Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/15/1996 02:00 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
                                                                               
                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                         April 15, 1996                                        
                            2:00 P.M.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 96-120, Side 1, #000 - end.                                         
  TAPE HFC 96-120, Side 2, #000 - end.                                         
  TAPE HFC 96-121, Side 1, #000 - end.                                         
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Mark  Hanley called  the  House Finance  Committee                 
  meeting to order at 2:00 p.m.                                                
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley               Representative Martin                          
  Co-Chair Foster               Representative Mulder                          
  Representative Brown          Representative Navarre                         
  Representative Grussendorf    Representative Parnell                         
  Representative Kelly          Representative Therriault                      
  Representative Kohring                                                       
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Alan Austerman;  William Ward,  Ward's Farm,                 
  Soldotna; Kevin Delaney,  Director, Division of Sport  Fish;                 
  Ron Swanson,  Deputy Director, Division of Lands, Department                 
  of Natural  Resources;  Brett Huber,  Staff, Senator  Green;                 
  Larry  Petty,  North Pole;  Art  Griswold, North  Pole; John                 
  Glotfelty, North Pole, Ed Bostrom, North Pole; Pete Roberts,                 
  Homer;  Dennis Wade,  Homer; Mike  Schultz, Delta  Junction;                 
  Harvey Baskins, Wasilla; John Cramer, Wasilla.                               
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
                                                                               
  HB 175    An  Act   relating  to  sport  fish   guides;  and                 
            providing for an effective date.                                   
                                                                               
            HB   175  was   HELD  in  Committee   for  further                 
            consideration.                                                     
  HB 267    An  Act  relating  to  review  and  expiration  of                 
            regulations; and providing for an effective date.                  
                                                                               
            HB 267 was rescheduled to another time.                            
  SB 162    An  Act  relating to  land  used  for agricultural                 
            purposes  and   to  state   land  classified   for                 
            agricultural   purposes   or   subject    to   the                 
            restriction of use for agricultural purposes only;                 
                                                                               
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            and annulling certain  program regulations of  the                 
            Department   of   Natural   Resources   that   are                 
            inconsistent with the amendments made by this Act.                 
                                                                               
            CSSB 162 (FIN) was reported  out of Committee with                 
            a "do  pass" recommendation  and  with two  fiscal                 
            impact  notes   by  the   Department  of   Natural                 
            Resources, one dated 2/14/96.                                      
  SENATE BILL NO. 162                                                          
                                                                               
       "An Act relating to land used for agricultural purposes                 
       and  to state land classified for agricultural purposes                 
       or subject to  the restriction of use  for agricultural                 
       purposes   only;   and   annulling    certain   program                 
       regulations of the Department of Natural Resources that                 
       are inconsistent with the amendments made by this Act."                 
                                                                               
  BRETT HUBER, STAFF, SENATOR GREEN testified in support of SB                 
  162.   He noted that SB 162 was introduced to facilitate the                 
  growth  of  agriculture   in  Alaska.    He   asserted  that                 
  Agriculture in Alaska  is currently  a $30.0 million  dollar                 
  annual industry.   It is  a renewable industry  that creates                 
  new wealth and provides jobs.  He explained that the primary                 
  intent of the  bill is to provide for  the conveyance of fee                 
  simple title  for agricultural  land subject  to restrictive                 
  covenant  running  with   the  land  limiting  the   use  to                 
  agricultural  purpose.     The   legislation  protects   the                 
  agricultural  utilization  of  the land  while  allowing the                 
  individual  farmer clear property  rights, protection of due                 
  process  and  greater flexibility  in  securing conventional                 
  financing.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Mr. Huber maintained that agricultural land owners will have                 
  the ability  to make  business decisions  responsive to  the                 
  market  place  and based  on  individual circumstances.   He                 
  added that the  legislation will allow more  Alaskan farmers                 
  an  opportunity  to succeed  and  further contribute  to the                 
  State's economy.  He noted that the legislation is supported                 
  by the agricultural community.                                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Huber  reviewed the legislation  by section.   Section 1                 
  outlines the primary intent  of the bill to provide  for the                 
  conveyance  of  fee  simple title  for  agricultural  land.                  
  Representative Brown asked if fee simple title would include                 
  subsurface land.  Mr. Huber noted that subsurface land would                 
  not be included.                                                             
                                                                               
