Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/05/2000 01:50 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                                         
April 5, 2000                                                                                                                   
1:50 P.M.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 00 - 102, Side 1                                                                                                       
TAPE HFC 00 - 102, Side 2                                                                                                       
TAPE HFC 00 - 103, Side 1                                                                                                       
TAPE HFC 00 - 103, Side 2                                                                                                       
TAPE HFC 00 - 104, Side 1                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault called the House Finance Committee                                                                          
meeting to order at 1:50 p.m.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder    Representative Foster                                                                                        
Co-Chair Therriault    Representative Grussendorf                                                                               
Vice Chair Bunde   Representative Moses                                                                                         
Representative J. Davies   Representative Phillips                                                                              
Representative G. Davis   Representative Williams                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Austerman was absent from the meeting.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Peter Torkleson, Staff, Representative Dyson; Anne                                                                              
Carpeneti, Assistant Attorney General, Legal Services                                                                           
Section, Criminal Division, Department of Law; Nancy Welch,                                                                     
Department of Natural Resources; Rick Thompson, Regional                                                                        
Manager, Land Office, Southeast Region, Department of                                                                           
Natural Resources; Wayne Regelin, Director, Division of                                                                         
Wildlife Conservation, Department of Fish and Game; Tamar                                                                       
DiFranco, Deputy Director, Statewide Design and Engineering                                                                     
Services, Department of Transportation and Public                                                                               
Facilities; Carol Carroll, Director, Division of Support                                                                        
Services, Department of Natural Resources; Mike Tibbles,                                                                        
Staff, Representative Therriault; Eddie Grasser, Staff,                                                                         
Representative Masek; Wendy Lindskoog, Alaska Railroad                                                                          
Corporation; John Manley, Staff, Representative Harris.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Carrie Williams, City Manager, Whittier; Phylis Johnson,                                                                        
General Counsel, Alaska Railroad corporation (ARRC); Craig                                                                      
Hughes, Project Engineer, Alaska Railroad corporation                                                                           
(ARRC); Blair McCune, Deputy Director, Public Defender                                                                          
Agency; Sheri Buretta, Chairman of the Board, Chugach Alaska                                                                    
Corporation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 320 "An Act approving the application for and                                                                                
acceptance of a grant of certain federal land by                                                                                
the Alaska Railroad Corporation; approving the                                                                                  
conveyance of the entire interest in the Whittier                                                                               
DeLong Dock and associated uplands, tidelands, and                                                                              
submerged lands by the Alaska Railroad                                                                                          
Corporation; relating to use and disposition of                                                                                 
the Whittier DeLong Dock and associated land; and                                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 HB 320 was heard and HELD in Committee for further                                                                             
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
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."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CSHB 349 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with                                                                               
"no recommendation" and with a zero fiscal note by                                                                              
the Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HB 362 "An Act authorizing the exchange of land between                                                                         
the Alaska Railroad Corporation and Eklutna, Inc.,                                                                              
between the Alaska Railroad Corporation and the                                                                                 
United States Department of the Army and the                                                                                    
United States Department of the Air Force, between                                                                              
the Alaska Railroad Corporation and Chugach Alaska                                                                              
Corporation, and between the Alaska Railroad                                                                                    
Corporation and the Municipality of Anchorage; and                                                                              
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HB 362 was heard and HELD in Committee for further                                                                              
consideration.                                                                                                                  
HB 368 "An Act relating to release of persons before                                                                            
trial and before sentencing or service of                                                                                       
sentence; relating to custodians of persons                                                                                     
released, to security posted on behalf of persons                                                                               
released, and to the offense of violation of                                                                                    
conditions of release; amending Rule 41(f), Alaska                                                                              
Rules of Criminal Procedure; and providing for an                                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 HB 368 was Postponed.                                                                                                          
HB 372 "An Act relating to criminal sentencing and                                                                              
restitution."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 HB 372 was heard and HELD in Committee for further                                                                             
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HB 426 "An Act relating to transfers of public land or                                                                          
grants or conveyances of interest in public land                                                                                
among the Alaska Railroad Corporation, the                                                                                      
Department of Transportation and Public                                                                                         
Facilities, and the Department of Natural                                                                                       
Resources to relocate or widen the Seward Highway,                                                                              
to relocate railroad facilities, and to relocate                                                                                
adjacent utility facilities; and providing for an                                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 426 was heard and HELD in Committee for further                                                                              
consideration.                                                                                                                  
HOUSE BILL NO. 372                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
"An Act relating to criminal sentencing and                                                                                     
restitution."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON, SPONSOR, testified in support of                                                                     
the legislation. He noted that virtually all justice systems                                                                    
around the world have focused on restitution of the victim                                                                      
after public safety. He noted that there has been a                                                                             
tradition of paying debts to society by paying the King                                                                         
instead of the victim. An effort has been made to return to                                                                     
a focus of restorative justice and restitution of victims.                                                                      
He observed that the juvenile justice system is committed to                                                                    
the restorative justice system. The legislation places                                                                          
current practice in statute and allows a negotiated                                                                             
agreement between the victim and the perpetrator to work out                                                                    
restoration of the community and victim as part of the                                                                          
sentencing agreement.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PETER TORKLESON, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE DYSON observed that                                                                      
HB 372 is post-adjudication. The judge may consider letting                                                                     
a willing victim and defender negotiate a way, such as                                                                          
community service, to make the victim whole. Vermont has had                                                                    
stellar success in cost savings and reduced recidivism                                                                          
rates. He acknowledged concerns by the Department of Law                                                                        
regarding sentencing of potential felons. He pointed out                                                                        
that under lines 9 - 10 the negotiated sentence must comply                                                                     
with general sentencing guidelines. He stated that some                                                                         
people that commit technical felons, such as those that                                                                         
commit property fines, should be allowed to negotiate under                                                                     
the section. The legislation is permissive.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault questioned if discussions occurred                                                                          
regarding the exclusion of violent felons from the                                                                              
provisions.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Dyson stated that violent felons would be                                                                        
