Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

02/08/2017 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
01:50:29 PM Start
01:50:56 PM Overview: Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
02:27:44 PM HB40
02:58:24 PM HB111
07:02:40 PM HJR5
09:12:00 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to 06:00 pm --
-- Delayed to 20 Minutes Following Session --
+ Overview: AK Oil & Gas Conservation Commission TELECONFERENCED
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 5(AET) Out of Committee
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
               HB  40-TRAPPING NEAR PUBLIC TRAILS                                                                           
2:27:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON announced  that  the next  order of  business                                                               
would be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 40, "An  Act prohibiting  and providing                                                               
penalties  and civil  remedies for  trapping within  200 feet  of                                                               
certain public  facilities, areas, and trails;  and providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON opened public testimony on HB 40.                                                                            
2:28:04 PM                                                                                                                    
JIM  KOWALSKY said  he  was speaking  for  Alaskans for  Wildlife                                                               
which  is   a  nonprofit   organization  promoting   respect  for                                                               
wildlife.   He  expressed support  for  HB 40  as presented,  and                                                               
opined this  is not a Board  of Game (BOG), Alaska  Department of                                                               
Fish  & Game  (ADF&G),  matter  or an  allocation  matter, but  a                                                               
matter  of public  safety and  public  health; in  fact, BOG  has                                                               
refused to  address this  issue, thus  Alaskans for  Wildlife has                                                               
turned  to  the legislative  process.    The  topic may  be  more                                                               
germane  to urban  areas where  conflict between  trail users  is                                                               
frequent.    Mr.  Kowalsky expressed  his  organization's  strong                                                               
support for  the bill, including  identifying traps with  tags in                                                               
order to aid the enforcement of regulations.                                                                                    
2:30:38 PM                                                                                                                    
PATTI  BARBER, on  behalf  of Kenny  Barber,  read the  following                                                               
     I am opposed to HB 40,  the reason is because trap tags                                                                    
     are another way to create  problems for trappers in the                                                                    
     field.   Trap  tags have  been removed  by people  that                                                                    
     don't  agree  with  the  activity  and  place  them  in                                                                    
     another location  to harm the  trapper.  The  fines and                                                                    
     imprisonment portion of this bill  are too high for the                                                                    
     trapper  and no  mention of  consequences for  dogs off                                                                    
     leash.   Where is the justice?   As a trapper  for over                                                                    
     55 years, 10 years as a  child in New York and 45 years                                                                    
     in Alaska,  I have never caught  a domesticated animal.                                                                    
     My trap  line was  on one  of the  highest recreational                                                                    
     use areas in the state, the  Knik River.  Trapping is a                                                                    
     legal activity.   Dogs  off leash  are illegal  in many                                                                    
     areas  of  the  state  such  as  state  parks  and  the                                                                    
     Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough.   Dogs off leash do                                                                    
     not, and not  under voice control are left  to run free                                                                    
     and  have been  known to  run in  packs and  kill other                                                                    
     wildlife  such as  moose and  caribou calves,  rabbits,                                                                    
     birds, and  other small animals.   Dog bites  to humans                                                                    
     occur more  often than  a dog being  caught in  a trap.                                                                    
     Currently,  there have  been only  five dogs  caught in                                                                    
     traps in the  Mat-Su Borough in 2016.  In  the state of                                                                    
     Alaska epidemiology  reports there have been  292 total                                                                    
     dog bite  related injuries  or hospitalizations  in 11-                                                                    
     year study  period.   Many were  children aged  zero to                                                                    
     four years as the highest  rate.  A hundred and thirty-                                                                    
     three of  these injuries were within  the Anchorage and                                                                    
     Mat-Su  boroughs,  the  highest  injury  count  in  the                                                                    
     state.   When we came  to Alaska  in 1970 I  worked for                                                                    
     Valley  Memory Garden  Cemetery, while  there I  helped                                                                    
     bury two children  that were killed by dogs.   In years                                                                    
     past there have been 1,176  dogs euthanized in one year                                                                    
     at the Mat-Su  animal control center.  I  am unaware of                                                                    
     a  child or  adult being  maimed or  caught in  a trap.                                                                    
     During testimony  on Monday there was  mention that the                                                                    
     board of game  was unwilling to address  the problem of                                                                    
     dogs and  trapping.  I  was appointed by board  of game                                                                    
     chairman, (indisc.)  to sit on  a committee  to address                                                                    
     this problem.     The committee  consisted of  fish and                                                                    
     game  advisory  committee members,  Anchorage,  Mat-Su,                                                                    
     and  Soldotna, one  state trapper  organization member,                                                                    
     three  anti-trapping members,  and  one  member of  the                                                                    
