Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/21/1997 02:05 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                         APRIL 21, 1997                                        
                            2:05 P.M.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 97 - 108, Side 1, #000 - end.                                       
  TAPE HFC 97 - 108, Side 2, #000 - end.                                       
  TAPE HFC 97 - 109, Side 1, #000 - end.                                       
  TAPE HFC 97 - 109, Side 2, #000 - #210.                                      
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Gene Therriault called  the House Finance Committee                 
  meeting to order at 2:05 P.M.                                                
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley               Representative Kelly                           
  Co-Chair Therriault           Representative Kohring                         
  Representative Davies         Representative Martin                          
  Representative Davis          Representative Moses                           
  Representative Foster         Representative Mulder                          
  Representative Grussendorf                                                   
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative   William   Williams;   Jay  Lively,   Deputy                 
  Commissioner,  Department  of  Health and  Social  Services;                 
  Kristen Bomengen, Assistant Attorney  General, Department of                 
  Law;  John   Sherwood,   Director,   Division   of   Medical                 
  Assistance,  Department  of  Health Social  Services;  Frank                 
  Homan, Former Commissioner, Limited  Entry Commission; Geron                 
  Bruce,  Legislative Liaison,  Department  of Fish  and Game;                 
  Suzanne Goodrich, (Testified via  teleconference), Executive                 
  Director, Catholic Social Services,  Anchorage; Robin Brown,                 
  (Testified  via  teleconference), Catholic  Social Services,                 
  Anchorage; Sylvia Carvajal, (Testified  via teleconference),                 
  Disability Law Center, Anchorage.                                            
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
                                                                               
  HB 153    An Act relating  to the eligibility of  aliens for                 
            state  public  assistance  and medical  assistance                 
            programs  affected  by   federal  welfare   reform                 
            legislation; and providing for an effective date.                  
                                                                               
            CS HB 153 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with                 
            "do pass"  recommendation  and  with  four  fiscal                 
            notes  by  the  Department  of  Health  of  Social                 
            Services dated 2/24/97.                                            
                                                                               
  HB 198    An   Act  relating   to   regional  dive   fishery                 
            development  associations  and  to   dive  fishery                 
                                                                               
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            management  assessments;  and  providing   for  an                 
            effective date.                                                    
                                                                               
            CS HB 198 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with                 
            "individual recommendations" with fiscal  notes by                 
            the Department of Fish and Game dated 4/10/97, the                 
            Department of Revenue dated 4/10/97 and Commission                 
            Fisheries   (Limited)   Entry   Commission   dated                 
            4/10/97.                                                           
  HOUSE BILL 153                                                               
                                                                               
       "An Act relating to the eligibility of aliens for state                 
       public  assistance  and  medical   assistance  programs                 
       affected  by federal  welfare  reform legislation;  and                 
       providing for an effective date."                                       
                                                                               
  JAY LIVELY,  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH  AND                 
  SOCIAL  SERVICES,  explained the  differences  between legal                 
  immigrants  and qualified  aliens under Public  Law 104-193.                 
  Regarding a definition  for a  "legal immigrant", there  are                 
  two issues to consider.  The definition of a legal immigrant                 
  before the passage of  P.L. 104-193 and the definition  of a                 
  "qualified alien" under P.L. 104-193.                                        
                                                                               
  Prior  to  passage   of  P.L.  104-193,  an   immigrant  was                 
  considered eligible for  state and federal  welfare benefits                 
  if they met  the definition of a legal immigrant.   For this                 
  purpose,  a   "legal  immigrant"  included   all  immigrants                 
  lawfully  admitted for  permanent residence,  and immigrants                 
  permanently residing under  color of  law (PRUCOL).   Prucol                 
  aliens are considered legal permanent  residents of the U.S.                 
  even though they did not go  through the process of applying                 
  for  and  being admitted  for  permanent residence.   Prucol                 
  aliens  are aliens living in the  country with the knowledge                 
  and permission of the Immigration and Naturalization Service                 
  (INS)   whose  departure  the   INS  does   not  contemplate                 
  enforcing.                                                                   
                                                                               
  For public assistance  purposes, P.L. 104-193 created  a new                 
  category  of  immigrants called  "qualified  aliens".   Most                 
  "qualified aliens" are  ineligible for public assistance  or                 
  are  only  eligible  if  the  state   opts  to  cover  them.                 
  Immigrants who  are  not "qualified  aliens" are  immigrants                 
  lawfully   admitted   for  permanent   residence,  refugees,                 
  individuals  paroled into  the U.S.  for a  least  one year,                 
  immigrants whose  deportation  is  being  withheld,  certain                 
  immigrants granted  conditional entry, and  certain battered                 
  spouses and children.                                                        
                                                                               