excluded. Mr. Torkelson pointed out that line 6 excludes                                                                        
violations under AS 11.41, which includes person to person                                                                      
assault and murder.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Phillips referred to the negotiated agreement                                                                    
and questioned the rationale of giving the defender the                                                                         
right to request negotiation. Representative Dyson gave                                                                         
examples of negotiations that may be presented by a                                                                             
defendant. Confronting the victim and apologizing is helpful                                                                    
in restoring the perpetrator.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
In response to a question by Representative Phillips,                                                                           
Representative Dyson noted that more than half of offenders                                                                     
chose to enter into an agreement and more than half of those                                                                    
that chose negotiation fulfill their obligation. If the                                                                         
agreement is not fulfilled than the perpetrator returns to                                                                      
the original penalty. Agreements have the force of law.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies questioned if the legislation                                                                          
limits the ability to restore costs to the "King".                                                                              
Representative Dyson emphasized that the community gets an                                                                      
opportunity to recover costs.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault observed that after an offender is                                                                          
convicted a fine is charged and that surcharges pertain to                                                                      
the fine or penalty. He clarified that the victim and the                                                                       
perpetrator could agree on something to make the victim                                                                         
whole and pay a fine to the community and that the surcharge                                                                    
to the state would be included. Representative Dyson agreed                                                                     
that surcharges would be included and added that the cost of                                                                    
adjudication could be included.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Bunde clarified that the judge would monitor non-                                                                    
compliance. Mr. Torkelson stated that some perpetrators                                                                         
approach the court to negate the contract and resume the                                                                        
original sentence.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Grussendorf summarized that the legislation                                                                      
would resolve the civil aspect of minor criminal offenses.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ANNE CARPENETI, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, LEGAL SERVICES                                                                      
SECTION, CRIMINAL DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LAW provided                                                                          
information on the legislation. The department is not                                                                           
opposed to restorative justice, but has some concerns                                                                           
regarding the legislation. She gave a brief history of                                                                          
current sentencing procedures. She observed that the main                                                                       
focus of presumptive sentences in the late 70's was to                                                                          
impose a sentence according to the offence and to provide                                                                       
uniformity for certain acts. She maintained that restorative                                                                    
justice is a bend in the road. She acknowledged that it is                                                                      
appropriate in certain cases and added that judges are using                                                                    
the process in mental health cases, substance abuse and in                                                                      
minor property crimes. Statutory authority is not needed for                                                                    
restorative justice. She expressed concern that the                                                                             
legislation sets parameters around the use of restorative                                                                       
justice. She stated that the department is concerned that                                                                       
restorative justice would be allowed in cases that they do                                                                      
not feel are appropriate such as first time unclassified                                                                        
felonies, first time class A felonies, and second offense                                                                       
class B and C felonies; this includes arson and burglaries.                                                                     
She maintained that these are serious crimes and questioned                                                                     
if a victim would be in a position to negotiate with an                                                                         
offender.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti stated that the department is also concerned                                                                      
that allowing negotiation between a victim and an offender                                                                      
is difficult because the victim is not in an equal                                                                              
bargaining position, victims are not represented. She                                                                           
recommended that the courts continue their current practice                                                                     
of slowly applying restorative justice in cases where it is                                                                     
appropriate without legislation.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti noted that in a victimless crime there is a                                                                       
question of who is the community. There would be cases where                                                                    
it is unclear who represents the community or what is best                                                                      
for the community. She summarized that the department has                                                                       
problems with the legislation but not with restorative                                                                          
justice.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that the judge does not have                                                                    
to accept a negotiated agreement if he/she does not believe                                                                     
it is adequate punishment.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti expressed concerns regarding equality of cases                                                                    
where the offender has enough money to negotiate a                                                                              
settlement that the victim thinks is fair as opposed to the                                                                     
person that does not have enough money to pay for the car or                                                                    
the window to make the victim whole.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault questioned if judges could be relied on                                                                     
not to allow perpetrators to buy their way out of adequate                                                                      
punishment.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti responded that it would be easier for a judge                                                                     
to address the issue on a case by case basis. The                                                                               
legislation provides for mitigating factors for a negotiated                                                                    
fee.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Grussendorf questioned if the state                                                                              
prosecutor would not act as the victim's attorney. He asked                                                                     
if the legislation could require that the state agree to                                                                        
negotiation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti noted that defenders have one attorney for his                                                                    
or her only interest. The interest of the prosecutor is                                                                         
divided. She agreed that the legislation could require                                                                          
agreement by the state. She acknowledged that there has not                                                                     
been a problem with the current use of restorative justice.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Bunde summarized that the legislation is                                                                             
permissive and that judges can choose not to use the                                                                            
provisions of the law. Ms. Carpeneti agreed that the                                                                            
provision is permissive but emphasized that it is difficult                                                                     
for a judge to know if there has been intimidation. She gave                                                                    
the example of an older person that has been the victim of                                                                      
someone known to them. She stressed that victims can be                                                                         
fragile and afraid to speak for themselves. She noted that                                                                      
restorative justice is being used for cases involving mental                                                                    
health. She suggested amending the purposes of sentencing                                                                       
under AS 12.55.005. She stated that restoration to the                                                                          
victim and community could be added to sentencing purposes.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Bunde observed that the judge initiates                                                                              
restorative law under the current practice. If the                                                                              
legislation is passed the victim or the offender could                                                                          
initiate justice.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti noted that, in Anchorage, cases are directed                                                                      
to particular courts where judges have adopted procedures.                                                                      
She suggested that the legislation would result in defense                                                                      
lawyers contacting victims. She pointed out that defendants                                                                     
often will not plea guilty unless they know what their                                                                          
sentence would be. She maintained that the provision is not                                                                     
