Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/08/2003 02:16 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                        May 08, 2003                                                                                            
                         2:16 P.M.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 TAPE HFC 03 - 83, Side A                                                                                                       
 TAPE HFC 03 - 83, Side B                                                                                                       
 TAPE HFC 03 - 84, Side A                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Williams called the House Finance Committee  meeting                                                                  
 to order at 2:16 P.M.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Representative John Harris, Co-Chair                                                                                           
 Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chair                                                                                         
 Representative Kevin Meyer, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
 Representative Mike Chenault                                                                                                   
 Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                  
 Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                     
 Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                      
 Representative Bill Stoltze                                                                                                    
 Representative Jim Whitaker                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                      
 Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 Representative   Ethan    Berkowitz;   Representative    Beth                                                                  
 Kerttula; Representative  John  Coghill;  Senator Georgianna                                                                   
 Lincoln;  Representative  David  Guttenberg;  Representative                                                                   
 Carl  Morgan;  Rynnieva  Moss,  Staff,  Representative   John                                                                  
 Coghill;   Rex   Shattuck,   Staff,   Representative    Nancy                                                                  
 Dahlstrom; Tom  Wright,  Staff, Representative  John  Harris;                                                                  
 Rick Urion,  Director Occupational  Licensing, Department  of                                                                  
 Community and Economic Development; Larry Markley, Lobbyist,                                                                   
 Alaska Regional  Electric  Cooperative  Association  (ARECA),                                                                  
 Anchorage;  Kate  Tesar,  Lobbyist,  Alaska  Yacht Services;                                                                   
 Kelly Hepler, Director,  Division of  Sport Fish, Department                                                                   
 of Fish  and Game; Randy  Ruaro, Staff,  Representative  Bill                                                                  
 Williams                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Ron   Miller,   Executive    Director,   Alaska   Industrial                                                                   
 Development and  Export Authority,  (AIDEA), Anchorage;  Eric                                                                  
 Yould,   Executive   Director,   Alaska   Regional   Electric                                                                  
 Cooperative    Association    (ARECA),    Anchorage;     Gail                                                                  
 Voigtlander, Assistant Attorney  General, Department of  Law,                                                                  
 Anchorage;  Brad Thompson,  Risk  Management,  Department  of                                                                  
 Administration; Joe  Hart,  General Manager,  Chitina  Native                                                                  
 Corporation, Glennallen; Ken  Johns, President, AHTNA  Native                                                                  
 Corporation, Glennallen;  Ruth  Ann Warden,  Special  Project                                                                  
 Coordinator,  AHTNA  Native  Corporation,  Glennallen;   Dean                                                                  
 Brown,  Deputy   State   Forester,  Division   of  Forestry,                                                                   
 Department of Natural Resources, Nome                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 SUMMARY                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 HCR 21    Relating to establishing  the Alaska Energy  Policy                                                                  
           Task Force.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
           CS HCR 21 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with                                                                   
           a "do pass"  recommendation and  with a new  fiscal                                                                  
          note by the Legislative Affairs Agency.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 HB 210    An Act  relating to  the Chitina  dip net  fishery;                                                                  
           and providing for an effective date.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
           CS HB 210 (RES) was reported out of Committee  with                                                                  
           a "do pass"  recommendation and  with a new  fiscal                                                                  
           note by  the Department  of  Fish &  Game and  zero                                                                  
           note #1 by the Department of Natural Resources.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 HB 245    An Act  relating  to certain  suits and  claims  by                                                                  
           members of the military services or regarding  acts                                                                  
           or omissions of the organized militia; relating  to                                                                  
           liability  arising  out   of  certain  search   and                                                                  
           rescue, civil defense, homeland security,  and fire                                                                  
           management   and   firefighting   activities;   and                                                                  
           providing for an effective date.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
           CS HB 245 (JUD) was reported out of Committee  with                                                                  
           a "do pass"  recommendation and  with zero note  #1                                                                  
           by the  Department  of Law,  zero  note #2  by  the                                                                  
           Department of Natural  Resources and indeterminate                                                                   
           fiscal   note    #3    by   the    Department    of                                                                  
           Administration.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 HB 251    An Act  exempting  certain foreign  pleasure  craft                                                                  
           from the mandatory pilot age requirement.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
           CS HB 251 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with                                                                   
           a "no recommendation"  and with a  new note by  the                                                                  
           Department of Community & Economic Development.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 21                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
      Relating to establishing the Alaska Energy Policy Task                                                                    
      Force.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair  Harris MOVED  to  ADOPT  work  draft #23-LS1079\D,                                                                   
 Lauterbach, 5/8/03, as the version of the legislation  before                                                                  
 the Committee.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair  Harris   explained   that  the   resolution   would                                                                  
 establish the  Alaska  Energy Policy  Task Force,  the  first                                                                  
 stage for  developing a  statewide energy  plan.  Initially,                                                                   
 the plan will address  Rail belt concerns  and the issues  in                                                                  
 these areas.   The  plan will  also provide  the Legislature                                                                   
 with  a report  addressing   power  cost equalization   (PCE)                                                                  
 concerns,  mining  and  other  general  interests.    General                                                                  
 obligation (GO)  bonds  will be  discussed  next year  and  a                                                                  
 framework will be developed.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 TOM WRIGHT, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE JOHN HARRIS, explained  the                                                                  
 changes  made to  the  committee  substitute.    The  Board's                                                                  
 composition resulted from changes adopted in the work  draft.                                                                  
 Originally, the Chair of the Regulatory Commission of  Alaska                                                                  
 (RCA) was  scheduled  to be  the  Chair  of the  task  force.                                                                  
 Following conversations  with RCA and  the Alaska Industrial                                                                   
 Development and Export  Authority (AIDEA),  concern had  been                                                                  
 voiced that the RCA Chair could have a conflict of interest,                                                                   
 that chair was removed.  It has been requested that  a member                                                                  
 of the  Alaska  Energy  Authority  (AEA)  be  added  to  that                                                                  
 position.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 A member  was  also added,  jointly  chosen by  the  Minority                                                                  
 leaders of the  House &  Senate and named  by the President,                                                                   
 making  a  nine-member  panel  with  full representation   of                                                                  
 members chosen by the Governor,  the President of the  Senate                                                                  
 and the Speaker of the House.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris  referenced the  fiscal note,  providing  for                                                                  