  Mr. Lively continued, under P.L. 104-193, certain categories                 
  of "qualified aliens" remain  eligible for public assistance                 
                                                                               
                                2                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  regardless  of   their  immigrant  status.    The  exception                 
  categories   are:  refugees   and   certain  persons   whose                 
  deportation is being withheld for their first  five years in                 
  the U.S., individuals who have 40 quarters of coverage under                 
  the Social  Security system, and veterans and members of the                 
  armed forces and their spouses and dependent children.                       
                                                                               
  Immigrants  who  become  U.S. citizens  are  not  subject to                 
  immigrant restrictions on public assistance eligibility.                     
                                                                               
  Mr. Lively  pointed out the  Work Opportunity Reconciliation                 
  Act  (WORA)   of  1996,  significantly   impacted  immigrant                 
  eligibility for public  assistance.  Recent  federal changes                 
  reduce or deny benefits to many  legal aliens already in the                 
  country as well as new  arrivals.  Alaska has the  option of                 
  continuing federal state assistance programs for  aliens who                 
  were in the United States before August 22, 1996.                            
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault explained  the effect  of Amendment  #1                 
  provided by the  Governor.  [Copy  on file].  The  amendment                 
  would include certain  battered aliens as qualified  aliens.                 
  The illegal Immigration Reform  and Immigrant Responsibility                 
  Act of 1996 contains a provision that amended the "qualified                 
  alien"  definition to  include  certain  battered aliens  by                 
  adding a new  subsection, 8  U.S.C. 164(c).   The  amendment                 
  would  incorporate   the  additional  provision   and  avoid                 
  inconsistencies with federal guidelines.                                     
                                                                               
  KRISTEN BOMENGEN, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT  OF                 
  LAW, stated  that  the 1996  Act included  a provision  that                 
  added another group to be considered as qualified aliens  in                 
  a separate subsection (c).   The amendment would incorporate                 
  that language with  federal law.  She  added that currently,                 
  there is a pending technical amendment  on the federal level                 
  which is being considered.                                                   
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Therriault asked if the Governor's  amendment would                 
  affect  the  fiscal  note.   Mr.  Lively  replied  that  the                 
  Department does not know how  many current aliens there  are                 
  in the program that have been victims of domestic  violence.                 
  The Department can not make that prediction as this time.                    
                                                                               
  Mr.  Lively  noted  that  each  members  packet  includes  a                 
  demographic  chart indicating the  alien population  and age                 
  break down.    He explained that a  legal alien was a person                 
  who resides in  the country legally  and has arrived in  the                 
  U.S. through some kind of status.                                            
                                                                               
  (Tape Change HFC 97-108, Side 2).                                            
                                                                               
  Ms. Bomengen added  that there  is a group  residing in  the                 
  United States under  a "color  of law", existing  in a  gray                 
                                                                               
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  zone.  They do not have a green card, although, these people                 
  are U.S. citizens.                                                           
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley disclosed that his  sister-in-law is a legal                 
  alien.   He  understood  that  legal  aliens  would  not  be                 
  eligible for benefits for five years.  After that time, they                 
  would be eligible.  To become a legal alien, one must have a                 
  sponsor who will  certify that the  person is able to  get a                 
  job or is willing to provide the job.  He suggested  that If                 
  a person  had a  sponsor, they  would not  be  on a  welfare                 
  program.   The  proposed  legislation will  grand-father  in                 
  those persons who arrived in  the country before August  22,                 
  1996.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Mr. Lively  explained the chart  which had been  prepared by                 
  the  Department  for  the  Committee  meeting.    The  chart                 
  identified fiscal  impacts with  passage of  the legislation                 
  and its' affect to the Adult Public Assistance (APA) portion                 
  of  the  program.    As  of  August, there  were  800  legal                 
  immigrants in that program.  With passage of the bill, those                 
  persons would be grand-fathered in.  In future fiscal years,                 
  there would be attrition  with that group and the  costs for                 
  the  APA  program  will decline.    Without  passage  of the                 
  legislation,  the Alaska  State Statutes  would not  exclude                 
  legal aliens from  Adult Public Assistance.   The Department                 
  would remain responsible for covering those individuals.                     
                                                                               
