Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/16/1996 08:20 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                         April 16, 1996                                        
                            8:20 A.M.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 96-122, Side 1, #000 - end.                                         
  TAPE HFC 96-122, Side 2, #000 - #471.                                        
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Mark Hanley  called  the  House Finance  Committee                 
  meeting to order at 8:20 a.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;  Kevin  Delaney,  Director,                 
  Division  of Sport  Fish; Bruce Geron,  Legislative Liaison,                 
  Department of Fish  and Game; Gary  Hull, Guide, Kenai;  Joe                 
  Harding, Kenai; Jeff King, Kenai.                                            
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
                                                                               
  HB 175    An  Act   relating  to  sport  fish   guides;  and                 
            providing for an effective date.                                   
                                                                               
            CSHB 175 (FIN) was reported  out of Committee with                 
            "no recommendation" Department of Fish and Game.                   
  HB 267    An  Act  relating  to  review  and  expiration  of                 
            regulations; and providing for an effective date.                  
                                                                               
            HB 267 was rescheduled to another time.                            
  HB 543    An  Act establishing  a  preference when  entering                 
            into state airport land leases.                                    
                                                                               
            HB 543 was rescheduled to another time.                            
  HOUSE BILL NO. 175                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act relating  to sport  fish guides; and  providing                 
       for an effective date."                                                 
                                                                               
                                1                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE  ALAN AUSTERMAN, SPONSOR,  stated he would be                 
  available for discussion regarding  amendments offered on HB
  175.                                                                         
                                                                               
  Representative   Mulder  MOVED  to  adopt  Amendment  1,  9-                 
  LS0664\U.3  (copy  on   file).    Amendment  1   relates  to                 
  compensation of vendors of fish and game licenses  and tags.                 
  He explained that the amendment  would allow money collected                 
  by an agent to be assigned  to a nonprofit involved in  fish                 
  or game.  Money collected by the Department of Fish and Game                 
  could go directly to the charity.   He noted that sport fish                 
  and hunting groups support Amendment 1.                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley  questioned if  the amendment would  require                 
  additional paper work by the Department.                                     
                                                                               
  GERON  BRUCE, LEGISLATIVE  LIAISON,  DEPARTMENT OF  FISH AND                 
  GAME observed  that another  piece of  legislation has  been                 
  introduced that would allow the vendor  to retain all of the                 
  compensation without going  through the  Department of  Fish                 
  and Game.  He  stressed that if this legislation  is enacted                 
  Amendment  1 would  be  superseded.   He  observed that  the                 
  Department  would write  the  check to  the  nonprofit.   He                 
  suggested  that  consistency  with   federal  provisions  be                 
  reviewed.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Representative Brown asked if the amendment would add fiscal                 
  impact to the Department.  Representative Mulder stated that                 
  he did not  anticipate a fiscal  note.  He pointed  out that                 
  the Department would still  send the agent a check  if it is                 
  not sent  to a non-profit.  Representative Brown pointed out                 
  that the funds could be portioned  and assigned to more than                 
  one party.  She suggested that  the administrative cost come                 
  out of the vendors share.                                                    
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder WITHDREW  Amendment 1.   He noted  his                 
  intention to offer  the amendment on  the House floor.   Co-                 
  Chair  Hanley   suggested  that  the   amendment  take  into                 
  consideration the possible enactment of other legislation.                   
                                                                               
  KEVIN DELANEY, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF  SPORT FISH, DEPARTMENT                 
  OF FISH AND  GAME discussed Amendment  2, by the  Department                 
  (copy  on  file).   He  noted  that the  amendment  would be                 
  inserted on page  2, line 17.   The amendment clarifies  the                 
  type of information that would remain confidential.  Records                 
  or reports  that do  not identify  individual sport  fishing                 
  operators or the specific locations where the fish have been                 
  taken are public information.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Brown suggested  the language,  "information,                 
  except  aggregated  data  that do  not  identify  individual                 
                                                                               
                                2                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  operators  or guides."  She  questioned why "guides" are not                 
  identified.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Mr.  Delaney clarified  that  operators are  responsible for                 
  supplying the  information.   Representative Mulder  pointed                 
  out that operators are responsible for the guides.                           
                                                                               
  In  response  to  comments  by  Representative  Mulder,  Mr.                 
  Delaney  clarified  that  the  information  can be  compiled                 
  during the season for  collection at the end of  the season.                 
  He  added  that the  fiscal note  could  be reduced  to five                 
  months  of accounting work,  and eight months  for a fishery                 
  biologist II, for a total of $61.5 thousand dollars.                         
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder  asked   how  in-season   information                 
  demands in Southeast Alaska  would be handled.   Mr. Delaney                 
  noted  that the  Department  is required  to keep  a running                 
  estimation  of harvest  of king  salmon  to comply  with the                 
  harvest quota.                                                               
                                                                               
