Legislature(2007 - 2008)BARNES 124

02/13/2008 01:00 PM RESOURCES

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HJR 31-OPPOSE FED LAW RE AERIAL HUNTING                                                                                       
1:07:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR GATTO  announced that the  first order of  business would                                                              
be HOUSE  JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 31,  Opposing the enactment  of the                                                              
Protect America's  Wildlife Act of  2007 that intends  to prohibit                                                              
aerial  hunting  of  wildlife, which  is  essential  for  predator                                                              
control in Alaska.                                                                                                              
1:07:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WES  KELLER, Alaska State Legislature,  speaking as                                                              
the sponsor of HJR  31, stated that outside groups  have for years                                                              
tried to  manage Alaska's  assets of  fish and  game.   The latest                                                              
attack is coming  from the U.S. Congress with  the introduction of                                                              
H.R. 3663,  [the Protect America's  Wildlife Act of 2007].   While                                                              
the  bill  language  does  not specify  that  it  is  directed  at                                                              
Alaska,  a press  release on  the  bill is  aimed specifically  at                                                              
Alaska.  He  said HJR 31 says  no to federal legislation  and says                                                              
Alaska's biologists  and [Board of Game] members  know better than                                                              
the Washington  politicians.  The  resolution asks members  of the                                                              
U.S.  Congress  to  join  Alaska's   Congressional  Delegation  in                                                              
saying no.                                                                                                                      
JIM  POUND, Staff,  to  Representative  Wes Keller,  Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature,  in  response  to   Co-Chair  Gatto,  confirmed  that                                                              
copies of H.R. 3663 are in the committee's packets.                                                                             
1:09:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR GATTO inquired who the sponsor of H.R. 3663 is.                                                                        
MR. POUND responded Congressman George Miller of California.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR GATTO  noted the bill's nickname,  the PAW Act.   He said                                                              
Congressman  Miller is  a member  of the U.S.  House Committee  on                                                              
Natural Resources and has some clout.                                                                                           
MR. POUND replied correct.                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR GATTO opened public testimony on HJR 31.                                                                               
1:10:27 PM                                                                                                                    
ROD ARNO,  Executive Director,  Alaska Outdoor Council,  testified                                                              
that  his organization  of over  10,000 Alaskans  supports HJR  31                                                              
because  it is  extremely important  that the  U.S. Congress  know                                                              
the  Alaska State  Legislature  is behind  Alaska's  Congressional                                                              
Delegation  in opposing  H.R. 3663.   He said  the Alaska  Outdoor                                                              
Council requests that  one amendment be made to HJR  31 on page 2,                                                              
line  6,  which  reads:   "Whereas  moose  and  caribou  represent                                                              
livestock  to many  Alaskans".   Alaskans  do  not consider  their                                                              
wild food harvest  to be livestock, he stated.   The definition of                                                              
livestock is horse,  cattle, sheep, and other useful  animals kept                                                              
or raised  on a  farm or ranch.   In  response to Co-Chair  Gatto,                                                              
Mr. Arno  agreed that using the  term "food stock" would  be fine.                                                              
In further  response to  Co-Chair Gatto,  Mr. Arno confirmed  that                                                              
he is familiar with H.R. 3663.                                                                                                  
1:11:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR GATTO asked  what is included in the  federal legislation                                                              
that should prompt the Alaska State Legislature to oppose it.                                                                   
MR. ARNO  answered that Congressman  Miller is joining  in consort                                                              
with the Defenders  of Wildlife, the national  organization behind                                                              
the  2008 Airborne  Wolf Ballot  Initiative which  would ban  same                                                              
day airborne  or aerial control of  predators.  He said  H.R. 3663                                                              
would make changes  to the federal Airborne Hunting  Act [of 1972]                                                              
to stop Alaska's ability to do predator-prey management.                                                                        
CO-CHAIR GATTO said he sees it that way also.                                                                                   
1:13:29 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT FITHIAN,  Executive Director,  Alaska Professional  Hunters                                                              
Association (APHA),  stated that the APHA supports  HJR 31 because                                                              
it  is  vital  to  the  integrity  and  fiber  of  Alaska's  rural                                                              
lifestyles, the guided hunting industry, and hunters in general.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  inquired whether many people  in APHA think                                                              
moose and caribou are livestock.                                                                                                
MR. FITHIAN  responded no, APHA  concurs with Mr.  Arno's proposed                                                              
CO-CHAIR  GATTO  asked  whether  the  term  food  stock  would  be                                                              
MR. FITHIAN  said he is unsure that  food stock is the  right term                                                              
and is thinking  perhaps wildlife resources.  He  deferred to what                                                              
Mr. Kevin Saxby would recommend.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG inquired  how many  clients the  Alaska                                                              
Professional Hunters Association has in a year.                                                                                 
MR. FITHIAN stated  that APHA has 150-160  individual professional                                                              
