Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

02/10/2005 01:30 PM FINANCE


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01:35:13 PM Start
01:35:33 PM HB76
02:35:32 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Teleconference by invitation --
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
+= HB 76 BIG GAME SERVICES & COMM. SERVICES BD TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 76(FIN) Out of Committee
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                     February 10, 2005                                                                                          
                         1:35 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 1:35:13 PM.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Jim Holm                                                                                                         
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                       
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Ralph Samuels;  Matt Robus, Director, Division                                                                   
of Wildlife Conservation,  Department of Fish  and Game; Rick                                                                   
Urion,   Director,   Division  of   Occupational   Licensing,                                                                   
Department of Commerce, Community,  and Economic Development;                                                                   
Paul Johnson,  Guide, Elfin Cove; Sally  Saddler, Legislative                                                                   
Liaison,  Department  of Commerce,  Community,  and  Economic                                                                   
Development                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Major  Howard  Starbard,  Administrative   Commander,  Alaska                                                                   
State Troopers                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 76     "An Act relating to the Big Game Commercial                                                                           
          Services Board and to the regulation of big game                                                                      
          hunting services and transportation services; and                                                                     
          providing for an effective date."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          CSHB 76 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with a                                                                    
          "do pass"  recommendation and with zero  note #1 by                                                                   
          the Department  of Fish and Game, and  zero note #2                                                                   
          by the Department of  Public Safety, and with a new                                                                   
          zero note  by the Department of  Natural Resources,                                                                   
          and a new fiscal impact note by the Department of                                                                     
          Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:35:33 PM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 76                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act relating  to the Big  Game Commercial  Services                                                                   
     Board  and  to  the  regulation   of  big  game  hunting                                                                   
     services and transportation  services; and providing for                                                                   
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
[House Bill 76 was previously heard on February 9, 2005.]                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly  MOVED to ADOPT conceptual  Amendment 1,                                                                   
on page  7, line  30: add "or"  back in.   He noted  that the                                                                   
deletion  of "or"  was  a drafting  error.    There being  NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, Amendment 1 was adopted.  [Later consultation with                                                                   
the  drafting   attorney  determined   that  this   technical                                                                   
amendment was not necessary.]                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  referred to yesterday's  discussion about                                                                   
the  amount of  the fine  threshold on  page 4,  line 23.  He                                                                   
requested  an  opinion from  the  sponsor about  raising  the                                                                   
threshold from $1,000 to $2,000.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RALPH  SAMUELS,  sponsor,  deferred  to  Maj.                                                                   
Howard Starbard from the Alaska State Troopers.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR  HOWARD  STARBARD,  ADMINISTRATIVE   COMMANDER,  ALASKA                                                                   
STATE TROOPERS,  replied that he forwarded the  suggestion to                                                                   
change the amount to $2,000 to  the head of the investigative                                                                   
unit,  as well  as to  others  in wildlife  enforcement.   He                                                                   
reported no objections to the  change, and said that it might                                                                   
alleviate  unintended  consequences  regarding  misdemeanors,                                                                   
and in federal situations.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze   asked  if   $2,000  would  be   a  more                                                                   
appropriate  fine  level.   Major  Starbard  agreed  that  it                                                                   
would, but  said it is  up to the  legislature to  set limits                                                                   
for guides who have committed crimes.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment  2, on  page 4,                                                                   
line  23:  replace "$1,000"  with  "$2,000".  Co-Chair  Meyer                                                                   
OBJECTED for discussion purposes.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Samuels related that  he had no  problem with                                                                   
the amendment.  Co-Chair Meyer WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly  asked for  an explanation  behind  the                                                                   
addition  of the  words  "or federal"  on  page  4, line  18.                                                                   
Representative  Samuels replied that  a violation  on federal                                                                   
land should receive  the same punishment as  someone on state                                                                   
land.   Representative Kelly said  he would agree to  that if                                                                   
the sponsor wants it in the bill.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule  MOVED to ADOPT conceptual  Amendment 3,                                                                   
which would amend  Section 3, Sec. 08.54.591(b),  page 2 line                                                                   
4-12 as follows:                                                                                                                
     Line 4, subsection (b) delete "seven" and replace with                                                                     
     "nine"                                                                                                                     