  Members were provided with Amendment  2A, 9-LS0664\U.6 (copy                 
  on  file).    Amendment  2A  addresses  the  same  issue  as                 
  Amendment 2.                                                                 
                                                                               
  GARY HULL,  KENAI testified via  the teleconference network.                 
  He suggested  that individuals be  required to have  been in                 
  Alaska  for  three  of the  last  five  years  to obtain  an                 
  operator's license.  He emphasized that this amendment would                 
  ensure local hire and knowledge of Alaskan fisheries.                        
                                                                               
  Representative Martin questioned the cost of insurance.  Mr.                 
  Hull  noted  that he  pays  $1100  dollars for  6  months of                 
  liability for clients, property and himself.                                 
                                                                               
  JOE HARDY, KENAI testified via the teleconference network.                   
  He spoke  in support  of the  legislation.   He agreed  that                 
  qualification licenses should require that licensees live in                 
  Alaska for three  of the last five years.  He added that the                 
  licensee  should also  be  at least  18 years  of  age.   He                 
  stressed  that  a  minimum of  Alaskan  expertise  should be                 
  required.                                                                    
                                                                               
  JEFF KING, KENAI testified  via the teleconference  network.                 
  He maintained that the  Department of Fish and Game  must be                 
  flexible and creative  in regards to the collection  of data                 
  provided by the legislation.                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Martin  asked if  other  states require  log                 
  books.  Mr. King did not know.  He stressed that information                 
  in log books is not always accurate.                                         
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder noted  fears that  data could be  used                 
                                                                               
                                3                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  against  guides  and  sport fisherman  in  justification for                 
  restrictions.   Mr. King  stressed that accurate information                 
  is important.   He acknowledged  that data can  be used  for                 
  political purposes.  He expressed faith in the Department of                 
  Fish and Game.                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Grussendorf observed that log  books are used                 
  by  trollers.   He  noted that  the trollers  have expressed                 
  support for the use of log books.  He noted the need to keep                 
  information regarding harvest locations confidential.                        
                                                                               
  Mr. Delaney noted that the Department anticipates collecting                 
  information from operators.  He stated that the addition  of                 
  guide in  Amendment 2A  is not  problematic.   He  expressed                 
  support for Amendment 2A.                                                    
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder  MOVED  to adopt  Amendment  2A.   In                 
  response   to  questions   by  Representatives   Martin  and                 
  Grussendorf,  Co-Chair  Hanley clarified  that  Amendment 2A                 
  would keep the specific location  confidential.  There being                 
  NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                             
                                                                               
  Representative   Kelly  MOVED  to   adopt  Amendment  3,  9-                 
  LS0664\U.4 (copy on file).   He explained that the amendment                 
  would recognize the value of game for other than consumptive                 
  use.   He  observed  that  there has  been  movement  toward                 
  cutting  resources  for  non-consumptive  uses  out  of  the                 
  Department of Fish and Game.  He asserted that the amendment                 
  would  assure   that  eco-tourism  guides  would  be  assure                 
  representation  within  the  Department  of  Fish  and  Game                 
  budget.  He maintained that the amendment will help identify                 
  eco-tourism guides  and allow use  decisions to be  based on                 
  actual contributions in the area.  He stated that the Alaska                 
  Outdoor  Council  is  in  support  of   the  effort  to  get                 
  wilderness activity into the process of paying fees.                         
                                                                               
  Representative Kelly  observed  that a  1959 Alaska  statute                 
  identified non-consumptive  users as guides.   He maintained                 
  that non-consumptive users should be included "at the table"                 
  and  pay  their own  way.    Amendment 3  would  add outdoor                 
  wilderness activity guides to the list of guides required to                 
  obtain a license.  He  observed that activities conducted on                 
  a cruise ship or aircraft are  exempted.  The amendment also                 
  defines "outdoor wilderness" as off road activity.                           
                                                                               
  Representative Grussendorf noted  that some operator  guides                 
  may  spend  time in  other  outdoor activities  with clients                 
  after   fishing.     Representative  Kelly   clarified  that                 
  individuals  that  hold  an operator  or  guide  license are                 
  exempt under subsection (d).                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Kelly   noted  that   the  intent   is  that                 
                                                                               
                                4                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  individuals only pay once.                                                   
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-122, Side 2)                                            
                                                                               
