Legislature(1999 - 2000)
03/29/2000 02:00 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE March 29, 2000 2:00 P.M. TAPE HFC 00 - 88, Side 1 TAPE HFC 00 - 88, Side 2 TAPE HFC 00 - 89, Side 1 TAPE HFC 00 - 89, Side 2 RECONVENED Co-Chair Therriault called the House Finance Committee meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. PRESENT Co-Chair Mulder Co-Chair Therriault Representative Foster Vice Chair Bunde Representative Grussendorf Representative Austerman Representative Moses Representative J. Davies Representative Phillips Representative G. Davis Representative Williams. ALSO PRESENT Mike Tibbles, Staff, Representative Therriault; Khristopher Knauss, Staff, Senator Pearce; Wilda Rodman, Staff, Representative Therriault; Larry Persily, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Revenue; Matt Robus, Deputy Director, Wildlife Conservation, Department of Fish and Game; Sue Schrader, Alaska Conservation Alliance, Juneau; Anne Carpeneti, Assistant Attorney General, Legal Services Section, Criminal Division, Department of Law; Eddie Grasser, Staff, Representative Masek; Dick Bishop, Alaska Outdoor Council; Carol Carroll, Director, Division of Support Services, Department of Natural Resources; Terry Cramer, Legislative Counsel, Legislative Affairs Agency. SUMMARY HB 349 "An Act relating to powers of the Board of Game, means of access for hunting, trapping, and fishing, the definition of 'means' and 'methods,' and hunting safety education and game conservation education programs; relating to the purposes of game refuges, fish and game critical habitat areas, and public use areas." HB 349 was heard and HELD in Committee for further consideration. HB 366 "An Act relating to the rights of crime victims, the crime of violating a protective order or injunction, mitigating factors in sentencing for an offense, and the return of certain seized property to victims; expanding the scope of the prohibition of compromise based on civil remedy of misdemeanor crimes involving domestic violence; amending Rules 10, 11, 13, 16, and 17, Alaska District Court Rules of Civil Procedure and Rule 9, Alaska Rules of Administration." CSHB 366 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with "no recommendation" and four fiscal notes: one fiscal impact note by the Department of Administration, published date 2/11/00; one fiscal impact note by the Department of Corrections, published date 2/11/00; one zero fiscal note by the Department of Public Safety, published date 2/11/00; one Department of Law, published date 2/11/00. HB 428 "An Act relating to interest on child support overpayments that are disbursed to the obligor." CSHB 428 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the House Finance Committee. HJR 52 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to certain public corporations. CSHJR 52 (JUD) was REPORTED out of Committee with "no recommendation" and a fiscal impact note by the Office of the Governor, published 2/18/00. CSSB 269(RLS) am "An Act relating to legislative powers and responsibility with respect to collective bargaining agreements between the state and a labor or employee organization representing state employees; and providing for an effective date." HCS CSSB 269 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with a zero fiscal note by the Department of Administration, published date 3/6/00. CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 269(RLS) am "An Act relating to legislative powers and responsibility with respect to collective bargaining agreements between the state and a labor or employee organization representing state employees; and providing for an effective date." Co-Chair Therriault MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 2: Page 1, lines 5- 11: Delete all material. Page 1, line 12: Delete "Sec. 2 Insert "Section 1 Page 2, following line 14: Insert a new bill section to read: Sec. 2. AS 23.40.250(4) is amended to read: (4) "Monetary terms of an agreement" means the changes in the terms and conditions of employment resulting from an agreement that will require an appropriation for their imp1ernentation [OR] will result in a change in state revenues or productive work hours for state employees; (C) Address employee compensation leave benefits, or health insurance benefits, whether or not an appropriation is required for implementation. MIKE TIBBLES, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT explained that the amendment would delete section 1 and add a new section, which would expand the definition of monetary terms. Co-Chair Therriault noted that the definition of monetary terms would be expanded to include items such as leave cash-ins. There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 2 was adopted. Representative Grussendorf noted that the legislation contains a 45 day deadline in regards to submissions of agreements to the legislature. He spoke in support of a 60- day limit, which would be halfway through the statutory legislative session limit. KHRISTOPHER KNAUSS, STAFF, SENATOR PEARCE pointed out that the original date was April 1. He clarified that the 45-day deadline was substituted to allow action on rejection. Co-Chair Therriault explained that under the current statute the legislature would have to take action by the 60th day. This assumes that the legislature would have had the information previously. The 45-day period refers to the time in which the information is provided to the legislature. Representative J. Davies spoke in support of the 60 day deadline. He maintained that 60 days would allow action in either direction. Representative Grussendorf MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 3: delete "45" and insert "60" on page 2, line 3. Co-Chair Therriault clarified that the language requiring a concurrent resolution had been deleted. Mr. Knauss observed the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that if the legislature does not specifically fund the monetary terms of a contract that they do not go into effect. Representative Grussendorf observed that the Court was addressing the university and added that the university is not in the same position as the state because it does not have the option to raise funds. There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 3 was adopted. Mr. Knauss explained that the university expressed concern that renegotiated contracts be