 board member travel and per diem.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Stoltze  inquired if  there  would be  outside                                                                  
 hire.  Co-Chair Harris responded that it is intended  to hire                                                                  
 someone currently working for the Legislature.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 Mr. Wright added that the  Alaska Energy Authority and  AIDEA                                                                  
 are willing to  work with  the task force  providing as  much                                                                  
 expertise as possible.  He believed the utilities would  also                                                                  
 "come on board".   Representative Stoltze  suggested that  at                                                                  
 the proposed salary,  the position would  be someone  willing                                                                  
 to work "pro bono".                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 RON  MILLER,   (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  EXECUTIVE                                                                   
 DIRETOR,  ALASKA  INDUSTRIAL  DEVELOPMENT  EXPORT  AUTHORITY                                                                   
 (AIDEA), ANCHORAGE, interjected that AIDEA intended  to help.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 LARRY   MARKLEY,   LOBBYIST,    ALASKA   REGIONAL    ELECTRIC                                                                  
 COOPERATIVE  ASSOCIATION  (ARECA),  ANCHORAGE,  stated   that                                                                  
 ARECA had discussed this  proposal informally as it had  only                                                                  
 recently been introduced.   ARECA has not yet taken a  formal                                                                  
 resolution   regarding    the    concern,    however,    from                                                                  
 conversations, there appears to be support.  There have  been                                                                  
 recommendations made and he preferred that Mr. Yould  address                                                                  
 those suggestions in more detail.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
      ·    ARECA members recommend that the task force                                                                          
           members elect the chair.                                                                                             
      ·    ARECA recommends increasing the number of                                                                            
           utilities from two to three, two from the Rail                                                                       
           belt and one from the rural areas.  Presently, one                                                                   
           comes from the Rail belt and the other from non-                                                                     
           Rail  belt  areas.    He  added  that  because  the                                                                  
           utilities will be  very involved, it would be  good                                                                  
           to have the extra  person representing a Rail  belt                                                                  
           utility.                                                                                                             
      ·    To place someone from the mining industries on the                                                                   
           task force.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris believed that the President of the Senate  or                                                                  
 the Speaker of the House would place someone from the  mining                                                                  
 industry on the board if  they thought that person was  good.                                                                  
 He  agreed  that  the  board  should  choose  the  Chair  and                                                                  
 recommended that an amendment be made.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Stoltze  questioned   the  intent  of   RCA's                                                                  
 involvement the RCA.  Co-Chair  Harris explained that RCA  is                                                                  
 the critical  component  because they  have  previously  been                                                                  
 involved  in these  types  of  cases.   They  should  be  "on                                                                  
 board".  He realized the  conflict of interest, and that  RCA                                                                  
 would only be involved in the decisions and the effort.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 ERIC  YOULD,   (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  EXECUTIVE                                                                   
 DIRECTOR, ALASKA  REGIONAL ELECTIRC  COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION                                                                   
 (ARECA), ANCHORAGE, noted that  the members of ARECA  believe                                                                  
 that the resolution  has merit and that  they do support  HCR                                                                  
 21.  ARECA suggests modification to the number of members  on                                                                  
 the task force.  He questioned if RCA should be the  chair or                                                                  
 even have membership  on the commission.   He indicated  that                                                                  
 ARECA supports the task force electing their own chair.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair  Harris   pointed  out   that  the   new   committee                                                                  
 substitute has the membership from the Regulatory Commission                                                                   
 removed.  At this time, membership consists of:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      ·    One member from AEA                                                                                                  
      ·    Commissioner of Revenue                                                                                              
      ·    Two members appointed by the Governor who are not                                                                    
           members of the Legislature                                                                                           
      ·    Three members chosen by the President of the                                                                         
           Senate who are not members of the Legislature                                                                        
      ·    One member chosen by the Minority Leaders of the                                                                     
           House & Senate                                                                                                       
      ·    Two members chosen by the Speaker of the House who                                                                   
           are not members of the Legislature                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Mr. Yould agreed  with those placements.   He suggested  that                                                                  
 because  the issue  is  about  the  utility  industry,  there                                                                  
 should be three members  from the electric utility  industry,                                                                  
 two of  which  should  come from  the  Rail  belt, primarily                                                                   
 because that is where the  majority of the power comes  from.                                                                  
 ARECA recommends  consideration that the  mining industry  be                                                                  
 included in membership.   He offered  to answer questions  of                                                                  
 the Committee.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris  noted  that  the resolution  is  written  to                                                                  
 indicate that a utility would  not have more than one  member                                                                  
 on the task force.  It states that at least one member  would                                                                  
 be from  a Rail belt  utility and  one from  a non-Rail  belt                                                                  
 utility.  He  indicated that  he would  support that  someone                                                                  
 from the mining industry  is represented, suggesting that  to                                                                  
 the Senate President  and/or the Speaker  of the House.   Mr.                                                                  
 Yould voiced his  appreciation and  agreed that Commissioner                                                                   
 Corbus would be a great addition.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Stoltze  asked if  there would  be support  to                                                                  
 include a  consumer on  the  board that  buys more  than  $50                                                                  
 million dollars worth of power.  Mr. Yould stated that  ARECA                                                                  
 would not oppose  that.   Co-Chair Harris  indicated that  he                                                                  
 did not support the idea,  pointing out that person could  be                                                                  
 chosen.  He hoped  to keep the  board "relatively small"  and                                                                  
 not too political.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris  MOVED to  AMEND Page  2, Line  18,  deleting                                                                  
 language, "who  shall act  as chair  of the  task force"  and                                                                  
 inserting on Page  2, Line  27, adding a  new subsection  #6,                                                                  
 "The Chair will be appointed by the Board".                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair  Harris  asked   if  Representative  Berkowitz   was                                                                  
 comfortable with that language.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE ETHAN  BERKOWITZ commented  that  it would  be                                                                  
 important to have members from the Denali Commission.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Foster MOVED to report CS HCR 21 (FIN)  out of                                                                  
 Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with   the                                                                  
 accompanying fiscal note.   There being NO OBJECTION, it  was                                                                  
 so ordered.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 CS HCR  21 (FIN) was  reported out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                  
 pass" recommendation  and  with  a  new fiscal  note  by  the                                                                  