  The effect to the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP)                 
  would  be the same  as the  net effect  to the  APA program.                 
  There  are currently 820  people on  that program.   Without                 
  passage  the legislation,  legal immigrants  would still  be                 
  eligible for the program.  Because  of the federal five year                 
  ban, there exists a complicating factor which would increase                 
  the general fund  expenditure.  The federal  government will                 
  not participate for five years.                                              
                                                                               
  Mr.  Lively  spoke to  the  Medicaid  program.    State  law                 
  statutes work conversely  for Medicaid than they  do for the                 
  other  two  programs.   In Medicaid,  a  person needs  to be                 
  written  into  the  statute  to  be  eligible.    State  law                 
  currently  does  not  have  legal  immigrants  written  into                 
  statute.  These people have  always been eligible because of                 
  their  relationship  to the  federal  program.   The federal                 
  government,  through the immigration  laws has  severed that                 
  relationship.  If HB 153 passes, the State would continue to                 
  cover legal  immigrants who  arrived in  the country  before                 
  August 22, 1996.                                                             
                                                                               
  JOHN  SHERWOOD,  DIRECTOR, DIVISION  OF  MEDICAL ASSISTANCE,                 
  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES, commented that the                 
  Department's  budget  currently  includes the  spending  for                 
  legal immigrants.  If the bill  passes, the Department would                 
                                                                               
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  continue to cover qualified aliens.  There will be some case                 
  load reductions over-  time with that group  as people newly                 
  arriving  in  this  country  will  experience  a  period  of                 
  ineligibility time.  Because  of the way in which  State law                 
  is written, this would occur whether  or not the bill passes                 
  due to the change in federal law.                                            
                                                                               
  If a choice is made to not cover qualified legal aliens, the                 
  State would  be required  to continue  to provide  emergency                 
  services through the Medicaid program.  In addition, certain                 
  aliens with specific health care needs would be eligible for                 
  general medical  assistance, State General Funds,  an action                 
  which would  create a cost  shift from a 50/50  program to a                 
  general fund program.                                                        
                                                                               
  (Tape Change HFC 97-109, Side 1).                                            
                                                                               
  Mr.  Lively  noted  that if  the  bill  does  not pass,  the                 
  Department  would   quit  serving   all  the   aliens  being                 
  administered by Medicaid.  There  would be a savings off-set                 
  indicated in the fiscal  note.  The State would  continue to                 
  serve  the  legal  immigrants for  emergency  services.   He                 
  concluded that it is important that bills already accrued be                 
  paid for services rendered.                                                  
                                                                               
  Mr.  Sherwood  explained  that  the  legal aliens  would  be                 
  subject  to the  same five  year  bar in  receiving Medicaid                 
  benefits.   The exception with  Medicaid would be that those                 
  persons who were not eligible for regular Medicaid benefits,                 
  may   still  qualify  for   coverage  of  emergency  medical                 
  services.   The  legal aliens arrived  before the  date will                 
  continue to receive benefits as they previously had.                         
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Hanley  asked  if  the  federal  government  would                 
  continue to  provide matching funds  for these people.   Mr.                 
  Lively stated that the federal  government would continue to                 
  pay their share of that  cost for all those in  this country                 
  before August 22, 1996.                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley  asked why there would be  an attrition rate                 
  in the Medicaid portion of the proposed bill, observing that                 
  there  had  not been  a reduction  in  the general  fund for                 
  Medicaid.  Mr. Sherwood  advised that the reduction  was not                 
  indicated on the fiscal note and would not be related to the                 
  passage of the  legislation.  State Statute  stipulates that                 
  money for  new  immigrants  can not  be  spent  through  the                 
  regular Medicaid program.                                                    
                                                                               
  Mr.  Sherwood  continued, because  of  timing uncertainties,                 
  there  are questions  as to  when the provisions  would take                 
  affect.   The  fact  that the  Department  will continue  to                 
  experience   substantial   costs   in  providing   emergency                 
                                                                               
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  services, the decision was made to  include that data in the                 
  low growth assumptions  developed.   Mr. Lively pointed  out                 
  that thirty-five states  have opted  into a similar  welfare                 
  program that Alaska created with the welfare reform.                         
                                                                               