practical due to plea negotiations.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder expressed concern with presumptive                                                                              
sentencing. He summarized that the department is concern                                                                        
that the legislation would allow the court to circumvent                                                                        
presumptive sentence. Ms. Carpeneti explained that a                                                                            
negotiation would be a mitigating factor and would allow the                                                                    
court to reduce presumptive sentencing.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder questioned if the negotiated settlement                                                                         
should include the judge. Ms. Carpeneti stated that it would                                                                    
depend on the type of case but that it would not a bad idea                                                                     
to include the judge. Co-Chair Mulder emphasized that the                                                                       
judge would be the third party to balance the agreement. He                                                                     
noted that there are some factors that might want to be                                                                         
exempted. Ms. Carpeneti responded that there has been                                                                           
discussion on excluding cases that are outside of AS 11.41.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
In response to a question by Co-Chair Therriault, Ms.                                                                           
Carpeneti noted that an offender that burns down a house and                                                                    
an offender that burns something in someone's yard would                                                                        
both be included under arson.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
In response to a question by Representative J. Davies, Ms.                                                                      
Carpeneti explained that the legislation adds a mitigating                                                                      
factor. She discussed presumptive sentencing under AS                                                                           
12.55.125. She noted that terms were set for what were                                                                          
deemed to be the right time for certain offenses. Then                                                                          
mitigating factors were set out to allow the court to raise                                                                     
or lower sentences. Factors of mitigation have to do with                                                                       
excuses. The defendant has to prove by clear and convincing                                                                     
evidence that it was a mitigated crime. The legislation                                                                         
would add a mitigating factor without clear and convincing                                                                      
evidence.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Grussendorf questioned how "community" would                                                                     
be defined. Ms. Carpeneti responded that she did not know                                                                       
how community would be defined.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BLAIR MCCUNE, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, PUBLIC DEFENDER AGENCY                                                                           
testified via teleconference in support of the legislation.                                                                     
He clarified that mandatory fines and surcharges would be                                                                       
included. He pointed out that the Victim's Rights Act                                                                           
protects the victim. He noted limitations on the contact of                                                                     
victims by the defendant's lawyer or the defendant. The                                                                         
state while representing the public interest also often                                                                         
represents the interest of the victims.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. McCune observed that juvenile court cases are screened                                                                      
to be sure that the cases chosen are appropriate. There is a                                                                    
victim offender mediator, which helps the process. He                                                                           
suggested that judges would be less inclined to take cases                                                                      
negotiated through straight contact. He maintained that                                                                         
restorative justice is about mediated controlled and                                                                            
carefully screened cases, in which the interests of the                                                                         
community, the victim and the offender are taken into                                                                           
account and carefully weighed. He noted that restorative                                                                        
justice has worked well in other states.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Grussendorf reiterated his questioned                                                                            
concerning the definition of "community".                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
(TAPE CHANGE, HFC 00 - 102, SIDE 2)                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. McCune gave examples of the interpretation of community.                                                                    
Mothers against Drunk Drivers were involved in a DWI case.                                                                      
Other restorative justice cases have included local merchant                                                                    
associations in downtown areas that were vandalized. He                                                                         
acknowledged that community is not strictly defined.                                                                            
Representative Grussendorf summarized that the judge would                                                                      
decide the definition of community. Mr. McCune affirmed.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Dyson expressed confidence in the judge's                                                                        
ability to look after the interest of the victims. He                                                                           
pointed out that judges are already doing it and that the                                                                       
legislation would just authorize current practice. He                                                                           
stressed that there are good application opportunities for                                                                      
rural Alaska and emphasized that it is not a new practice.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies expressed concern that there not be                                                                    
unintended consequences. He asked for purpose of including a                                                                    
mitigator.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Torkelson responded that the purpose was to allow the                                                                       
judge to take the negotiation into account.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies noted that all the other mitigators                                                                    
were on the nature of the crime itself. He pointed out that                                                                     
there would be a new class of mitigators.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Bunde stated that his concern is with the victim.                                                                    
He stressed that he would rather have his loss restored than                                                                    
have someone sit in jail.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Dyson observed that perpetrators that go                                                                         
through restorative justice have lower incidents of                                                                             
recidivism. He maintained that working to restore a loss                                                                        
expresses the magnitude of the crime and the loss on the                                                                        
offender. He felt that it would be a greater punishment to                                                                      
face victim and be accountable.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault stressed that he wanted to assure that                                                                      
judges do not just rubber stamp negotiations but take an                                                                        
active role.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Grussendorf questioned if some of the more                                                                       
serious crimes should be excluded. Representative Dyson                                                                         
acknowledged his concern and added that making up for a                                                                         
burglary is a good experience for the burglar. He emphasized                                                                    
that it can work for very violent crimes and urged that the                                                                     
judge make the decision.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Grussendorf pointed out that burglary and                                                                        
arson can turn into very serious offenses.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault questioned if lesser and greater extents                                                                    
of arson can be separated.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies stated his intention to offer                                                                          
amendments on the legislation. He stated that he would like                                                                     
to add a requirement that the court approve the negotiation                                                                     
before it happens.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder questioned if the judge should be involved.                                                                     
Discussion ensued regarding involvement of the judge. Co-                                                                       
Chair Mulder argued in support of the judge's involvement.                                                                      
Representative J. Davies stressed that there are classes of                                                                     
restorative justice that would not require the involvement                                                                      
of the judge during negotiations.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies restated his intention to offer an                                                                     
amendment that would insert a sentence at the end of section                                                                    
1: in this section "community" shall be defined by the                                                                          
court. Mr. Torkelson observed that "community" is defined as                                                                    
a group of people with common interests.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies stated that his amendment would                                                                        
make it clear that is not up to the offender to define the                                                                      
community.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Torkelson questioned why would the defense attorney                                                                         
allow to a defender to go into something without knowing the                                                                    
