Legislature(2007 - 2008)BUTROVICH 205
03/10/2008 03:30 PM RESOURCES
Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 214-HUNTING BY MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY 3:47:43 PM CHAIR CHARLIE HUGGINS announced SB 214 to be up for consideration. 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 language. 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 license. 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 fishing. 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 addressed. MR. SAXBY said the department has always included dependents in the same category as the military personnel in similar legislation. 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.