considered as timely filed if the original contract submission was timely. Representative J. Davies questioned the meaning of "unless otherwise authorized by the legislature." He asked if the legislature would have to pass a resolution to address a renegotiated contract. He suggested that language be added to allow the legislature to consider a renegotiated contract if it was timely filed. Co-Chair Therriault stressed that the power of appropriation is king and if a contract were funded then it would be authorized. Representative J. Davies felt that the language "unless otherwise authorized by the legislature" could open the state to litigation. Representative Phillips interpreted the language to refer to previous action by the legislature. Representative J. Davies argued that the final agreement would not have been submitted timely. He felt that there needed to be explicit acknowledgement. Mr. Tibbles observed that legislative legal counsel did not feel that a resolution was required to meet the requirement of authorized by the legislature. He explained that a temporary act would have to be introduced and passed to accept something that is passed the deadline. Representative J. Davies MOVED to delete "unless otherwise authorized by the legislature" and "final" and change "the" to "The". The legislation would be amended to read: "The agreement shall be submitted to the legislature no later then the 60th day of the legislative session." He concluded that the amendment would eliminate the need to pass separate legislation. CSSB 269(RLS)am was heard and HELD in Committee for further consideration during the meeting. HOUSE BILL NO. 428 "An Act relating to interest on child support overpayments that are disbursed to the obligor." WILDA RODMAN, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT spoke in support of the legislation. She noted that CSHB428(FIN) requires the Child Support Enforcement Division to pay interest on the return of overpayments of child support when the overpayment is due to a mistake made by the agency. The agency would be required to pay obligors six percent, the same amount of interest the agency can charge on child support arrearages set out in AS 25.27.025, imposed under AS 25.27.020(a)(2)(B). The requirement to pay interest on returns of overpayment is not a new precedent; AS 43.05.280 imposes a similar requirement on the Department of Revenue when refunding or crediting an overpayment of tax. CSHB 428(FIN) is in response to an inequity in the child support collection system that allows the agency to charge interest when an obligor is late paying support, but does not require the agency to pay interest when returning overpayments that are the direct result of a mistake made by the agency. The bill would provide incentive to the agency to be more careful when calculating support and more prompt about returning overpayments. House Bill 428 carries no fiscal note as the agency would be expected to absorb the cost of paying the interest out of its annual budget. The Committee Substitute for HB 428 changes the amount of interest the Division of Child Support Enforcement must pay under AS 25.27.062(l)(1) when it is delinquent returning overpayments that have been withheld by an employer after the support order has been satisfied. CSHB 428(FIN) changes the rate of interest to make it consistent with the rate set in AS 25.27.320. Vice Chair Bunde observed that the Division's budget is $16.5 million dollars. He questioned how much leverage the legislation would apply. Co-Chair Therriault explained that the department estimated that it would take $3 thousand dollars to fund the interest. He observed that it would not be his intent to give the department separate funding for the interest. He maintained that the department could absorb the cost. Vice Chair Bunde agreed that obligors should have right to have interest on their money. Co-Chair Therriault observed that the department has been careful to repay funds owed in other programs. Co-Chair Therriault stressed that it is fair for the state or the obligor to the state to pay interest if the money is late. LARRY PERSILY, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE spoke in support of the bill. He acknowledged that the state should pay interest if the department makes a mistake. He observed that paying the same 6% interest that the state would charge seems reasonable. Co-Chair Therriault questioned if it would be fair to take the interest out of the department's existing budget. Mr. Persily agreed and stated that he did not expect to have many cases. Co-Chair Therriault observed that the House Finance Committee would submit a zero fiscal note. Vice Chair Bunde MOVED to report CSHB 428 (FIN) out of Committee with the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CSHB 428 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the House Finance Committee. HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 52 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to certain public corporations. REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES, SPONSOR spoke in support of HJR 52. She referred to previous legislation, which she sponsored regarding legislative confirmation of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Board. She clarified that she became interested in the issue because of the elimination and reappointment of board members at the beginning of new administrations. She maintained that a board which manages one of the biggest assets of the state should not be "wiped out one day and a whole new set of folks put in the next day." She noted that members were replaced due to a difference in philosophy: they were of the wrong party. She tried to tie elimination of Board members to cause. She has no complaints regarding individual board members. She explained that the Department of Law informed her that the observed that the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Board is not in the Constitution. Boards of existing public corporations are not in statute. She concluded that a constitutional amendment was needed to include the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Board and other boards and commissions into statute. She stressed that her intent is to provide continuity. Representative James noted that HJR 52 adds to existing language in Alaska's Constitution, which currently provides