outcome. Representative J. Davies pointed out that have the                                                                     
choice to agree or go back to the original sentencing.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB 372 was heard and HELD in Committee for further                                                                              
consideration.                                                                                                                  
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."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault provided members with proposed committee                                                                    
substitute, work draft 1-LS1405\ Utermohle, 4/4/00 (copy on                                                                     
file).                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MIKE TIBBLES, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT observed that                                                                    
a proposed committee substitute was created to address                                                                          
concerns expressed during the 3/29/00 House Finance                                                                             
Committee meeting. He reviewed the committee substitute.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Sections 1 and 2 deleted "enhancement" and inserted "and                                                                        
maintenance" in a number of places. The change addressed                                                                        
concern that the department may be expected to increase new                                                                     
populations whether than maintain healthy populations.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Page 3, section 4 addressed concerns by the Department of                                                                       
Fish and Game that the definition of means and methods did                                                                      
not cover all current practices. Language was modified to                                                                       
add "substances" and the "use of" to allow the use of a tool                                                                    
or substance. The sponsor and the Board of Game's attorney                                                                      
worked on the amendment.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies questioned if it could be read to                                                                      
be redundant. He questioned if the language would address                                                                       
the manner in which the tools are used.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Tibbles stressed that the intention is to include means,                                                                    
tools, implements, devices and the use of substances. He                                                                        
observed that the use of a substance would include poison to                                                                    
trap or bait.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Language was added in line 31, page 3: "consistent with (1)                                                                     
of this section". The addition addresses the concern that                                                                       
the protection of traditional use of fish and game not be                                                                       
elevated to the same level protection, enhancement and                                                                          
preservation of the fish and game habitat. Subsection (1)                                                                       
would be the ultimate goal or the purpose of a state                                                                            
wildlife refuge. Subsection (2) would remain a purpose, but                                                                     
it must remain consistent with subsection (1).                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Subsection (3): "perpetuate and enhance general public                                                                          
recreation in a quality environment" was deleted.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Sections 7, 8, and 9 address the ability of the department                                                                      
to work with municipalities and private non-profits to                                                                          
develop hunting safety education and wildlife conservation                                                                      
education programs. Currently, private non-profits are                                                                          
required to establish programs for the primary purpose of                                                                       
preserving hunting, fishing and trapping. The department                                                                        
testified that they would read the wildlife conservation                                                                        
education programs broadly. The Potters Marsh viewing center                                                                    
was referenced. He observed that organizations engaged in                                                                       
wildlife conservation education programs might not be                                                                           
created for the primary purpose of preserving hunting,                                                                          
fishing and trapping. The intent is to not exclude these                                                                        
organizations.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Sections 10 through 15 deal with public use areas. The word                                                                     
"preserve" was deleted and replaced with "maintain" in each                                                                     
of the sections. The change addressed the concern that                                                                          
public use areas would be more like refuges.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
EDDIE GRASSER, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE MASEK provided                                                                             
information on the committee substitute. He explained that                                                                      
legal counsel for the Board of Game stated that the language                                                                    
would cover most of the contingencies that the Board would                                                                      
have to address under section 4. He stressed that the intent                                                                    
is that the use of tools would also be included.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies questioned if Mr. Grasser would                                                                        
object to the insertion of "manner of" in front of "use".                                                                       
Mr. Grasser stated that he would not object to the change.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder questioned why is the section of means and                                                                      
methods needed in the definition. Mr. Grasser stated that                                                                       
the section was inserted as the result of a regulation by                                                                       
the Board of Game requiring bones to be packed out of the                                                                       
field. He stressed that statutes clearly state that bones                                                                       
are not part of the edible portion of an animal that would                                                                      
need to be packed out.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder observed that they are working hard at a                                                                        
definition that may work and questioned if it would not be                                                                      
better to address the particular concern. Mr. Grasser noted                                                                     
that there is no definition of the terms and expressed                                                                          
concern that the Board of Game has used this as a loophole.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies agreed that it would be simpler to                                                                     
state that bones were not included in items that would be                                                                       
packed out.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Grasser referred to deletion of section 6, subsection                                                                       
(3). The language was removed to avoid confusion.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Tibbles noted that the department would not be able to                                                                      
preclude kayaks from nesting grounds if the language were                                                                       
included.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies pointed out that the problem was                                                                       
addressed with the inclusion of "consistent with", which                                                                        
modified subsection (3).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Grasser stated that they would not object to its                                                                            
insertion.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WAYNE REGELIN, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION,                                                                     
DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME provided information on the                                                                         
committee substitute. He noted that the proposed committee                                                                      
substitute resolved concerns with one exception. Section 3                                                                      
gives local advisory committees veto authority over actions                                                                     
of the Board of Game. He pointed out that they are advisory                                                                     
committees. There are over 80 advisory committees. They                                                                         
sometimes share jurisdiction. He noted that the Board of                                                                        
Game has a though process and rarely closes down access.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies stated that he also had concerns on                                                                    
the issue.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Bunde questioned how the change from "enhance" to                                                                    
"maintain" relates to sustained yield. Mr. Regelin did not                                                                      
think the change would have an effect.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Bunde asked for more information on the language                                                                     
on page 3, line 26. Mr. Regelin explained that the language                                                                     
would not cause problems for the Board or department.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Bunde referred to page 4, line 18 "with other                                                                        
organizations". Mr. Regelin stressed that the department                                                                        
attempts to cooperate with all private groups to have joint                                                                     
programs, but didn't want to have a mandate. Mr. Grasser                                                                        
explained that 4H organizations would be able to participate                                                                    
if the legislature chose to do a pass through grant and the                                                                     
department chose to assist them. The language is permissive,                                                                    
not mandatory. The grants are subject to legislative                                                                            
appropriation. Municipalities and private non-profits that                                                                      
