Legislature(2007 - 2008)BUTROVICH 205

03/10/2008 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
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-- Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
           SB 214-HUNTING BY MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY                                                                        
3:47:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   CHARLIE  HUGGINS   announced  SB   214  to   be  up   for                                                               
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS moved to  bring CSSB 214(RES),  labeled 25-                                                               
LS1261\C, before the  committee. There were no  objections and it                                                               
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
3:48:03 PM                                                                                                                    
JODY SIMPSON, staff  to Senator Huggins, sponsor of  SB 214, said                                                               
this legislation  waives the 12-month  waiting period  for active                                                               
military members and  their dependents to purchase  big game tags                                                               
and hunting and  fishing licenses at a resident rate.  The CS was                                                               
recommended by the  Department of Law (DOL)  to better accomplish                                                               
the sponsor's intent and Mr.  Saxby would discuss the differences                                                               
in it.                                                                                                                          
3:49:35 PM                                                                                                                    
KRISTIN WRIGHT, Supervisor,  Finance Licensing, Alaska Department                                                               
of Fish and  Game (ADF&G), said she didn't have  anything to add,                                                               
but would answer questions.                                                                                                     
3:49:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  LESIL  MCGUIRE asked  if  she  considered the  committee                                                               
discussion regarding  removing the  controversial big  game stuff                                                               
from the original  bill and keeping the license  as a specialized                                                               
non-resident military  hunting tag  (or privilege) as  opposed to                                                               
redefining the definition of "resident."                                                                                        
MS.  SIMPSON answered  that is  what the  CS does  in effect.  It                                                               
deleted  the  language  that pertained  to  the  three  dangerous                                                               
species  and  the  guiding  component.  It  attacks  the  problem                                                               
through  the   licensing  provisions  rather  than   through  the                                                               
residency  provisions.  She advised  that  it  still deletes  the                                                               
guiding  component  and  the committee  might  want  to  consider                                                               
retaining that.  She has asked  the Department of Law  to provide                                                               
CHAIR HUGGINS clarified  if you're a private and  move to Alaska,                                                               
you  can get  a  license  to hunt  the  three  big game  species.                                                               
Presently,  language is  being drafted  that  would exempt  those                                                               
three species  and a private  could not hunt those  three species                                                               
without a guide. A new military  person who moved to Alaska could                                                               
not hunt  goat, brown  bear or  sheep without  a guide  without a                                                               
He said this issue was  brought forward by the Professional Guide                                                               
Association.  He  explained  that  it's  not  about  the  guiding                                                               
business, because  only about three  people did that in  the last                                                               
year. It's more about the  strength of the residency provision in                                                               
requiring guides.                                                                                                               
3:52:10 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MCGUIRE  commented that  she thought  they were  going to                                                               
simply  take out  the  controversial three  big  game folks,  but                                                               
Version C  on line 6, still  redefines "resident" as a  method of                                                               
providing these privileges as opposed  to the chair's bill, which                                                               
gives a  special license for  non-resident military  folks, which                                                               
she supports. She asked Mr. Saxby to comment on that.                                                                           
3:53:15 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN  SAXBY, Senior  Assistant Attorney  General, Department  of                                                               
Law (DOL), said he is assigned to  the Board of Game and big game                                                               
issues in  general. He  explained that the  first version  of the                                                               
bill creates  a specialized class  of non-residents who  would be                                                               
active duty  military personnel  permanently assigned  to Alaska.                                                               
It does that by setting up  a series of exceptions to the general                                                               
rules for  non-residents. But  the CS  simply defines  people who                                                               
are permanently  assigned here as  residents, and  whenever rules                                                               
apply to residents  in general, they would apply  to these people                                                               
as well.  So it meets all  the goals of the  original bill, which                                                               
also  exempted this  new  class of  non-resident  from the  guide                                                               
requirements along with  a series of other exemptions.   It meets                                                               
all those  goals with  a single  sentence, and  it's a  much more                                                               
legally defensible position to take.                                                                                            
SENATOR MCGUIRE  said she respectfully  disagreed. She  has heard                                                               
both legal arguments  and she didn't see any  problem with giving                                                               
a  specialized   privilege;  the  state  does   it  for  disabled                                                               
veterans, for instance. It's a  privilege and not a right anyway;                                                               
so that's a lesser standard.  However, she had deep concerns that                                                               
redefining "resident"  would be setting a  precedent, even though                                                               
