Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205
03/07/2005 03:30 PM RESOURCES
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CSHB 76(FIN)AM-BIG GAME SERVICES & COMM. SERVICES BD CHAIR THOMAS WAGONER announced CSHB 76(FIN)AM to be up for consideration. REPRESENTATIVE RALPH SAMUELS, sponsor, said it reestablishes the Big Game Commercial Services Board. The former board sunsetted in the early 90s and its duties were transferred to the Division of Occupational Licensing. A Legislative Budget and Audit report recommended that the board be reestablished for consumer protection and to set ethical standards for guides. This is supported by the Board of Game and Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) and various user groups. REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS reviewed the changes from last year's bill that didn't pass. 4:01:45 PM Board membership went from two guides, two transporters, one member appointed by the Board of Game, one private land holder and one public member to two guides, two transporters, one Board of Game appointee, two private land holders and two public members. The thinking behind that is there is inherent conflict between the transporters and the guides. The second change requires the board to issue a license to someone who meets the standards. Also, the original bill had a $1,000 fine in the previous 12 months would have precluded someone from receiving or renewing a guide or transport license and that was increased to $2,000 - with the support of the Department of Public Safety (DPS). 4:03:13 PM SENATOR GUESS asked if this was the same membership as the previous group that was sunsetted. 4:03:44 PM REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS replied that he didn't know, but the old board had the perception that it was a bit of a good old boys club. "If you knew somebody, you got certain privileges." 4:04:28 PM SENATOR GUESS said she didn't see wildlife biologists in the board and asked if they would come under public members. REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS replied the Board of Game would appoint one member and that might be a biologist or a professional game manager. 4:05:09 PM SENATOR SEEKINS asked the definition of private landholder. REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS replied that probably means Native Corporations with large tracts of land. SENATOR STEDMAN said he thought it included all private landholders. REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS replied that it does. CHAIR WAGONER asked Mr. Robus if he could answer Senator Guess' question. 4:06:59 PM MATT ROBUS, Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation, replied that even thought wildlife biologists are talked about as advocating for the reinstitution of the board, they are not actually included in the specification of who gets to sit on the board. 4:07:45 PM SENATOR GUESS responded that she wanted to know how this board is different in its membership from the old one that sunsetted. 4:07:56 PM MR. ROBUS replied that it's not much different. One of the reasons he and the Board of Game are advocating for reinstituting the Commercial Services Board is because it's a complement to the biological work that the Board of Game does with input from ADF&G. Without it, the component of wildlife management that has to do with people management presented problems that the board doesn't have the tools to solve. It provides a needed function. Problems came up that couldn't be addressed by altering bag limits and seasons et cetera. The department and Board of Game both supported HB 76. PAUL JOHNSON, Elfin Cove guide, supported HB 76. He said lots of things are falling through the cracks without the old board. To Senator Guess' question he said the prior board had nine members - two guides, two transporters, two public members, one commercial user, one private landholder and one Board of Game member. The board did not take up biological issues and the Board of Game member was a great liaison between the two boards. 4:11:23 PM SENATOR SEEKINS asked how long he had been guiding. MR. JOHNSON replied 30 years. SENATOR SEEKINS asked when exclusive guides areas went away. MR. JOHNSON replied that they went away in 1991 with the Owsichek decision. SENATOR SEEKINS asked if there are de facto reserved guide areas in effect by landowners who have contracted exclusively with certain guides. MR. JOHNSON replied yes. He said there are large tracts of prime federal lands that the National Park System, US Fish and Wildlife and US Forest Service have contracted through a concession process. Prior to Owsichek, once you had a use area, you had it forever. That's why they called it the good old boys club. A task force put together that eliminated the old guide board and created the Commercial Services Board, but in the middle of that process the Owsichek decision came down. The feds hoped the state would pick up the ball as they have done on their lands. SENATOR SEEKINS asked from a guide's perspective, if there could be some ethical concerns between private landowners who contract with exclusive guides. He asked if he saw any conflict of interest there. MR. JOHNSON replied he was the chair of the former board and the private landholders were more concerned with how they were going to get their companies involved with their local people and with just two guide members on the board he didn't foresee that being a problem. However, he could see major benefits to the state as a whole in getting those private landholders into commercial utilization of the game if they choose. I think the more they learn about the industry, the more they may so choose. It's been a very effective process in Canada, in Africa and obviously our state is competing with those other countries. 4:15:29 PM RICK THOMPSON, Regional Manager, Division of Mining, Land and Water, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), supported HB 76. 4:16:13 PM SENATOR BEN STEVENS moved CSHB 76(FIN)AM with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note. There were no objections and it was so ordered. HB 76-BIG GAME SERVICES & COMM. SERVICES BD SENATOR DYSON declared that he may have a conflict of interest with HB 76.