are setup to preserve hunting, fishing and trapping would                                                                       
only be allowed to participate in wildlife conservation                                                                         
education programs; they would not be allowed to participate                                                                    
in hunter training programs.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
(TAPE CHANGE, HFC 00  - 103, SIDE 1)                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Grasser expressed trust that the legislature would not                                                                      
allow money to be funneled to anti-hunting groups to attack                                                                     
hunting and conservation education programs. The legislature                                                                    
can appropriate to individual pass through grants. Mr.                                                                          
Regelin stated that the language would provide that the                                                                         
primary purpose must be to preserve hunting, fishing and                                                                        
trapping. Vice Chair Bunde emphasized that there are no                                                                         
"side boards" on other organizations.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault noted that the legislation states:                                                                          
hunting safety education not hunting, safety, education.                                                                        
Vice Chair Bunde pointed out that education could be in                                                                         
favor of or against hunting.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies noted that there are wildlife                                                                          
conservation programs that would not be pro or anti-hunting.                                                                    
Mr. Regelin observed that 4H doesn't have as its primary                                                                        
purpose hunting, trapping or fishing, but that they have a                                                                      
strong program that the department would like to support.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Grasser did not think that the legislature had                                                                              
appropriated funding for any of the programs in the recent                                                                      
years. The legislation provides a mechanism to work with                                                                        
organizations, but the organizations would need to work with                                                                    
the department and the legislature.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
NANCY WELCH, LAND MANAGER, DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES                                                                      
expressed concerns with language being deleted on page 5,                                                                       
line 31. She felt that the reordering would tip the multiple                                                                    
use scales toward the Department of Fish and Game. She noted                                                                    
that the Susitna Area Plan is deleted from the provision.                                                                       
The Susitna Area Plan is the basis the department uses for                                                                      
decision making. She stressed that the Susitna Area Plan                                                                        
contains provisions for its modification.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies MOVED Amendment 1: delete language                                                                     
on page 3, lines 7 - 9; insert "specifically authorized by a                                                                    
regulation adopted by the Board of Fisheries of the Board of                                                                    
Game, provided that the local fish and game advisory                                                                            
committee with jurisdiction over the area where the                                                                             
regulation would apply has been notified in writing of the                                                                      
proposed regulation". The amendment would address concerns                                                                      
of the advisory committee. This would remove the absolute                                                                       
veto power of the advisory committee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Grasser observed that there would not be a need for the                                                                     
subsection as amended. The advisory committees are already                                                                      
notified. He maintained that subsection 2 only places a                                                                         
higher standard on the Board for actions reducing public                                                                        
access. He gave examples of previous Board actions.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder asked about circumstances where a local                                                                         
advisory committee tends to be dominated by commercial                                                                          
fishermen.  He observed that such a Board could attempt to                                                                      
maintain their level of take at the expense of non-resident                                                                     
sport fishermen. He asked how the regulation would apply to                                                                     
such a situation.  Mr. Grasser replied that the Board could                                                                     
act regardless of subsection (2). He noted that the                                                                             
recommendations of one advisory committee would not be                                                                          
enacted if there were a conflict with another advisory                                                                          
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Grussendorf observed that Board of Fish                                                                          
members are under a lot of scrutiny and pressure to make the                                                                    
best decisions. He pointed out that people in local areas                                                                       
(advisory committees) have a lot of self-interests in mind.                                                                     
That interest may not be in the best idea of management and                                                                     
cause problems with sustained yield. He stressed that the                                                                       
Advisory Committees cannot be allowed to make the final                                                                         
decisions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault stated that subsections 3, 4, 5 & 6                                                                         
would stand by themselves. He did not think that subsection                                                                     
2 would provide veto over actions that the Board (of Fish)                                                                      
has taken under the other provisions.  Representative J.                                                                        
Davies disagreed.  Vice Chair Bunde asked how many advisory                                                                     
committees are in the state.  Mr. Grasser replied that there                                                                    
are 84 advisory committees.  Vice Chair Bunde suggested that                                                                    
the subsection would give power to the advisory committees                                                                      
and in affect create multiple game boards in the State. He                                                                      
expressed concern that the local advisory committees would                                                                      
not have a statewide perspective.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Tibbles noted that he spoke with the drafter of the                                                                         
bill.  He explained that subsection 2 would only apply in                                                                       
the absence of any of the other provisions. The subsection                                                                      
would encourage the Board to use the other provisions and                                                                       
justify why they are restricting access.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Phillips felt uncomfortable with the                                                                             
inclusion of subsection 2. She pointed out that the advisory                                                                    
committees do not have legislative oversight.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Grasser argued that allowing advisory committees to have                                                                    
veto power is not a new concept. He maintained that each                                                                        
advisory committee would have an opportunity to object to                                                                       
provisions of the Board of Game affecting their unit.                                                                           
Representative J. Davies pointed out that there are many                                                                        
people that hunt and fish outside of their own areas.  Mr.                                                                      
Grasser explained how the process works.  The Board of Fish                                                                     
or Game would have to create a special use area with access                                                                     
restrictions. Regulations are promulgated and they are                                                                          
published for public review before the meeting takes place.                                                                     
Then the Board makes the decision.  Then the Advisory                                                                           
Committee can take action.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies stressed that then the advisory                                                                        
committee would have a veto.  Co-Chair Mulder stated that                                                                       
the access would not be restricted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Grussendorf could not imagine the Board of                                                                       
Fish and Game making a decision without a rational reason                                                                       
for the decision.  He maintained that action of the Board of                                                                    
Game would be supported with data and biological studies.                                                                       
He argued it would not be a good idea to give veto power to                                                                     
the advisory committees.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Bunde observed that the Board of Game could                                                                          
decide to eliminate a controlled use area and let more                                                                          
people in; the local advisory committee could decide to                                                                         
retain restrictions.  Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that                                                                      
the traditional means of access may not be restricted.  Vice                                                                    
Chair Bunde clarified that once an area has been restricted                                                                     
that the provision would not apply.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Regelin agreed with Vice Chair Bunde's conclusion.  He                                                                      