     Line 9, subsection (4) delete "one member" and add "two                                                                    
     members"                                                                                                                   
     Line 12, subsection (5) delete "one public member" and                                                                     
     add "two members"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyrauch OBJECTED for discussion purposes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Joule explained  that the  makeup of  the Big                                                                   
Game  Commercial  Services  Board   would  increase  to  nine                                                                   
members  by  adding  an  additional  private  landholder  and                                                                   
another public member.  He opined  that it would be worth the                                                                   
extra cost to have these additional members on the board.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Samuels  agreed.     He  explained  that  the                                                                   
inherent tension in the industry  is between the transporters                                                                   
and the guide, which is why the  numbers were made equal.  He                                                                   
suggested  that  Amendment  3  would  help  by  avoiding  the                                                                   
appearance  of  a  "good-old  boys'  club".    Representative                                                                   
Weyrauch WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly  OBJECTED to Amendment  3.  He  voiced a                                                                   
concern about  the additional expense of adding  more members                                                                   
to the equation.   He speculated  that it would be  harder to                                                                   
get anything done with such a large group.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  also OBJECTED.    He argued  for  having                                                                   
eight  rather  than   seven  members  on  the   board,  as  a                                                                   
compromise.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote  was taken on the motion to  ADOPT Amendment                                                                   
3.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Foster, Hawker, Joule, Moses, Weyrauch, Meyer                                                                         
OPPOSED:  Holm, Kelly, Stoltze                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representatives  Croft  and  Chenault were  absent  from  the                                                                   
vote.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION PASSED (6-3).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment 4, on page 20,                                                                   
line  1: after  the words  "enforcement  agencies", add  "and                                                                   
political  subdivisions".     Co-Chair  Meyer   OBJECTED  for                                                                   
discussion purposes.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Joule  explained that  Amendment  4 is  about                                                                   
accessing   aggregate  game  management   information.     He                                                                   
referred to the  Northwest Artic Borough as an  example of an                                                                   
area  that  has  requested information  on  the  harvests  of                                                                   
certain drainages.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Samuels  replied   that  as   long  as   the                                                                   
information is in aggregate form  and does not interfere with                                                                   
someone's business, he is in agreement.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch voiced  an opinion about  political                                                                   
subdivisions  obtaining  business   records.    In  response,                                                                   
Representative Joule  gave examples of  what can happen  to a                                                                   
particular drainage  when there is  a lack of  information to                                                                   
hunters.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch  asked if any political  subdivision                                                                   
would be in  a better position to manage game  resources than                                                                   
the  Department  of  Fish and  Game.    Representative  Joule                                                                   
responded  that   his  borough  is  charged   with  land  use                                                                   
management.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:58:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze agreed  it  would be  acceptable for  the                                                                   
Mat-Su's  game advisory  board to have  the information,  but                                                                   
expressed  concern  if the  Mat-Su  Borough  would have  game                                                                   
advisory input.   Representative  Joule said he  was thinking                                                                   
about municipalities  receiving  this public information,  as                                                                   
well.    He suggested  that  Representative  Stoltze  make  a                                                                   
friendly amendment adding advisory councils.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze requested an  opinion from the sponsor and                                                                   
from the Department of Fish and Game.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kelly  pointed out that on page 20,  lines 5 &                                                                   
6, " aggregated data complied  from hunt records and activity                                                                   
reports may be  included in reports by the  department", seem                                                                   
to  address this  issue.   Representative  Joule agreed,  but                                                                   
maintained that it is not being done in practice.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Holm   suggested  that  "must   be  included"                                                                   
replace "may be included".                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MATT  ROBUS,  DIRECTOR, DIVISION  OF  WILDLIFE  CONSERVATION,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT  OF FISH AND  GAME, explained  that there  are two                                                                   
different  groups  of  information  being referred  to.    He                                                                   
related that  he could speak  about information  collected by                                                                   
his department; however,  HB 76 deals primarily  with the new                                                                   
Big  Game Commercial  Services  Board and  the Department  of                                                                   
Commerce,   Community   and  Economic   Development.      The                                                                   
Department  of Fish  and  Game collects  harvest  information                                                                   
through hunting  reports and obtains data  about non-resident                                                                   
