Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
03/28/2017 03:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS
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HB 18-RACE CLASSICS 4:22:54 PM CHAIR BISHOP called the meeting back to order and announced consideration of HB 18. 4:22:59 PM REPRESENTATIVE DANIEL ORTIZ, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, sponsor of HB 18, introduced himself. ELIZABETH BOLLING, staff to Representative Daniel Ortiz, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, introduced herself. REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ said HB 18 is a simple, straight-forward race classics bill. While it is simple and straight-forward, it is also necessary for the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce to obtain a race classic permit as the term "race classic" is so narrowly defined in statute as to provide only for the Mt. Marathon race classic held by the Seward Chamber of Commerce. The Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce also has an interest in obtaining a race classic permit for a human race, the Race to Alaska, which is a non-motorized boat race beginning in Port Townsend, Washington, and ending in Ketchikan, Alaska. It is a 750-mile race, and the idea of attaching this to a race classic permit will allow the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce to do a little fundraising by providing the opportunity for people to wager on the exact day, hour, minute, and second of the arrival of the first-place boat. 4:25:14 PM BILL SWIFT, Executive Director, Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, Ketchikan, Alaska, said the Chamber unanimously supports HB 18. Their research has determined that specific legislative authorization is necessary to have a race classic, and HB 18 gives the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce permission to conduct a charitable community fund raiser of this type based around the Race to Alaska by including this event within the state's existing definition of a "race classic." It specifies that this event would be administered by the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce. The tradition of classics is a fun and common form of Alaskana, and a great many non-profit entities throughout Alaska have been given permission by the legislature to conduct classic fund raisers of this type: dog mushers, rain classics, fish derbies, moose derbies, and goose and canned salmon classics. MR. SWIFT said there is a strong precedent for the Chamber to host events of this type. Similar events are hosted by the Chamber organizations for Juneau, Fairbanks, Kenai, Seward, Petersburg, Delta, and Big Lake. He thanked the legislature for taking time to consider their request for what is a relatively small administrative change that is necessary and does not cost the state anything. 4:28:16 PM CHELSEA GOUCHER, Vice President, Ketchikan Chamber Board of Directors, Ketchikan, Alaska, wholeheartedly supported HB 18. She related that she is currently employed as an account representative for Alaska Marine Lines, but in the past she was employed by the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce as executive director. Representative Ortiz's bill would allow the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce to raise money by operating and administering a race classic with a gaming permit as is currently done by the Seward Chamber with the Mount Marathon Race Classic. MS. COUCHER said she also supports Mr. Swift's letter of support adding that the monies it generates can be put towards projects the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce has undertaken recently such as workforce development initiatives, economic and community development programs, lighting of the town Christmas tree and the July 4th parade, employee wellness training, informational programs, networking events to encourage a vibrant economy, assistance to new and developing businesses, hosting special programs such as the Ketchikan Marine Industry Council, fostering the Ketchikan Young Professionals Network, and advocating for a sound business plan for Ketchikan and the entire state, as well as doing close work with organizations like Southeast Conference, the Alaska Chamber, the Alaska Forest Association, and the Alaska Miners Association. These activities are self-funded by the Chamber which relies on very little government money or grants and depends primarily on member dues and fund-raisers to function. She said HB 18 would help sustain these efforts despite decreases elsewhere in the community, state, and local funding. In fact, a race classic would likely attract outside money as racers, families and friends, sports fans, and residents of Port Townsend, and the race's community of origin can buy a chance to win this newest of race classics. 4:30:55 PM JASON CUSTER, member, Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, Ketchikan, Alaska, supported HB 18. He agreed with comments by Mr. Swift and Ms. Goucher. He said the Chamber is probably the largest and most diverse non-profit organization in Ketchikan with 274 members. The benefits of HB 18 to their organization and community would include providing a new source of locally generated, self- generated revenue for community projects, which otherwise would not be present. It supports community development and economic development activities and programs. HB 18 will help get Alaskans and residents of Ketchikan excited about contributing to community projects and initiatives, promoting a culture of community giving and self-sufficiency. This would not cost the state anything, but creates a new source of funding for community projects and initiatives. MR. CUSTER said numerous Chambers around the state have been given the ability to administer similar programs including Juneau, Fairbanks, Petersburg, and Seward. 4:33:15 PM SENATOR STEDMAN said HB 18 is a good idea. This race is a good way for a community to generate money and also have fun. He noted that this one-sentence bill is the shortest he has seen and it has a zero fiscal note, too. SENATOR MACKINNON referred to the games of chance and contest of skills statute and said it seems that an entire chapter was created to say okay to gaming one issue at a time, and she wondered, given the current recession the state is in and folks, non-profits specifically, trying to work for themselves, why they should continue to have one agency and one non-profit at a time come forward to ask for permission to do something which requires years of advance planning. Because as she understands it, they still have to comply with the same rules. Is there any reason the door was not opened wider? Are they just complying with this past practice for all the individual requests? REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ replied that they are just complying with past practice. CHAIR BISHOP found no further comments and closed public testimony. He held HB 18 in committee to await Senator MacKinnon's amendment.