Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120

03/07/2019 10:00 AM FISHERIES

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Audio Topic
10:01:09 AM Start
10:01:14 AM Confirmation Hearing(s): Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Commissioner Designee Doug Vincent-lang.
10:40:37 AM HB35
11:08:38 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Commissioner Designee Doug Vincent-Lang, Dept.
of Fish & Game
-- Public Testimony --
*+ HB 35 CONFLICT OF INTEREST: BD FISHERIES/GAME TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                         March 7, 2019                                                                                          
                           10:01 a.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Representative Sarah Vance                                                                                                      
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
Alaska Department of Fish & Game;                                                                                               
Doug Vincent-Lang - Commissioner Designee                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 35                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to participation in matters before the Board of                                                                
Fisheries and the Board of Game by the members of the respective                                                                
boards; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  35                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CONFLICT OF INTEREST: BD FISHERIES/GAME                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) STUTES                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/20/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/20/19       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
03/07/19       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DOUG VINCENT-LANG, Commissioner-Designee                                                                                        
Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADFG)                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified  as commissioner-designee  of the                                                             
Alaska Department of Fish & Game.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MARK RICHARDS, Executive Director                                                                                               
Resident Hunters of Alaska                                                                                                      
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Supported   Commissioner  Vincent-Lang's                                                             
appointment.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRADLEY MEYEN, Senior Assistant Attorney General                                                                                
Natural Resources Section                                                                                                       
Civil Division (Anchorage)                                                                                                      
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on House Bill 35.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MATT GRUENING, Staff                                                                                                            
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During  the hearing  on  HB 35,  explained                                                             
changes  under proposed  committee  substitute,  "Version M,"  on                                                               
behalf of Representative Stutes, prime sponsor.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:01:09 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LOUISE  STUTES  called  the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                             
Fisheries meeting to order at  10:01 a.m.   Representatives Kopp,                                                               
Vance,  Pruitt, Tarr,  and Stutes  were  present at  the call  to                                                               
order.  Representatives Kreiss-Tomkins  and Edgmon arrived as the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION  HEARING(S): ALASKA  DEPARTMENT OF  FISH AND  GAME;                                                               
COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE DOUG VINCENT-LANG.                                                                                        
  CONFIRMATION HEARING(S): ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME;                                                              
            COMMISSIONER DESIGNEE DOUG VINCENT-LANG.                                                                        
                                                                                                                              
10:01:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
a confirmation hearing for the Alaska Department of Fish & Game                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:02:13 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DOUG  VINCENT-LANG, Commissioner-Designee,  testified he  grew up                                                               
in Wisconsin and  received his undergraduate degree  in 1978 from                                                               
the University of  Wisconsin at Green Bay  in population dynamics                                                               
and biology.   His  career began as  an Oceanographer  in Florida                                                               
before  he  accepted an  offer  from  the University  of  Alaska,                                                               
Fairbanks,   to  pursue   his  master's   degree  in   Biological                                                               
Oceanography.  He graduated  in 1980.     In 1981,  he started  a                                                               
career  with ADFG  where he  worked in  various positions  for 34                                                               
years.   He retired  for four years  and accepted  the nomination                                                               
for  Commissioner of  ADFG when  Governor Dunleavy  asked him  to                                                               
consider taking the position.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG shared his  belief that Alaska fish and                                                               
game is  a "public trust  resource     He expressed his  need for                                                               
the public's trust if he is  going to be managing their resource.                                                               
Commissioner  Vincent-Lang stated,  "We're  not  always going  to                                                               
agree  on  the outcome,  but  we  are  going  to talk  about  the                                                               
issues.    People fundamentally care  about fish and  game, which                                                               
he indicated is good for Alaska.  He said he will seek input from                                                               
department  staff in  the  decision-making process.  Commissioner                                                               
Vincent-Lang shared  a few of his  goals are to "put  food on the                                                               
tables  of Alaskans,ensure    trust,  and  preserve  the  state's                                                               
right to manage its resources.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG admitted  he  was  aware of  criticism                                                               
regarding his  nomination due to  his stance on  "Proposition 1,                                                                
his   inexperience  managing   Commercial   Fisheries,  and   his                                                               
supportive  stance on  active  management of  the  fish and  game                                                               