members that  provide guide  service in Alaska.   He said  he does                                                              
not  know the  exact  total number  of  clients,  but the  average                                                              
number per  APHA member  would be about  15-20.  His  organization                                                              
represents an industry of over $200 million per year, he noted.                                                                 
1:16:49 PM                                                                                                                    
JERRY  MCCUTCHEON spoke  on behalf  of himself  in support  of the                                                              
basic premise  of HJR 31.   He has  watched wolves and  other game                                                              
for  more years  than  most of  the  committee  members have  been                                                              
alive, he  remarked.  He said  he remembers when Don  Sheldon used                                                              
to  complain about  the federal  government  poisoning wolves  and                                                              
how it caused  the deaths of other  kinds of animals as  well.  He                                                              
also  remembered  an  aerial hunting  accident  that  wrecked  the                                                              
plane,  killed two  people, and  injured  two people  back in  the                                                              
days when  Lowell Thomas,  Don Sheldon,  and  Jay Hammond  used to                                                              
hunt.   Why does the  federal government  now want to  protect the                                                              
wolves it  used to poison,  he asked.   The wolves  ate themselves                                                              
out of house and  home in [Denali National Park  and Preserve] and                                                              
then migrated  out to  state land.   He said he  does not  see why                                                              
the  state needs  to feed  the wolves  like  the "greenies"  think                                                              
should be done.                                                                                                                 
1:18:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT  OGAN, President,  Sportsmen  for Fish  and Wildlife  (SFW),                                                              
pointed  out  that he  is  testifying  on  his  own time  and  his                                                              
comments  do  not  represent  his   employer,  the  Department  of                                                              
Natural  Resources, State  of Alaska.   He  said his  organization                                                              
strongly supports  HJR 31 and the  only regrettable thing  is that                                                              
the [U.S.  Fish and  Wildlife Service]  is underutilized  in doing                                                              
predator control in Alaska.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  GATTO closed  public testimony  after ascertaining  that                                                              
no one else wished to testify.                                                                                                  
1:20:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  GATTO moved  that  the committee  adopt  Amendment 1  as                                                              
     Page 2, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete "livestock"                                                                                                    
          Insert "food stock"                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH objected to Amendment 1.                                                                              
1:20:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH  moved  that  the  committee  adopt  an                                                              
amendment  to Amendment  1  as follows:    delete "livestock"  and                                                              
insert "a  subsistence and  urban food supply  source".   She said                                                              
the problem  with using  food stock  is that  it is  a food  and a                                                              
value to  Alaskans in different  ways.  It  is not just  a hunting                                                              
for  the kill;  it is  to supply  families  with nourishing  food.                                                              
Thus, Amendment 1, as amended, would be as follows:                                                                             
     Page 2, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete "livestock"                                                                                                    
          Insert "a subsistence and urban food supply                                                                           
1:21:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON objected for discussion purposes.                                                                         
1:22:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI said  he does not  think subsistence  and                                                              
urban covers everybody, for instance people living in Delta.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR GATTO  commented that someone  could be a rural  user but                                                              
not a  subsistence user.   He said 100  percent coverage  could be                                                              
provided  by   saying,  "both  subsistence   and  nonsubsistence".                                                              
Picking  out the  two  groups of  subsistence  and hunting  leaves                                                              
some  people  out.    Representative   Fairclough's  amendment  to                                                              
Amendment 1 tends not to cover everybody.                                                                                       
1:24:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH,  in  response  to  comments  from  the                                                              
committee  members,  withdrew her  amendment  to  Amendment 1  and                                                              
moved that the committee  adopt a new amendment to  Amendment 1 as                                                              
follows:   delete "food stock",  insert "a food supply  source for                                                              
all  Alaskans".   Thus,  Amendment  1,  as  amended, would  be  as                                                              
     Page 2, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete "livestock"                                                                                                    
          Insert "a food supply source for all Alaskans"                                                                        
1:24:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON requested  the  committee  entertain adding  the                                                              
word "asset",  such  as, "a valuable  asset and  food source  [for                                                              
all Alaskans]".   He  said this  is a  clearer definition  of what                                                              
the committee  believes and  is consistent with  SSHB 348,  a bill                                                              
that is coming before the committee next.                                                                                       
1:25:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  the committee  needs to  look at  the                                                              
federal  legislation  [H.R.  3663]   because  it  deals  with  all                                                              