stated that he has not seen a board of game close an area                                                                       
without a good reason.  He spoke against providing veto                                                                         
power to advisory committees.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies asked how many advisory committees                                                                     
have jurisdiction in an area.  Mr. Regelin replied usually                                                                      
one, in some areas it is five or six and is determined                                                                          
through the regulatory process.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Grussendorf reiterated that a Board would not                                                                    
make a decision without supporting documentation. He pointed                                                                    
out that advisory committees would overlap in regards to the                                                                    
Board of Fish.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Grasser acknowledged concerns. He referred to issues in                                                                     
Noatak. He pointed out that there are some access                                                                               
restrictions that were not implemented for public safety or                                                                     
conservation issues. He maintained that there are very few                                                                      
places left where people can use different forms of access.                                                                     
The intent is to protect areas like the Nelchina Basin.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Bunde noted that he served on an advisory                                                                            
committee and observed that they can be politicized.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion to adopt Amendment                                                                     
1.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Davies, Grussendorf, Phillips, Bunde                                                                                  
OPPOSED: Davis, Therriault, Mulder                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representatives Foster, Moses, Williams, Austerman were                                                                         
absent from the vote.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (4-3).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Grussendorf MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 2:                                                                          
delete section 2. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so                                                                           
ordered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 3: insert                                                                     
"manner of" before "use" on page 3 line 25. There being NO                                                                      
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 4: delete                                                                     
subsection (f) beginning on page 5, line 31, [PERPETUATE AND                                                                    
ENHANCE ADDITIONAL PUBLIC USES DESCRIBED IN THE SUSITNA AREA                                                                    
PLAN].                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Grasser argued against the amendment.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative G. Davis observed that the area plans are                                                                        
required under the designation of the land use in the area.                                                                     
He expressed concern with the deletion of the Susitna Area                                                                      
Plan.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Grasser pointed out that the Susitna Area Plan also has                                                                     
within its confines suggestions of uses such as parks. He                                                                       
maintained that the Recreation River Plan reduced any need                                                                      
for the Susitna Area Plan.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies spoke in support of the amendment.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CAROL CARROLL, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF SUPPORT SERVICES,                                                                          
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES observed that deletion of                                                                       
the Susitna Area Plan would take away something that the                                                                        
department uses to settle contradictory uses.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
(TAPE CHANGE, HFC 00 - 103, SIDE 2)                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carroll explained that the nature of the public use area                                                                    
is not changed. The guidance is removed.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Phillips pointed out that the plan would                                                                         
remain and that the department can still go to it for                                                                           
guidance.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies stressed that the language provides                                                                    
a link.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion to adopt Amendment                                                                     
4.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Davis, Grussendorf, Phillips, Davies                                                                                  
OPPOSED: Foster, Bunde, Mulder, Therriault                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representatives Moses, Austerman and Davis were absent from                                                                     
the vote.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (4-4).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 5 delete                                                                      
sections 15 - 19. These sections address the Goldstream                                                                         
Public Use Area. The deletion would leave the existing                                                                          
statutory language in place. He stressed that the multi-use                                                                     
trail has been protected by the existing plan. He added that                                                                    
the first purpose is to enhance recreation. There is a large                                                                    
area that encompasses mining. He noted that fish and                                                                            
wildlife protection is the second priority. He expressed                                                                        
concern that the legislation would impact existing mining.                                                                      
He emphasized that there is not a problem.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder agreed with comments by Representative J.                                                                       
Davies. He stressed that the change does not include or                                                                         
exclude anything. He concluded that the Goldstream Public                                                                       
Use Area was only included for consistency with other public                                                                    
use areas.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault stated that without a compelling reason                                                                     
to maintain the language that he would support the                                                                              
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 5 was adopted.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault noted that there is a zero fiscal note.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder MOVED to report CSHB 349 (FIN) out of                                                                           
Committee with the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO                                                                     
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CSHB 349 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with "no                                                                           
recommendation" and with a zero fiscal note by the                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 362                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
"An Act authorizing the exchange of land between the                                                                            
Alaska Railroad Corporation and Eklutna, Inc., between                                                                          
the Alaska Railroad Corporation and the United States                                                                           
Department of the Army and the United States Department                                                                         
of the Air Force, between the Alaska Railroad                                                                                   
Corporation and Chugach Alaska Corporation, and between                                                                         
the Alaska Railroad Corporation and the Municipality of                                                                         
Anchorage; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LISA MURKOWSKI, SPONSOR testified in support                                                                     
of the legislation. She noted that House Bill 362                                                                               
authorizes the Alaska Railroad Corporation to enter into                                                                        
several land exchange agreements needed for a track upgrade                                                                     
and realignment project.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
The bill approves exchanges of Railroad landholdings for                                                                        
equivalently valued land owned by the Air Force and Army on                                                                     
Elmendorf AFB and Fort Richardson, Ekiutna, Inc., Chugach                                                                       
Alaska Corporation and the Municipality of Anchorage, and                                                                       
certain landowners in the Birchwood area.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Federal legislation is also necessary because of the land                                                                       
swap with the military. The Alaska Railroad Corporation                                                                         
(ARRC) is working with the Washington delegation to get                                                                         
this passed.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The exchanges outlined in HB 362 will allow the ARRC's                                                                          
track realignment project between Anchorage and Wasilla to                                                                      
proceed, and will also allow the Department of                                                                                  
Transportation and Public Facilities to relocate a portion                                                                      
of the Seward Highway just north of Seward.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Upgrading and realigning the track will increase safety and                                                                     
efficiency. Straighter track is safer due to reduced track                                                                      
and equipment wear, consistency in train handling,                                                                              
increased sight distance, and reduced maintenance                                                                               
requirements.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Running time between Anchorage and Wasilla would also be                                                                        