resources.   He expressed  his excitement  at the  opportunity as                                                               
well as his belief he was up for the challenge.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:09:55 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  asked Commissioner  Vincent-Lang to expound  on the                                                               
perception that fisheries do not pay their way.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG  explained  that  ADFG  receives  $197                                                               
million dollars and turns that  into an $11-billion industry.  He                                                               
indicated his belief  was that the Office of  Management & Budget                                                               
(OMB) and the Office of  the Governor listened and recognized the                                                               
return  on investment.  Over  half  of the  $11  billion is  from                                                               
commercial fisheries.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:11:31 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  asked   Commissioner  Vincent-Lang  how  he                                                               
expected to handle  the large-scale mine issues  facing the state                                                               
and the Division of Habitat    numerous information requests from                                                               
the federal government.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  mentioned that he was  unable to share                                                               
his personal  views regarding specific  mine projects  because he                                                               
expected to  have the [delegated  authority for fish  habitat and                                                               
special  area permitting]  Title  16 authority.    He stated  the                                                               
department  will use  the  time allotted  to  fully inform  those                                                               
decisions.   He  told  Representative Tarr  that  he had  already                                                               
asked his staff whether they felt  there was enough time to fully                                                               
understand how  the comments they  had submitted into  the Pebble                                                               
Mine  draft   environmental  impact  statement  (EIS)   would  be                                                               
incorporated.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG stated that  ADFG had issued permits on                                                               
the  Donlin Gold  Project under  former Commissioner  Sam Cotten.                                                               
The former  commissioner had  reached out  to the  "local people"                                                               
about their concern regarding Donlin  Gold Project, but there was                                                               
no  response.   He advised  that the  department will  attempt to                                                               
contact  the   concerned  citizens  once  again.     Commissioner                                                               
Vincent-Lang stated  that there  are some  reasons to  be careful                                                               
regarding building  large mines; but  there can be  real benefits                                                               
to local communities.   Mines can be responsibly  built, but with                                                               
their increased size there will  be the need for greater scrutiny                                                               
from the department.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:14:22 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES inquired as  to Commissioner Vincent-Lang's thoughts                                                               
on the Division of Habitat being  moved out of the department and                                                               
whether 90  days was enough  time to assess a  400,000-page [EIS]                                                               
document.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:14:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG responded that he  was not aware of the                                                               
Division of  Habitat being moved out  of the department.   He did                                                               
indicate awareness that  the director of the  Division of Habitat                                                               
may not be  filled "as a cost-saving measure."   That would leave                                                               
a deputy director  reporting to a deputy  commissioner within the                                                               
department.     Title   16  authority   would  stay   within  the                                                               
department.   In  response to  the second  half of  Chair Stutes'                                                               
question, he suggested that 90  days for assessment of a 400,000-                                                               
page document may or may not  be enough time for department staff                                                               
to fully  evaluate the  EIS.   He related that  he had  asked his                                                               
staff  to  report  to  him  regarding  the  sufficiency  of  this                                                               
allotment of time.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:15:29 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR requested  that if ADFG did not  feel like 90                                                               
days was enough time for  the evaluation of the EIS, Commissioner                                                               
Vincent-Lang feel  comfortable sharing the  departments  concerns                                                               
with the  legislature.  She went  on to share concerns  about the                                                               
nominee's membership on a variety of boards.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:16:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG informed  Representative Tarr  that he                                                               
had resigned from all public boards.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:17:16 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  asked Commissioner Vincent-Lang to  commit that the                                                               
department  leadership  make  decisions  that  are  science-based                                                               
without regard to political pressure.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   VINCENT-LANG  indicated   he  has   had  to   make                                                               
politically unpopular  fisheries management decision in  the past                                                               
but made them  because the science indicated they  were the right                                                               
decision.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:19:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  inquired whether he knew  what his                                                               
roll would be,  with the governor, regarding  appointments to the                                                               
Board of Fisheries.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG   indicated  it  was   ultimately  the                                                               
governor's decision, but he would like to have input.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:19:46 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS  referred   to  Pittman-Robertson                                                               