wildlife,  not  just predator  control.    He  noted that  HJR  31                                                              
specifies moose  and caribou, thus  the resolution  excludes other                                                              
important  food sources  such as  sheep, goat,  and rabbits.   The                                                              
federal  legislation   would  result   in  being  unable   to  fly                                                              
somewhere and hunt  rabbits that same day, unless  the hunter flew                                                              
on a  regularly scheduled commercial  aircraft.  He  expressed his                                                              
concern that the  request for rejection of H.R. 3663  is being too                                                              
narrowly  defined by  basing it  solely  on the  idea of  predator                                                              
control  for  two   species.    This  does  not   cover  the  full                                                              
parameters on which  the request for rejection is  based, he said.                                                              
For instance,  there could be a  subsistence emergency in  a rural                                                              
area  that would  necessitate the  Board of  Game passing  special                                                              
regulations allowing  flights to another  area to take  extra game                                                              
animals.   He  urged the  committee  to keep  the objection  broad                                                              
enough to cover a multitude of circumstances.                                                                                   
1:28:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON, in  response to  Co-Chair Gatto  regarding                                                              
the amendment  to Amendment  1, stated he  does not object  to the                                                              
broad idea of saying,  "a food source for Alaskans",  but he would                                                              
prefer it  to say, "moose,  caribou, and other wildlife  represent                                                              
an important food source for Alaskans".                                                                                         
1:29:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  GATTO suggested,  "regular  and  dependable food  source                                                              
for Alaskans".                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH withdrew her amendment to Amendment 1.                                                                
CO-CHAIR GATTO withdrew Amendment 1.                                                                                            
1:30:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ROSES  moved that  the committee adopt  Amendment 2                                                              
as follows:                                                                                                                     
     Page 2, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete "moose and caribou represent livestock"                                                                        
         Insert "much of Alaska's wildlife represents a                                                                         
     natural food source"                                                                                                       
1:31:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON objected  to Amendment 2.   She  offered an                                                              
amendment  to Amendment  2 as  follows:   Page 2,  line 6,  delete                                                              
"to", insert  "for".  Thus, Amendment  2, as amended, would  be as                                                              
     Page 2, line 6:                                                                                                            
       Delete "moose and caribou represent livestock to"                                                                        
         Insert "much of Alaska's wildlife represents a                                                                         
     natural food source for"                                                                                                   
There  being  no  objection,  the amendment  to  Amendment  2  was                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON withdrew her objection to Amendment 2.                                                                    
There being no objection, Amendment 2, as amended, was adopted.                                                                 
1:33:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH said  she would  like the committee  to                                                              
consider  some  additional language  and  have  the maker  of  the                                                              
resolution comment on it.                                                                                                       
1:34:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER, in  response  to Co-Chair  Gatto, said  he                                                              
has no problem with  the language of Amendment 2,  as amended.  He                                                              
explained that  the word  livestock was  chosen because  H.R. 3663                                                              
provides  an exemption  that allows  the killing  of predators  by                                                              
aerial or any other means in order to protect livestock.                                                                        
1:34:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  moved that the committee adopt  Amendment 3                                                              
as follows:                                                                                                                     
     Page 2, line 11, after "sent":                                                                                             
          Insert "electronically"                                                                                               
There being no objection, Amendment 3 was adopted.                                                                              
1:36:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   FAIRCLOUGH  asked   for  the  sponsor's   opinion                                                              
regarding insertion of the following language:                                                                                  
     Page 2, after line 6:                                                                                                      
          WHEREAS airborne hunting is illegal in Alaska;                                                                      
          WHEREAS [the] Alaska predator control program is                                                                    
     mandated   by   the  Alaska   State   Legislature,   and                                                                   
     regulated  by the  independent Alaska  Board [of]  Game;                                                                   
          WHEREAS Alaska's wildlife management programs are                                                                   
     conducted  entirely within  the tenets  of the  Airborne                                                                   
     Hunting Act; and                                                                                                           
          WHEREAS predator management in specific areas of                                                                    
     the state  increases opportunities  for Alaskans  to put                                                                   