for legislative confirmation of all boards or commissions, which are the head of a principal department or a regulatory or quasi-judicial agency. The legislation adds governing entities of a public corporation established by law, which manage significant state assets as defined by law. She gave examples of affected agencies: Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), Alaska Science and Technology Foundation, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC), Alaska Railroad corporation (ARRC), and Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation. Representative James added that the legislation also states that: "With respect to public corporations, the legislature may by law exclude the applicability of this section to a public corporation." She concluded that the legislation would allow confirmations and establish in law how the appointments could be withdrawn or replaced. She pointed out that the legislature confirms the boards of hairdressers and others that do not handle huge state funds. The legislation is permissive. She maintained that the founding fathers did not "have a clue that we would amass so much money in so many public corporations in this state." Vice Chair Bunde questioned if a ballot question would result in the perception that the legislature is trying to get more control over the Permanent Fund. Representative James responded that her other legislation failed because it specifically identified the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Board. She reiterated that the legislation mentions all public corporations and added that the general population has more knowledge of these corporations. She concluded that the legislation would have more support. Representative J. Davies suggested that the provision to exclude a corporation be eliminated. He agreed that these corporations are more important to the state of Alaska than the Board of Hairdressers. Representative J. Davies suggested that the language on page 1, lines 12 - 15 be deleted. Co-Chair Therriault stressed that it is impossible to foretell what new boards would be created and questioned if the legislature should have the latitude to decide which boards should have legislative participation. Representative J. Davies responded by questioning if the exclusion should pertain to other boards. Representative Grussendorf noted that there are some boards that are not confirmed by the legislature. He did not recall of any problems with boards outside of legislative oversight. He questioned the affect of requiring legislative approval. He maintained that governors pick the best people for the job and felt that legislative confirmation could result in politicizing the appointments. Representative James stated that she did not care if legislative approval is required. She clarified that her concern is to prevent the ability of a board from being eliminated all at one time. She explained that the legislature could not protect the elimination of a board unless it was confirmed. She stressed that the issue is what needs to be done to prevent appointees from being removed from their duties before their term is up. She pointed out that legislators respond to the public. She maintained that legislative action is based on constituent input. She stated that she would be happy to skip the confirmation process. She reiterated that the issue is to prevent the elimination of the entire board. She stressed that it is a serious issue when it affects the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC), or the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation boards. Representative Austerman referred to page 8. Representative James noted that law defines public corporations. In response to a question by Representative G. Davis, Representative James explained that all of the licensing boards are regulatory. She noted that the Department of Law indicated that public corporation do not fall under current statutes. Representative G. Davis questioned if the law could be changed to make them fit. Representative James did not know if it would be possible. Representative Phillips expressed sympathy with the intent, but stated that she agreed with Representative Grussendorf. (TAPE CHANGE, HFC 00 - 88, SIDE 2) Representative Phillips stated that she was uncomfortable with "the legislative body having the intelligence, and the wherewith all, and the financial knowledge to make a decision on the confirmation of the Permanent Fund Board." Representative James pointed out that the legislature could not eliminate the board at one time since terms are staggered. She stated that she would be happy to consider alternatives. She observed that most of the people that are chosen for the Permanent Fund Board are people of high credibility and quality and are very intelligent, and probably can do a perfectly good job. She acknowledged that staff is available to advise new members, but stressed that members are not just there for looks and high visibility, but to do a job. Representative J. Davies questioned if Representative James had explored another way of putting the section in the Constitution without requiring appointments. Representative James explained that the only way the legislature can make rules and regulations regarding public corporation is through confirmation of appointments. Representative J. Davies asked if "with respect to public corporations, its members can only be removed as provided by law" would solve the problem. Representative James stated that she had not asked the Department of Law that specific question. Vice Chair Bunde observed that most confirmations are perfunctory. He stressed that the confirmation process is viewed as a safety value. Representative James observed that appointments by an administrator, such as the governor, should be made with the best interest of the job in mind, but that without oversight the process could be used to advance friends. Representative James noted that the following boards would be affected: Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority Alaska Railroad corporation (ARRC) Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) Alaska Science and Technology Foundation Commission on Postsecondary Education Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Alaska Municipal Bond Bank Authority Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Alaska State