 Legislative Affairs Agency.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 HOUSE BILL NO. 210                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
      An Act relating to the Chitina dip net fishery; and                                                                       
      providing for an effective date.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE  JOHN  COGHILL  advised  that  HB  210   would                                                                  
 eliminate the  $25  dollar  fee  for a  Chitina  Dip  netting                                                                  
 permit.  In 2000, the  Legislature imposed the increased  fee                                                                  
 to guarantee access  to the fishery  by utilizing $18  dollar                                                                  
 per  permit  to   pay  AHTNA  and   Chitina  Corporations   a                                                                  
 trespassing fee for river access across their land.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 Legislation promoted by  Senator Pete Kelly provided  funding                                                                  
 to undertake  a  survey  in 2001.     There  was  a  specific                                                                  
 $100,000 dollar  appropriation  for survey  and signs.    The                                                                  
 Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOTPF)  was                                                                  
 able to  obtain  the person  who  had done  the  majority  of                                                                  
 surveying for  native  allotments using  aerial photography.                                                                   
 There is  approximately  $54,000 dollars  remaining  for  the                                                                  
 brochure design  and printing  costs.   DOTPF indicated  that                                                                  
 enough  remains  and  would  include  two information   signs                                                                  
 placed at the Pavilion and O'Brien.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Coghill  pointed out that  the results of  the                                                                  
 survey indicate  that  the vast  majority  of access  to  the                                                                  
 river is public  land, thus,  there should be  no reason  for                                                                  
 people to trespass  on private  lands to  access the  Chitina                                                                  
 fisheries.  One key facet of the legislation is to make  sure                                                                  
 the public access  is adequately marked  in order to  protect                                                                  
 private property owners from trespassing.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Last year  Gordy  Williams,  legislative  liaison, testified                                                                   
 that the Chitina dip net fishery is the largest in the  State                                                                  
 and in  2001, the  Department of  Fish and  Game issued  over                                                                  
 8,000 household  permits.  The  elimination of  the fee is  a                                                                  
 policy call, stipulating that Chitina is the only fishery  in                                                                  
 the State  that has  been singled  out to  pay a maintenance                                                                   
 fee.  Representative Coghill  maintained that Chitina  should                                                                  
 be handled in the same manner as all other fisheries.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 JOE HART, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  GENERAL  MANAGER,                                                                  
 CHITINA NATIVE  CORPORATION, GLENNALLEN,  submitted  comments                                                                  
 on the  proposed legislation.   He emphasized  the  following                                                                  
 points and addressed  the impacts that  the dip netters  have                                                                  
 and the pressures placed  on private property.  He commented                                                                   
 that those concerns seem to be overlooked.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
      ·    Cutting of trees                                                                                                     
      ·    Building of new trails                                                                                               
      ·    Fire rings and fires                                                                                                 
      ·    Left behind trash at campsites                                                                                       
      ·    Parking and camping                                                                                                  
      ·    Shooting                                                                                                             
      ·    Fish remains from cleaning                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 Mr. Hart listed the pressures on the community and services:                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
      ·    Dumping of trash prior to leaving Chitina in                                                                         
           available dumpsters                                                                                                  
      ·    Stress placed on very limited emergency medical                                                                      
           services                                                                                                             
      ·    Additional and heavy traffic, speeding and damage                                                                    
           to roads                                                                                                             
      ·    Increased use of laundry facilities and public                                                                       
           water wells                                                                                                          
      ·    Increased potential for forest fires requiring                                                                       
           additional monitoring by Chitina's volunteer fire                                                                    
           department                                                                                                           
      ·    Increased numbers of visitors for law enforcement                                                                    
           to deal with and monitor                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 Mr. Hart clarified that  this is an access issue, regardless                                                                   
 of the  fisheries classification  and  that the  dip  netters                                                                  
 will be accessing the  Copper River across private  property.                                                                  
 Comments have  indicated  that the  fee structure  should  be                                                                  
 determined based  upon  classification.   The access  is  the                                                                  
 same regardless  of the classification  and should  not be  a                                                                  
 factor in establishment  of the fee.   Access is access,  and                                                                  
 that is  what the  fee is  used for.   The  requirement of  a                                                                  
 sport license should not impact the amount of the fee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
 With the landslide south  of O'Brien Creek closing the  road,                                                                  
 the dip netters will be impacting private properties  because                                                                  
 the right-of-way  is closed  at the  slide.   That creates  a                                                                  
 very unsafe situation similar to what happened on the  Denali                                                                  
 Highway several years  ago.  The State  of Alaska closed  the                                                                  
 highway, yet a car was allowed to travel the highway  and the                                                                  
 passengers got  stuck and  froze.  Such  circumstance  places                                                                  
 the State in a bad legal situation.  That ground is  unstable                                                                  
 and not scheduled to be repaired due to the large costs.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 Mr. Hart continued, between  8,000 and 10,000 people  descend                                                                  
 on the town with  a population of  123, some making  multiple                                                                  
 trips.  During  the height of the  fishery, 2,000 people  may                                                                  
 be present  daily.    Proportionately,  that  would  be  like                                                                  
 500,000 tourists  descending  on Juneau.   Those  people  all                                                                  
 have trash and  sewage, which  must be disposed  of.   Unlike                                                                  
 Juneau,  Chitina   has  no   local  police   force  for   law                                                                  
 enforcement or other infrastructure.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 Another concern  is  the misuse  of  the right-of-way.    The                                                                  
 State of Alaska  would not  allow 10,000 people  to camp  and                                                                  
 recreate on  the Glenn  Highway in  Anchorage.   People  have                                                                  
 suggested placing  signs and  fences.   In the  past,  wooden                                                                  
 signs were  used  for firewood  and  metal signs  for  target                                                                  
 practice.   Fencing  of  the  property is  not  in  the  best                                                                  
 interest of the view shed, tourism or the Alaskan landscape.                                                                   
 The legal  width of  the right-of-way  is not  in agreement.                                                                   
 The legal  case Chitina  Native Corporation  had against  the                                                                  
 State  of  Alaska  in  the  early  1990's  was  not   pursued                                                                  
 aggressively because of  a good faith  offering by the  State                                                                  
 of Alaska for the establishment  of this fee.  Now the  State                                                                  
 wants to "back out"  of the agreed  position.  He noted  that                                                                  