     healthy food on their families' dinner table[s];                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH noted that  much of the  aforementioned                                                              
language  is  taken  from  the   governor's  [2/27/07]  letter  to                                                              
Congressman George Miller of California.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  said he thinks  the language would  have to                                                              
be, "airborne hunting 'of game' is illegal ...."                                                                                
1:37:48 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUG LARSON, Director,  Division of Wildlife  Conservation, Alaska                                                              
Department  of  Fish  &  Game,  noted  that  airborne  hunting  is                                                              
something  that comes up  repeatedly.   Predator control  activity                                                              
is not  hunting, he pointed  out.  The  two are different.   Thus,                                                              
it is appropriate  that airborne hunting is not  hunting in regard                                                              
to Alaska's predator control programs.                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR GATTO  asked whether Mr.  Larson has any  suggestions for                                                              
changes or deletions in the resolution's language.                                                                              
MR. LARSON  replied he  did not  get all the  details of  what was                                                              
put forward,  but he did not  hear anything out of  place relative                                                              
to the  information put out  by ADF&G and  what the  governor sent                                                              
in her letter to Congressman Miller.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  ROSES said  aerial  hunting is  illegal in  Alaska                                                              
and his understanding  is that Representative Fairclough  was just                                                              
stating that.                                                                                                                   
1:39:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  understood  the  Board  of  Game  has  not                                                              
allowed  same day airborne  hunting  of bear,  but that it  could,                                                              
and  that is  why bear  was put  [into HB  256].   "Was that  then                                                              
illegal,  or was it  just not  happening at  the current  time but                                                              
the Board of Game has the ability to allow that," he asked.                                                                     
MR. LARSON  answered  yes.  Currently,  if a  proposal is  brought                                                              
forward to  include bears for landing  and shooting, the  Board of                                                              
Game  could  do  that  as  a  viable   method  under  the  hunting                                                              
regulations.    He said  [HB  256]  would  add  brown bears  as  a                                                              
species  for which  the board  could  not allow  [land and  shoot]                                                              
under hunting regulations.                                                                                                      
1:40:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said he is  removing his objection  in case                                                              
he had made one.                                                                                                                
1:41:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  moved that the committee adopt  Amendment 4                                                              
as follows:                                                                                                                     
     Page 2, line 3, after "livestock":                                                                                         
          Insert "or biological emergencies"                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  explained   he  is  adding  this  language                                                              
because  H.R.  3663, Section  3,  is  a provision  for  biological                                                              
emergencies.    In  response  to  Co-Chair  Gatto,  Representative                                                              
Seaton agreed  to make Amendment  4 conceptual in case  this issue                                                              
appears elsewhere in HJR 31.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  said he  does not  have  a problem  with                                                              
Amendment   4,  but  thinks   lines  2-3   are  false   given  his                                                              
interpretation  of the  backup material  provided  for H.R.  3663,                                                              
Section 3.                                                                                                                      
1:43:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  cited Section 4  of H.R. 3663  which states                                                              
that  predators   can  be   shot  from   the  air  under   certain                                                              
conditions, one  of those being  a biological emergency.   He said                                                              
he thought he  and Representative Kawasaki were  talking about the                                                              
same thing  in not  wanting the  resolution to  be limited  to the                                                              
protection  of livestock  because there  is nothing  in Section  4                                                              
that  says it  is for  the protection  of livestock,  it says  for                                                              
biological emergency.                                                                                                           
CO-CHAIR GATTO  commented that  the problem  with the  language in                                                              
H.R. 3663, "to  prevent a biological emergency", is  that it means                                                              
once you have it there is nothing that can be done about it.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON  pointed out the  use of the term  "irreversible"                                                              
in the  definition of  biological emergency in  Section 4  of H.R.                                                              
3663.   He  asked  whether the  state  of Alaska's  definition  of                                                              
biological emergency is the same as that in H.R. 3663.                                                                          
MR. LARSON  replied that this  clause concerns ADF&G  because once                                                              
there is  an irreversible decline,  it is too  late.  That  is why                                                              
[HB  256] talks  about active  management, he  said.   When it  is                                                              
seen  that something  is happening  in a  population, taking  some                                                              
sort  of action  under  those  circumstances  makes sense.    What                                                              
would be  the point of  doing anything  once it reaches  the point                                                              
of being irreversible, he asked.                                                                                                