  Representative Kelly  stressed that fish and  game operators                 
  would not need an additional wilderness license.                             
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley thought  that operations in the  Wonder Lake                 
  area would need to be licenced since it is 30 miles  off the                 
  state road system.   Representative Kelly  noted that it  is                 
  not  the intent  of the  amendment to  require licenses  for                 
  these operations.   Co-Chair  Hanley questioned  if a  pilot                 
  would  be  required  to  obtain  a  license  if  they   drop                 
  individuals off  at a wilderness lodge and accompany them to                 
  the lodge.   He added that  some white water operations  are                 
  accessible from the road system and could be exempted.                       
                                                                               
  Representative  Martin expressed  concern  with the  cost of                 
  insurance  for  eco-tourism  guides.   Representative  Kelly                 
  stressed that the State is funding non-consumptive uses.  He                 
  maintained  that  non-consumptive uses  should share  in the                 
  expense.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Kelly clarified  that wilderness guides would                 
  not supply data on resources to the State.  He stressed  the                 
  purpose of their inclusion is  to assess the non-consumptive                 
  use  of  state  resources  for   allocation  purposes.    He                 
  clarified  that  the amendment  would require  an operator's                 
  fee.                                                                         
                                                                               
  Representative Austerman acknowledged the concerns addressed                 
  by  Amendment  3, but  noted  that  the issue  has  not been                 
  previously discussed in the context of HB 175.  He expressed                 
  concern that Amendment 3 would  interfere with the enactment                 
  of the legislation.                                                          
                                                                               
  Mr. Bruce stated  that the  Department of Fish  and Game  is                 
  actively  seeking,   with   support   from   the   Governor,                 
  alternative funding for non-consumptive programs.  He  noted                 
  that the Governor has endorsed  the initiative being brought                 
  forth by the International Association  of Fish and Wildlife                 
  at the national level to  support wildlife diversity funding                 
  that would operate  similar to the  Federal Aid to  Wildlife                 
  Restoration.   This would result in  greater revenues to the                 
  state of Alaska than Alaskans would  pay as their portion of                 
  this  national  tax.   He stressed  that  time is  needed to                 
  generate a state proposal that will not be burdensome to the                 
  industry,  but will collect  the revenues needed  to run the                 
  programs.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Bruce pointed  out that the  amendment does not look  at                 
  the body  of users as a revenue  source.  He emphasized that                 
                                                                               
                                5                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  the users place the primary demand on  the resource.  He did                 
  not think the amendment would raise significant revenue.                     
                                                                               
  Mr. Bruce noted that  HB 175 is primarily a  data collection                 
  bill.  It is not designed to pay for the operational cost of                 
  fish management programs  in the  State in general.   It  is                 
  designed to pay  the cost of  the collection of  information                 
  provided  by  the guides.    He  pointed out  that  the main                 
  revenue  generating mechanism for  sport fish  management is                 
  the  individual user's license fee  and federal funding.  He                 
  emphasized the  need to  find a  funding mechanism  for non-                 
  consumptive uses that mirrors  these broad based mechanisms.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Kelly stated that he  does not support a tent                 
  tax.  He  maintained that hunters pay  at a high level.   He                 
  argued in support of Amendment 3.                                            
                                                                               
  Representative Austerman reiterated that  HB 175 is strictly                 
  geared toward sport fishing.   He suggested that Amendment 3                 
  be tied to other legislation.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Kelly WITHDREW Amendment 3.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative  Navarre  did  not  offer  Amendment  4,   9-                 
  LS0664\U.5 (copy on file).  Amendment 4 would  have required                 
  that guides  hold  an Alaska  sport  fishing license  or  be                 
  engaged in sport  fishing in  Alaska for three  of the  five                 
  years preceding the issuance  of a license.  He  stated that                 
  there  is  some  question  if  the  amendment  would  create                 
  problems for ocean going guide services.                                     
  Representative Mulder  noted that  there is  a problem  with                 
  non-residents  that  operate  in  Southeast  Alaska  without                 
  licenses.  He suggested that Amendment 4 could be limited to                 
  500,000 angler days.                                                         
                                                                               
  Representative Martin expressed concern that small operators                 
  will be adversely affected by insurance requirements.                        
                                                                               
  Representative  Mulder  suggested  that  respondents not  be                 
  specifically named.  He encouraged anonymous reporting.                      
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder MOVED to report CSHB  175 (FIN) out of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal  note.  Representative  Martin OBJECTED.                 
  A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION.                                    
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Brown,  Grussendorf,   Navarre,  Kelly,   Kohring,                 
  Martin,        Mulder, Therriault, Hanley                                    
  OPPOSED:  Martin                                                             
                                                                               
  Representatives  Parnell and  Foster  were  absent from  the                 
                                                                               
                                6                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  vote.                                                                        
                                                                               
  The MOTION PASSED (8-1).                                                     
                                                                               
  CSHB  175  (FIN)  was reported  out  of  Committee  with "no                 
  recommendation" Department of Fish and Game.                                 
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 9:30 a.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
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