decreased from 95 minutes to 53 minutes, making commuter                                                                        
service more viable.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
The railroad plans an investment of $45-60 million for the                                                                      
improvements. These funds will come from federal                                                                                
transportation grants as well as the ARRC's operating                                                                           
revenues. No general funds will be required.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies questioned the impact on the                                                                           
highway system.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
WENDY LINDSKOOG, ALASKA RAILROAD CORPORATION (ARRC) provided                                                                    
information on the legislation. She explained that grade                                                                        
separated crossing at the military base would be paid by the                                                                    
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. The                                                                         
movement of the tracks helps to facilitate the department's                                                                     
work. The cost of the grade separated crossing at Beach Lake                                                                    
Park would be incurred by the railroad. The grade separated                                                                     
crossing along the Seward Highway is a Department of                                                                            
Transportation and Public Facilities' project. The                                                                              
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has asked                                                                    
the railroad to move the track over through land exchanges                                                                      
to accommodate the project.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder questioned if there is a plan to relocate                                                                       
fiber optic cable. Ms. Lindskoog affirmed that the plan is                                                                      
to relocate the fiber optic cable so that it would remain                                                                       
within the railroad right-of-way. This is part of the                                                                           
railroad's cost.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
In response to a question by Representative Phillips, Ms.                                                                       
Lindskoog affirmed that arrangements have been made with the                                                                    
military.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Phillips questioned if the rails between                                                                         
Wassila and Anchorage would support a fast train and if                                                                         
there is an ability to lease out the tracks for a commuter                                                                      
fast track.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CRAIG HUGHES, PROJECT ENGINEER, ALASKA RAILROAD CORPORATION                                                                     
(ARRC) testified via teleconference. He noted that the                                                                          
railroad had not looked at the market for a commuter                                                                            
service. He stressed that travel time would be reduced from                                                                     
95 minutes to 53 minutes. The improved track would support a                                                                    
train operating at 50 miles an hour. The rail currently runs                                                                    
at 35 miles an hour. Representative Phillips noted that                                                                         
Amtrak operates at 75 to 80 miles an hour. Mr. Hughes                                                                           
responded that the tracks would not support a train                                                                             
operating at 75 - 80 miles an hour.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies questioned if there has been a cost                                                                    
analysis of what it would take to support a 75 to 80 miles                                                                      
an hour computer rail. Mr. Hughes responded that the cost of                                                                    
the project has not been figured at anything over 60 miles                                                                      
an hour.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lindskoog pointed out that light and heavy rail cannot                                                                      
be mixed.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Grussendorf questioned if there has been                                                                         
discussion of game on tracks. Mr. Hughes explained that they                                                                    
found that snow depth is a greater factor than speed.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
In response to a question by Co-Chair Mulder, Ms. Lindskoog                                                                     
observed that the interest of the Chugaik Corporation is in                                                                     
Seward.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault questioned if the language on page 3,                                                                       
lines 2 - 16 were absolutely necessary for the legislation.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
(a)  Contingent upon the conveyance to the Alaska                                                                               
Railroad Corporation by the Chugach Alaska Corporation                                                                          
of an equivalent interest in real property onto which                                                                           
the railroad utility corridor may be relocated, the                                                                             
Alaska Railroad Corporation is authorized to convey the                                                                         
corporation's entire interest in approximately 6.4                                                                              
acres of railroad utility corridor between railroad                                                                             
mileposts 14 and 15, within Township 2 North, Range 1                                                                           
East, Sections 6 and 7, Seward Meridian, to the Chugach                                                                         
Alaska Corporation.                                                                                                             
(b)  The conveyances described in this section are made                                                                         
for the purpose of realignment of the railroad to allow                                                                         
relocation of the Seward Highway by the Department of                                                                           
Transportation and Public Facilities to improve highway                                                                         
operations and enhance safety.                                                                                                  
(c)  Land conveyed by the Chugach Alaska Corporation to                                                                         
the Alaska Railroad Corporation shall be held and                                                                               
managed by the Alaska Railroad Corporation in                                                                                   
accordance with AS 42.40.                                                                                                       
(d)  This section constitutes legislative approval                                                                              
under AS 42.40.285(1) for the Alaska Railroad                                                                                   
Corporation to convey its entire interest in the land                                                                           
described in (a) of this section.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lindskoog responded that the language is not necessary                                                                      
for straightening of the track. She emphasized support for                                                                      
creating a grade-separated crossing that would help the                                                                         
general safety of the public. She thought that the                                                                              
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities would                                                                        
view the language as important.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
In response to a question by Representative J. Davies,                                                                          
Representative Murkowski stressed the importance of                                                                             
straightening the track and did not want to see the bill                                                                        
derailed by adding pieces of other legislation. She thought                                                                     
that the other bills would be acceptable.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Lindskoog stressed the importance of straightening the                                                                          
track.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder pointed out that HB 362 could be the                                                                            
locomotive to pull other legislation along.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 362 was heard and HELD in Committee for further                                                                              
consideration.                                                                                                                  
HOUSE BILL NO. 426                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
"An Act relating to transfers of public land or grants                                                                          
or conveyances of interest in public land among the                                                                             
Alaska Railroad Corporation, the Department of                                                                                  
Transportation and Public Facilities, and the                                                                                   
Department of Natural Resources to relocate or widen                                                                            
the Seward Highway, to relocate railroad facilities,                                                                            
and to relocate adjacent utility facilities; and                                                                                
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAMAR DIFRANCO, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, STATEWIDE DESIGN AND                                                                           
ENGINEERING SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND                                                                          
PUBLIC FACILITIES testified in support of the legislation.                                                                      
She observed that the Department of Natural Resources has                                                                       
management responsibility for Chugach State Park, but may                                                                       
not modify the boundaries of the park without legislative                                                                       
approval. This has been interpreted to mean that the                                                                            
department may not relocate easements without legislative                                                                       
approval. The purpose of HB 426 is to provide the Department                                                                    
of Natural Resources the ability to work with the Department                                                                    