 Department   of   Transportation    &   Public   Facilities'                                                                   
 documentation indicates the  same right-of-way at the end  of                                                                  
 the McCarthy road, which is only 200 feet.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 Mr.  Hart   claimed  that   the  State   of   Alaska  has   a                                                                  
 responsibility to  protect the  private property  located  in                                                                  
 proximity to the fishery.   The issue seems to be focused  on                                                                  
 one side of that fishery  where the right-of-way is  located.                                                                  
 The fishermen use  both sides of  the river  and do not  stay                                                                  
 below the  ordinary mean  high water  mark, which  has  never                                                                  
 been established  by the  State of  Alaska or  the Bureau  of                                                                  
 Land Management (BLM) on the Copper River.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 There are frequently releases  of raw sewage from RV's  along                                                                  
 the roadways  and in  the gravel  pits.   People clean  their                                                                  
 fish at Suzy  Lake and  then leave the  fish remains  behind,                                                                  
 creating problem  bears for  the town.   Chitina,  a town  of                                                                  
 only few dozen  people, is left  with the  trash of 8,000  to                                                                  
 10,000  people.     The  dumpsters   and  toilet  facilities                                                                   
 currently available now  through the  fees are not adequate.                                                                   
 The fear is that  the dumpsters, toilets,  or our lands  will                                                                  
 become a dumping ground for the public.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Mr. Hart added that the funds for proper enforcement  for the                                                                  
 fishery are not going to be increased, which means little  or                                                                  
 no monitoring  and enforcement  of trespassing  laws for  the                                                                  
 State of Alaska  private properties.   The best solution  for                                                                  
 the State of Alaska  would be to  continue its agreement  for                                                                  
 incidental use  of 75% of  private property.   The amount  of                                                                  
 dip  netters  being   represented  by   the  Chitina   Dipnet                                                                  
 Association  is   a  very   small  minority   consisting   of                                                                  
 membership of  only 500  people.   Mr. Hart  emphasized  that                                                                  
 there are 9,000  to 10,000  dip netters who  use the  fishery                                                                  
 each season.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 The negative impacts  brought by the  dip netters to  Chitina                                                                  
 are growing.  The Legislature is considering removing  one of                                                                  
 the only  funding sources  for the  Village to  work with  in                                                                  
 dealing with  the pressures on  all of  the other properties                                                                   
 impacted by not  only these users, but  also all visitors  to                                                                  
 the area.   Leaving the fee  in place would  not deny  anyone                                                                  
 access to the fishery and  they would simply be asked by  the                                                                  
 State of Alaska to assist  in paying for the access to do  so                                                                  
 and clean up the trash and toilets they use.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Before there was an agreement between the State, Chitina  and                                                                  
 AHTNA, village members patrolled the lands and were  met with                                                                  
 angry dip netters who were distraught because they could  not                                                                  
 access the river.  Many  dip netters bring weapons with  them                                                                  
 to Chitina,  and when combined  with alcohol,  it creates  an                                                                  
 unsafe situation.   This  could likely  lead to  a range  war                                                                  
 situation where  representatives  may  be injured  or  indeed                                                                  
 killed in the process of protecting the lands.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 Mr. Hart  added that  although no  one wants  to address  it,                                                                  
 Native lands  are not  viewed in  the same  light or  treated                                                                  
 with the same respect  as other private  lands.  Dip  netters                                                                  
 would not wander,  throw trash in,  or relieve themselves  in                                                                  
 someone's back  yard in Kenai  with the  same abandoned  that                                                                  
 they do in Chitina.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 Mr. Hart recommended that the  Committee not pass HB 210  and                                                                  
 allow the State of Alaska  and the Department of Fish &  Game                                                                  
 to enter into an agreement  with a fee of $15 per permit  for                                                                  
 the next  year.    There  needs to  be  meetings  focused  on                                                                  
 looking at  long-term solutions  to the  issues and  concerns                                                                  
 raised.   Members  of departments  from  the State  could  be                                                                  
 requested to present answers to the many questions,  and then                                                                  
 the private property owners  could bring forward reasons  for                                                                  
 compensation for the impacts.   He stressed that the time  is                                                                  
 short and that  the dip net  fishery opens  in June and  that                                                                  
 there is  not enough  time to  deal with  all the unresolved                                                                   
 issues.  For  that reason, Chitina  requests an extension  of                                                                  
 the current  agreement for  another year,  during which  time                                                                  
 all of the issues could be addressed.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 RUTH ANN  WARDEN,  (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  SPECIAL                                                                  
 PROJECT COORDINATOR,  AHTNA NATIVE  CORPORATION, GLENNALLEN,                                                                   
 voiced  concern with  removing  the  fee.    The  remedy  for                                                                  
 mitigating the issues  has not been determined.   There is  a                                                                  
 long list of problems and  issues as referenced by Mr.  Hart.                                                                  
 Ms. Warden emphasized that  trespassing on the property is  a                                                                  
 "huge" concern.  That is  true especially in the areas  where                                                                  
 the people are recreating, fishing and hunting.  The  current                                                                  
 plan  does  work.    The  plan allows   Chitina,  the  Indian                                                                  
 corporation and  the  State of  Alaska  to work  together  to                                                                  
 address some of these issues.   It provides access for  those                                                                  
 people through the private lands without ramifications.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Ms. Warden stressed that it  would not be a good solution  to                                                                  
 remove the fees and attempt to address all these issues  in a                                                                  
 short period of  time.  A year  extension would be desirable                                                                   
 to work out these concerns.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Williams pointed out that a similar issue exists  in                                                                  
 Ketchikan.   He  commented  on  map  distributed  by  Senator                                                                  
 Lincoln, indicating  that a snow  slide that  washed out  the                                                                  
 road system.    Land in  Saxman has  experienced  these  same                                                                  
 types of problems.   Placement of signs  did not work so  the                                                                  
 Native  Corporation  began   working  with  the  public   and                                                                  
 building up the facilities  for the public  to use.  That  is                                                                  
 paying off for his  area and asked if  that could be done  in                                                                  
 Chitina, charging  and  then  policing.   The  State  can  no                                                                  
 longer be collecting  fees and policing  those areas for  the                                                                  
 dip net  fishery.  He  inquired if  it would  be possible  to                                                                  
 build a road to the waters  edge to help control the flow  of                                                                  
 people.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Mr. Hart responded  that they had tried  to control the  flow                                                                  
 using a gated  area, which  required someone to  be on  guard                                                                  
 24-hours a  day.  The  public did  not like  that access  and                                                                  