     board of  game was picked  to chair the committee.   We                                                                    
     met for  two years  on this  issue alone.   We  came up                                                                    
     with  some solutions  such  as  signage at  trailheads,                                                                    
     educating   the  public   that  trapping   occurs  from                                                                    
     November to April,  and that dogs should be  on a leash                                                                    
     during that timeframe.  The  330 and 220 conibear traps                                                                    
     could only  be used underwater  or ice within  100 feet                                                                    
     of a maintained  trail.  The Mat-Su  Borough is working                                                                    
     on  an ordinance  to restrict  trapping on  portions of                                                                    
     the Crevasse Moraine  Trail and on school  property.  I                                                                    
     sit  on the  parks and  recreation advisory  committee.                                                                    
     As  a  committee we  have  discussed  the ordinance  at                                                                    
         length, and I am not speaking on this for that                                                                         
2:35:16 PM                                                                                                                    
PATTI BARBER, speaking on her own  behalf, said she is opposed to                                                               
HB 40  because trapping is legal  and dogs off leash  are illegal                                                               
in many  portions of the  state.   Signage alerting users  to the                                                               
presence of  traps from November  to April is appropriate.   Dogs                                                               
are attracted to  bait and in some areas of  the state underwater                                                               
trapping for beaver, mink, or  muskrat occurs earlier in the year                                                               
and is  not a threat  to dogs.   Instead of requiring  trap tags,                                                               
she  suggested creating  a  dog park  so dogs  can  be off  leash                                                               
during  trapping season;  dogs  would  be safe  from  traps in  a                                                               
fenced area.  She  noted that many dogs and cats  are loose.  Dog                                                               
owners  use  trails all  of  the  time,  and also  use  trappers'                                                               
personal trails.  Ms. Barber said  trappers have to pay fines and                                                               
suffer imprisonment  for violations, but  dog owners do  not, and                                                               
opined all illegal parties should pay at the same rate.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH questioned whether  Mr. or Ms. Barber would                                                               
support a bill targeted at graveled and paved trails.                                                                           
MR.  BARBER  said  yes  to   paved  trails,  but  questioned  the                                                               
definition of  a maintained trail,  of which  there are few.   He                                                               
said most  trappers are known  to ADF&G and  it has the  right to                                                               
ticket a trapper.  There is  no problem with paved trails or bike                                                               
trails in Anchorage.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH  observed some  have expressed  a preference                                                               
for a local government control  option in regard to trapping, and                                                               
asked how a local government is empowered "to manage trapping."                                                                 
MR. BARBER said he cannot  speak for "that" committee, but Alaska                                                               
Safe Trails  [proposed restrictions]  to school property  and the                                                               
Crevasse Moraine  Trail; however,  there were "amendments  to the                                                               
bill" [document not provided] because  the bill as written "would                                                               
make you an  outlaw to go to  a school with a trap  in your truck                                                               
...."   Another amendment  was to limit  the restrictions  on the                                                               
Crevasse   Moraine  Trail,   because  the   definition  of   "any                                                               
maintained trail in the borough" is too vague.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked where  to find statistics  on dogs                                                               
and people caught in traps.                                                                                                     
MR. BARBER said he did not know.                                                                                                
2:43:42 PM                                                                                                                    
ALYSON PYTTE said she  is a dog owner and a  daily user of public                                                               
trails.   She thanked the sponsor  of the bill, and  trappers who                                                               
trap at  a safe distance  from public  trails.  Like  others, she                                                               
lets her  dog off leash and  is concerned about her  dogs getting                                                               
caught  in  a  trap,  and   avoids  areas  where  incidents  have                                                               
occurred.     Ms.  Pytte  spoke  of   previous  legislation  that                                                               
addressed  the  wellbeing  of pets  in  custody  disputes,  which                                                               
supports  the modern  view that  pets are  part of  one's family.                                                               
She opined  there is  broad public  support for  the restrictions                                                               
written  in HB  40,  and suggested  a  similar ballot  initiative                                                               
would pass  if there  is continued  inaction by  the legislature.                                                               
The  bill  proposes minimal  burdens  on  trappers and  helps  by                                                               
providing  guidance on  the placement  of traps.   She  urged the                                                               
committee to  improve the bill  by making the  following changes:                                                               
include  public trails  in  state game  refuges,  on state  land,                                                               
municipal land, and  federal refuges and parks;  require traps to                                                               
be tagged; increase the distance to 500 feet.                                                                                   
2:47:09 PM                                                                                                                    
JONATHAN  ZEPPA,   representing  the  Alaska   Frontier  Trappers                                                               
Association,  Inc.,   said  his   organization  is   a  statewide                                                               