  SUZANNE GOODRICH, (TESTIFIED VIA  TELECONFERENCE), EXECUTIVE                 
  DIRECTOR,  CATHOLIC  SOCIAL   SERVICES,  ANCHORAGE,   shared                 
  observations  of  the  effect  on  immigrants  with  welfare                 
  reform.  She noted that there  are two different groups that                 
  would  be  affected.   The first  group  are those  that are                 
  currently receiving some form of public assistance and whose                 
  benefits will be  cut off.  The  second are those who  enter                 
  the country  after August  22nd,  and would  not qualify  to                 
  receive any assistance for five years.                                       
                                                                               
  She  emphasized  that  it  is  important to  know  that  the                 
  immigrants  being  cut  off   of  assistance  are  full-time                 
  permanent residents.   They are in the country  lawfully and                 
  have paid  into social  security but  are not yet  citizens.                 
  Ms.  Goodrich emphasized  that citizenship is  an emotional,                 
  lengthy and difficult process, especially for someone with a                 
  language barrier, disability or other challenges.                            
                                                                               
  Currently, there are 3,105 individuals  who will be affected                 
  because they are  receiving assistance.  Within  that group,                 
  430 are  children under the age of eighteen and 631 are over                 
  the  age of sixty-four.  There are  801 needy people who are                 
  aged, blind or  disabled.   Catholic Community Services  has                 
  been assisting  the municipality  in providing  a survey  of                 
  immigrants  who  will  be  loosing  their assistance.    She                 
  stressed that when considering  legislation that will affect                 
  immigrants, it  is also critical  to consider the  impact of                 
  welfare reform.  She stressed that the local communities can                 
  not do all the work and  urged Committee members to consider                 
  passage  of HB 153 and the  full impact of welfare reform on                 
  the Alaskan immigrants.                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley asked if  a person had been residing  in the                 
  United States for  seventeen years, would they  then qualify                 
  under the five year federal guideline.  Ms. Goodrich replied                 
  that  would  depend upon  if they  had  worked.   Mr. Lively                 
  stated that if you were an alien who had been in  the states                 
  and had exemptions from  being excluded, and if  that person                 
  had been a veteran, or worked  for forty quarters, then they                 
  would continue to receive benefits even if the five year ban                 
  was imposed.                                                                 
                                                                               
  ROBIN  BROWN,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  DIRECTOR,                 
  CATHOLIC SOCIAL SERVICES,  ANCHORAGE, added, that there  was                 
  an  initial  five  year  ban  which  would  prohibit  lawful                 
  permanent residents from receiving public assistance.  After                 
  the first five  years, an  additional provision would  apply                 
                                                                               
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  and  the  sponsor's   income  would   then  be  taken   into                 
  consideration.   If that  income was  above the  established                 
  income standard,  the immigrant  would not  be eligible  for                 
  public assistance.                                                           
                                                                               
  She pointed out  that a new  affidavit of support form  will                 
  create a contract between the sponsor, the immigrant and the                 
  government.   If  the  immigrant seeks  to apply  for public                 
  assistance, the government would then pursue collection from                 
  the sponsor.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley asked if someone who has been in the country                 
  for  twenty years  would  be  able  to continue  to  receive                 
  benefits with this legislation.   Ms. Brown replied that  it                 
  would  depend  on whether  or not  they  had worked  for the                 
  specified  amount  of time.    Mr. Sherwood  clarified, that                 
  should the  legislation not pass,  that alien would  need to                 
  fall into one of the exempt categories.                                      
                                                                               
  SYLVIA  CARVAJAL,  (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  PROJECT                 
  COORDINATOR, DISABILITY  LAW CENTER, ANCHORAGE,  stated that                 
  her firm was attempting to identify individuals who would be                 
  loosing their federal benefits.  The firm was also providing                 
  assistance for those  that qualify for naturalization.   The                 
  time frame for naturalization exceeds six months.  She urged                 
  Committee members to move the bill from Committee.                           
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault  MOVED to  adopt  Amendment #1.   There                 
  being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                          
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Hanley  MOVED to  report CS  HB  153 (FIN)  out of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  CS  HB 153 (FIN)  was reported out  of Committee with  a "do                 
  pass"  recommendation  and  with four  fiscal  notes  by the                 
  Department of Health of Social Services dated 2/24/97.                       
  HOUSE BILL 198                                                               
                                                                               
       "An Act relating  to regional dive fishery  development                 
       associations   and   to    dive   fishery    management                 
       assessments; and providing for an effective date."                      
                                                                               
