Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 120

04/14/2015 05:00 PM House FISHERIES

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Audio Topic
05:59:38 PM Start
05:59:58 PM Confirmations: Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission
06:14:15 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to a Call of the Chair --
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
- Fishermen's Fund Advisory & Appeals Council
- Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                         April 14, 2015                                                                                         
                           5:59 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Louise Stutes, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Representative Bob Herron                                                                                                       
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission                                                                                         
     Benjamin Brown - Juneau                                                                                                    
     Verne Rupright - Wasilla                                                                                                   
     -    CONFIRMATION(S) ADVANCED                                                                                              
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
BENJAMIN BROWN                                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As appointee to the position of the                                                                      
Commercial    Fisheries   Entry    Commission,   discussed    his                                                               
qualifications and answered questions.                                                                                          
VERN RUPRIGHT                                                                                                                   
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  As appointed to the position of the                                                                      
Commercial    Fisheries   Entry    Commission,   discussed    his                                                               
qualifications and answered questions.                                                                                          
MARTIN LUNDE, Representative                                                                                                    
Southeast Alaska Seiners Association                                                                                            
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified in  support of  Appointees Brown                                                             
and Rupright.                                                                                                                   
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
5:59:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LOUISE  STUTES  called  the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                             
Fisheries meeting  to order at 5:59  p.m. Representatives Herron,                                                               
Johnson, Ortiz,  and Stutes  were present at  the call  to order.                                                               
Representatives Foster arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                  
5:59:58 PM                                                                                                                    
^CONFIRMATIONS:  Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission                                                                          
     CONFIRMATIONS:  Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission                                                                  
CHAIR  STUTES brought  before the  committee the  appointments of                                                               
Benjamin  Brown and  Verne Rupright  to the  Commercial Fisheries                                                               
Entry Commission.   [Packets contain biographical  information on                                                               
both appointees.]                                                                                                               
CHAIR  STUTES  advised  that both  appointees  will  offer  their                                                               
testimonies and public testimony will then be opened.                                                                           
6:00:40 PM                                                                                                                    
BENJAMIN  BROWN  related  a  brief   biography,  as  a  life-long                                                               
Alaskan, and included his law  studies in Boston, service in each                                                               
branch  of state  government, private  practice  of law,  current                                                               
position   as    a   Commercial   Fisheries    Entry   Commission                                                               
commissioner, and has lived in Juneau  since 2001.  He noted that                                                               
things appear to be in  transition across state government and he                                                               
expects it  to be an  interesting 4-year  term.  He  offered that                                                               
whatever challenges are  presented, he will meet  them fairly and                                                               
honestly to the best of his ability.                                                                                            
6:02:45 PM                                                                                                                    
VERN  RUPRIGHT  offered  a brief  biography,  including  military                                                               
service, work  on the  pipeline, obtained  a law  degree, private                                                               
practice of  law, work in  state government, and recalled  his 6-                                                               
year  term  as mayor  of  Wasilla  prior  to his  appointment  by                                                               
Governor Walker.                                                                                                                
6:05:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STUTES  asked whether  he  would  relocate to  Juneau,  if                                                               
MR.  RUPRIGHT responded  that  he would  relocate  to Juneau  and                                                               
would  treat  it  as  a  "slope   job,"  as  his  is  a  two-year                                                               
CHAIR STUTES opened public testimony.                                                                                           
6:06:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MARTIN  LUNDE,  Representative,  testified  in  support  of  both                                                               
appointees, praising  the knowledge,  skills, and  expertise both                                                               
Commissioner  Brown  and   Commissioner  Appointee  Rupright  are                                                               