Pension Investment Board Representative Grussendorf stressed that members that have been removed from the Permanent Fund Corporation Board were replaced with good people. They are picked for their knowledge and expertise. He stressed that problems could occur, as legislators become concern with issues such as regional representation. Vice Chair Bunde MOVED to delete "with respect to public corporations, the legislature may by law exclude the applicability of this section to a public corporation." Representative James stated that she did not have a preference on the language. Co-Chair Therriault felt that the latitude should be retained. Vice Chair Bunde stressed that members could be changed every two years with the amendment. He pointed out that there has not been a need to change the membership of the Permanent Fund Board over the past 25 years. A roll call vote was taken on the motion. IN FAVOR: Moses, Williams, Bunde, Davies, Davis OPPOSED: Foster, Grussendorf, Phillips, Austerman, Therriault Co-Chair Mulder was absent from the vote. The MOTION FAILED (5-5). Representative Foster MOVED to report CSHJR 52 (JUD) out of Committee with the accompanying fiscal note. Representative Grussendorf OBJECTED. Representative Austerman stated that he shares some of Representative Grussendorf concerns, but that he would not vote to hold the bill in committee. A roll call vote was taken on the motion. IN FAVOR: Davies, Moses, Austerman, Bunde, Davis, Foster, Kohring, Williams, Therriault OPPOSED: Grussendorf Co-Chair Mulder was absent from the vote. The MOTION PASSED (9-1). CSHJR 52 (JUD) was REPORTED out of Committee with "no recommendation" and a fiscal impact note by the Office of the Governor, published 2/18/00. HOUSE BILL NO. 366 "An Act relating to the rights of crime victims, the crime of violating a protective order or injunction, mitigating factors in sentencing for an offense, and the return of certain seized property to victims; expanding the scope of the prohibition of compromise based on civil remedy of misdemeanor crimes involving domestic violence; amending Rules 10, 11, 13, 16, and 17, Alaska District Court Rules of Civil Procedure and Rule 9, Alaska Rules of Administration." Mr. Tibbles explained that both Amendments 1 and 2 were needed to cover the civil and criminal sections of statute. Representative J. Davies MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 1. Amendment 1 would add "or issued by another state under laws substantially similar to AS 18.66.100 - 110" to AS 11.56.740(c) and renumber remaining sections. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative J. Davies MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 2: 18.66.140(a) is amended to read: (a) A certified copy of an unexpired protective order issued in another jurisdiction has the same effect and must be enforced in the same manner as a protective order issued by a court of this state and may be filed with the clerk of court in any judicial district in this state. ANNE CARPENETI, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, LEGAL SERVICES SECTION, CRIMINAL DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LAW clarified that "under laws substantially similar" would not need to be added to Amendment 2. The amendment addresses violations of a protective order that may not be a crime, but which would want to be enforced by a police office. She stated that the amendment would fall under the single subject rule. The criminal and civil sides would be consistent. There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 2 was adopted. Ms. Carpeneti did not anticipate a change to the fiscal note. Vice Chair Bunde MOVED to report CSHB 366 (FIN) out of Committee with the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CSHB 366 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with "no recommendation" and four fiscal notes: one fiscal impact note by the Department of Administration, published date 2/11/00; one fiscal impact note by the Department of Corrections, published date 2/11/00; one zero fiscal note by the Department of Public Safety, published date 2/11/00; one Department of Law, published date 2/11/00. CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 269(RLS) am "An Act relating to legislative powers and responsibility with respect to collective bargaining agreements between the state and a labor or employee organization representing state employees; and providing for an effective date." Co-Chair Therriault observed that the committee changed 45th day to 60th day. He observed that there is an amendment by Representative J. Davies pending. The language being amended addresses a concern by Senator Elton that if a rejected contract was renegotiated after the deadline that it would not receive consideration during the calendar year. Representative J. Davies argued that if the contract was submitted and then resubmitted that the argument could be made that it was timely. He added that it would be unlikely that action by the legislature to approve an appropriation would be rejected. TERRY CRAMER, LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL, LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY provided information on the legislation. She observed that the language does not give guidance about what is intended to be authorization. She agreed that the court gives deference to the legislature in matters that are within their purview. She observed that the legislature could manifest their authorization by appropriating money and did not think that the courts would rule that contract monetary terms that were appropriated by the legislature did not take effect. She added that the language does not guide future legislatures in how they are to go about authorizing monetary terms. Co-Chair Therriault referred to the use of "final". Ms. Cramer explained that the current statute requires that the Department of Administration submit monetary terms within 10 days. The new language changes this to the final agreement. She was unsure of the meaning of final. Co-Chair Therriault questioned if "ratified" would provide clarification. Ms. Cramer responded that "ratified" would work if the intent is to have the contract ratified by the employees. Representative J. Davies referred to page 1, line 6. He observed that the collective bargaining provisions modify "agreement". Ms. Cramer observed that statutes