  Representative G.  Davis MOVED  that work  draft, CS HB  198                 
  (FIN),  #0-LS0415\C,  Utermohle,  4/21/97,  be  the  version                 
  before the  Committee.   There  being NO  OBJECTION, it  was                 
  adopted.                                                                     
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE  WILLIAM WILLIAMS  stated that  the Southeast                 
  Alaska  dive  fishermen have  been  attempting for  the past                 
                                                                               
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  decade to establish orderly, consistent and stable fisheries                 
  capable  of providing  dependable  economic opportunity  for                 
  themselves, their families and the communities.  The urgency                 
  to create an  economically viable fishery is  highlighted by                 
  the recent closure of the regions largest employer and other                 
  related negative economic effects on the economy.                            
                                                                               
  Substantial  untapped  dive  fishery  resources  have   been                 
  identified through diver and underwater activities  for over                 
  a decade.  The dive fishery  resources appear to be abundant                 
  and diverse throughout the region.  The potential for future                 
  jobs for  harvesters, processors  and support  industries is                 
  considerable.   The temporary fishery opening is  based on a                 
  one time source of  funding that will expire June  30, 1997.                 
  In order to  continue the fishery  and to develop the  other                 
  dive fishery resources, a stable source  of funding would be                 
  necessary.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Williams pointed  out that  HB 198 would  not                 
  mandate  but  allow the  creation  of regional  dive fishery                 
  development associations for the purpose  of developing dive                 
  fisheries and  would create  a working relationship  between                 
  the  divers  and  the Alaska  Department  of  Fish  and Game                 
  (ADF&G) to develop annual operating  plans.  The legislation                 
  is permissive  and once  a regional  association is  formed,                 
  divers can hold a ballot election of all  interim-use permit                 
  holders to answer questions.                                                 
                                                                               
  If approved by election, divers would be assessed, the State                 
  would  collect  and  the  Legislature  may  appropriate  the                 
  assessment back to ADF&G.  The appropriation would be  based                 
  on the mutually developed annual  operating budget and plan.                 
  ADF&G would then fund the  specific purposes outlined in the                 
  legislation  for  the  regional   dive  fishery  development                 
  association and ADF&G.                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Williams  concluded that  HB 198  would be  a                 
  positive  step  forward  by the  private  sector  to support                 
  economic development  and diversification without  seeking a                 
  general  fund  appropriation.    He  urged  the  Committee's                 
  support of the bill.                                                         
                                                                               
  GERON  BRUCE, LEGISLATIVE  LIAISON, DEPARTMENT  OF  FISH AND                 
  GAME, testified on the proposed legislation.  He  noted that                 
  the  Department does  appreciate the  divers coming  forward                 
  requesting  the  creation  of a  new  fishery,  however, the                 
  Department is  concerned  that  expectations  for  increased                 
  funding are being created by  this business which might  not                 
  materialize.  The development of the new fisheries will come                 
  at the expense of existing fisheries.                                        
                                                                               
  Mr. Bruce continued,  it does  not appear  that the  program                 
                                                                               
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  will qualify for  the designated program receipt  funding as                 
  it  currently  is  written  in   the  bill.    Without  such                 
  designation,  these expenditures  will appear  as additional                 
  general fund expenditures.   Without it being  an increment,                 
  funding for the  new fisheries  will have to  come from  the                 
  existing fisheries.                                                          
                                                                               
  He  added,  the bill  would  establish a  close relationship                 
  between a particular group of  harvesters and the Department                 
  of Fish and Game.  There are  a number of concerns which the                 
  public may  have on  developing resources.   The  bill would                 
  establish  a special  relationship,  and  the Department  is                 
  concerned  with maintaining  the balance of  managing public                 
  resources for a broad cross section of public interests.                     
                                                                               
  Mr. Bruce  suggested that  the Committee  consider a  sunset                 
  being  added  to  the legislation  which  would  force later                 
  reconsideration of the issue.   Co-Chair Therriault asked if                 
  the Department was in support of the legislation.  Mr. Bruce                 
  advised  that would  depend on  how some  other bills  moved                 
  through  the  Legislature this  year, and  specifically, how                 
  program    receipt    authority    would    be    addressed.                 
  Representative Williams noted  that he  would not support  a                 
  sunset clause being added to the legislation.                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Therriault  questioned  if  the  legislation  would                 
  gradually   move  into   a  limited  entry   permit  system.                 
  Representative Williams stated  that he  did not know  until                 
  all the information regarding need  had been received.  This                 
  is the first year of the moratorium.                                         
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault   questioned  why  language   had  been                 
  included  specifying  interim-use permits.    He recommended                 
  that language be  held for future legislatures  to determine                 
  if  it  should  be  transferred  to  that  kind  of  system.                 
  Representative  Williams  recommended  that inclusion  would                 
  save a step in repeating the process.                                        
                                                                               