organization with  a majority  of members  who reside  within the                                                               
Mat-Su  valley.    Alaska Frontier  Trappers  Association,  Inc.,                                                               
recognizes  change   is  needed  to  minimize   conflict  between                                                               
trapping and  other recreational users  with dogs in  or adjacent                                                               
to  semi-urban areas.    However, the  change  must come  through                                                               
local authorities,  as the conflict  is restricted  to population                                                               
centers.   Although  boroughs differ  throughout  the state,  the                                                               
Mat-Su Borough  has drafted legislation  for school  campuses and                                                               
the Crevasse  Moraine Trail system  which has not  been presented                                                               
to the assembly,  and his organization has  proposed working with                                                               
the  borough fish  and wildlife  commission to  develop realistic                                                               
requirements  and   a  mapped  urban  trapping   management  area                                                               
proposal  to  submit  to  BOG.  He  opined  BOG  will  appreciate                                                               
recommendations  from a  trappers'  association  in this  regard.                                                               
Turning to  risk, he said  in the  Mat-Su valley almost  all dogs                                                               
caught  are  off  leash  in   violation  of  leash  laws  and  he                                                               
questioned the  lack of risk  statistics in support of  the bill.                                                               
In fact,  the risk  to dogs  and people from  other dogs  is much                                                               
greater.  Mr. Zeppa said the risk  to people from traps is so low                                                               
statistics are not maintained by  health organizations in Alaska;                                                               
however,  3.9 people  per 100,000  have  been hospitalized  after                                                               
suffering  dog bites  in  Alaska  during a  10-year  period.   He                                                               
opined evidence  supports trapping  is not dangerous.   Regarding                                                               
enforcement,  he said  there are  thousands of  miles of  Revised                                                               
Statute 2477 (RS  2477) trails maintained by the  state, that are                                                               
not surveyed,  and questioned how  to measure 200  feet; further,                                                               
trails change,  therefore law  enforcement is  impossible without                                                               
surveys and  maps.  He  summarized, saying  the issue is  a local                                                               
matter and  to prohibit  all trapping within  200 feet  is unfair                                                               
and prejudiced against trapping.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH requested  a copy  of the  pertinent draft                                                               
regulations from the Mat-Su Borough.                                                                                            
2:53:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK LUTRELL  expressed support for  HB 40 which  is common-sense                                                               
protection of family members  without significant restrictions on                                                               
trappers.    The entire  community  including  trappers and  non-                                                               
trappers, families, residents,  visitors, tourists, and companion                                                               
animals will benefit from added  safety during activities without                                                               
the threat and  fear of traps.  He related  a personal experience                                                               
of finding  a dog  caught in  a trap  on a  trail, and  said dogs                                                               
should be allowed to romp and run.   Mr. Lutrell said the bill is                                                               
not anti-trapping, but is a  "very minor inconvenience," and good                                                               
for the trapping  community's reputation.  He  expressed his hope                                                               
the committee would support the bill.                                                                                           
2:56:10 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  MATHEWS,  speaking  on  behalf of  the  Delta  Sportsmans                                                               
Association  Inc., informed  the committee  the association  does                                                               
not support  the bill, as the  bill appears to relate  to a local                                                               
issue that  needs to  be addressed through  the borough  and city                                                               
assemblies.   The issue has  been studied  by BOG and  brought to                                                               
its attention, but there was no  consensus in regard to action on                                                               
this issue.   He  restated the  Delta Sportsmans  Association has                                                               
about 250 members who do not support bill.                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  understood there  is a community  of trappers                                                               
in Delta  Junction that may  support a compromise version  of the                                                               
MR. MATHEWS  said no, the trappers  he spoke with do  not support                                                               
the  200-feet   restriction,  tagging,   the  measurement   of  a                                                               
meandering trail, or the definition of a trail.                                                                                 
2:58:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON announced  HB 40  was held  over with  public                                                               
testimony open.                                                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
House Resources 2017 AOGCC.ppt HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
House Resources 2017 AOGCC.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB040 CS ver U.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 Sponsor Statement.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 Summary of changes.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 Supporting Documents 1.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB 40 support.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
hb040 fiscal note 1 vers D.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
hb040 fiscal note 2 vers D.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
hb040 fiscal note 3 vers D.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
hb040 fiscal note 1 vers U.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
hb040 fiscal note 2 vers U.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
hb040 fiscal note 3 vers U.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 CS ver U.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 Summary of changes.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40
HB040 Supporting Documents 1.pdf HRES 2/8/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 40