Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205
04/26/2021 03:30 PM RESOURCES
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SB 125-HUNTING PERMITS: TRANSFERABILITY 4:18:38 PM CHAIR REVAK announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 125 "An Act relating to the transferability of hunts awarded by drawing; and providing for an effective date." 4:19:07 PM SENATOR NATASHA VON IMHOF, speaking as sponsor of SB 125, explained the legislation came about due to a constituent, Chase Bowerson, who applied for a 2021 moose tag that was awarded about a month after his tragic death. His mother and the executor of the estate contacted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to let them know of her son's death and to request the tag be transferred to a proxy hunter. The family wanted to do the hunt in his honor. The request was denied because current statute does not allow a proxy in this situation. SB 125 changes that part of the statute. She deferred further introduction to Mr. Harbison. 4:20:36 PM INTIMAYO HARBISON, Staff, Senator Natasha von Imhof, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, reading the following sponsor statement for SB 125 into the record: Senate Bill 125 would allow a hunting permit awarded by drawing to be transferred to another qualified hunter should the original permit holder die before completing the hunt. It is the intent of this bill to put an end to the trauma faced by many families when, after having lost a family member, they are further denied subsistence rights which their deceased family member applied for, paid for, and were awarded. This bill pertains exclusively to the transfer of draw hunting permits and would not impact any other license, tag, or sport fishing vessel registration. 4:21:31 PM SENATOR KIEHL asked if there was a specific reason that the bill did not also include registration permits and Tier 1 permits. MR. HARBISON replied the bill was specifically to address the issue that draw permit tags may not be transferred to a proxy from a tag holder who is deceased. SENATOR VON IMHOF asked Senator Kiehl to restate the question. SENATOR KIEHL said he wondered if she had thought about the universe of other situations where someone might pass away before they complete a hunt for which they received a tag. SENATOR VON IMHOF replied this is what ADF&G recommended when she brought the issue forward. She offered to look into adding registration permits. 4:23:25 PM MR. HARBISON noted a department representative was online and available for questions. 4:23:46 PM NATALIE WEBER, Program Coordinator II, Division of Wildlife Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Palmer, Alaska, stated that no other types of permits were included because the original question was whether the bill only covered the intent of the drawing permits. The answer to that question is yes. She noted Ms. Henke may have further information because she coordinated more closely with the sponsor's office. 4:24:25 PM RACHEL HANKE, Legislative Liaison, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Juneau, Alaska, stated that the idea initially was to solve the constituent issue, which was for a drawing permit only. There was no discussion about including other types of registration permits. She offered to look into it if that was the wish of the committee. 4:25:06 PM CHAIR REVAK opened public testimony on SB 125. 4:25:17 PM WADE BOWERSON, representing self, Anchorage, Alaska, stated support for SB 125. He said he wanted to make sure that no other family had to endure the double trauma his family had to endure. He said it was unjust to deprive the family of the hunt after they had lost their brother and son. He understands this has happened to more than just his family. He related that the bill focused on a draw tag because those are different than registering for a hunt. 4:26:46 PM DANIELLE CAMPOAMORE, representing self, Brooklyn, New York, said when she heard that her family was not able to hunt the tag by proxy in her cousin Chase's honor, she began advocating for a change in statute. She agreed with previous testimony that other bereaved families have been similarly affected. She urged the committee to make this simple and commonsense change in the law. 4:30:38 PM AARON TRENT, representing self, Anchorage, Alaska, stated he was Chase's older brother, and he was calling in support of SB 125. He opined that passing the bill will impact hundreds to thousands of Alaskans physically and emotionally. This would have been his little brother's first big game hunt and he was excited to become part of the family tradition. Passing SB 125 will honor his memory and speak volumes for the men and women who put in the work to ensure fairness and justice. He expressed optimism that the bill would pass. 4:32:12 PM KELLY TRENT, representing