  Representative G. Davis believed that a rough estimate could                 
  be provided  regarding the resource cost of management.  Mr.                 
  Bruce commented that the Department  estimates at this time,                 
  the expenditures  will be  about $250  thousand dollars  per                 
  year.                                                                        
                                                                               
  Representative J.  Davies voiced  concern with  the way  the                 
  money is budgeted.  He  suggested that people supporting the                 
  legislation should  follow it  closely  and support  program                 
  receipts being  used.  He MOVED a  conceptual amendment that                 
  revenues containing various percentages  within the bill  be                 
  classified  as   program  receipts.     Co-Chair  Therriault                 
  OBJECTED.                                                                    
                                                                               
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  Representative J. Davies noted that  he would be amenable to                 
  changing the concept by adding that language  to the intent.                 
   Co-Chair Therriault suggested that Representative J. Davies                 
  offer a Letter  of Intent.   He pointed out that  currently,                 
  the Senate  has been  drawing the  line on  program receipts                 
  that  are  contractual,  recommending  more  one-time  items                 
  rather than on-going functions.                                              
                                                                               
  A  roll call  vote was  taken  on the  MOTION  to adopt  the                 
  conceptual amendment.                                                        
                                                                               
       IN FAVOR:      Moses, J. Davies, Grussendorf                            
       OPPOSED:       G.   Davis,   Foster,   Kelly,  Kohring,                 
                      Therriault                                               
                                                                               
  Representatives Martin,  Mulder and Hanley were  not present                 
  for the vote.                                                                
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (3-5).                                                     
                                                                               
  (Tape Change HFC 97-109, Side 2).                                            
                                                                               
  Representative Williams provided a brief synopsis of the sea                 
  urchin history in  Alaska.  Today  there are 500 sea  urchin                 
  divers in Southeast Alaska.   Co-Chair Therriault noted that                 
  over  the next few years, there may  be more people who want                 
  to enter into that  fishery and that those persons  would be                 
  precluded unless they buy one of the existing permits.                       
                                                                               
  Representative Grussendorf informed  Committee members  that                 
  in creating a moratorium,  there becomes a block of  time to                 
  assess and analyze what stock is available and if that stock                 
  could  sustain  a  certain level  of  fisheries.   Then  the                 
  determination can be  made regarding how many  people should                 
  be involved in  that fishery.  The interim  permit increases                 
  the  number  of  persons  becoming  involved, although,  the                 
  moratorium would be approaching  in three or four years.   A                 
  point  system  would be  established  to determine  how many                 
  people  be  allowed  in the  fishery  in  order  to keep  it                 
  healthy.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Therriault asked if the limited entry process would                 
  be  identical   to  that   used  in   the  salmon   fishery.                 
  Representative G. Davis spoke to his concerns with ownership                 
  of the resource.   Representative Williams stressed  that HB
  198 does  not address  limited entry.   Co-Chair  Therriault                 
  reiterated  concern  with   removing  the  Legislature  from                 
  deliberation  cycle  in  deciding  whether a  limited  entry                 
  permit should be granted.                                                    
                                                                               
  FRANK HOMAN, FORMER COMMISSIONER,  LIMITED ENTRY COMMISSION,                 
                                                                               
                               10                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  advised that the  moratorium passed  last year requires  the                 
  Commissioner  to  provide  a  thorough  study  of  the  dive                 
  fishery,  with  a  provision  that  they  look   at  a  non-                 
  transferable type arrangement.  Those things will be studied                 
  for the next three years.                                                    
                                                                               
  Representative G. Davis MOVED to report  CS HB 198 (FIN) out                 
  of Committee  with individual  recommendations and with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  CS  HB  198  (FIN)  was  reported  out   of  Committee  with                 
  "individual recommendations" and  with a fiscal note  by the                 
  Department of Fish and  Game dated 4/10/97, and zero  fiscal                 
  notes by  the Department  of Revenue  dated 4/10/97  and the                 
  Commercial Fish Entry Commission dated 4/10/97.                              
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 3:30 P.M.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
                               11                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects