Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/07/1996 09:15 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
  CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 335(RES)(title am)                                     
                                                                               
       An Act extending the  termination date of the  Big Game                 
       Commercial Services Board; eliminating  the requirement                 
       for  a  commercial  use  permit   and  for  payment  of                 
       commercial use permit fees; amending the  membership of                 
       the Big Game Commercial Services Board; relating to the                 
       qualifications   for   an   assistant   guide-outfitter                 
       license;  eliminating  the requirement  for  testing of                 
       assistant  guide-outfitters;  providing  for additional                 
       licensing  requirements  for  transporters; eliminating                 
       the requirement for  prior approval to enter  or remain                 
       on state and federal land; eliminating  the requirement                 
       to register base camps; amending the definition of 'big                 
       game  commercial  services';   and  providing  for   an                 
       effective date.                                                         
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford directed  that CSHB 335 (Res)(title  am)                 
  be brought on for discussion and referenced a draft SCS CSHB                 
  335 (Fin)  (9-LS1156\W, Utermohle, 3/7/96).   REPRESENTATIVE                 
  SCOTT  OGAN,   sponsor  of  the  legislation,   came  before                 
  committee and explained that under the proposed draft:                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
       1.   Authority to license guides is  given to the Dept.                 
  of        Commerce and Economic Development.                                 
                                                                               
       2.   Basic  statutory  definitions  for guides  remain.                 
  New            language  says that  a  person  who has  been                 
                 convicted of a  felony in the last  ten years                 
                 cannot qualify for a guide license.                           
                                                                               
       3.   Assistant guides may be hired without a test, upon                 
            recommendation of a guide.  That is a significant,                 
            positive change.                                                   
                                                                               
       4.   Provisions for class-A guides will encourage rural                 
            employment.  A  class-A guide  is someone who  has                 
            lived  or hunted  in the  area for  ten years  and                 
            lives in the local area.                                           
                                                                               
       5.   Game  biologists  are  precluded from  becoming  a                 
  guide for           twelve  months  after employment  by the                 
                      Dept. of Fish and Game in areas in which                 
                      they worked and  studied.  An individual                 
                      employed by the  state to study  animals                 
                      in  an area has  an unfair  advantage to                 
                      subsequently   exploit   the   wildlife.                 
                      Existing  law  prohibiting  a  fish  and                 
                      wildlife   enforcement    officer   from                 
                      becoming a  guide prior to  three months                 
                      after concluding employment is retained.                 
                                                                               
       6.   The level  of accountability for  transporters, in                 
  terms                                                                        
            of  violations,  is raised  to  the same  level as                 
            guides.                                                            
                                                                               
       7.   Language within insurance provisions is changed to                 
            require proof of financial responsibility.                         
                                                                               
       8.   The  time  that  an   individual  may  operate  an                 
  airplane       incidental to guide  activities is  increased                 
                 from 250 to 500 hours.                                        
                                                                               
       9.   Authority is given  to the  Dept. of Commerce  and                 
  Economic       Development to discipline guides convicted of                 
                 violations.                                                   
                                                                               
      10.   Guide-use  areas  are retained.    However, guides                 
  will not       have to  report to  the department  or get  a                 
                 permit  from the  department for  a guide-use                 
                 area.  Guides  will have to  be in three  use                 
                 areas.   They  will  simply  have  to  notify                 
                 protection when they wish to change, and they                 
                 may change once every calendar year.                          
                                                                               
      11.   Statutory  language regarding what a guide  may do                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  and what       a transporter may not do  is expanded so that                 
                 there is no cross-over between the two.                       
                                                                               
      12.   Retroactive  authority  is provided  to  those who                 
  were           licensed since the old board was sunset.                      
                                                                               
      13.   Wage and hour  provisions exempt assistant  guides                 
  from           overtime--similar    to     provisions    for                 
                 fishermen,  agriculture,  and  various  other                 
                 occupations.                                                  
                                                                               
      14.   The commercial-use permit is eliminated.                           
                                                                               
  The  industry  has  complained for  many  years  that  it is                 
  difficult  to   get  assistant  guides  because  of  testing                 
  requirements.  A guide is legally  responsible for action in                 
  the field as  if he were committing each act himself.  He is                 
  thus responsible for  not only the actions of  his assistant                 
  guides  but  those  of his  clients.    With  that level  of                 
  responsibility, guides should be able  to hire whomever they                 
  wish.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Representative Ogan directed attention to a needed change at                 
  page 8, line 11, and recommended  removal of "at all times."                 
  He  explained  that it  is impractical  for a  registered or                 
  class-A assistant guide  to be  physically present with  the                 
  assistant guide "at all times."  Supervision by a registered                 
  guide  or  class-A  assistant  is acceptable.    Co-chairman                 
  Halford noted that after  the recommended deletion  language                 
  would remain as it is in current law.                                        
                                                                               