  Mr. Huber  noted that section 2 is  enabling language giving                 
  the Department the  option to eliminate the  requirement for                 
  cadastral  survey of agricultural  lands prior  to disposal.                 
  Representative Brown  asked how people would  establish land                 
                                                                               
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  boundaries.  Mr.  Huber explained that this  provision would                 
  eliminate  the  requirement to  survey  areas that  had been                 
  previously  surveyed.    The   provision  is  only  enabling                 
  language.   The land  would  still be  subject to  municipal                 
  planning regulations.                                                        
                                                                               
  Representative Brown questioned if the State would be liable                 
  if the land was not properly  surveyed.  Mr. Huber responded                 
  that  the  Division  would  make  that determination  before                 
  disposal.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Sections 3 is enabling language  allowing the Department the                 
  option to dispose of agricultural land under a site specific                 
  plan if no regional use land plan is in place.                               
                                                                               
  Section 4 removes the Department's authority to require pre-                 
  qualification to participate in an agricultural  development                 
  project under former  AS 44.33.475, repealed in 1979.   This                 
  section also allows  the Department to modify  existing farm                 
  development  schedules  to  respond  to  changing   economic                 
  circumstances.                                                               
                                                                               
  Section 5 is a technical change to reflect the repeal of the                 
  former  Agricultural Action  Council  statutes.   Mr.  Huber                 
  added that section  6 allows  the Department  to dispose  of                 
  land by aliquot parts.  This  corresponds to the language in                 
  section 2.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Section  7  clarifies  contract  terms  with regard  to  the                 
  Department's  options in declaring  a payment moratorium for                 
  agricultural land contracts.                                                 
                                                                               
  Section 8 provides  that the interest rate  for agricultural                 
  land shall not exceed 9.5 percent.  This section also allows                 
  the  inclusion  of  interest  in   the  payment  moratoriums                 
  authorized by AS 38.05.065(h).                                               
                                                                               
  Section 9 establishes  the covenant that runs  with the land                 
  and  limits or  restricts  its utilization  for agricultural                 
  purpose.    This  section   also  outlines  the  subdivision                 
  parameters for agricultural land.                                            
                                                                               
  Section   10  provides   for  a   corresponding   change  in                 
  agricultural  land title status  for agricultural  land that                 
  has  been transferred to  municipalities.  In  response to a                 
  question by Representative  Therriault, Mr. Huber  explained                 
  that  this section  provides for  the same  change in  title                 
  transfer   to   the   land   that   was   transferred   from                 
  municipalities under the municipal entitlement,  as it would                 
  for  a  holder  of private  agricultural  rights  land.   He                 
  explained that a portion of municipal entitlement lands were                 
  designated for  agricultural utilization only.   This allows                 
                                                                               
                                3                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  the municipalities to go back and change their title status.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative  Brown  questioned if  the  legislation would                 
  effect existing  agricultural disposal.   Mr.  Huber replied                 
  that   the  legislation   would  effect   agricultural  land                 
  currently in utilization that has already been competitively                 
  disposed.   Representative  Brown asked  if  the competitive                 
  lease  terms would  be modified.    Mr. Huber  observed that                 
  before or after the transfer of title or the changes allowed                 
  by the legislation,  the individual that purchased  the land                 
  had the opportunity to use it for agricultural purposes.                     
                                                                               
  Section 11 states that  the Department may require the  land                 
  owner  to   cooperate  with  soil   conservation  districts.                 
  Section  11  also  restricts the  Department's  use  of farm                 
  development plans unless they are modifiable due to economic                 
  hardship or  other extenuating circumstances.   This section                 
  also   allows  the   landowner   the   right  to   construct                 
  agricultural related improvements, the right to use the land                 
  for purposes that  are incidental and not  inconsistent with                 
  the primary agricultural  use, the  right to utilize  gravel                 
  and remove  and dispose  of timber,  the right  to sell  and                 
  subdivide  agricultural  land  as set  out  by  covenant and                 
  provides  a definition  of  "agricultural purposes".    This                 
  section  also ensures remedy for breach  of covenant will be                 
  by civil proceeding.                                                         
                                                                               
