Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

04/18/2018 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Heard & Held
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+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 315-CONFIDENTIALITY OF ANIMAL & CROP RECORDS                                                                     
3:31:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL  announced  consideration  of HB  315.  [CSHB  315                                                               
(RES), version  30-GH2584\D was before  the committee.]  She said                                                               
the committee  first heard this as  SB 164 on February  19. There                                                               
have  been some  changes to  it  and she  invited Ms.  Carpenter,                                                               
Director  of the  Division of  Environmental  Health, to  explain                                                               
CHRISTINA CARPENTER, Director,  Division of Environmental Health,                                                               
Department  of   Environmental  Conservation   (DEC),  Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska, said  that the House  Resources Committee  introduced two                                                               
amendments at the request of the administration.                                                                                
3:33:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR VON IMHOF joined the committee.                                                                                         
MS.  CARPENTER  said  the first  amendment  added  language  that                                                               
explicitly allows  DEC to share  animal importation  records with                                                               
the  Department  of  Natural  Resources   (DNR)  to  support  the                                                               
Division  of Agriculture's  efforts to  enforce the  Alaska-grown                                                               
program for Alaska meat producers.                                                                                              
The second  amendment struck  the language  that was  specific to                                                               
business  and proprietary  information and  expanded language  in                                                               
section (b) (1) to clearly outline  that in the event of a public                                                               
health  threat, the  department  would  release information  from                                                               
records in its possession and not the records themselves.                                                                       
SENATOR VON IMHOF asked about the definition of "varietal."                                                                     
3:34:36 PM                                                                                                                    
BOB  GERLACH,  State  Veterinarian, Department  of  Environmental                                                               
Conservation   (DEC),  Anchorage,   Alaska,  answered   that  the                                                               
definition   of  "varietal"   specifically  addresses   different                                                               
varieties of seeds for vegetable production.                                                                                    
3:35:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI joined the committee.                                                                                      
3:35:40 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
3:37:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL opened public testimony on HB 315.                                                                                
THOR  STACEY, lobbyist,  Alaska  Wild  Sheep Foundation,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska,  said he  would  reference an  economic  report that  was                                                               
commissioned  by   Safari  Club  International  and   the  Alaska                                                               
Professional Hunters  Association. He said the  Alaska Wild Sheep                                                               
Foundation  is  the Alaska  chapter  of  a national  conservation                                                               
organization  whose  mission  involves conservation  of  Alaska's                                                               
wild sheep, mountain goats and muskox.                                                                                          
MR.  STACEY said  his  comments were  narrowly  confined to  this                                                               
measure and HB 315 is  broader than their specific concern. Their                                                               
concerns   focus  specifically   on  domestic   sheep  and   goat                                                               
information but recognize that the  agriculture community is much                                                               
larger than that.  There are about 1,500 of those  animals in the                                                               
state.  Their  stake  in   the  discussion  equals  approximately                                                               
$27,000 of economic  value to the private sector  that comes from                                                               
one guided sheep hunt. That's about  400 annual hunts for a $10.7                                                               
million value.                                                                                                                  
He  said  the state  take  is  high; state  non-resident  hunting                                                               
license and tags with federal  match just for sheep opportunities                                                               
bring in  $1.75 million. These non-residents  share 13,000 pounds                                                               
of wild  sheep with Alaskans.  About 67,000 pounds of  wild sheep                                                               
meat  is   harvested  in  Alaska  annually.   These  numbers  are                                                               
significant  because  they relate  to  the  food value  of  these                                                               
From the foundation's perspective, if  they were to try to ensure                                                               
Alaska's wild sheep, because ultimately,  they bear the cost of a                                                               
disease outbreak  to wild  animals, they  asked Lloyds  of London                                                               
what  it would  cost  to  buy a  policy  on  Alaska's wild  sheep                                                               
insuring them against disease  transmission. The relevant factors                                                               
     -The  state  at this  time  allows  the importation  of                                                                    
     Micoplasma  Ovipneumoniae-positive  (M.Ovi) animals  to                                                                    
     the state.                                                                                                                 
     -It's  legal  to  own  M.Ovi-positive  animals  in  any                                                                    
     location in the state  regardless of their proximity to                                                                    
     wild animals.                                                                                                              
     -There are no testing  requirements for M.Ovi in Alaska                                                                    
     at this time.                                                                                                              
     -There   is  no   disease-free  certification   or  any                                                                    
     certification similar to "Alaska  Grown" or other types                                                                    
     of organic certifications.                                                                                                 