1:45:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR GATTO  noted that H.R.  3663 limits the state  to proving                                                              
that the  irreversible decline  is caused by  predators.   He said                                                              
it  does not  matter what  causes  the decline  because the  state                                                              
needs the  ability to  act on it  before it  is irreversible.   He                                                              
asked  whether the  language  in  HJR 31  should  be clarified  to                                                              
reflect  the term  irreversible decline  when defining  biological                                                              
MR. LARSON  explained that the  existing intensive  management law                                                              
speaks  to population  objectives  and  harvest objectives.    The                                                              
law's premise  is that  information will  be obtained  relative to                                                              
populations,  and that  when those  objectives are  not being  met                                                              
the department will  provide information as to the  cause.  To the                                                              
extent that  predators play into  that, the department  would take                                                              
on predator  management.  He said  H.R. 3663 is a  whole different                                                              
paradigm  with   biological  emergency   because  it   is  totally                                                              
different  from   the  intensive   management  law  and   how  the                                                              
department is currently expected to operate.                                                                                    
1:47:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  pointed  out that  he  is not  arguing  to                                                              
change Alaska's  laws to  correspond with  federal laws.   Rather,                                                              
he  is arguing  that  on page  2  of  HJR 31  it  is important  to                                                              
address aerial  predator control as  it relates to  both livestock                                                              
and biological emergencies.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR GATTO  commented that  members do  not want something  to                                                              
be said that is  untrue and have the U.S. Congress  say the Alaska                                                              
State Legislature does not know what it is talking about.                                                                       
1:48:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ROSES  said this  is  a  resolution, not  a  bill.                                                              
While it  is important to  be accurate,  the reality is  that most                                                              
people will not  read past the first two lines on  the first page.                                                              
There  is even  the  question  of  how effective  resolutions  are                                                              
anyway, but  that does not diminish  the fact that it  needs to be                                                              
done.  The committee  is getting nitpicky, he said,  and this does                                                              
not  change  the end  result  that  a resolution  is  passed  that                                                              
opposes H.R. 3663.                                                                                                              
1:49:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH  said she  would  offer her  additional                                                              
language in another  committee so the resolution will  not be held                                                              
up and can go forward.                                                                                                          
1:49:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR GATTO said  he does not think the  congressmen themselves                                                              
will  read   the  resolution  but   their  aides  will,   and  any                                                              
misstatements in  the resolution will  take away from  what Alaska                                                              
wants to do now and in the future.                                                                                              
1:50:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON withdrew  Amendment 4.   He moved  that the                                                              
committee adopt Amendment 5 as follows:                                                                                         
     Page 2, line 3:                                                                                                            
          Delete "except for the protection of livestock"                                                                       
There being no objection, Amendment 5 was adopted.                                                                              
1:53:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH declined  to offer  her four  suggested                                                              
"whereas's" as an  amendment.  She agreed the  resolution needs to                                                              
be accurate  and said she will leave  it to the sponsor  to choose                                                              
whether to incorporate her suggested language.                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR GATTO said  the resolution will not be  heard again until                                                              
next Wednesday [2/20/08].                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH  said  she  is not  offering  a  formal                                                              
amendment because  she does not want  to slow down the  process on                                                              
this urgent matter since the session is only 90 days.                                                                           
1:56:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER,  in  response to  Co-Chair  Gatto,  stated                                                              
that the next stop for the resolution is the House floor.                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  GATTO  advised  that  the committee  must  then  get  it                                                              
right.   Following  discussion about  whether  to hold  HJR 31  or                                                              
report  it  from committee  as  amended,  Co-Chair Gatto  said  he                                                              
would hold the resolution.                                                                                                      
1:57:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER  spoke   to  Representative   Fairclough's                                                              
suggested  additional ["whereas"]  language.   The  intent of  the                                                              
resolution is not  to be specific and to analyze  the federal act,                                                              
he said, the intent  is to simply say that Alaska  is managing its                                                              
own.   Therefore, he  is happy  to not  include extra language  as                                                              
the resolution is accurate as amended.                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR GATTO held HJR 31.                                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects