Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/24/1993 08:30 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
                                                                               
                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                         March 24, 1993                                        
                            8:30 a.m.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 93 - 56, Side 1, #000 - end.                                        
  TAPE HFC 93 - 56, Side 2, #000 - #481.                                       
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Ron Larson called the meeting of  the House Finance                 
  Committee to order at 8:30 A.M.                                              
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson               Representative Therriault                      
  Co-Chair MacLean              Representative Foster                          
  Vice-Chair Hanley             Representative Grussendorf                     
  Representative Hoffman        Representative Martin                          
  Representative Navarre        Representative Parnell                         
                                                                               
  Representative Brown was not present for the meeting.                        
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Deborah   Wing,  Director,   Family   and  Youth   Services,                 
  Department of Health and Social Services; John Peterson, Aid                 
  to  Representative  Gail  Phillips;  Gary  Bader,  Director,                 
  Administrative  Services,  Department  of  Education;  Bruce                 
  Garrett,   Kodiak,   Alaska;    Laura   Fleming,   Aid    to                 
  Representative  Bill Williams;  Kate  Tesar, Association  of                 
  Independent  Tour Operators,  Juneau, Alaska;  Irene Morris,                 
  Alaska Environmental Lobby, Juneau,  Alaska; Romaine Careen,                 
  People Safety  Coordinator, Department  of Education;  Geron                 
  Bruce, Special Assistant, Department of Fish and Game.                       
                                                                               
  SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                          
  HB 2      An Act requiring drug and alcohol tests for school                 
            bus drivers.                                                       
                                                                               
            CS HB 2 (FIN)  was reported out of  Committee with                 
            "no recommendation" with a Letter of Intent by the                 
            House Judiciary  Committee and  with a  new fiscal                 
            note by the Department of Education.                               
  HB 97     An  Act  clarifying  the responsibilities  of  the                 
            Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services  and                 
            parents  for  children  who are  committed  to the                 
            custody of the  department and  are placed by  the                 
            department with the parents;  and providing for an                 
                                                                               
                                1                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
            effective date.                                                    
                                                                               
            HB  97 was reported  out of  Committee with  a "do                 
            pass" recommendation  and with a  zero fiscal note                 
            by the Department of Health and Social Services.                   
  HB 172    An Act relating  to the wildlife conservation  tag                 
            and  to  entry  onto   state  game  and   wildlife                 
            sanctuaries,  state  game  refuges,   state  range                 
            areas, and  fish and game critical  habitat areas;                 
            and providing for an effective date.                               
                                                                               
            HB   172  was   held  in  Committee   for  further                 
            discussion.                                                        
  HOUSE BILL 97                                                                
                                                                               
       "An   Act  clarifying   the  responsibilities   of  the                 
       Department of  Health and  Social Services  and parents                 
       for children  who are committed  to the custody  of the                 
       department and are  placed by  the department with  the                 
       parents; and providing for an effective date."                          
                                                                               
  DEBORAH   WING,  DIRECTOR,   FAMILY   AND  YOUTH   SERVICES,                 
  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH  AND SOCIAL  SERVICES, stated that  the                 
  Department of  Health and Social Services  strongly supports                 
  HB   97,  which   clarifies  the  responsibilities   of  the                 
  Department for children  committed to its legal  custody and                 
  who continue to reside with the parent or parents.  The bill                 
  amends  AS  47.10.084  to  require a  parent  or  parents to                 
  provide for the day  to day care of their  children if these                 
  children  are residing  with them  when the State  has legal                 
  custody as a result of child protection services.                            
                                                                               
  Representative  Parnell  inquired  if  medical  care   would                 
  include the cost of counseling.  Ms. Winger stated it would.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Martin discussed medical care costs of foster                 
  children.  Ms. Wing noted that children in foster care would                 
  continue to remain a responsibility of the State.                            
                                                                               