require that the monetary terms of agreements be submitted to the legislature. She asked for clarification of "final" agreement and questioned if a final agreement would have to have already been ratified or is an agreement reached by the union and state negotiators that was to be submitted to the legislature for approval of monetary terms and the membership for approval of the contract as a whole. Representative J. Davies suggested the use of "tentative". Ms. Cramer stated that the statutory language does not speak to the "tentative agreement". Co-Chair Therriault observed that Senator Parnell expressed concern over the deletion of "final". Mr. Tibbles clarified that Senator Parnell felt that the final agreement would contain the entire package. Co-Chair Therriault observed that sick leave information was not received because it was not considered as part of the monetary agreement. Vice Chair Bunde asked when is an agreement an agreement. He questioned if it is a new agreement every time there is a change. Ms. Cramer responded that it would be possible to argue that every change constitutes a new agreement, but that it would not be a strong argument. Vice Chair Bunde clarified that it is not his intent that every change is considered as a new agreement. He asked if "tentative" would solve the issue. Ms. Cramer agreed that it would reduce ambiguity. He noted that a sentence could be added to specifically address the circumstances: "When an agreement has been presented to the legislature and the parties perceive that the legislature disapproves it, and goes back to the table to renegotiate, if the first submission was filled in a timely fashion anything later counts as timely filled." Representative J. Davies agreed with Ms. Cramer and added that a sentence could be added that states: "Except that the legislature may consider a resubmitted agreement if it was originally submitted timely and has been perceived to be rejected, renegotiated and resubmitted." Representative G. Davis suggested that agreements are amending an initial contract. Ms. Cramer observed that the Public Employment Act uses "agreement" in place of "contract". Representative J. Davies reviewed his conceptual amendment (see amendment 1-LS1386\KA.7). He observed that "unless otherwise authorized" is undefined. He clarified that his amendment would address all the terms: monetary and non- monetary. SB 269 was heard and HELD in Committee for further consideration and amendments. HOUSE BILL NO. 349 "An Act relating to powers of the Board of Game, means of access for hunting, trapping, and fishing, the definition of 'means' and 'methods,' and hunting safety education and game conservation education programs; relating to the purposes of game refuges, fish and game critical habitat areas, and public use areas." EDDIE GRASSER, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE MASEK spoke in support of HB 349. He observed that HB 349 was introduced as a result of Representative Masek's discussion with long time Alaskans who have witnessed the steady erosion of hunting and trapping opportunities throughout the state. He maintained that since statehood, millions of acres of land have been closed to hunting and trapping, and millions more restricted from being managed under the sustained yield principle due to federal management prerogatives. Mr. Grasser observed that HB 349 does not require any other uses to be restricted or in any way infringed upon. He asserted that the legislation would protect hunting, fishing and trapping on lands belonging to the state as a legitimate use of fish and wildlife. He observed that federal legislation clarifying hunting, fishing and trapping as legitimate uses on National Wildlife Refuge Lands was passed and explained that HB 349 would do the same thing on state refuges, state wildlife ranges, critical habitat areas and public use areas. Mr. Grasser reviewed the legislation by section: Section one and two amends AS 16.05.221 and 16.05.255 by adding the term enhancement to current statute. By doing so it is hoped past efforts of the Legislature to make clear the desire to manage for sustained yield is followed. Currently the Board of Game has attempted to follow the Legislature's policies on sustained yield only to be thwarted by administrative problems. By adding the term enhancement we hope to make Clear that wildlife populations should be managed for the benefit of all Alaskans, not just those who for personal reasons oppose legitimate human uses of those common property resources. Section three creates new language clarifying the Boards authority to close areas to access. (TAPE CHANGE, HFC 00 - 89, SIDE 1) Mr. Grasser continued with his sectional analysis of the legislation: The board may continue to close areas to certain methods and means for a variety of reasons without any legislative oversight. However, in cases where a biological concern is not addressed, the Board is required to adhere to advisory committee oversight in that an AC with jurisdiction in the affected GMU may object in writing. This language will protect fishers, hunters and trappers from unnecessary closures in their area by giving them more of a voice in the process through their local advisory committees. We would like to note that each GMU currently has a listing of AC's with jurisdiction under 5 AAC 97.005 For instance, GMU 13 includes the following AC's -Paxson, Copper Basin, Middle Nenana, Tok Cutoff/Nabesna, Denali, Anchorage, Mat Valley, Copper River/Prince William Sound. Section 4 - Defines means and methods. Example of need is meat on bone. Section 5 - Amends language relating to state refuges to ensure hunting, fishing and trapping are protected uses. Section 6 - page 4, line 6. Amends language relating to critical habitat areas to insure hunting, fishing and trapping are protected uses. Also the new language "and traditional uses of fish and wildlife" may have the desired effect of helping the Division of Habitat exclude troublesome new uses that may have a damaging affect on an area. Sections 7,8 & 9 - Pages 4 & 5. Section 7 has been amended to clarify that it is clear the Dept. may continue providing hunter education but also should cooperate with other groups who are interested to providing those services as long as they meet state standards. Section 8 was amended to clarify that the Dept. should assist nonprofits who are