further  objection,  CSHB 107(RES)  was  reported                                                              
from the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                    

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