and  resident   hunters,  commercial   guide  services,   and                                                                   
transportation services.  This information is  available upon                                                                   
request,  but   it  falls  short  of  determining   how  many                                                                   
commercial  operations are  in an  area because  that is  not                                                                   
under the department's jurisdiction.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:05:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Joule  emphasized  that  commercial  activity                                                                   
information,  which comes from  another department,  is being                                                                   
sought.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze  suggested  changing  the word  "may"  to                                                                   
"shall" on page  20, line 5.  Representative  Joule agreed as                                                                   
long as "shall" refers to commercial activities.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule WITHDREW Amendment 4.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
RICK  URION, DIRECTOR,  DIVISION  OF OCCUPATIONAL  LICENSING,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT OF  COMMERCE, COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT,                                                                   
asked  if  his  department  is  being  asked  to  extrapolate                                                                   
information from hunting records and distribute it.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule noted that  the suggested language would                                                                   
be:  "Aggregated  data  from   hunt  records  and  commercial                                                                   
activity reports shall …" Mr.  Urion recommended that hunting                                                                 
records go  to the Department  of Fish and Game  because they                                                                   
are the  people who  use that  information and because  those                                                                   
records have nothing  to do with licensing at all.   He noted                                                                   
that now the  reports are collected and nothing  is done with                                                                   
them. He  emphasized that going  through these  records would                                                                   
cost money, time, and would be a massive undertaking.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  asked Mr. Robus if this is  data that his                                                                   
department would like to collect  and use.  Mr. Robus implied                                                                   
that, though the  information would be useful, cost  is a big                                                                   
concern.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Stoltze expressed  interest in  a manageable  and                                                                   
affordable  board, and wondered  who would  bear the  cost of                                                                   
compiling the data.  Mr. Urion  opined that the cost does not                                                                   
belong to the board, but rather to the state.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Holm recalled  that  there is  an extra  $216                                                                   
thousand  in the  licensing  budget,  which could  go  toward                                                                   
additional   personnel  to  provide   the  information   that                                                                   
Representative Joule  is requesting.  He wondered  what would                                                                   
be  lost if  this information  is  not compiled.   Mr.  Urion                                                                   
replied that his department is  not authorized to hire anyone                                                                   
without legislative  approval.   He explained that  the extra                                                                   
money is carried forward and spent in other places.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
In response  to Representative Holm's question  about harvest                                                                   
information,  Mr. Robus  replied that  the Board  of Game  is                                                                   
always  trying to manage  populations  in a sustainable  way.                                                                   
Harvests may be cut off so populations  are not being pressed                                                                   
too hard.   Guided-hunter-on-the-ground  information  is most                                                                   
useful   for   solving   conflicts   between   user   groups.                                                                   
Biological management  is often used, but without  the use of                                                                   
the information being referred  to, it is hard to involve all                                                                   
groups without conflict.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:15:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Joule related  that  he wanted  to have  this                                                                   
discussion  because it  is important  to people,  and use  of                                                                   
this  information could  solve user  conflicts.   He said  he                                                                   
understands  the constraints  related  to the  costs, but  he                                                                   
voiced a  hope that  the board  could find a  way to  get the                                                                   
information.  He  emphasized that the State  Troopers are not                                                                   
able  to  manage the  enforcement  of  wildlife  regulations.                                                                   
Representative Joule WITHDREW Amendment 4.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch MOVED  to ADOPT conceptual Amendment                                                                   
4A:  on  page  20, Section  31,  add  subsection  c,  "Forms,                                                                   
records,  and  reports required  under  this  chapter may  be                                                                   
disseminated, received, and stored electronically."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair    Meyer   OBJECTED    for   discussion    purposes.                                                                   
Representative  Samuels agreed  with the amendment.  Co-Chair                                                                   
Meyer WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 4A was ADOPTED.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:21:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch MOVED  to ADOPT conceptual Amendment                                                                   
5: on  page 2, lines  13-15, delete  "The Department  of Fish                                                                   
and  Game, Department  of  Natural Resources,  Department  of                                                                   
Law,  and  Department  of  Public   Safety"  and  add  "state                                                                   
agencies".                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer  OBJECTED  for   discussion  purposes.    The                                                                   