 complained  to the  Department  of  Transportation  &  Public                                                                  
 Facilities and the Department of Fish and Game.  That  entire                                                                  
 concern was  placed into  litigation.   He  reminded  members                                                                  
 that there are 8,000 to  10,000 dip netters in comparison  to                                                                  
 the 500 people  encouraging passage of  the legislation.   He                                                                  
 surmised that  there could  be a  program built  but that  it                                                                  
 would be impossible to implement that this year.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 SENATOR GEORGIANNA  LINCOLN highlighted  the map distributed                                                                   
 to the Committee members.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 TAPE HFC 03 - 83, Side B                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 Senator Lincoln  pointed out  the O'Brien  Creek  area.   She                                                                  
 noted how each  area would  be affected  by the trespassing,                                                                   
 pointing out that the best fishing is at some of the  bluffs.                                                                  
 Bluffs do  not stop  fishermen.   The trails  are narrow  and                                                                  
 there are  private lands  intermingled with  State lands  and                                                                  
 that many  people come  armed, which  can lead  to dangerous                                                                   
 situations.   There are  no  Village Public  Safety  Officers                                                                  
 (VPSO) on  duty.  Senator  Lincoln voiced  appreciation  that                                                                  
 the sponsor had attempted  to work out a situation,  however,                                                                  
 the gates are to be opened on June 9th.  There needs  to be a                                                                  
 way to  work with  Chitina to  accommodate them  during  this                                                                  
 period.  There  is no  way that  they can get  the fences  up                                                                  
 this year.    She noted  that the  fishery  ends the  end  of                                                                  
 September.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 Mr. Hart  advised  that  the majority  of  the  people  start                                                                  
 showing up around the 4th  of July weekend.  Senator  Lincoln                                                                  
 reiterated  that  this   is  a  volatile   situation.     She                                                                  
 recommended calling the fee  a "user fee or costs related  to                                                                  
 the impacts on  the community".   She implored the Committee                                                                   
 members help to get the village through this season  and then                                                                  
 they could work something out for next year.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE CARL MORGAN  spoke to concerns with the  other                                                                  
 side of the  river and  how the private  lands are affected.                                                                   
 Co-Chair Williams  interjected that  the only  way to  manage                                                                  
 the problem would  be in working with  the public to  address                                                                  
 these problems.  He recommended hiring someone to police  the                                                                  
 areas, pointing out  that the bill goes  into effect on  July                                                                  
 1.   Representative  Coghill corrected that  the bill has  an                                                                  
 immediate effective date.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Senator Lincoln  reiterated that  the areas do  not have  the                                                                  
 time to prepare a plan and that hiring only one person  would                                                                  
 not be effective.  Representative  Coghill advised that  last                                                                  
 year, the  opponents  had prepared  the  same argument.    He                                                                  
 stressed that they currently are charging a trespass  fee for                                                                  
 public  lands.    He  reiterated  that  this  is  not  a  new                                                                  
 discussion.  He  acknowledged that there  are safety  hazards                                                                  
 associated with the river and that the State knows where  the                                                                  
 borders of the  State lands  and private lands  are and  that                                                                  
 the borders are now clearly delineated.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
 Senator Lincoln acknowledged  that the village areas need  to                                                                  
 work on these concerns.   The Department  of Fish & Game  has                                                                  
 admitted that  they do not  have a  resolution with  Chitina.                                                                  
 She maintained that there is  no other place in the State  of                                                                  
 Alaska  where there  is  such  an  influx  of  fishers  going                                                                  
 through such a  narrow area.  She  foresaw problems if  these                                                                  
 issues are not equitably resolved.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair   Harris   asked    whether   the   Department    of                                                                  
 Transportation and Public Facilities  still plans to pay  the                                                                  
 Chitina Native Corporation for  any damages done to  property                                                                  
 as  a  result  of  the trespassing   even  without  the  fee.                                                                  
 Representative Lincoln  replied that had  not been confirmed                                                                   
 in writing.   She speculated  that the  Department would  not                                                                  
 reopen the  slide at Brian  Creek, which  would make  private                                                                  
 lands more congested with increased safety concerns.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris inquired if there was any other place  in the                                                                  
 State where a fee was charged for access.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 KELLY HEPLER, DIRECTOR,  DIVISION OF  SPORT FISH, DEPARTMENT                                                                   
 OF FISH AND GAME, explained that this is a unique situation.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris  asked if  there was  enough opportunity  for                                                                  
 people to cross  on public land to  avoid the private  lands.                                                                  
 Mr. Hepler replied  that approximately 60%  of the land  from                                                                  
 Chitina down to the southern  access was accessible.  One  of                                                                  
 the primary  spots  is around  Brian  Creek.   Regarding  the                                                                  
 right-of-way, many people access the areas with their  boats,                                                                  
 however,  there  continues  to be  a  lot  of  tension.    He                                                                  
 concurred with the  suggestion that  the Native corporations                                                                   
 create a parking area.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris  stated  that  he did  not  want to  see  the                                                                  
 private property owners have  their rights abused.  He  added                                                                  
 that he would like to see money placed in the State's  budget                                                                  
 to compensate for  the concern.   He asked  about the  fiscal                                                                  
 note.  Mr. Hepler replied  that some funds go for publishing                                                                   
 the permit  and bathroom  facility  use.   In response  to  a                                                                  
 question by Co-Chair Harris, Mr. Hepler explained that  $18 -                                                                  
 $25  dollars  goes  to  Chitina  and  the  other  funds   for                                                                  
 contractual work.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris  asked  whether the  Department of  Fish  and                                                                  
 Game would continue  to pay for waste  management if the  fee                                                                  
 was discontinued.  Mr.  Hepler responded that was a  decision                                                                  
 for the Department  of Administration,  noting that he  would                                                                  
 not like to lose  the $180 thousand  dollars from his  budget                                                                  
 for that purpose.   Co-Chair Harris  commented that he  would                                                                  
 look toward the Capital Budget to locate funding for  Chitina                                                                  
 to help resolve these issues.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Stoltze asked for clarification regarding  the                                                                  
 charge on the Kenai River.   Mr. Hepler explained that  would                                                                  
 be a charge  for parking.  Representative  Stoltze asked  the                                                                  
 Department's position  on  that fee.   Mr.  Hepler commented                                                                   
 that the issue  was complex and that  the Department has  not                                                                  
 yet taken a position.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Chenault  asked   if  there  were  any   fees                                                                  
 collected or  paid in  Kenai for  dip netting  fishing.   Mr.                                                                  
 Hepler responded that in the past, monies had been spent  for                                                                  