  Sections 12 and  13 are transitional sections  providing for                 
  the transfer of agricultural rights only title to fee simple                 
  title  with   agricultural  covenants.    This   process  is                 
  applicant  driven.     The  land  owner  may  apply  to  the                 
  Department for  new title and  must provide, at  their cost,                 
  proof of ownership through title insurance or title report.                  
                                                                               
  Section  14  repeals  Departmental regulations  inconsistent                 
  with the statutory changes made through the legislation.                     
                                                                               
  BILL   WARD,  WARD   FARMS,   SOLDOTNA  testified   via  the                 
  teleconference network.  He spoke in support of  SB 162.  He                 
  stressed  that  the  legislation  has  created  a  sense  of                 
  optimism in the agricultural community.   He maintained that                 
  the legislation will take the State  out of the agricultural                 
  industry.  He stressed that there is no risk to the State.                   
                                                                               
  Mr. Ward discussed the fiscal note.  He stressed that owners                 
  are  willing  to  pay  the  cost  of the  legislation.    He                 
  emphasized  that  there  would  be   a  reduction  in  state                 
  administration  costs.   He  observed that  the agricultural                 
  industry is growing 10 percent a year.                                       
                                                                               
  MIKE   SCHULTZ,   DELTA    JUNCTION   testified   via    the                 
                                                                               
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  teleconference network.  He spoke in support  of SB 162.  He                 
  observed  that the legislation  will resolve  title problems                 
  relating to agricultural lands.                                              
                                                                               
  LARRY  PETTY, NORTH  POLE testified  via the  teleconference                 
  network.                                                                     
  He maintained that the Agricultural Revolving Loan Fund does                 
  not have sufficient funds to loan to all the farmers  in the                 
  State.  He observed that without  titles it is impossible to                 
  obtain  traditional loans or borrow  money to build homes on                 
  the land.                                                                    
                                                                               
  ART  GRISWOLD, NORTH  POLE testified via  the teleconference                 
  network. He spoke in support of SB 162.  He maintained  that                 
  agricultural farming should be a private industry.                           
                                                                               
  JOHN GLOTFELTY, NORTH POLE  testified via the teleconference                 
  network.  He  spoke in support of  SB 162.  He  stressed the                 
  difficulty in obtaining  loans.  He  observed that he  could                 
  obtain federal funding if he had title to the land.                          
                                                                               
  ED  BOSTROM,  NORTH  POLE testified  via  the teleconference                 
  network.  He  spoke in support of  SB 162.  He  observed the                 
  importance of SB  162 in  promoting economic development  in                 
  agriculture.   He  maintained  that the  current regulations                 
  regarding agriculture are  detrimental to the industry.   He                 
  noted other groups in support of SB 162.                                     
                                                                               
  PETE  ROBERTS,   HOMER  testified  via   the  teleconference                 
  network.  He spoke in support of SB 162.  He emphasized that                 
  SB 162 clears  up ambiguities in  regard to title rights  of                 
  agricultural land.   He asserted  that the State  should not                 
  micro manage small businesses.                                               
                                                                               
  DENNIS WADE, HOMER testified via the teleconference network.                 
  He spoke in support of SB 162.  He noted problems associated                 
  with  agricultural  land  titles.   He  maintained  that the                 
  lottery system should  be abolished.  He  asserted that land                 
  disposed  of by the  lottery is  being used  for residential                 
  purposes only.                                                               
                                                                               
  HARVEY  BASKINS, WASILLA  testified  via the  teleconference                 
  network.  He spoke in support of SB 162.  He maintained that                 
  SB 162 is  the most aggressive  piece of legislation he  has                 
  seen.    He noted  problems  with  the lack  of  title.   He                 
  maintained that he is  still a tenant farmer for  the State.                 
  He  observed that  farmers can  only borrow  money from  the                 
  Agricultural Revolving Loan Fund.                                            
                                                                               
  JOHN  CRAMER,  WASILLA  testified  via  the   teleconference                 
  network.   He spoke  in support of  SB 162.   He  noted that                 
  interest  rates  in  the  private  sector  are  lower.    He                 
                                                                               
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  maintained that the legislation  will encourage agriculture.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative   Brown   expressed  concern   regarding  how                 
  existing contract provisions would be affected.                              
                                                                               