  Representative Parnell inquired if parents would be asked to                 
  pay for  counseling services of  abused children.   Ms. Wing                 
  noted,  that if the  child is qualified  under Medicaid, the                 
  parents are able to utilize that resource.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Martin MOVED to report HB 97 out of Committee                 
  with individual  recommendations and  with the  accompanying                 
  fiscal note.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                   
                                                                               
  HB  97  was  reported out  of  Committee  with  a "do  pass"                 
                                                                               
                                2                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the Department                 
  of Health and Social Services.                                               
  HOUSE BILL 2                                                                 
                                                                               
       "An Act requiring drug and alcohol tests for school bus                 
       drivers."                                                               
                                                                               
  JOHN  PETERSON, AID TO  REPRESENTATIVE GAIL  PHILLIPS, noted                 
  that  current Alaska law makes  no provision for the routine                 
  testing  of school  bus drivers  for drug  and alcohol  use.                 
  This bill  would  provide for  such  testing.   The  federal                 
  government is in  the process of preparing  regulations that                 
  will mandate  testing for  those who  are  required to  have                 
  commercial  drivers  licenses  for the  operation  of school                 
  buses.  HB 2 is needed at this time as the effective date of                 
  the  federal   regulations  is   uncertain.     The  federal                 
  regulations will not  apply to school buses with  fewer that                 
  fifteen  passengers, which  does  not  require a  commercial                 
  license for operation.                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative  Grussendorf  requested  testimony  from  the                 
  Department   of  Law  regarding   the  legal  definition  of                 
  "improper" use of drugs and alcohol.  Representative Parnell                 
  questioned   the   constitutionality  of   mandating  random                 
  testing.    Mr.  Peterson   pointed  out  previous  concerns                 
  regarding privacy  was  addressed  in  the  House  Judiciary                 
  Committee Letter of Intent.                                                  
                                                                               
  Representative Foster asked how the legislation's cost would                 
  be handled for the small village areas.                                      
                                                                               
  GARY BADER,  DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF  ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES,                 
  DEPARTMENT  OF  EDUCATION,   responded  that  the   cost  is                 
  determined by  a statewide average.   Most  of the  services                 
  would  be  contracted out.   He  added  that the  testing is                 
  legitimate for the safety of students.                                       
  ROMAINE  CAREEN,  PEOPLE  SAFETY TRANSFORATION  COORDINATOR,                 
  DEPARTMENT  OF  EDUCATION,  noted  there  is  a  company  in                 
  Anchorage which performs  most of  the state's testing,  and                 
  added  that  drug   testing  is  required  by   the  federal                 
  government.    Representative   Parnell  questioned  if  the                 
  federal regulations mandated the proposed testing.                           
                                                                               
  Representative  Hoffman  recommended  that  the  legislation                 
  clarify the coverage of costs for this testing.                              
                                                                               
  BRUCE  GARRETT,  KODIAK  SCHOOL  DISTRICT,  KODIAK,  ALASKA,                 
  stated that under federal law, the school district must be a                 
  "drug-free" work  place.   He voiced  his  concern with  who                 
  would have the burden of paying the costs  for testing.  Mr.                 
  Garrett noted that testing  would show any drugs  or alcohol                 
                                                                               
                                3                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  in the persons system taken within a 72-hour period.                         
                                                                               
  Representative  Hoffman  felt that  the  testing would  be a                 
  violation of the privacy act.  Discussion followed regarding                 
  an   employee   who   consumes   on   their   "off"   hours.                 
  Representative Parnell pointed out that the "drug free" zone                 
  was created by federal law.                                                  
                                                                               
  Co-Chair MacLean MOVED to report HB  2 out of Committee with                 
  individual  recommendations  and   the  new  Department   of                 
  Education fiscal  note.  Representative  Parnell OBJECTED in                 
  order to  make an  amendment.   He MOVED  deleting the  word                 
  "improper" from Page 1, Line 7 and Line 8.                                   
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 93-56, Side 2).                                            
                                                                               