expected to bring to the  Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission's                                                               
(CFEC) work  in preserving Alaska's  fishery resource  by serving                                                               
the  fishermen   who  earn   their  living   harvesting  Alaska's                                                               
fisheries.   He  said  that  Commissioner Brown  not  only has  a                                                               
background  in  law, but  time  on  the  ground in  maritime  and                                                               
fisheries  law.   Thereby, he  pointed out,  Commissioner Brown's                                                               
experience  enables him  to address  the decisions  and intricate                                                               
workings of  the state's special  limited entry system  and other                                                               
branches of government.  He  advised the Southeast Alaska Seiners                                                               
Association supports the appointment of  Mr. Rupright, in that he                                                               
wasted no time  in tackling issues concerning the  CFEC, and with                                                               
his years of leadership experience  and managing personnel is the                                                               
person to  help lead the people  within the agency.   In addition                                                               
to his organizational management  and project planning, his years                                                               
of  practicing  law  provides  the  backdrop  for  competent  and                                                               
deliberate decisions.                                                                                                           
CHAIR STUTES  closed public testimony  after ascertaining  no one                                                               
further wished to testify.                                                                                                      
6:09:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ noted that Mr.  Brown served at the pleasure                                                               
of  Governor   Parnell,  and  asked   what  had  been   the  most                                                               
challenging part of the job.                                                                                                    
MR.  BROWN responded  that the  extension  of the  sunset of  the                                                               
Weathervane scallop program  in that it is a  specific portion of                                                               
law, and he was not  successful.  Also, generally speaking, every                                                               
case before  the commission is  fact intensive and  specific with                                                               
many older cases, he advised.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ  asked  how many  different  fisheries  are                                                               
served by CFEC.                                                                                                                 
MR. BROWN answered  that the CFEC limited entry  to 68 fisheries,                                                               
and 67 are still limited because  the sunset came into effect for                                                               
the Weathervane scallop vessel based limited entry system.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE   ORTIZ  questioned   whether  he   perceives  any                                                               
fisheries more difficult than others for permitting purposes.                                                                   
MR.  BROWN replied  that CFEC  recently  received proposals  from                                                               
fishermen, in  particular a  Southeast fishery,  asking to  use a                                                               
different gear-type.   He opined there may be a  provision in the                                                               
law  allowing CFEC  to do  that,  but he  is  not sure.   For  an                                                               
example  in how  things  are changing,  he  explained, an  action                                                               
recently taken  by the North  Pacific Fishery  Management Council                                                               
allows the use of  pots to harvest sable fish in  the Gulf due to                                                               
a greater efficiency in preventing  bycatch and preventing whales                                                               
from stealing sable fish off of the long lines.                                                                                 
6:12:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR STUTES asked Mr. Rupright  about his experience in the area                                                               
of fisheries.                                                                                                                   
MR.  RUPRIGHT  related his  only  experience  was in  1985  while                                                               
trying  to develop  up,  and revive,  the  clamming operation  in                                                               
Kachemak Bay.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES  pointed out that this  is a new learning  curve for                                                               
MR. RUPRIGHT answered that he  was familiar while growing up, and                                                               
has been around fisheries in Alaska for 40 years.                                                                               
6:13:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STUTES  announced  that the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                               
Fisheries  reviewed  the  resumes  and  recommend  the  names  be                                                               
forwarded  to a  joint  session for  consideration.   Hearing  no                                                               
objection, she  advised this does  not reflect the intent  by any                                                               
members  to vote  for or  against these  individuals during  this                                                               
session  or further  sessions for  the purposes  of confirmation.                                                               
[Hearing  no objection,  the names  of Benjamin  Brown and  Verne                                                               
Rupright were advanced.]                                                                                                        
6:14:15 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Fisheries meeting was adjourned at 6:14                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Don Stiles Resume - Fisherman's Fund.pdf HFSH 4/14/2015 5:00:00 PM
Benjamin Brown Resume - CFEC.pdf HFSH 4/14/2015 5:00:00 PM
Brown CFEC
UFA Support for Ben Brown for CFEC 3 6 2015.pdf HFSH 4/14/2015 5:00:00 PM
Brown CFEC
Verne Rupright Resume - CFEC.pdf HFSH 4/14/2015 5:00:00 PM
Rupright CFEC
Brown Rupright Support SEAS.PDF HFSH 4/14/2015 5:00:00 PM