 trash  receptacles.    He   added  that  the  Department   of                                                                  
 Transportation and  Public  Facilities  spent time  in  trash                                                                  
 disposal,  noting  that  with  the  large  number  of  people                                                                  
 involved, they were not  able to provide the necessary  level                                                                  
 of service.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Chenault raised  the concern that there is  an                                                                  
 inequity of  provided services  and that  cities incur  costs                                                                  
 due to  the  location  of those  fishing  areas,  whether  in                                                                  
 Chitina or in  Kenai.  He  proposed that the  cost should  be                                                                  
 State related  rather than  a city expense.   Representative                                                                   
 Chenault cited his  experience while  representing the  Kenai                                                                  
 borough area.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris  asked if the  city of Kenai  spent money  to                                                                  
 alleviate a garbage  problem that they  believed should  have                                                                  
 been  a  State  responsibility.     Representative   Chenault                                                                  
 acknowledged  the problem  with  the  State  designating  the                                                                  
 fishing area and then taking little responsibility for  waste                                                                  
 management, parking  or  habitat concerns.   He  pointed  out                                                                  
 that a charge  for parking  had helped offset  some costs  in                                                                  
 his area.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Senator Lincoln thanked the Committee for debating the  issue                                                                  
 at such length and for giving thought to the people  affected                                                                  
 by the bill.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris  MOVED  to  report CS  HB  210 (RES)  out  of                                                                  
 Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with   the                                                                  
 accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Foster OBJECTED.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 IN FAVOR:      Hawker, Stolze, Whitaker, Chenault, Harris,                                                                     
                Williams                                                                                                        
 OPPOSED:       Foster, Meyer, Moses                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Croft and Representative Joule were not                                                                         
 present for the vote.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 The MOTION PASSED (6-3).                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 CS HB 210  (RES) was  reported out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                  
 pass" recommendation  and  with  a  new fiscal  note  by  the                                                                  
 Department  of  Fish &  Game  and  a  zero  note  #1  by  the                                                                  
 Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 HOUSE BILL NO. 251                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
      An Act exempting certain foreign pleasure craft from                                                                      
      the mandatory pilot age requirement.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Harris  MOVED  to  ADOPT  work  draft  version  #23-                                                                  
LS0865\X,  Utermohle,  5/7/03,  as the  version  of  the  bill                                                                  
before  the Committee.    There  being NO  OBJECTION,  it  was                                                                  
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
RANDY RUARO,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  BILL WILLIAMS, explained                                                                   
the  changes made  to the  committee  substitute.   Under  the                                                                  
bill,  foreign flagged  vessels would  be divided  into  three                                                                  
classes  of  foreign  flagged  recreational  vessels.    Those                                                                  
under  60' long  would not  need a  marine pilot  and  vessels                                                                  
over 60'  and under 173'  would have opportunity  to obtain  a                                                                  
waiver from  the pilotage requirement.   That would depend  if                                                                  
the  requirements determined  by the  Board of  Marine  Pilots                                                                  
had  been meet.   Foreign  flagged recreational  vessels  over                                                                  
173' would  continue to  need a  pilot.  The  Board of  Marine                                                                  
Pilots would establish the standards met.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Harris  asked  how   the  173'   number  had   been                                                                  
determined.   Mr. Ruaro  replied that number  would cover  the                                                                  
top end  of vessels  that have come  into the  State over  the                                                                  
past few  years.  The  marine pilots wanted  the number to  be                                                                  
as  low as  possible and  that the  maximum should  have  been                                                                  
less.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BETH  KERTTULA referenced a letter in the  file                                                                  
from Rear Admiral  Underwood referencing gross tonnage.    Mr.                                                                  
Ruaro advised that  the maritime gross tonnage measurement  is                                                                  
a volume  measurement and that marine  architects are good  at                                                                  
getting around gross tonnage requirements.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kerttula  asked if most maritime laws dealt  in                                                                  
gross  tonnage.    Mr.  Ruaro  acknowledged  that  this  is  a                                                                  
different  approach; however,  the standard  regulation  lists                                                                  
in gross tonnage.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REX   SHATTUCK,   STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE   NANCY  DAHLSTROM,                                                                   
explained  that  internationally,  the  standard  is  read  in                                                                  
meters and  since Alaska does not  use meters, feet have  been                                                                  
added.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Stoltze  suggested  that  the  marine   pilots                                                                  
would  know  best  how  to  navigate  the  fragile  waters  of                                                                  
Southeast.   He imagined that there  are safety concerns  with                                                                  
the legislation.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Ruaro interjected  that in setting the standard, a  waiver                                                                  
or  exemption  applicants would  have  to meet  the  Board  of                                                                  
Marine Pilots reserve.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Harris  agreed  that  this  has  been  an   on-going                                                                  
process  and  that  he  would  not  want  to  do  anything  to                                                                  
jeopardize the safety  of people on board.  The marine  pilots                                                                  
are an important  service to the  operation of marine  vessels                                                                  
in Alaska,  especially  for the  larger vessels.   He  pointed                                                                  
out  that the  legislation  does provide  for a  size  waiver.                                                                  
Competent people  will pilot the vessels  if the Marine  Pilot                                                                  
Board is not  satisfied that a ship  of a certain size  coming                                                                  
into  Alaska  waters  is  safely  piloted.    There   will  be                                                                  
financial benefit  to the State.   The State is attempting  to                                                                  
reach a  compromise with  the companies that  bring the  large                                                                  
yachts to Alaska and these people are not poor.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Shattuck  pointed  out  the  section  of  the  bill  that                                                                  
imposes a civil fine for violations in not using a pilot.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
KATE TESAR,  LOBBYIST, ALASKA YACHT  SERVICES & PROVISIONING,                                                                   
voiced  her appreciation  to  the Chairman  and his  staff  in                                                                  
working  out a  solution.   The  bill  is a  good compromise.                                                                   
Under  Co-Chair  William's  direction,  there  is  now  a  fee                                                                  
structure that will  raise approximately $102 million  dollars                                                                  
and that vessels would  also a fee for exemptions.  She  noted                                                                  
the overwhelming coastal support.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kerttula  asked why the change from tonnage  to                                                                  
feet.   Ms.  Tesar  explained  that there  is  no correlation                                                                   
between  tonnage and footage.   Part  of the  problem is  that                                                                  
with  yachts,  it is  difficult  to determine  how  much  they                                                                  
weigh.      Using   footage   makes  identification    easier.                                                                  