  Representative Hanley  recommended adding "illegal"  on Page                 
  1,  Line 8 and deleting the word "improper".  Representative                 
  Parnell WITHDREW his  motion to delete "improper"  and MOVED                 
  to delete the word "improper" on Line 7 and on Line 8 delete                 
  "improper"  and  replace  with "illegal".    There  being NO                 
  OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Hoffman  offered a technical  amendment which                 
  would  explain  that the  Department  of Education  would be                 
  responsible for payments of all testing.  Mr.  Bader pointed                 
  out that it was the intent of the Department to pay  for the                 
  testing.  Representative  Hoffman asked for approval  of the                 
  conceptual  amendment  which  would  legally  clarify   that                 
  information.   Representative Martin  noted that  the fiscal                 
  note states that the money is allocated to the Department of                 
  Education    for    specifically    paying   for    testing.                 
  Representative  Hoffman  objected  and asked  that  detailed                 
  clarification  be  contained in  the  bill.   Representative                 
  Foster OBJECTED to moving the bill from Committee.                           
                                                                               
  A roll call was taken on the MOTION.                                         
                                                                               
       IN FAVOR:      Hanley,  Martin,   Parnell,  Therriault,                 
                      MacLean, Larson.                                         
                                                                               
       OPPOSED:       Hoffman, Navarre, Foster.                                
                                                                               
  Representative Brown and Representative Grussendorf were not                 
  present for the vote.                                                        
                                                                               
  The MOTION PASSED, (6 - 3).                                                  
                                                                               
  CS  HB  2  (FIN) was  reported  out  of  Committee with  "no                 
  recommendation" and  with a House Judiciary Committee Letter                 
  of Intent and a fiscal note  by the Department of Education.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                4                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  HOUSE BILL 172                                                               
                                                                               
       "An Act relating  to the wildlife conservation  tag and                 
       to  entry onto  state  game  and wildlife  sanctuaries,                 
       state game  refuges, state  range areas,  and fish  and                 
       game  critical  habitat  areas;  and providing  for  an                 
       effective date."                                                        
                                                                               
  LAURA FLEMING, AID FOR  REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS, stated                 
  that HB 172 would create a wildlife conservation tag program                 
  aimed  at  encouraging  non-consumptive  users  of  Alaska's                 
  wildlife to help  pay for  wildlife programs and  facilities                 
  they use.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Wildlife viewing is a fast-growing form of recreation in the                 
  world, and a major factor in attracting visitors  to Alaska.                 
  Careful  management  and  development  of  viewing  areas is                 
  important to  protect the  wildlife while  enhancing visitor                 
  opportunities.    The bill  is  a  "user pays"  approach  to                 
  generating funds to  support this  growing area of  wildlife                 
  use.                                                                         
                                                                               
  The  primary  thrust  of  HB 172  is  a  voluntary  program.                 
  Participants would pay  a fairly  small price  for the  tag.                 
  The price of the tag is  left to the Department but will  be                 
  kept low since the goal is to sell large numbers of the tags                 
  to those who voluntarily purchase them.                                      
                                                                               
  Ms.   Fleming   explained   the  amendments   submitted   by                 
  Representative  Williams   which  will   make  three   small                 
  technical changes to CS HB 172 (RES) version.                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair MacLean presented her concerns with the legislation                 
  and  the limitations created in the  McNeil River area which                 
  she  felt  would  restrict  individual  freedom  to  explore                 
  certain parts of that area.                                                  
                                                                               
  GERON BRUCE, SPECIAL ASSISTANT, DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME,                 
  noted the legislation  would not restrict people  from going                 
  into  areas to  pursue exempted  activities.  He  added that                 
  McNeil  is a  small area  sanctuary which  is exclusively  a                 
  brown bear viewing  area.  This area  can be used  by permit                 
  only and  is already existing in  law.  The function  of the                 
  permit system  is to  protect the intrinsic  quality of  the                 
  environment for the animals of those areas and for those who                 
  come to view the animals.                                                    
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  MacLean  voiced  her  concern with  the  potential                 
  expansion  of  areas  added to  the  conservation  tag entry                 
  system.   Mr.  Bruce  advised that  the  Department will  be                 
  working closely with  tourism, the visitor industry  and the                 
                                                                               