  RON  SWANSON,  DIRECTOR, DIVISION  OF  LANDS,  DEPARTMENT OF                 
  NATURAL RESOURCES explained that the legislation will convey                 
  the land in  fee simple with  an agricultural covenant.   If                 
  the land  is not  used for  agricultural purposes the  State                 
  would have to  go to  civil court to  enforce the  covenant.                 
  This  would give banks  sufficient security  for loans.   He                 
  maintained that there will be no difference "on the ground".                 
                                                                               
  Representative Brown referred to section  4.  She questioned                 
  what development  requirements  will remain.    Mr.  Swanson                 
  noted that previous  sales required  that bidders were  pre-                 
  qualified.   The Court  ruled that the  legislature did  not                 
  have legislative authority  to require pre-qualification  of                 
  bidders.   The Department subsequently  obtained legislative                 
  authorization.    However,  the  Department   has  not  pre-                 
  qualified  individuals  since legislative  authorization was                 
  obtained.  He  added that  if economic consideration  change                 
  certain conditions could  be waived.   He stated that it  is                 
  not  the Department's  intent  to direct  farmers  regarding                 
  which crops to  grow.   He stressed that  the Department  of                 
  Natural Resources's  concern is  that the land  be used  for                 
  agricultural purposes.                                                       
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-120, Side 2)                                            
                                                                               
  Mr. Huber referred to page 7, section 11.  He noted that the                 
  Department has  the ability  to require  a farm  development                 
  plan if they feel it is reasonable.   The plan would need to                 
  be  modifiable  due to  economic hardships.   Representative                 
  Brown  maintained  that  the  language  is confusing.    She                 
  suggested  that  section  7  be  modified to  eliminate  the                 
  provision regarding development plans.                                       
                                                                               
  Mr. Huber  observed that  the  Department does  not want  to                 
  differentiate between  agricultural purposes.   He  stressed                 
  that section 7  allows the Department to  require that there                 
  is agricultural utilization without the ability to determine                 
  how the land has to be used.                                                 
                                                                               
  Mr.  Swanson  explained  that  failure  to comply  with  the                 
  development plan would be a breach  in contract.  This could                 
  be resolved  through administrative action.   Representative                 
  Brown  summarized that  the lease could  be cancelled  if an                 
  individual is not  in compliance with the  development plan.                 
  Mr. Swanson clarified that the  legislation does not require                 
  that the land be used for  agricultural purposes, but if the                 
                                                                               
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  land is used it must be for agricultural purposes.                           
                                                                               
  In  response  to  a question  by  Representative  Brown, Mr.                 
  Swanson stressed  that contracts will  not be  renegotiated.                 
  The only thing the Department will  modify is the deeds that                 
  have been issued.  If an individual wants to have their deed                 
  modified  they  must  provided the  title  report  and other                 
  required  documents.  Any new patents  that are issued after                 
  the  contract has been met and paid for will contain the new                 
  language.  New sales will come under the new provisions.                     
                                                                               
  In response to a question by Representative Grussendorf, Mr.                 
  Swanson stated that  agricultural land  in probate would  be                 
  treated  the  same  as  any   agricultural  land.    Current                 
  regulations allow  agricultural land  to be subdivided  into                 
  unlimited 40 acres  parcels.  Under  the current law the  40                 
  acre parcels  cannot be built  upon.  The  legislation would                 
  allow land  to  be  subdivided  into  40  acres  or  greater                 
  parcels, but places  a limit of four subdivided portions per                 
  contract.  Under the legislation  improvements can be put on                 
  the four subdivided parcels.   Residences can be put  on the                 
  land, but the land must be used for agricultural purposes.                   
                                                                               
  Representative Therriault noted that farmers have difficulty                 
  selling  portions  of  their  property  if  improvements are                 
  denied.  He referred to section 11 on page 6.                                
                                                                               
  Mr.  Huber  explained  that  it  is  possible  that  a  land                 
  purchaser would receive  help from  the Division in  putting                 
  together a business  or farm plan.   The intent is  to leave                 
  the  Division  with discretion.   He  added  that if  a farm                 
  development plan is required it must be modifiable.                          
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley asked  why a 9.5  percent interest rate  was                 
  elected.    Mr.  Huber  observed  that  the  Senate  Finance                 
  Committee  recommended  a  9.5 percent  interest  rate.   He                 
  observed  that 9.5  percent is  the interest  rate  used for                 
  small  business  loans.   Mr.  Swanson  emphasized  that the                 
  interest rate cannot exceed 9.5 percent.   The rate could be                 
  below 9.5 percent.                                                           
                                                                               