of Transportation and Public Facilities, Alaska Railroad                                                                        
corporation and utilities with easements within the Park in                                                                     
order to modify, improve, upgrade, and enhance pubic                                                                            
facilities within the Park.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. DiFranco observed that the Department of Transportation                                                                     
and Public Facilities has four projects proposed for                                                                            
construction along the Seward Highway within the Park, in                                                                       
the next three years. The legislation would allow the                                                                           
Department of Natural Resources to modify and/or relocate                                                                       
highway rights-of-ways for these projects.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Phillips questioned if Representative                                                                            
Murkowski would have problems with combining HB 426 with HB                                                                     
362. Representative Murkowski did not see any problems with                                                                     
combining the bills.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lindskoog observed that the legislation seeks pre-                                                                          
approval for any work that the railroad or the highway needs                                                                    
to make the improvements. The railroad supports the bill.                                                                       
The legislation has been driven by concerns of the                                                                              
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB 426 was heard and HELD in Committee for further                                                                              
consideration.                                                                                                                  
HOUSE BILL NO. 320                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
"An Act approving the application for and acceptance of                                                                         
a grant of certain federal land by the Alaska Railroad                                                                          
Corporation; approving the conveyance of the entire                                                                             
interest in the Whittier DeLong Dock and associated                                                                             
uplands, tidelands, and submerged lands by the Alaska                                                                           
Railroad Corporation; relating to use and disposition                                                                           
of the Whittier DeLong Dock and associated land; and                                                                            
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JOHN MANLEY, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS testified in                                                                          
support of HB 320. He noted that the United States Army                                                                         
notified their intent to surplus the DeLong Dock. The Alaska                                                                    
Railroad Corporation applied for conveyance of the dock. The                                                                    
legislation gives legislative approval for the railroad to                                                                      
receive the DeLong Dock and its underlying real estate. The                                                                     
bill also ratifies an agreement between the city of Whittier                                                                    
and the Alaska Railroad Corporation to transfer the real                                                                        
estate to the city and lease the land underlying the north                                                                      
half of the dock. The railroad would in turn lease the south                                                                    
half of the dock to the city.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
In response to a question by Representative G. Davis, Mr.                                                                       
Manley noted that the title is in the process of being                                                                          
transferred.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PHYLLIS JOHNSON, ALASKA RAILROAD CORPORATION testified via                                                                      
teleconference. She explained that the railroad was given                                                                       
priority for the transfer as a state entity. Representative                                                                     
G. Davis noted that there has been interest by different                                                                        
groups.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault noted that there was a proposed                                                                             
amendment:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 20                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
After "Whittier."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Insert "Neither the corporation nor the city of Whittier                                                                        
may grant any special right, privilege, or preference to a                                                                      
third party to provide management services at the dock. A                                                                       
contract for management of the dock by a third party shall                                                                      
be awarded by competitive sealed bidding"                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Manley expressed concern that the amendment was too                                                                         
tightly written. He pointed out that the railroad                                                                               
procurement code mirrors the state's procurement code.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault observed that there is no statutory                                                                         
reference that can be made to the railroad code. Mr. Manley                                                                     
questioned if the statute could reference the variety of                                                                        
contracting methods available to the railroad.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lindskoog stated that the Alaska Railroad Corporation                                                                       
was not concerned with the amendment.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Johnson explained that the railroad is not under the                                                                        
state's procurement code, but is required to have its own                                                                       
procurement code, comparable to the state's. The Alaska                                                                         
Railroad Corporation's procurement code mirrors the state's                                                                     
code. She thought that it would be possible to come up with                                                                     
language that would allow competitive sealed bidding and                                                                        
RFP's.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Mulder stated that he wanted to make sure that                                                                         
everyone would have the opportunity to bid. He asked her to                                                                     
work on an amendment that would be less direct and still get                                                                    
to the spirit of the competitive bid.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SHERI BURETTA, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, CHUGACH ALASKA                                                                            
CORPORATION provided information on the management terms.                                                                       
She maintained that the Chugach Alaska Corporation should                                                                       
have first right of refusal. She noted that Resolution 8,                                                                       
passed in the previous session, urged the Alaska Railroad                                                                       
Corporation to select an Alaskan bidder for the design and                                                                      
construction of its projects. She felt that changes to HB                                                                       
320 were contradictory to the resolution.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Therriault noted frustration on the part of the                                                                        
legislature regarding the railroad's ability to negotiate                                                                       
with the Chugach Alaska Corporation on behalf of the                                                                            
legislature. He maintained that the bidding process should                                                                      
not be restricted to one corporation. Ms. Buretta stressed                                                                      
that the Alaska Chugach Corporation is in a unique situation                                                                    
due to the direct impact on its communities.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
(TAPE CHANGE, HFC 00  - 104, SIDE 1)                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Phillips pointed out that the purpose of the                                                                     
resolution was to look at Alaska hire for an Alaskan                                                                            
company. She did not think that there was a difference in                                                                       
the intent to allow bids by Alaskan companies.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CARRIE WILLIAMS, CITY MANAGER, WHITTIER testified via                                                                           
teleconference in support of HB 320. She stressed that the                                                                      
division of property between the railroad and the city of                                                                       
Whittier is fair and necessary.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice Chair Bunde commented that the railroad can do as it                                                                       
sees fit to mange its business, but that it is still a state                                                                    
agency with legislative oversight. He stressed that it is                                                                       
not in the best interest of the state to enter into a law                                                                       
that is illegal in relationship to the procurement code.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Phillips did not support the merger of HB 320                                                                    
with HB 426 and HB 362. Representative J. Davies agreed and                                                                     
stated that he did not see a compelling reason to combine                                                                       
the other bills.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative G. Davis spoke in minimizing legislative and                                                                     
cautioned against micro managing.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HB 320 was heard and HELD in Committee for further                                                                              
consideration.                                                                                                                  
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 p.m.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
House Finance Committee 22                                                                                                      

Document Name Date/Time Subjects