                                5                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  public.                                                                      
                                                                               
  KATE  TESAR,  ASSOCIATION  OF  INDEPENDENT  TOUR  OPERATORS,                 
  JUNEAU,  ALASKA,  noted  support of  the  legislation.   She                 
  stated that her group has been  assured by the Department of                 
  Fish and Game that the tourism  industry will be included in                 
  changes  in  the  current regulations.    There  will be  no                 
  arbitrary designation of tagged  areas without good  reason.                 
  She spoke of  the profit which  could be generated from  the                 
  pins.                                                                        
                                                                               
  IRENE  MORRIS,  ALASKA  ENVIRONMENTAL LOBBY  (AEL),  JUNEAU,                 
  ALASKA, spoke in  support of HB  172.  She recommended  that                 
  non consumptive  users pay a portion of the management costs                 
  for specified areas.                                                         
                                                                               
  Representative Foster interjected his many concerns with the                 
  proposed legislation.   He felt HB 172 would  be detrimental                 
  to Western  and Arctic  Alaska.   Mr. Bruce  noted that  the                 
  Department would  be willing  to  substitute language  which                 
  would help clarify the legislation.  The  legislation is not                 
  directed  at  establishing additional  fees  for subsistence                 
  users, but rather allowing users  to contribute to programs.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Hanley  recommended limiting  the law  to the                 
  two  designated areas.  If additional areas should be added,                 
  then  the  Legislature  would  determine  if they  would  be                 
  advantageous.                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Larson  advised  that the  legislation  should  be                 
  returned to  Subcommittee for further  considerations.   The                 
  bill was HELD in Committee.                                                  
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 9:45 a.m.                                           
                                                                               
                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                         March 24, 1993                                        
                            8:30 a.m.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 93 - 56, Side 1, #000 - end.                                        
  TAPE HFC 93 - 56, Side 2, #000 - #481.                                       
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Ron Larson called the meeting of the House  Finance                 
  Committee to order at 8:30 A.M.                                              
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
                                6                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson               Representative Therriault                      
  Co-Chair MacLean              Representative Foster                          
  Vice-Chair Hanley             Representative Grussendorf                     
  Representative Hoffman        Representative Martin                          
  Representative Navarre        Representative Parnell                         
                                                                               
  Representative Brown was not present for the meeting.                        
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Deborah   Wing,  Director,   Family   and  Youth   Services,                 
  Department of Health and Social Services; John Peterson, Aid                 
  to  Representative  Gail  Phillips;  Gary  Bader,  Director,                 
  Administrative  Services,  Department  of  Education;  Bruce                 
  Garrett,   Kodiak,   Alaska;    Laura   Fleming,   Aid    to                 
  Representative  Bill Williams;  Kate  Tesar, Association  of                 
  Independent  Tour Operators,  Juneau, Alaska;  Irene Morris,                 
  Alaska Environmental Lobby, Juneau,  Alaska; Romaine Careen,                 
  People Safety  Coordinator, Department  of Education;  Geron                 
  Bruce, Special Assistant, Department of Fish and Game.                       
                                                                               
  SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                          
                                                                               
  HB 2      An Act requiring drug and alcohol tests for school                 
            bus drivers.                                                       
                                                                               
            CS  HB 2 (FIN) was  reported out of Committee with                 
            "no recommendation" with a Letter of Intent by the                 
            House  Judiciary Committee and  with a  new fiscal                 
            note by the Department of Education.                               
                                                                               
  HB 97     An  Act  clarifying  the responsibilities  of  the                 
            Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services  and                 
            parents  for  children who  are  committed  to the                 
            custody of the  department and  are placed by  the                 
            department with the parents; and providing  for an                 
            effective date.                                                    
                                                                               