self, Anchorage, Alaska, said she was Chase Bowerson's mom. She described her youngest child as a dynamic, outdoor-loving young man who grew up hunting, fishing, and camping with his family. She said they always shared the bounty with family and friends. Most recently the family members each applied for a 2021 moose tag for the same area in hopes one would be successful. Chase applied for his tag on December 14. It was his 26th birthday and he knew it would bring him luck in getting a tag. Three weeks later, her son was murdered. She described it as the worst day of her life. A month after that the results of the drawing were published, and Chase was a winner. When she was told that the tag could not be transferred to a family member she said she was stunned. "I couldn't understand how everything in his estate is ours to handle, but the one and only thing we can't have is his opportunity to get a moose." MS. TRENT said she expects her family will continue to have some dark days as they continue to deal with their loss. The 2021 moose hunt would have been a way to honor Chase and help the family heal. If the hunt was successful, the meat would have helped feed his grandparents, his parents, his siblings, and his many nieces and nephews. She said she understands that it is too late for the law to change in time for the fall hunt, but she would like to know that hers is the last family that this happens to. She said her son Chase always believed in righting any wrong and she believes this is something he would have liked to see made right. It is within the legislature's power to do so. 4:35:28 PM CHAIR REVAK asked Commissioner Vincent-Lang whether the department could issue the tag to the family, or anybody else who was awarded a tag but died before it was used, if the committee conceptually amended the bill and made it retroactive. 4:36:02 PM DOUGLAS VINCENT-LANG, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Anchorage, Alaska, answered he was sure the department could make that happen if the legislature were to pass the bill with a retroactivity clause. 4:36:35 PM JEFF TRENT, representing self, Anchorage, Alaska, stated support for SB 125. He said their son Chase embodied the spirit of Alaska. He was developing five acres of homestead land and he loved bringing home the wild bounty of Alaska and sharing with those who were unable to harvest for themselves. He was always ready to stand up and speak out for what he believed, he helped those who were less fortunate, and was always ready to try to right wrongs. He asked the committee to support SB 125 in his son's spirit. 4:38:05 PM MARK RICHARDS, Executive Director, Resident Hunters of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, stated support for the intent of SB 125 and extended condolences to the Bowerson family and friends. He said his reason for testifying was to make two points. The first point is that the Board of Game and/or the commissioner already has authority under 5 AAC 92.050 to transfer certain permits. He added that he would be happy to help the Bowersons draft and submit a proposal to the Board of Game that asks the board to exercise its authority to make the transfer. MR. RICHARDS said the second point is that the proposed amendment to AS 16.05.420(c) in Section 2 is unnecessary. It applies to a locking tag that a deceased hunter had purchased, and it only applies to some brown bear and musk ox hunts. He thanked Senator von Imhof for sponsoring SB 125. 4:40:20 PM TERESA CAMPOAMORE, representing self, Anchorage, Alaska, said the Bowersons are family and they all spoke eloquently about Chase and his love of Alaska. She said it was difficult when Chase's mother received the news her son had been killed. Then when she received the news that the hunting permit could not be transferred, it was another blow. She thanked the sponsor and the committee for considering the bill. 4:41:47 PM CHAIR REVAK, after discerning no one else wished to comment, closed public testimony on SB 125. CHAIR REVAK offered his understanding that a legislative fix was necessary and advised that he spoke with the sponsor about offering a conceptual amendment to make the bill retroactive. 4:42:32 PM At ease 4:44:35 PM CHAIR REVAK reconvened the meeting. 4:44:41 PM SENATOR VON IMHOF moved conceptual Amendment 1. It states the following: This bill will be retroactive to apply to draw permits awarded for the 2021 hunting season. 4:44:53 PM CHAIR REVAK found no objection and conceptual Amendment 1 passed. Finding no further amendments, questions, or comments, he solicited a motion. 4:45:20 PM SENATOR BISHOP moved to report SB 125, work order 32-LS0626\B as amended, from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). 4:45:39 PM CHAIR REVAK found no objection and CSSB 125(RES) was reported from the Senate Resources Standing Committee.