supportive of hunting, fishing and trapping in developing shooting ranges and associated educational programs. Section 9 was amended to delineate that nonprofits supportive of hunting, fishing and trapping may receive grants to provide for hunter safety training and wildlife conservation education training. Sections 10 - 15. These sections were amended to further protect hunting, fishing and trapping as legitimate uses on Public Use lands. With these changes, Representative Masek feels this legislation meets the needs of both those Alaskans whose cultural heritage is being jeopardized by an increasingly urbanized society. The reasons for this legislation should be apparent to most Alaskans supportive of traditional Alaskan values. As further evidence that traditional uses of wildlife to feed one's family need this extra consideration, we would like to point out a couple of items. First, there appears to be a growing sentiment in the environmental community that their views and their economic well being deserves the highest level of protection. Environmentalists and their supporters rarely acknowledge the lands that have already been set aside for their exclusive use; there are no lands set aside for hunting, fishing and trapping. It is not enough that viewing, photography and other non- consumptive uses have huge areas of Alaska already set aside; they would like more areas set aside. He noted that under the game regulations viewing is the first priority in almost every instance on every species, by virtue of limits on hunting, fishing bag limits and seasons. He noted that on unit 9, which is a prime bear hunting area, hunting is only allowed every other year. Mr. Grasser asked: "In short, where is the equity, or the balance in further attacks on legitimate human uses of wildlife when we have already done so much to give a priority to nonconsumptive uses?" Mr. Grasser conclude by stating that: HB 349 provides a solution to a flagging question. "Are we going to allow further attacks on the Alaskan Way of Life, the way of life that many of you in this room grew up with?" By providing protection for those cultural and spiritual values associated with ancient uses of wildlife by Native and non-natives alike we will insure that the diversity of Alaska's peoples continues. In response to a comment by Representative Foster, Mr. Grasser observed that he found numerous sites on the Internet that attack hunting, fishing and trapping. The concern is that there is a movement in society to move away from the traditional uses of wildlife. He noted that federal legislation was passed to protect hunting, fishing and trapping on federal land and added that the legislation would do the same on state lands. He acknowledged that there might be amendments but emphasized that the goal is to assure some protections for consumption uses. Representative Austerman referred to section 6. Mr. Grasser explained that the language on section 6, line 9 "and traditional uses of fish and wildlife in the critical habitat area" would provide statutory authority to regulate or restrict the use of jet skis in Katchemak Bay. Representative Austerman felt that the language "and to restrict all other uses not compatible with that primary purpose" would do the job. Mr. Grasser explained that newer uses like jet skis would not fall under the traditional use category. MATT ROBUS, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, WILDLIFE CONSERVATION, DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME testified on HB 349. He expressed concerns by the department. He noted that several of the issues that were identified in testimony before other committees have been resolved. For example, reinsertion of the word "development" in Section 1 emphasizes the importance of human utilization as a resource use. Mr. Robus noted that there are still several areas of concern to the department. Section 3 of the bill would limit the Board of Game's authority to restrict the means of access for the purpose of taking fish or game. Access restrictions could be authorized only in the six specific ways outlined in this section. Management of access is and has been one of the most useful tools available to the Board of Game for reducing conflicts between user groups while still allowing maximum opportunity to harvest wildlife populations. Without the ability to craft appropriate mixtures of access methods and timing, the Board will be faced with the need to shorten hunts and reduce bag limits in order to scale back harvests that would climb in some areas due to unrestricted access. Changes made to the bill have done away with several of the problems that were originally identified in this section by simplifying the process by which advisory committees would be involved in access issues considered by the Board and grandfathering existing access rules where they are in effect. However, according to the department's interpretation, the current version would allow a single fish and game advisory committee to veto an access-related proposal. He acknowledged that there are few wildlife management measures that are universally beloved and stated that it is unwise to instill this degree of power in a single advisory committee. He maintained that one committee could prevent an access rule that had general support within the region and across the state. In response to a question by Representative J. Davies, Mr. Robus expressed concern is in regards to subsection 2, on page 3, lines 6 - 9. Mr. Robus continued review of the legislation. Section 4 of the bill would define "methods and means" in statute to mean "tools, implements, devices, or vehicles" used to take fish or game. Methods and means are not currently defined in either statute or regulation, but an entire section of the fish and game regulations deal with methods and means. This section addresses issues such as shooting off of highways, definition of bait, prohibiting the use of poison, wanton waste, same day airborne restrictions, and many other rules that are necessary for good wildlife management. The way the bill is structured it would limit the use of methods and means only to tools, implements, and vehicles. All other methods and means regulations would conflict with the statute and would probably go away. He emphasized that the section would need to be changed if it is not the intent to delete regulations