            HB  97 was  reported out of  Committee with  a "do                 
            pass" recommendation and  with a zero  fiscal note                 
            by the Department of Health and Social Services.                   
                                                                               
  HB 172    An  Act relating to  the wildlife conservation tag                 
            and  to   entry  onto  state  game   and  wildlife                 
            sanctuaries,  state  game  refuges,   state  range                 
            areas, and  fish and game critical  habitat areas;                 
            and providing for an effective date.                               
                                                                               
            HB  172   was  held   in  Committee  for   further                 
            discussion.                                                        
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                7                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  HOUSE BILL 97                                                                
                                                                               
       "An   Act  clarifying   the  responsibilities   of  the                 
       Department of  Health and Social  Services and  parents                 
       for children  who are committed  to the custody  of the                 
       department and are  placed by  the department with  the                 
       parents; and providing for an effective date."                          
                                                                               
  DEBORAH   WING,  DIRECTOR,   FAMILY   AND  YOUTH   SERVICES,                 
  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH  AND SOCIAL  SERVICES, stated that  the                 
  Department of  Health and Social  Services strongly supports                 
  HB  97,   which  clarifies   the  responsibilities   of  the                 
  Department for children  committed to its legal  custody and                 
  who continue to reside with the parent or parents.  The bill                 
  amends  AS  47.10.084 to  require  a  parent or  parents  to                 
  provide  for the day to day care  of their children if these                 
  children are  residing with them  when the  State has  legal                 
  custody as a result of child protection services.                            
                                                                               
  Representative  Parnell  inquired  if  medical  care   would                 
  include the cost of counseling.  Ms. Winger stated it would.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Martin discussed medical care costs of foster                 
  children.  Ms. Wing noted that children in foster care would                 
  continue to remain a responsibility of the State.                            
                                                                               
  Representative Parnell inquired if parents would be asked to                 
  pay for  counseling services of  abused children.   Ms. Wing                 
  noted,  that if the  child is qualified  under Medicaid, the                 
  parents are able to utilize that resource.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Martin MOVED to report HB 97 out of Committee                 
  with individual  recommendations and  with the  accompanying                 
  fiscal note.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                   
                                                                               
  HB  97  was  reported out  of  Committee  with  a "do  pass"                 
  recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the Department                 
  of Health and Social Services.                                               
                                                                               
  HOUSE BILL 2                                                                 
                                                                               
       "An Act requiring drug and alcohol tests for school bus                 
       drivers."                                                               
                                                                               
  JOHN PETERSON,  AID TO REPRESENTATIVE  GAIL PHILLIPS,  noted                 
  that current Alaska  law makes no provision  for the routine                 
  testing of  school  bus drivers  for drug  and alcohol  use.                 
  This  bill  would provide  for  such testing.    The federal                 
  government is in  the process of preparing  regulations that                 
  will  mandate testing  for those  who are  required to  have                 
  commercial  drivers licenses  for  the  operation of  school                 
                                                                               
                                8                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  buses.  HB 2 is needed at this time as the effective date of                 
  the   federal  regulations  is   uncertain.     The  federal                 
  regulations will not apply to  school buses with fewer  that                 
  fifteen  passengers, which  does  not require  a  commercial                 
  license for operation.                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative  Grussendorf  requested  testimony  from  the                 
  Department  of  Law  regarding   the  legal  definition   of                 
  "improper" use of drugs and alcohol.  Representative Parnell                 
  questioned   the   constitutionality  of   mandating  random                 
  testing.    Mr.  Peterson  pointed  out  previous   concerns                 
  regarding  privacy  was  addressed in  the  House  Judiciary                 
  Committee Letter of Intent.                                                  
                                                                               
  Representative Foster asked how the legislation's cost would                 
  be handled for the small village areas.                                      
                                                                               