  Representative Brown noted that section  8 does not apply to                 
  existing moratoriums.  Mr. Swanson observed  that the use of                 
  timber and gravel  is allowed if it  is used on site  and is                 
  needed for  agricultural development.   Representative Brown                 
  thought that the legislation would allow removal and sale of                 
  gravel and timber  as long  as it is  used for  agricultural                 
  purposes.  Mr. Huber clarified  that subsection (3) requires                 
  that the gravel or timber be used on the parcel conveyed.                    
                                                                               
  Representative Brown maintained  that the  ability to put  a                 
  residence on subdivided land would increase land value.  Mr.                 
                                                                               
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  Swanson explained  that the  Department's calculations  show                 
  that prices  would remain  approximately the  same based  on                 
  appraisals  by  private  industry.    He  noted  that  Delta                 
  Junction farms are expanding.  He asserted that farmers will                 
  be able to live on their farms.                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Brown referred  to subsection (e) on  page 7.                 
  She asked what the State can  use to enforce the provisions.                 
  Mr.  Swanson  stressed that  it  would  be the  same  as any                 
  reality provision.   The only  enforcement that would  carry                 
  over is the agricultural covenant.                                           
                                                                               
  Mr. Swanson noted that approximately  230 contracts are paid                 
  off and could be conveyed fee simple.  Mr. Huber noted  that                 
  the  transfer is  at the  request of  the  land holder.   He                 
  reiterated that the  land owner must provide  the Department                 
  with  required  documentation.    Representative  Therriault                 
  added that those that need loans will initiate the transfer.                 
                                                                               
  In  response  to  a question  by  Representative  Brown, Mr.                 
  Swanson  noted  that  the legislation  was  reviewed  by the                 
  Office of the Attorney General.                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Martin MOVED to report  CSSB 162 (FIN) out of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal note.   Co-Chair  Hanley noted that  the                 
  fiscal  note  contained  an  error   in  the  second  year's                 
  calculation of general  funds.  Mr.  Swanson noted that  the                 
  fiscal note would  be revised to reflect  the correct amount                 
  of  11.4  thousand  dollars  in  the general  funds  funding                 
  source.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                        
                                                                               
  CSSB 162  (FIN) was  reported out  of Committee  with a  "do                 
  pass" recommendation and with two fiscal impact notes by the                 
  Department of Natural Resources, one dated 2/14/96.                          
  HOUSE BILL NO. 175                                                           
                                                                               
       An Act relating to sport fish guides; and providing for                 
       an effective date.                                                      
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN,  sponsor of HB 175,  spoke in                 
  support  of  the   legislation.    He  explained   that  the                 
  legislation would register sport charter boat operators.  He                 
  reviewed the legislation by section:                                         
                                                                               
       *    Section  1  requires  a  sport  fish  operator  to                 
            register.                                                          
                                                                               
       *    Section 2 sets the fees for a sport fish operator.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                8                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
       *    Section 3 makes catch  records confidential within                 
            the Department of Fish and Game.                                   
                                                                               
       *    Section  4  establishes  a  two  tier  system   of                 
            registering operators.  The first  tier is a sport                 
            fishing  service operator licenses.  This would be                 
            a guide  or lodge  operator who  has other  guides                 
            working underneath them.  The second tier would be                 
            the fishing guide who could also be an operator.                   
                                                                               
  Representative Austerman noted that the reporting system  is                 
  covered  on page 5.   Penalties  for noncompliance  are also                 
  established on page five.  He stressed that the intent is to                 
  provide data on the amount of fish caught in the sport  fish                 
  industry.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Representative  Martin  asked  why not  require  a  two year                 
  license.                                                                     
                                                                               
  KEVIN DELANEY, DIRECTOR, SPORT FISH,  DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND                 
  GAME explained that the industry is dynamic.  He recommended                 
  annual  licenses.    Representative   Austerman  noted  that                 
  vendors can sell guide licenses.                                             
                                                                               