  Senator  Sharp   voiced  his  understanding   that  mandated                 
  insurance  requirements  had  expired.    He then  asked  if                 
  current provisions  for  insurance  or  proof  of  financial                 
  responsibility   were   the   only   insurance   provisions.                 
  Representative Ogan responded  affirmatively.  Senator Sharp                 
  attested to several  guides who conducted two or three hunts                 
  a year who  had to go out of business because they could not                 
  afford the mandated insurance.                                               
                                                                               
  Senator  Randy  Phillips  MOVED  for  adoption of  SCS  CSHB                 
  335(Fin) (Version W, dated 3/7/96) with the technical change                 
  recommended by Representative Ogan  at page 8, line 11.   No                 
  objection  having  been  raised,  SCS  CSHB  335  (Fin)  was                 
  ADOPTED.                                                                     
                                                                               
  In response to  a question from Senator  Zharoff, asking why                 
  deleted  language  was included  in  the draft,  Co-chairman                 
  Halford  explained  that the  intent  is that  the  level of                 
  supervision for  assistant guides be higher than supervision                 
  required  for class-A assistant  guides.   Original language                 
  adopting class-A assistant guide  provisions was intended to                 
  encourage the hire of long-time residents in game management                 
  units.    The attempt  was  to  keep local  people  in local                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  hunting areas involved.  The Co-chairman reiterated that the                 
  level of supervision for a class-A assistant guide should be                 
  less than supervision required for an assistant guide.  That                 
  provides  an   advantage  to  hiring   and  keeping  class-A                 
  assistant guides.                                                            
                                                                               
  Senator Zharoff asked if the forgoing would allow a guide to                 
  supervise from "a penthouse in  San Francisco."  Co-chairman                 
  Halford acknowledged that  the board discussed the  issue of                 
  supervision for many  years.  The rule in the old system was                 
  that a class-A  assistant guide could  be running a camp  as                 
  long as  the contracting,  registered, or  master guide  had                 
  contracted the hunt and was actively involved in the hunt at                 
  some  point.  An  assistant guide had  to have contact  on a                 
  regular  basis  with  the  contracting  guide or  a  class-A                 
  assistant guide.  Representative Ogan  noted that during his                 
  term as a public member on the guide board, the standard was                 
  that  the registered guide  had to be  in the  camp at least                 
  once during each hunt.   Under the proposed bill,  a class-A                 
  assistant  guide  may supervise  an  assistant guide  in the                 
  field.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger asked if others associated with the camp (the                 
  cook and packers) would have to be licensed.  Representative                 
  Ogan  responded  negatively.   Only  those who  help pursue,                 
  stalk, take or actively engage in hunting must  be licensed.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Referencing  language at  page 17,  subsections  (A) through                 
  (G),  Representative Ogan explained  that he lifted language                 
  from  existing   regulations  and  placed  it   in  statute.                 
  Established practices needed statutory classification.                       
                                                                               
  KEN   TAYLOR,   Deputy   Director,   Division  of   Wildlife                 
  Conservation, Dept. of Fish and Game, came before committee.                 
  He said that  while he had only recently  received a copy of                 
  the  draft  committee substitute,  initial  review indicates                 
  that it is "a lot cleaner  than existing law."  Requirements                 
  removed from existing  law (the  operations plan was  cited)                 
  will  not  significantly impact  management.   The  Dept. of                 
  Public Safety and division of  fish and wildlife enforcement                 
  would have to address impact as well.                                        
                                                                               
  Senator Zharoff referenced the license fee structure on page                 
  16 and asked if it differentiates between residents and non-                 
  residents.   Co-chairman  Halford  answered negatively.   He                 
  acknowledged discussion of a differential.   For many years,                 
  a  registered  guide or  master guide  had  to be  an Alaska                 
  resident.    That  was  lost  in a  constitutional  question                 
  because guiding is a commercial activity.  He then suggested                 
  that there could  be a  ratio of fees  between resident  and                 
  non-resident guides and transporters.                                        
                                                                               
  END:      SFC-96, #33, Side 2                                                
                                                                               
                                                                               
  BEGIN:    SFC-96, #34, Side 1                                                
                                                                               
  The  Co-chairman advised  that language  could specify  that                 
  non-resident fees in  each category are  four times the  fee                 
  for  a  resident.    Senator   Zharoff  suggested  that  the                 
  committee  review  that   possibility  and  make  provisions                 
  consistent  with  other areas  where  non-resident  fees are                 
  different from those paid by residents.                                      
                                                                               