that are currently being used. Co-Chair Mulder questioned if some of the examples given would be included as a tool or device. Mr. Robus observed that "tools, implements, devices, or vehicles" are concrete items and explained that the concern is that the definition could restrict the regulation of things that are not tools. He explained that if methods and means are defined in a narrow fashion that the ability to regulate other things could be lost. Items of concern include wanton waste, definition of bait, same day airborne restrictions, prohibiting the use of poison, or shooting off or across of highways. Mr. Robus noted that section 5 expands the purposes for state game refuges to include enhancement of fish and game, fish and game habitat, and traditional public uses of fish and game. The department's concern is that section 5 makes public recreational use coequal to protection of habitat and wildlife. He explained that there could be a situation such as in Potter's Marsh where the department might not be able to prohibit kayaking in the springtime when it would displace birds that are trying to establish nests. The value of the refuge as bird habitat would be effected by the prominence of protecting human use. He explained that the Department of Fish and Game has managed refuges and other special areas to primarily protect habitat and to promote use of the habitat by animals and to then manage it as a multiple use human area to the extent that human use fits with the original purpose of the refuge. He felt that conflict and degradation of the purpose of the refuge would result. Section 7 of the bill addresses the department's authority for hunter education and wildlife conservation education programs. The change made to subsection (2) in this version answered earlier concerns expressed by the department. Mr. Robus pointed out that the department would take a broad interpretation of the term "wildlife conservation education program." He noted that there are other areas such as Potter's Marsh where the department is working with private non-profits and other agencies to establish a visitor center. The department feels that this would be part of a wildlife conservation program and should be included. Co-Chair Mulder questioned if there have been objections. Mr. Robus stated that the motivation is to make sure that the understanding is clear. SUE SCHRADER, ALASKA CONSERVATION ALLIANCE, JUNEAU stated that the Alliance was pleased that the term "development" was added back into the bill. She noted that they continue to have problems with the inclusion of "enhancement" in sections 1 and 2. She estimated that the changes would increase conflict (between the user groups). Ms. Schrader stated that the Alliance has concern with language in section 3 that would make it more difficult to regulate access. She spoke in opposition to removing authority from the Board of Game and biologists of the Department of Fish and Game to deal with access issues, by allowing advisory committees veto power over regulations on access. Ms. Schrader noted that section 5 is a major area of concern. She maintained conflict will arise over placing hunting and trapping interests at the same level as protection of the habitat and wildlife in refuges such as: Creamers Field, McNeil River, Anchorage Coastal, and Mendenhall Wetlands. She stressed that the legislation is confusing and emphasized that it is not going to help with the debate over hunting and trapping. CAROL CARROLL, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF SUPPORT SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES addressed sections 10 - 19. She noted that the Department of Natural Resources manages the public use areas. The Department of Natural Resources considers public use areas as multiple-use areas. She noted that public use areas are open to oil and gas leasing, mining, and other types of development. In the past the department has paid attention to the habitat, as required by statute. She expressed concerns that the bill would make public use areas more like refuges. The department would have additional authority to develop, preserve and protect fish and the wildlife that use the habitat. She emphasized that this would be outside of the normal purview of the Department of Fish and Game. She felt that the balance would be upset toward creating more of a refuge for fish and game within a habitat. DICK BISHOP, ALASKA OUTDOOR COUNCIL spoke in support of the legislation. He agreed with the emphasis on protecting the traditional means of access and traditional uses of fish and wildlife in state special use areas. He maintained that preserving fish and wildlife habitat in state public use areas institutionalizes a purpose that many thought was already there. He asserted that the bill does not reduce the multiple use opportunities in public use areas. He noted that they would still be open to development. He spoke in support of the broadening of the Department of Fish and Game's contact and support of private organizations dedicated to perpetuating traditional fishing, hunting and trapping uses of fish and wildlife. These pursuits are basic to the values of rural and urban Alaskans that rely on and enjoy participating in Alaska's ecosystems as consumptive users. Mr. Bishop stated that he had some concern with language on page 4, lines 2 and 3: general public recreation on refuges. He questioned the addition of the language as part of the purpose of the refuge. He recommended that the language be deleted and added that it goes beyond the recreational opportunities associated with fish and wildlife refuges. Representative J. Davies referenced section 5, which defines the purposes of the wildlife refuges. He asked for Mr. Bishop's understanding of the inclusion of "enhance". He noted that the general concept of wildlife refuge is a place that is a preserve, in as close a way as possible, as a natural habitat. He questioned what is meant by: "enhancing a natural habitat". Mr. Bishop responded that there is nothing in the national or state refuge system that suggests or implies that it needs to be maintained in the status quo. He asserted that there are active efforts to enhance habitat on many refuges. He noted that there have been controlled burns on Creamers Field refuge. An enhancement would be to improve the habitat conditions to the benefit of the fish and wildlife