  In response to a question by Representative Martin, Co-Chair                 
  Hanley clarified that individuals that guide for free do not                 
  need a license.                                                              
                                                                               
  Representative  Martin  expressed concern  that out-of-state                 
  individuals can become guides.                                               
                                                                               
  DENNIS WADE, HOMER testified via the teleconference network.                 
  He spoke in  support of  the legislation.   He testified  in                 
  favor of two  year licenses.   He  suggested that  sanctions                 
  should be higher.  He stated  that there should be mandatory                 
  punishment such as loss of license.                                          
                                                                               
  Mr.  Delaney stated  that the  Department of  Fish and  Game                 
  supports the  legislation.   He  noted that  the sport  fish                 
  industry is an  important part  of the State's  recreational                 
  and  tourism  industry.   He  stressed that  the legislation                 
  blends  interests.    He  noted   that  the  legislation  is                 
  supported by the Board of Fisheries.                                         
                                                                               
  Representative Brown referred to page 6, line 27.  She asked                 
  for further clarification of the language.                                   
                                                                               
  Mr. Delaney explained that  there are two tiers.   The first                 
  tier would be the sport fish operators.  They are the owners                 
  of the businesses.   They may or may not  be the individuals                 
  that accompany the clients in the field.                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                9                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-121, Side 1)                                            
                                                                               
  Mr. Delaney noted  that an  individual can be  a sport  fish                 
  operator without being  a guide or  a guide without being  a                 
  sport fish operator.  An individual  cannot book the trip if                 
  they are not a sport fish operator.                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Austerman explained that if  a guide wants to                 
  take people  out on  his boat  he can  get a  license as  an                 
  operator so that he can book his own trips.                                  
                                                                               
  Representative Brown maintained that the language on page 6,                 
  line 27  is not  clear.   Co-Chair Hanley  noted that  sport                 
  fishing services do  not include booking or  other ancillary                 
  services.  Representative Austerman noted that the intent is                 
  to eliminate out-of-state operators.                                         
                                                                               
  Mr. Delaney stated that  a booking agent can be  anywhere in                 
  the world.   A fishing guide is  the person standing next to                 
  the client in the  field for hire.  The  operator is between                 
  these two classes.  They are the entity that sets up all the                 
  logistics  and  handles  the field  operations  but  may not                 
  actually accompany the client.                                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Delaney explained  that outfitters are contained  in the                 
  sport fishing services operator definition.                                  
                                                                               
  Representative Brown suggested  that page 6, line  27 should                 
  be deleted.   Representative Austerman noted that  the sport                 
  fishing service  operator  does not  need  to have  a  guide                 
  license.                                                                     
  Representative  Brown argued  that  the service  itself does                 
  include  the  activity  for  which  a license  is  required.                 
  Representative Austerman explained  that if a  sport service                 
  operator has a  guide license they  can take clients out  to                 
  fish.   He  added that  clients  cannot deal  directly  with                 
  guides.  They must go through an operator.                                   
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley summarized that individuals cannot not  work                 
  through  a  travel  agency   without  an  operator  license.                 
  Representative  Austerman  reiterated  that the  legislation                 
  will require that guides  work through an operator or  be an                 
  operator.  He pointed  out that there is no  additional cost                 
  to be a  guide and operator.  The majority  of small charter                 
  boat operators will be both.                                                 
                                                                               
  In  response to  a question  by Representative  Grussendorf,                 
  Representative Austerman  clarified that an  individual that                 
  rents  boats  would not  need  to have  an  operator license                 
  unless a guide is included with the boat rental.                             
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder  noted that operators are  required to                 
                                                                               
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  have  insurance.   Guides  do  not have  insurance  to cover                 
  clients.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley asked why operator licenses are needed.   He                 
  asked  why  the  insurance and  other  requirements  are not                 
  placed on the  guide.  Representative Austerman  stated that                 
  the operator license is needed to cover lodge owners.                        
                                                                               
  Representative  Austerman  explained   that  operators   are                 
  required to have  insurance so that operations  with several                 
  guides can have one coverage for all guides.                                 
                                                                               
  Mr. Delaney  explained that  the purpose  of separating  the                 
  person in the  field from the business owner  is to hold the                 
  owners accountable for reporting.   He stressed that it will                 
  be more efficient  to collect  information from the  service                 
  operator.                                                                    
                                                                               
