Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/25/1996 03:38 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 247 USE OF FISH & GAME FUND/COMM'R'S POWERS CHAIRMAN LEMAN brought SB 247 before the committee as the final order of business. It was noted there was a Resources CS for the committee's consideration. SENATOR TAYLOR moved the adoption of CSSB 247(RES), version "F," as a working document. Hearing no objection, the motion carried. SENATOR TAYLOR , the legislation's prime sponsor, said the primary purpose of the bill is to constrain the department in the utilization of funds that are derived from the user public. He said receipts from specific taxes imposed on those people have become the primary budget of all of the Department of Fish and Game, with the exception of the Division of Commercial Fisheries. SENATOR TAYLOR moved the following amendment to CSSB 247(RES) Amendment No. 1 Page 2, line 8: Delete "or" Page 2, line 13: Following "tags;" insert "or (D) construction and protection of shooting ranges;" Page 3, line 27: Delete "or" Page 4, line 1: Following "tags;" insert "or (D) construction and protection of shooting ranges;" SENATOR HOFFMAN objected to the adoption of the amendment. SENATOR TAYLOR , speaking to the amendment to CSSB 247(RES), said rifle ranges seem to be coming under greater and greater attack all across the state, and it was felt that since it is one specific funding mechanism that is provided for in federal fund it should be in the bill to make certain those shooting and rifle ranges continue to exist. He said the amendment contains the phrase "construction and protection of shooting ranges," but he thought replacing the word "protection" with the word "preservation" would be more suitable because it would allow the upgrade and improvement of the shooting range. TAPE 96-36, SIDE A Number 010 SENATOR TAYLOR moved as an amendment to the amendment to replace the word "protection" with "preservation." Hearing no objection, the Chairman stated the amendment to the amendment was adopted. CHAIRMAN LEMAN stated Amendment No. 1, as amended, was before the committee. Hearing no objection, he stated the amendment was adopted. CHAIRMAN LEMAN noted that at the previous hearing on the bill, Jeff Parker expressed concern that because the legislation included sport fish stocks that it would result in the loss of federal revenues, and he had suggested that the references to fish be deleted and the bill just refer to wildlife. He questioned if that is a valid concern, and said it was not his intent that that happen. SENATOR TAYLOR said he thinks a good portion of the monies received from the federal government is specifically allocated to sport fish to enhance access for sport and recreational fisheries, and he thinks Mr. Parker is incorrect that federal funds will be lost. In fact he thinks the way the department has been operating, they were running a risk of losing some federal funds should an audit reveal that they were using them for commercial hatchery type operations instead of sport fish. GERON BRUCE , Legislative Liaison, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, said he thought Mr. Parker had a valid concern. He pointed out the fiscal notes prepared by the department showed a reversion of federal funds to the federal government. They do not believe that under the original version of the bill that the purposes for which those funds are authorized to be spent would be broad enough to include many of the things that they do and are vital to their sport fish and recreational hunting management programs. He also said the problem is not with the federal law and regulations; the problem will be with this proposed state law. SENATOR LINCOLN said she would be interested in knowing how much money the department believes the state would be losing in federal dollars. SENATOR TAYLOR moved CSSB 247(RES), as amended, and the accompanying fiscal notes be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR HOFFMAN objected, stating that as a hunter and fisherman, he does not see a problem with of the way the dollars are being spent by the Department of Fish and Game. The roll was taken with the following result: Senator Taylor, Halford, Pearce and Leman voted "Yea" and Senators Hoffman and Lincoln voted "Nay." The Chairman stated the motion carried.