it's just in  the area of hunting right now.  That is a dangerous                                                               
road to go down.                                                                                                                
3:56:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS  said it's his  experience that  generally speaking                                                               
soldiers  are considered  residents for  purposes of  hunting and                                                               
SENATOR MCGUIRE responded  that the net affect will  be the same;                                                               
military  members get  these privileges  and they  know that  the                                                               
state appreciates their service.  But even the department brought                                                               
up the  point of how that  would be explained to  vendors because                                                               
they  don't  have  access  to   all  the  information  about  the                                                               
definition  of a  resident. Redefining  "resident"  gets into  an                                                               
area where  other classes of people  ask why they don't  get that                                                               
privilege, too.                                                                                                                 
3:58:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS  directed the discussion  to the licensing  part of                                                               
the bill.  It's fair to say  that there are two  or three places,                                                               
if they factor out the Coast  Guard, where people would be issued                                                               
licenses:  Elmendorf  Air  Force   Base,  Fort  Richardson,  Fort                                                               
Greely, Fort Wainwright  and Eilson. He asked Ms.  Wright how the                                                               
licensing would be done in those places.                                                                                        
MS. WRIGHT  responded that she hadn't  been able to work  on this                                                               
issue with  Mr. Saxby yet, so  she wasn't sure how  he would feel                                                               
about her proposal.  She said for the most  part, military people                                                               
buy their  licenses on base, but  they are also able  to buy them                                                               
elsewhere, so that language has to be clear.                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGGINS  asked Mr.  Saxby  if  he  saw other  elements  of                                                               
concern that the committee should be sensitive to.                                                                              
MR. SAXBY  replied that  the original bill  raised an  issue that                                                               
both he  and the Professional  Hunters' Association  pointed out,                                                               
that because  of the exceptions  for the guided  requirements, it                                                               
weakened the state's  ability to defend that  requirement. The CS                                                               
largely  eliminates  that  concern.  Deleting section  2  of  the                                                               
original bill would largely eliminate that concern, as well.                                                                    
SENATOR GARY STEVENS  said he had compared the  two bill versions                                                               
and the  original one  (A) included dependents  as those  who can                                                               
receive non-resident licenses and  version C didn't include them.                                                               
"How did we arrive at that decision," he asked.                                                                                 
MS. SIMPSON  answered they get  the same privileges  as residents                                                               
do, so dependents wouldn't have to be parsed out separately.                                                                    
MR. SAXBY said he wasn't aware  of the difference and didn't know                                                               
how to answer that.                                                                                                             
4:03:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGGINS  said that  was  an  oversight  and needed  to  be                                                               
MR. SAXBY said  the department has always  included dependents in                                                               
the  same   category  as  the   military  personnel   in  similar                                                               
CHAIR  HUGGINS   said  version  C  doesn't   have  the  dependent                                                               
provision; it just talks about  a member of the military service.                                                               
He said that a provision for dependents should be considered.                                                                   
4:05:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MCGUIRE said  she would "take a stab" at  her own CS that                                                               
would  eliminate section  2, add  fishing and  hunting rights  in                                                               
section 1 and  add dependents. She preferred  using more narrowly                                                               
tailored language.                                                                                                              
CHAIR HUGGINS  said he appreciated  that. He asked if  there were                                                               
other concerns.                                                                                                                 
4:06:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WAGONER  noted this  version  pertained  to hunting  and                                                               
fishing licenses,  and he asked  if that included all  aspects of                                                               
fishing, like subsistence and personal use fishing.                                                                             
CHAIR HUGGINS answered whatever a resident could do.                                                                            
SENATOR  WAGONER said  that would  be  hard for  him to  support,                                                               
because for instance,  the dip net and personal  use fisheries on                                                               
the Copper, Kenai and Kasilof  Rivers already have battles on the                                                               
beaches. "It's  a mess right now;  it's hard to regulate  it. And                                                               
all this  would do would be  to add more people  in there earlier                                                               
to compound that problem and I wouldn't be in favor of that."                                                                   
CHAIR HUGGINS said  that some people have problems  with the fish                                                               
getting up to their fishing grounds.                                                                                            
SENATOR WAGONER  said this is  not about  getting fish up  to his                                                               
fishing grounds.                                                                                                                
4:07:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS said set aside SB 214.                                                                                            

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