  In  response  to a  question  by Representative  Martin, Mr.                 
  Delaney   noted  that  the  guiding  industry  supports  the                 
  insurance requirement.  Representative Martin questioned the                 
  need for insurance.                                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Austerman  noted that there  are requirements                 
  for insurance, cardiopulmonary resuscitation training, and a                 
  U.S.  Coast  Guard  license to  carry  passengers  for hire.                 
  These were requested  by the  industry.  He  noted that  the                 
  insurance  requirement  was lowered  from  $500.0  to $300.0                 
  thousand dollars.  Representative Mulder observed that there                 
  is a similar requirement for guiding on the Kenai River.  He                 
  stated that the  level of coverage would  cost approximately                 
  $700  dollars  a  year.    He  noted that  the  Kenai  River                 
  Management Plan  only covers  the Kenai  River.   Discussion                 
  ensued regarding six pack licenses.                                          
                                                                               
  Representative   Kelly   stressed   that   the   legislation                 
  accommodates two  existing classes  that were  created in  a                 
  free market.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Brown  referred   to  the  requirement   for                 
  confidentiality.    Representative Austerman  explained that                 
  operators and guides  are protective of the  areas that they                 
  use for their clients.  They do  not want others to know how                 
  well an area is producing.                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative  Brown  questioned  if   the  confidentiality                 
  requirements are too broad.   Representative Mulder stressed                 
  that guides know  where other  guides fish.   Representative                 
  Brown suggested  that aggregate  data could  be released  by                 
  river.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Mr. Delaney  noted that  commercial fishing  laws allow  the                 
                                                                               
                               11                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  release  of  aggregate  numbers.    He  suggested  that  the                 
  language be reviewed.   He noted that release of  data would                 
  be on a fishery by fishery basis.                                            
                                                                               
  Representative Brown observed that  page 2, line 3 could  be                 
  clarified as to what information would be kept confidential.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Hanley pointed out that there are some rivers that                 
  only have one  guide.   Mr. Delaney was  instructed to  work                 
  with the legal department on an amendment.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Brown asked if the legislation limits who can                 
  get a license.   Representative  Austerman replied that  the                 
  only restrictions are  under the  definition.  It  is not  a                 
  limited entry program.                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder referred to the fiscal note.  He asked                 
  if all the positions requested would be needed.  Mr. Delaney                 
  spoke in support of the  fiscal note.  Representative Mulder                 
  asked  why  two  new  biologist  are  needed.   Mr.  Delaney                 
  observed that  there is  a one  year statewide  registration                 
  that does  not  cover the  mandatory reporting  requirement.                 
  Two positions  are needed  to comply  with the  provision to                 
  compile information in season.                                               
                                                                               
  Representative  Austerman questioned  if the  Department has                 
  considered log books  that could be  compiled at the end  of                 
  the  season.    Mr. Delaney stated  that log  books would be                 
  issued  to operators.   Operators would be  required to keep                 
  the log books  current through the  season.  The  Department                 
  would collect the log books post season.  He emphasized that                 
  information will need to be sorted out.                                      
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder  questioned  if  the  North   Pacific                 
  Management Council  considers the  information in log  books                 
  verifiable.                                                                  
                                                                               
  DOUGLAS VINCENT-LANG, DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME  testified                 
  that  the North  Pacific  Management  Council considers  the                 
  information  in  log books  verifiable,  but that  they have                 
  extended programs to verify the information.                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder  noted that  he  has an  amendment to                 
  delete the requirement for in-season log books.  Mr. Delaney                 
  stated that he did not object to the amendment.  He stressed                 
  that he did  not want to  leave the impression that  someone                 
  could  get  information  in  July on  the  number  of guided                 
  anglers  in a specific area.  He  did not think the proposed                 
  amendment would reduce the fiscal note.                                      
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder  expressed concern  that  the program                 
                                                                               
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  will cost  more than  the estimated  program receipts.   Mr.                 
  Delaney stated  that the  season biologist's  time could  be                 
  reduced  by  not being  obligated  to a  statewide in-season                 
  information system.   This  would make  the program  revenue                 
  neutral.  He  pointed out that the fees go into the Fish and                 
  Game Fund.  He spoke in support of the program.                              
                                                                               
  HB 175 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                      
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
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