species that normally reside there. Representative J. Davies asked specifically about predator control. Mr. Bishop stated that predator control would not be included under sections 1 or 2. Predator control is a management technique that might apply under some circumstances, but would not be considered as a traditional use. Representative Phillips referred to section 4, page 3, line 23. She expressed concerns about the elimination of management tools by the Department of Fish and Game. Mr. Bishop acknowledged that it is a legitimate concern that those types of regulations not be lost. He felt that it was only a matter of labeling. Representative Phillips pointed out that the word "tools" could be interpreted to mean many different things. She maintained that it is a dangerous thing to use "tools" if other concepts are not included. Mr. Bishop maintained that the matter could be addressed by including the kinds of regulations that Mr. Robus discussed under a different label of methods and means. Co-Chair Mulder expressed concern if the statutory language would led disputes to court. Mr. Bishop stressed that the regulations should be sufficiently clear to avoid problems. Representative Austerman commented that true Alaskans, understand that the habitat must be protected or there is no resource. He referred to section 5. He expressed concern that the protection of traditional public use would be brought to the same plane as protection of habitat. He suggested that other traditional uses should be one step beneath the protection of the habitat. Mr. Bishop responded that there would be two ways to look at the issue. It could be looked at in relationship to the order of the purposes: the order in which the purposes are listed. The first listed purpose would be the most important. He maintained that logical administration of the law would follow that public uses could not be protected if the habitat and resource are not protected. Vice Chair Bunde noted that he shared the concern voiced by Ms. Schrader regarding increasing the volatility between hunter and non-hunter. Mr. Bishop acknowledged the concern. He stated that in most cases when hunters, trappers and fishermen have tried to reduce the level of controversy through compromising some of their interest that they have lost their interest and have been asked to give up more. He maintained that it is important for hunters, trappers and fishers to assert their rights, to assert the ecological correctness of their pursuits. In the context of other legislation it is important that the resources be managed on the sustained yield principle. He stressed that consumptive use is part of the sustained yield principle. He concluded that the pursuits of hunting, fishing, and trapping are protected and recognized as the foundation for the management of natural resources on the sustained yield principle. Resources can be conserved and used into perpetuity. It is essential for public officials to state that (hunting, fishing and trapping) are legitimate uses and should be accommodated and protected with other uses. Vice Chair Bunde stated that it comes down to issues of power and control. Mr. Bishop responded that it is implicit that "you can not have the use unless you have taken care of the resource". Representative Austerman referred to section 6, page 4. He asked why the language was not included and asked how its deletion would affect the bill. (TAPE CHANGE, HFC 00 - 89, SIDE 2) Mr. Bishop stated that the language institutionalizes the concept that critical habitat areas are important to traditional uses of fish and wildlife, which includes fishing, hunting, trapping and viewing. He stressed that if the language was deleted that the impact would be to identify by omission that compared to the others items identified, critical habitat areas are not considered as important for traditional uses. He felt that such an interpretation would be illogical and inconsistent with the direction and purpose of the legislation in regards to other areas such as refuges. He concluded that deletion of the language would detract from the effectiveness of the legislation in terms of institutionalizing and recognizing the importance of fishing, hunting, trapping uses and diminish it's effectiveness. HB 349 was heard and HELD in Committee for further consideration. CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 269(RLS) am "An Act relating to legislative powers and responsibility with respect to collective bargaining agreements between the state and a labor or employee organization representing state employees; and providing for an effective date." Representative J. Davies MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 1- LS1386\KA.7: The complete monetary and nonmonetary terms of a tentative agreement shall be submitted to the legislature no later than the 60th day of the legislative session to receive legislative consideration during that calendar year. However, if the department has submitted a tentative agreement in a timely manner and the parties to the agreement decide to renegotiate the terms, the renegotiated agreement shall be considered to have been submitted in a timely manner. In this subsection, "tentative agreement" means an agreement that has been reached by the negotiators for the employer and the bargaining unit but that has not yet been ratified by the members of the bargaining unit. Representative J. Davies argued that the agreement is tentative until the membership and the legislature have approved the agreement. He suggested that "or approved by the legislature" be added at the end of line 10 and line 9 be changed from "has" to "may". Ms. Cramer argued that "or approved by the legislature" was unnecessary. Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that "have" should be placed before "been". Representative J. Davies MOVED to ADOPT the amendment as amended to change "has" to "may" and insert "have" before "been". There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Co-Chair Mulder MOVED to report HCS CSSB 269 (FIN) out of Committee with the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. HCS CSSB 269 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with a zero fiscal note by the Department of Administration, published date 3/6/00. ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 5:05 p.m. House Finance Committee 22 3/29/00 p.m.