  CATHERINE  REARDON,  Director,   Division  of   Occupational                 
  Licensing, Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development,  next                 
  came before committee.  She said  the department had not yet                 
  had an opportunity to examine the details of the draft bill,                 
  take  an official  position, or  prepare fiscal notes.   She                 
  acknowledged that the legislation  would have fiscal  impact                 
  on the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development as well as                 
  the Dept. of Public Safety (due to elimination of commercial                 
  use permits that previously generated enforcement funds).                    
                                                                               
  Ms. Reardon next noted areas within the draft giving rise to                 
  questions and cited provisions requiring "fine tuning:"                      
                                                                               
  Page  3, Line  4,  language relating  to  "written or  oral"                 
  examinations would be more manageable  if it simply said "an                 
  examination."   Oral exams  are difficult  to administer  to                 
  larger groups or in rural areas.  Co-chairman  Halford asked                 
  that  the  department prepare  an  amendment reflecting  the                 
  change.  He  acknowledged that  cited language was  designed                 
  for  administration by  a  peer review  board  and was  more                 
  cumbersome than it needed to be.                                             
                                                                               
  Page  8,  Line  10,  language  relating  to  supervision  of                 
  assistant  guides  is  of  concern.     There  is  need  for                 
  clarification.    The department  would  prepare regulations                 
  defining  what  supervision  means.   At  the  present time,                 
  class-A and assistant guides both  have the same supervision                 
  requirements.   The guide  has to  show up  once during  the                 
  hunt.  Ms. Reardon advised of her understanding of foregoing                 
  discussion to  be that  class-A guides  should require  less                 
  supervision than assistant guides.  Language at Page 7, Line                 
  22, says  that class-A guides may take  charge of a camp and                 
  conduct guide activities without the  registered guide being                 
  present in  the area,  as long  as the  registered guide  is                 
  supervising.   If it is the  intention that assistant guides                 
  not be  able to do so, it would  be helpful if bill language                 
  at page 8 says that an assistant guide cannot take charge of                 
  a  camp.    Otherwise,  supervision  could be  construed  as                 
  supervision from a distance.  If the goal is to make class-A                 
  guides more  appealing to the employer, it  would be helpful                 
  if lack  of independent authority for an assistant guide was                 
  clarified.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Page  7  licensing  requirements for  class-A  guides.   Ms.                 
  Reardon noted  two methods  of attaining  a class-A  license                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  under current law:                                                           
                                                                               
       1.   Employment one  season as an assistant  guide plus                 
  ten       years of hunting experience in the game management                 
            unit, or                                                           
                                                                               
       2.   Physical residency in the game management unit and                 
            fifteen years of hunting experience in the unit.                   
                                                                               
  If the legislature  wishes to place  a premium on those  who                 
  reside in the game management unit, option number two should                 
  be the only method of attaining that license.                                
                                                                               
  Page  8  language  relating  to   game  biologists  needs  a                 
  definition of "game biologist."   Co-chairman Halford  asked                 
  that Ms. Reardon provide appropriate language.  He explained                 
  that  the  provision  is  simply  intended  to  prohibit  an                 
  individual employed by the state  to gather information from                 
  immediately  using that  information in  a private  business                 
  venture.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Page 10, Line  25-26, insurance requirements speak  to proof                 
  of   financial  responsibility  of   $100.0.    Ms.  Reardon                 
  questioned what type  of proof the individual  would have to                 
  submit to the department  (a list of assets,  something from                 
  an  accountant,  etc.).    Should  the department  check  to                 
  determine  if  the  assets are  available  every  two years?                 
  There  are  some administrative  logistics  that need  to be                 
  worked out.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Page 12, Line  10, subsection (e)  relating to inability  of                 
  the department  to discipline a  transporter for  violations                 
  committed  by  his  or her  employee.    Co-chairman Halford                 
  subsequently voiced intent  that both registered  guides and                 
  transporters be treated  equally in terms of  responsibility                 
  for their employees.  In response to a question from Senator                 
  Zharoff,  the  Co-chairman  advised  that  transporters  are                 
  responsible  for  reporting  violations of  which  they  are                 
  aware.   They  are, however,  not actively  involved in  the                 
  field.   A transporter  would be in  violation if  he or she                 
  knowingly transports an  illegal animal and does  not report                 
  the violation.   Language pinpointed by Ms.  Reardon appears                 
  to  be  a  drafting  error.     It  was  intended  that  the                 
  responsibility levels  be comparable  and commensurate  with                 
  ability to both  report violations and "know what  was going                 
  on."                                                                         
                                                                               