  GARY BADER,  DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF  ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES,                 
  DEPARTMENT  OF   EDUCATION,  responded  that  the   cost  is                 
  determined by  a statewide  average.   Most of  the services                 
  would  be  contracted out.   He  added  that the  testing is                 
  legitimate for the safety of students.                                       
  ROMAINE  CAREEN,  PEOPLE  SAFETY TRANSFORATION  COORDINATOR,                 
  DEPARTMENT  OF  EDUCATION,  noted  there  is  a  company  in                 
  Anchorage which performs  most of  the state's testing,  and                 
  added  that  drug   testing  is  required  by   the  federal                 
  government.    Representative   Parnell  questioned  if  the                 
  federal regulations mandated the proposed testing.                           
                                                                               
  Representative  Hoffman  recommended  that  the  legislation                 
  clarify the coverage of costs for this testing.                              
                                                                               
  BRUCE  GARRETT,  KODIAK  SCHOOL  DISTRICT,  KODIAK,  ALASKA,                 
  stated that under federal law, the school district must be a                 
  "drug-free"  work place.    He voiced  his concern  with who                 
  would have the burden of paying the costs for testing.   Mr.                 
  Garrett  noted that testing would  show any drugs or alcohol                 
  in the persons system taken within a 72-hour period.                         
                                                                               
  Representative  Hoffman  felt that  the  testing would  be a                 
  violation of the privacy act.  Discussion followed regarding                 
  an   employee   who   consumes   on   their   "off"   hours.                 
  Representative Parnell pointed out that the "drug free" zone                 
  was created by federal law.                                                  
                                                                               
  Co-Chair MacLean MOVED to report HB  2 out of Committee with                 
  individual  recommendations   and  the  new   Department  of                 
  Education fiscal note.   Representative Parnell  OBJECTED in                 
  order to  make an  amendment.   He MOVED  deleting the  word                 
  "improper" from Page 1, Line 7 and Line 8.                                   
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 93-56, Side 2).                                            
                                                                               
                                9                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Hanley  recommended adding "illegal"  on Page                 
  1, Line 8 and deleting the word  "improper".  Representative                 
  Parnell WITHDREW his  motion to delete "improper"  and MOVED                 
  to delete the word "improper" on Line 7 and on Line 8 delete                 
  "improper"  and  replace  with "illegal".    There  being NO                 
  OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Hoffman  offered a technical  amendment which                 
  would  explain  that the  Department  of Education  would be                 
  responsible for payments of all  testing.  Mr. Bader pointed                 
  out that it was the intent of the Department to pay  for the                 
  testing.  Representative  Hoffman asked for approval  of the                 
  conceptual  amendment  which  would  legally  clarify   that                 
  information.   Representative Martin  noted that the  fiscal                 
  note states that the money is allocated to the Department of                 
  Education    for    specifically    paying   for    testing.                 
  Representative  Hoffman  objected  and asked  that  detailed                 
  clarification  be contained  in  the  bill.   Representative                 
  Foster OBJECTED to moving the bill from Committee.                           
                                                                               
  A roll call was taken on the MOTION.                                         
                                                                               
       IN FAVOR:      Hanley,  Martin,   Parnell,  Therriault,                 
                      MacLean, Larson.                                         
                                                                               
       OPPOSED:       Hoffman, Navarre, Foster.                                
                                                                               
  Representative Brown and Representative Grussendorf were not                 
  present for the vote.                                                        
                                                                               
  The MOTION PASSED, (6 - 3).                                                  
                                                                               
  CS  HB  2  (FIN) was  reported  out  of  Committee with  "no                 
  recommendation" and with a House  Judiciary Committee Letter                 
  of Intent and a fiscal note  by the Department of Education.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  HOUSE BILL 172                                                               
                                                                               
       "An Act relating  to the wildlife conservation  tag and                 
       to  entry  onto state  game  and  wildlife sanctuaries,                 
       state game  refuges, state  range areas,  and fish  and                 
       game  critical  habitat  areas;  and  providing for  an                 
       effective date."                                                        
                                                                               