Representative  Kerttula asked  if most  pleasure craft  would                                                                  
be less than  300 gross tons.  Ms.  Tesar did not know.   They                                                                  
are built  to varying  specifications  and that  there is  "no                                                                  
rule of thumb".                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Meyer asked  how the waiver would work.  Ms.  Tesar                                                                  
replied  that the  Department would  have 30  days to  receive                                                                  
back a response.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kerttula   asked  if  there  had  been   input                                                                  
received  from  the   marine  pilots.    Ms.  Tesar  was   not                                                                  
comfortable responding to that question.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
RICK URION,  DIRECTOR, OCCUPATIONAL  LICENSING, DEPARTMENT  OF                                                                  
COMMUNITY  AND ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT,  spoke to  the problems                                                                   
with  the  proposed  legislation.    There  are  a  couple  of                                                                  
"hoops" that  will be  difficult for the  Department to  "jump                                                                  
through".   The  first  concern is  in  regard to  the  listed                                                                  
length  listed  of 173'.    He  stated that  number  had  been                                                                  
determined as a  compromise that satisfied someone's personal                                                                   
concern  and stressed  that  was not  a  good way  to  address                                                                  
public policy.  The number should be based on real facts.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 03 - 84, Side A                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
Mr.  Urion added  that  the Board  should  have the  power  in                                                                  
making  decisions  regarding establishment  of  the criteria.                                                                   
The  Board  can  respond   and  make  those  decisions.     He                                                                  
requested that the Department be given that authority.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Williams   replied  that   there  had  been   pilots                                                                  
involved  in  making  these  decisions.    He   asked  if  the                                                                  
Department had provided  previous input on the consideration.                                                                   
Mr. Urion  acknowledged that the he  had known about the  bill                                                                  
since  inception but  had not  participated in  the meetings.                                                                   
Co-Chair  Williams  reiterated  that the  Department  had  not                                                                  
participated.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Williams  asked what Mr.  Urion wanted the Committee                                                                   
to do.   Mr. Urion  advised that  he wants to  make it  easier                                                                  
for  people to  get licenses.   Co-Chair  Williams reiterated                                                                   
that  the concern  has been  before  the Committee  since  the                                                                  
beginning of the year.   Co-Chair Harris interjected that  the                                                                  
process has a  way to go and that  Mr. Urion would be able  to                                                                  
place further departmental input down the road.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris  MOVED  to  report CS  HB  251 (FIN)  out  of                                                                  
 Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with   the                                                                  
 accompanying fiscal note.   There being NO OBJECTION, it  was                                                                  
 so ordered.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 CS HB 251 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with a "no                                                                       
 recommendation" and with a new note by the Department of                                                                       
 Community & Economic Development.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 HOUSE BILL NO. 245                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
      An Act relating to  certain suits and claims by  members                                                                  
      of the military services or regarding acts or omissions                                                                   
      of the organized militia; relating to liability  arising                                                                  
      out  of  certain  search  and  rescue,  civil   defense,                                                                  
      homeland security, and fire management and firefighting                                                                   
      activities; and providing for an effective date.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 GAIL VOIGTLANDER, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE), ASSISTANT                                                                   
 ATTORNEY GENERAL,  DEPARTMENT OF  LAW, ANCHORAGE, introduced                                                                   
 CS HB 245 (JUD).    The legislation  will provide protection                                                                   
 from tort lawsuits  in four areas  of governmental activity.                                                                   
 The first is in the area of search and rescue:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
      ·    Immunity from  tort lawsuits  for  State and  local                                                                  
           government  and their  employees.  She  noted  that                                                                  
           there  are approximately  400  search  and  rescues                                                                  
           conducted each year in Alaska.                                                                                       
      ·    The Alaska  State  Troopers coordinate  search  and                                                                  
           rescue  activities   using  State   and  community                                                                   
           resources.                                                                                                           
      ·    That provision  is addressed  in Section  2 of  the                                                                  
           bill.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 The  second  area  of  governmental  activity  is  in  intra-                                                                  
 military Tort Claims:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
      ·    Bars tort  actions for  damages  against the  State                                                                  
           and its employees by service members - there  is no                                                                  
           change  to   the  entitlement   to  State   workers                                                                  
           compensation  when  on   State  duty  and   federal                                                                  
           benefits when on federal duty.                                                                                       
      ·    Provides the State  and its military personnel  the                                                                  
           same  protection  from   tort  lawsuits  that   the                                                                  
           federal government  and federal military personnel                                                                   
           have under  the Feres  Doctrine and  is consistent                                                                   
           with the vast majority  of states.  The  provisions                                                                  
          are found in Sections 4 - 6 of the bill.                                                                              
      ·    Acts of the organized militia unless the acts  were                                                                  
           in the line of  duty while on active State  service                                                                  
           under AS  26.05.070.   That provision  is found  in                                                                  
           Section 3 of the bill.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 Both  of  those   provisions  recognize   that  the   federal                                                                  
 government and not  the State of  Alaska, is responsible  for                                                                  
 injuries and claims while  service members are under  federal                                                                  
 command and control.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 The  third  area  of  governmental  activity  would   be  the                                                                  
 protection in Civil Defense:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
      ·    Bars tort claims against the government, employees                                                                   
           and authorized volunteers for damages sustained  by                                                                  
           a civilian  defense worker, and  do not affect  the                                                                  
           worker's or authorized volunteer's rights  to State                                                                  
           workers compensation.                                                                                                
      ·    Bars third party tort claims against the                                                                             
           government,  employees, and  authorized volunteers                                                                   
           for damages unless malice or reckless indifference                                                                   
           is shown by clear and convincing evidence.                                                                           
      ·    These provisions are found in Sections 7 - 10 of                                                                     
           the bill.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
 The final area of protection is the Fire Management  and Fire                                                                  
 Fighting Activities:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
      ·    Amends two statutory sections to bar tort claims                                                                     
           by  third   parties   against  the   State,   local                                                                  