  Page  14,  Line   30,  language   says  that  "guides"   are                 
  responsible for assistant guides.                                            
                                                                               
  Page 19 reference to  wage and hour law should  be discussed                 
  with staff from  the Dept.  of Labor.   Co-chairman  Halford                 
  noted that the industry  has had problems with the  issue in                 
  the past.   The proposed  bill includes a  limitation of  60                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  days a year.   The existing exemption for fishery processing                 
  workers and other exemptions are  "wide open."  The language                 
  applies  only  to  licensed  personnel,  in  the  employ  of                 
  licensed personnel, and "only for a maximum of 60 days . . .                 
  ."  It thus relates to limited, seasonal employees in a very                 
  specific area.   Cooks and other unlicensed  personnel would                 
  not be covered by the exemption.                                             
                                                                               
  Ms.  Reardon referenced earlier  discussion of  resident and                 
  non-resident fees and  advised that it  would be helpful  if                 
  the differential was  placed in  statute, or the  department                 
  will establish  one, across-the-board, consistent fee.   Ms.                 
  Reardon referenced a program with  language saying that out-                 
  of-state collection  agency fees  are twice  as  high as  in                 
  state.  Co-chairman Halford again  asked that the department                 
  prepare  amending language and  a position  paper concerning                 
  whether  the  department  would  support  the   differential                 
  between residents and non-residents.                                         
                                                                               
  Senator  Sharp suggested  that definition of  a non-resident                 
  track with one-year residency requirements  for purchasing a                 
  hunting  license.   Co-chairman Halford  responded  that the                 
  effort  could  be   tried.    He  acknowledged   a  possible                 
  constitutional  question  because  a hunting  license  is  a                 
  privilege, not a  right.  A  commercial activity is  usually                 
  more  suspect   when  residents  are  preferred   over  non-                 
  residents.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger  referenced old  law relating  to guides  and                 
  guide-outfitters and asked what changes  are proposed in the                 
  instant bill.   Co-chairman  Halford explained  that in  the                 
  late  1980s,  the  law  was  changed  to  include  the  term                 
  "outfitter"  with   the  term   "guide"  because   the  term                 
  "outfitter"  is  used outside  of Alaska  to denote  one who                 
  provides both outfitting and guiding services.  The proposed                 
  bill reverts  to original definitions and original language.                 
  He  suggested,  however,  that  the  members might  wish  to                 
  include  a prohibition  on use  of the  term "outfitter"  by                 
  someone  who  is not  a registered  or  master guide,  as it                 
  applies to big game hunting.                                                 
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger  cited an example  of an individual  who does                 
  not actually guide the  hunt (stalk the animal) but  flies a                 
  hunter to  a location and provides  a camp and asked  if the                 
  provider  would be regulated  as a guide  under the proposed                 
  bill.  Co-chairman  Halford voiced intent that  the provider                 
  be treated the same.  If the transporter is operating in air                 
  commerce,  the transporter would  have to  have an  air taxi                 
  license.  If  one provides services  in the field in  actual                 
  pursuit  of game,  a  guide license  is  required.   Senator                 
  Rieger asked  if that  includes setting  up the  camp.   Co-                 
  chairman  Halford  responded  negatively,  advising  that  a                 
  section within  the proposed legislation  deals specifically                 
  with that activity.                                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger directed  attention to Page 17,  Line 18, and                 
  referenced the definition  of "outfit."  He  also referenced                 
  language at Page 5,  Line 27, which says a  registered guide                 
  may  contract to guide or outfit hunts.   He then noted that                 
  language appears to indicate that  outfitting is guiding and                 
  asked if that is a change from the  status quo.  Co-chairman                 
  Halford advised that it is the intent to maintain the status                 
  quo in those three  areas.  He said he  would further review                 
  the draft to  ensure that  is the case.   Catherine  Reardon                 
  remarked that brief  review of the draft  indicates that the                 
  current situation is  unchanged.   She clarified that  under                 
  current law, one  who flies  hunters in and  drops them  off                 
  must have a transporter license.  One who flies hunters into                 
  a camp set up  and established by the transporter  must also                 
  have a guide  license.  That  would continue to be  required                 
  under the proposed draft.                                                    
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford  acknowledged the  participation of  JOE                 
  D'AMICO, Commander,  Commercial Crimes  Bureau, Division  of                 
  Fish and Wildlife  Protection, Dept.  of Public Safety,  via                 
  teleconference from  Kodiak.   The Co-chairman then  advised                 
  that the bill would be held for further review.                              
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting was adjourned at approximately                                   
                                                                               

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