  LAURA FLEMING, AID FOR  REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS, stated                 
  that HB 172 would create a wildlife conservation tag program                 
  aimed  at  encouraging  non-consumptive  users  of  Alaska's                 
  wildlife to help  pay for  wildlife programs and  facilities                 
  they use.                                                                    
                                                                               
                                                                               
                               10                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Wildlife viewing is a fast-growing form of recreation in the                 
  world, and a major factor  in attracting visitors to Alaska.                 
  Careful  management  and  development of  viewing  areas  is                 
  important to  protect the wildlife  while enhancing  visitor                 
  opportunities.    The  bill is  a  "user  pays"  approach to                 
  generating funds to  support this  growing area of  wildlife                 
  use.                                                                         
                                                                               
  The primary  thrust  of  HB  172  is  a  voluntary  program.                 
  Participants would  pay a  fairly small  price for the  tag.                 
  The price of the tag is  left to the Department but will  be                 
  kept low since the goal is to sell large numbers of the tags                 
  to those who voluntarily purchase them.                                      
                                                                               
  Ms.   Fleming   explained   the  amendments   submitted   by                 
  Representative  Williams   which  will   make  three   small                 
  technical changes to CS HB 172 (RES) version.                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair MacLean presented her concerns with the legislation                 
  and the limitations  created in the McNeil  River area which                 
  she  felt  would  restrict  individual  freedom  to  explore                 
  certain parts of that area.                                                  
                                                                               
  GERON BRUCE, SPECIAL ASSISTANT, DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME,                 
  noted the legislation  would not restrict people  from going                 
  into areas  to pursue exempted  activities.   He added  that                 
  McNeil  is a  small area  sanctuary  which is  exclusively a                 
  brown bear  viewing area.  This  area can be used  by permit                 
  only  and is already  existing in law.   The function of the                 
  permit  system is to  protect the  intrinsic quality  of the                 
  environment for the animals of those areas and for those who                 
  come to view the animals.                                                    
                                                                               
  Co-Chair MacLean  voiced  her  concern  with  the  potential                 
  expansion  of  areas  added to  the  conservation  tag entry                 
  system.   Mr.  Bruce advised  that  the Department  will  be                 
  working closely with  tourism, the visitor industry  and the                 
  public.                                                                      
                                                                               
  KATE  TESAR,  ASSOCIATION  OF  INDEPENDENT  TOUR  OPERATORS,                 
  JUNEAU,  ALASKA,  noted  support of  the  legislation.   She                 
  stated that her group has been  assured by the Department of                 
  Fish and Game that the tourism  industry will be included in                 
  changes in  the  current  regulations.   There  will  be  no                 
  arbitrary designation  of tagged areas without  good reason.                 
  She spoke of  the profit which  could be generated from  the                 
  pins.                                                                        
                                                                               
  IRENE  MORRIS,  ALASKA  ENVIRONMENTAL  LOBBY (AEL),  JUNEAU,                 
  ALASKA, spoke in  support of HB  172.  She recommended  that                 
  non consumptive users pay a  portion of the management costs                 
  for specified areas.                                                         
                                                                               
                               11                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Foster interjected his many concerns with the                 
  proposed legislation.  He felt  HB 172 would be  detrimental                 
  to Western  and Arctic  Alaska.   Mr. Bruce  noted that  the                 
  Department  would be  willing to  substitute language  which                 
  would help clarify the legislation.   The legislation is not                 
  directed  at  establishing additional  fees  for subsistence                 
  users, but rather allowing users  to contribute to programs.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Hanley  recommended limiting the  law to  the                 
  two designated areas.  If additional areas  should be added,                 
  then  the  Legislature  would  determine  if they  would  be                 
  advantageous.                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Larson  advised  that  the  legislation should  be                 
  returned to  Subcommittee for  further considerations.   The                 
  bill was HELD in Committee.                                                  
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 9:45 a.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
                               12                                              

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