sponsor agreed  that Amendment 5 makes sense.  Co-Chair Meyer                                                                   
WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 5 was ADOPTED.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch pointed  out that there are numerous                                                                   
references  to  federal agencies  throughout  the  bill.   He                                                                   
voiced a  concern, given what  happens on the  national level                                                                   
with people  who are  opposed to  hunting and trapping,  that                                                                   
federal law should not dictate  how Alaska deals with hunting                                                                   
and  transporting  issues.  He described  conditions  on  the                                                                   
North  Slope  regarding  the inability  to  possess  firearms                                                                   
there.   In  response  to  a question  from  Co-Chair  Meyer,                                                                   
Representative  Weyhrauch replied  that  he did  not wish  to                                                                   
make a conceptual  amendment based on these  concerns at this                                                                   
time.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Samuels spoke  about keeping penalties  equal                                                                   
for crimes committed on either federal or state land.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:27:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch referenced  Section 19, page 12, and                                                                   
asked what  standard is  used to judge  if someone  has acted                                                                   
unethically.   Representative Samuels replied that  there are                                                                   
no   standards   yet,  but   the   board  would   set   them.                                                                   
Representative Weyhrauch  inquired if the intent  of the bill                                                                   
is that  the board would not  sanction someone who  has acted                                                                   
unethically.   Representative Samuels said yes.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly  pointed  out  that  the  reference  to                                                                   
entering on federal  land is on page 14, line  13, "knowingly                                                                   
enter  or remain on  private,  state, or federal  land".   He                                                                   
asked  Representative  Weyhrauch  for his  thoughts  on  that                                                                   
issue.   Representative  Weyhrauch  noted  that  he hunts  on                                                                   
federal land without asking for permission.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PAUL JOHNSON,  GUIDE, ELFIN  COVE, in  response to  a request                                                                   
from  Representative   Samuels,  spoke  about   dealing  with                                                                   
federal  permits  for 20  years.  He explained  that  special                                                                   
contracts  are needed,  and 3  percent of  gross receipts  is                                                                   
paid to  the federal  government. He  called it an  essential                                                                   
part of the bill.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer pointed  out that extending  the board  would                                                                   
change the  fiscal note.   Mr. Urion agreed.   Representative                                                                   
Foster suggested  that the new fiscal note  from Occupational                                                                   
Licensing should  reflect a change  from $16 thousand  to $18                                                                   
thousand.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
In  response  to a  question  by  Co-Chair Meyer,  Mr.  Urion                                                                   
stated  that the  amount  of $77  thousand  has already  been                                                                   
included  in  the operating  costs  of  the budget,  and  the                                                                   
fiscal note only reflects new costs of HB 76.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Holm asked  if  the out-years  would  reflect                                                                   
spending  $77 thousand,  plus the  $18 thousand.   Mr.  Urion                                                                   
replied  that  $77  thousand  is  already  reflected  in  the                                                                   
budget.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:35:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SALLY SADDLER,  LEGISLATIVE LIAISON, DEPARTMENT  OF COMMERCE,                                                                   
COMMUNITY,   AND   ECONOMIC    DEVELOPMENT   explained   that                                                                   
subsequent  budgets  would  show   both  $77.6  thousand  for                                                                   
licensing  of guides, plus  $18 thousand  for travel  for the                                                                   
board [This amount  was later corrected to $20  thousand, see                                                                   
below.]. Representative Holm asked  if the fiscal note should                                                                   
reflect  out-years.   Ms.  Saddler said  she  would check  on                                                                   
that.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer  suggested that the  new number should  be $20                                                                   
thousand  because  it  is  $1,000 per  meeting  and  two  new                                                                   
members were added.  Ms. Saddler agreed.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Stoltze  clarified that $77.6 is  budgeted for the                                                                   
board in the Division of Occupational Licensing right now.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Meyer suggested  that the committee  move the  bill                                                                   
out with  the understanding that  there will be a  new fiscal                                                                   
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Foster  MOVED to report CS HB 76  (FIN) out of                                                                   
Committee   with    individual   recommendations    and   the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal notes.  There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CSHB 76 (FIN) was REPORTED out  of Committee with a "do pass"                                                                   
recommendation  and with zero  note #1  by the Department  of                                                                   
Fish and Game,  and zero note #2 by the Department  of Public                                                                   
Safety,  and  with a  new  zero  note  by the  Department  of                                                                   
Natural  Resources,  and a  new  fiscal  impact note  by  the                                                                   
Department of Commerce and Economic Development.                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 2:40 PM                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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