     -There  are no  laws for  domestic owners  to indemnify                                                                    
     the  public at  large  if there  is  negligence from  a                                                                    
     disease outbreak.  So, if you are  negligent and proven                                                                    
     to be so, there is no  law that says that you have some                                                                    
     kind of skin  in the game that you  should work towards                                                                    
     in paying that cost back.                                                                                                  
MR. STACEY Lloyds of London  would address other factors like the                                                               
remote nature of Alaska and  the costs associated with fixing the                                                               
problem. On the positive side,  the Division of Wildlife is well-                                                               
funded, the  science is  very well  understood, their  testing is                                                               
highly reliable, and  they understand how to  identify, find, and                                                               
quantify  what  M.Ovi is  or  the  specific strain  in  question.                                                               
Another positive is  that there are only 1,500  domestic sheep in                                                               
the state and  only about 75-100 of them are  positive for M.Ovi.                                                               
Lloyds  of London  would look  at  all those  factors. But  state                                                               
policy at this time is very wide open.                                                                                          
MR.  STACEY said  language  on  page 2,  lines  8-12, deals  with                                                               
disclosure. So,  if disease tests have  identified animals, there                                                               
is a  need to disclose this  information. It says that  DEC "may"                                                               
disclose  information and  "based  on the  identified threat"  of                                                               
that  information to  the  public or  other  animals. From  prior                                                               
comments from  DEC's veterinarian,  it appears  that he  does not                                                               
view domestic animals  infected M.Ovi to be  a threat; therefore,                                                               
no  disclosure would  occur. Not  taking the  broader agriculture                                                               
community  into this,  but very  specific to  domestic sheep  and                                                               
goats, he posited  what if HB 315 would result  in a lower policy                                                               
premium or a  higher premium by Lloyds of London.  He would argue                                                               
that  non-disclosure  and the  fact  that  these tests  would  no                                                               
longer  be  accessible by  the  broader  public would  raise  the                                                               
premium and the cost to  insure the animal, especially given lack                                                               
of other policies the state has at this time.                                                                                   
3:44:26 PM                                                                                                                    
In summary,  Mr. Stacey said  the foundation isn't  interested in                                                               
upsetting the discussion on HB  315, because they recognize there                                                               
are more  interests involved in  the agricultural  community than                                                               
just domestic  sheep and goat  owners. With  that in mind,  it is                                                               
irresponsible to come  in to a sweeping piece  of legislation and                                                               
work to  upset the apple  cart. However, these questions  and the                                                               
concerns are real.  A working group had been convened  to work on                                                               
this very  issue, but  this concept  was not  brought to  it even                                                               
though  the  state  veterinarian  knew that  there  were  ongoing                                                               
discussions between  wild sheep advocates and  domestic sheep and                                                               
goat  owners. How  this  bill  relates to  the  issue of  disease                                                               
transmission and the  risk posed to wild animals was  not part of                                                               
that discussion.                                                                                                                
MR. STACEY said  from his narrow perspective, there  is a concern                                                               
about how  this works and  they think  that it raises  perils and                                                               
closes   down   access   to  information   related   to   disease                                                               
transmission.  He summarized  that the  foundation is  obliged to                                                               
support   the   concept,  because   the   idea   is  to   provide                                                               
confidentiality  to  encourage  testing,  but   if  that  is  the                                                               
ultimate  goal, why  not include  confidentiality  of testing  in                                                               
3:46:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP  asked for  an example of  a comfortable  level of                                                               
testing confidentiality.                                                                                                        
MR. STACEY answered that while  he has not performed these tests,                                                               
he has  heard second hand  that up-to-date testing consists  of a                                                               
nasal  swab procedure  to  identify live  bacteria  (M.Ovi) is  a                                                               
pathogen) and  a blood serology test  that identifies antibodies.                                                               
In other words, one identifies  live bacteria in the nasal cavity                                                               
and  the other  identifies the  presence of  anti-bodies or  past                                                               
exposure or infection.                                                                                                          
3:47:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL,  finding  nor further  questions,  closed  public                                                               
testimony and held HB 315 in committee.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Senate Resources Hearing Agenda - 4 - 18 - 2018.pdf SRES 4/18/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB315 - Version D.PDF SRES 4/18/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 315
HB315 Explanation of Changes ver A to D.pdf SRES 4/18/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 315
HB315 - Fiscal Note - DEC - 1 - 25 - 18.PDF SRES 4/18/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 315
SB135 - Version D.pdf SRES 4/18/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 135
SB135 - Sectional Summary - Version D.pdf SRES 4/18/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 135
SB135 - Supporting document - Eastside Setnet Area Map - 4 - 18 - 18.pdf SRES 4/18/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 135
SB135 Summary of changes ver A to ver D.PDF SRES 4/18/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 135