           government,  other firefighting  groups  and  their                                                                  
           employees.                                                                                                           
      ·    Every year the State Division of Forestry is                                                                         
           called  upon  to  respond  to  hundreds  of   fires                                                                  
           throughout  the State  of Alaska.   The  change  is                                                                  
           necessary due  to two  Alaska Supreme  Court  cases                                                                  
           holding   that   the  State   may   be   sued   for                                                                  
           firefighting activities.                                                                                             
      ·    Litigation    disrupts    Forestry's    day-to-day                                                                   
           operations and diverts substantial State resources                                                                   
           to defend lawsuits.   That provision is consistent                                                                   
           with federal  and  common  law practices  in  other                                                                  
           jurisdictions that immunize those activities.   The                                                                  
           provision does not  affect existing entitlement  to                                                                  
           workers  compensation   or  the   availability   of                                                                  
           federal or state disaster relief benefits.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Kerttula  asked  what  the military  would  be                                                                  
 able to sue for and what could the volunteers sue for.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
 Ms. Voigtlander explained that military would not be  able to                                                                  
 sue under  the tort  case.   They would  be able  to  receive                                                                  
 worker's compensation  either through  the  State or  through                                                                  
 the federal  government.    The  legislation  avoids  someone                                                                  
 under federal orders and  would be interpreted that  military                                                                  
 members could not sue the State for injuries to themselves.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 Ms.  Voigtlander   addressed  the   types   of  claims   that                                                                  
 volunteers could  have.  Representative  Kerttula referenced                                                                   
 Page 4, Lines  3-13, the defense  activity.  Ms. Voigtlander                                                                   
 advised that was the  civil defense portion  of the bill.   A                                                                  
 civil  defense   worker   would  be   covered   by   worker's                                                                  
 compensation if  they were  an employee.   Above  and  beyond                                                                  
 that, there is a pre-existing statute that provides  worker's                                                                  
 compensation benefits  to authorized volunteers  if they  are                                                                  
 not otherwise  on  some  worker's  compensation  role.    The                                                                  
 legislation bars a tort lawsuit by a volunteer civil  defense                                                                  
 worker and it  would not affect any  person's entitlement  to                                                                  
 worker's compensation.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Kerttula questioned  the exception of  "malice                                                                  
 and reckless  indifference"  would  allow.   Ms. Voigtlander                                                                   
 responded that would allow  a lawsuit against the government                                                                   
 or  a  government  employee  arising  out  of  civil  defense                                                                  
 activities.  Representative Kerttula commented that  would be                                                                  
 the plaintiff suing  the government not  the volunteer  suing                                                                  
 back.  Ms. Voigtlander said that was correct.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Kerttula  asked if there  was any avenue  left                                                                  
 for a volunteer in any  type of tort against the government.                                                                   
 Ms. Voigtlander  replied that  the only  area  left for  tort                                                                  
 lawsuits would be if a third party was injured because  of an                                                                  
 act of the organized militia and that militia was serving  on                                                                  
 State orders.  Then that  claim would be allowed, as  opposed                                                                  
 to the person acting under  federal orders.  Regarding  civil                                                                  
 defense, the only area would be a third party liability.   If                                                                  
 that  exception  was  shown   for  fire  fighting  and   fire                                                                  
 management activities, the  legislation would bar all  claims                                                                  
 and there would be no exception.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Harris referenced a National Guard case, which  sued                                                                  
 the State for a plane that crashed.  Ms. Voigtlander  advised                                                                  
 that case  involved  a federal  plane  piloted by  a  federal                                                                  
 pilot and that there was a lawsuit filed against the State.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Stoltze  referenced Page  5,  Lines  3  &  4,                                                                  
 language regarding vaccinations.  Ms. Voigtlander noted  that                                                                  
 vaccinations are  voluntary.   For those  that volunteer  for                                                                  
 the vaccinations as part of their job, they would be  covered                                                                  
 through worker's compensation.  There is medication  to cover                                                                  
 those that  develop a  bad reaction  to a  vaccination.   Ms.                                                                  
 Voigtlander reiterated that  all vaccinations have been on  a                                                                  
 voluntary basis.   Representative  Stoltze  inquired if  they                                                                  
 had been involuntary  in the past.   Ms. Voigtlander did  not                                                                  
 know.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Representative  Stoltze  inquired   if  there  would  be   an                                                                  
 objection  to adding  an  amendment  to  reference  voluntary                                                                  
 vaccinations.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 Co-Chair Williams pointed out that language currently  exists                                                                  
 in federal law.  In  response to Representative Stoltze,  Ms.                                                                  
 Voigtlander admitted that  she did not  know that much  about                                                                  
 the State's Public Health Program  and crisis scenarios.    .                                                                  
 Representative  Stoltze stated  that  he  would  pursue  this                                                                  
 concern at a later date.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Foster  stated that  it was not  an option  to                                                                  
 get the shots when he was  in the military.  Co-Chair  Harris                                                                  
 agreed that the shots are not voluntary.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
 DEAN BROWN,  (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  DEPUTY  STATE                                                                  
 FORESTER,  DIVISION  OF   FORESTRY,  DEPARTMENT  OF   NATURAL                                                                  
 RESOURCES, NOME, voiced how  important the legislation is  to                                                                  
 the fire-fighting  in the State.   The  Division of  Forestry                                                                  
 has the responsibility for all fire fighting in Alaska.   Ms.                                                                  
 Brown pointed out that they fight between 500-700 fires  each                                                                  
 year and that  nearly 86%  of those fires  are human  caused.                                                                  
 Ms. Brown emphasized  the importance  of safety concerns  and                                                                  
 indicated that  the bill  not  only addresses  liability  for                                                                  
 local fire  fighters  but for  the  State  fire crews.    The                                                                  
 legislation provides the State  the same benefits enjoyed  by                                                                  
 the federal sector for tort immunity.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Foster MOVED to report CS HB 245 (JUD)  out of                                                                  
 Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with   the                                                                  
 accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION,  it was                                                                  
 so ordered.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
 CS HB 245  (JUD) was  reported out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                  
 pass" recommendation and with zero note #1 by the Department                                                                   
 of Law, zero note #2  by the Department of Natural Resources                                                                   
 and  indeterminate  fiscal  note  #3  by  the  Department  of                                                                  
 Administration.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
 The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 P.M.                                                                                         

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