funds, and he requested the  designee's outlook on managing those                                                               
funds and avoiding federal reversion.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  expressed his  shock at  learning that                                                               
the department had reverted $3 million dollars of Pittman-                                                                      
Robertson funds  in October.  He  informed Representative Kreiss-                                                               
Tompkins that there  is a new director in  place that understands                                                               
the  ramifications of  a  reversion.   Commissioner  Vincent-Lang                                                               
indicate the  department had already  taken steps to  address the                                                               
issue, including partnering with other groups.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:21:35 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  commented that hatcheries have  tremendous economic                                                               
impact  on   state  fisheries  and   fishermen.  She   asked  the                                                               
commissioner  appointee to  share his  view on  hatcheries -  the                                                               
effect on harvests statewide and  economic gains realized because                                                               
of them.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:21:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   VINCENT-LANG   responded   that   hatcheries   are                                                               
geographically different  as well  as different  by species.   He                                                               
informed  Chair  Stutes  that  he has  encouraged  the  Board  of                                                               
Fisheries to  look at  hatcheries geographically,  temporally, as                                                               
well  as  by   species.    Each  region  has   unique  needs  and                                                               
opportunities,  and  he is  currently  working  for more  federal                                                               
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:23:47 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR asked  Commissioner Vincent-Lang  whether he                                                               
had  been  involved  in  the   selection  process  for  a  recent                                                               
appointment to the Board of Game.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   VINCENT-LANG   provided    input   regarding   the                                                               
characteristics of the person he wanted  to see on the board, but                                                               
he said he was not involved in the selection.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:24:18 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked about  the nominee's  ideas regarding                                                               
the Magnuson Stevens Act and how it impacts the state.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  indicated he  believes the state  is a                                                               
better manager of its fisheries than the federal government.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked what  the commissioner intends  to do                                                               
to build  public trust  in people  who believe  the state  is not                                                               
doing a good job of managing fisheries resources.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  answered that  he would meet  with the                                                               
public and talk with them.   He stated his belief in working with                                                               
people,  because   "both  sides"  want  stable   and  predictable                                                               
opportunities  for the  fish  but finding  the  right balance  is                                                               
hard.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  commented,  "Communication  is  key  right                                                               
now.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:27:12 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STUTES inquired  as to  know  Mr. Vincent-Lang's  feelings                                                               
regarding maintaining  the Commercial Fisheries  Entry Commission                                                               
(CFEC) as an independent agency.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG  replied that  CFEC plays  an important                                                               
role in  managing fisheries.  He said ADFG  will do  whatever the                                                               
legislature decides regarding CFEC.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  expressed her hope  that the user  groups  opinions                                                               
would be taken into consideration.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:28:13 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  what Commissioner  Vincent-                                                               
Lang's perspective was on personal use preference or priority.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  VINCENT-LANG   answered  that  the   department  is                                                               
neutral on personal use, but subsistence is a priority.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:28:51 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TARR  expressed support for CFEC  remaining as is,                                                               
then asked  for the department's  commitment to work  on invasive                                                               
species issues.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG said he  had already discussed with the                                                               
Office of Management & Budget his  preference that if CFEC was to                                                               
be moved  into the department, it  be moved as a  separate entity                                                               
within the  Office of the  Commissioner. He agreed  that invasive                                                               
species are  a problem and had  already asked staff to  work on a                                                               
communications strategy to get in  front of the issue rather than                                                               
being reactive to it.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:30:57 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES asked if Commissioner  Vincent-Lang was aware of the                                                               
importance of the Commercial Fisheries Revolving Loan Fund.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER VINCENT-LANG said he was aware of it.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STUTES  requested  the commissioner  appointees   comments                                                               
regarding  no longer  requiring  logbook  records for  freshwater                                                               
sportfishing.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   VINCENT-LANG  indicated   the  Governor's   budget                                                               
included  a reduction  in funding  to the  logbook program.   The                                                               
state  already  had  treaty requirements  for  saltwater  logbook                                                               
programs  to  be maintained.    Regarding  the freshwater  survey                                                               
information,   he  said   department   staff   are  looking   for                                                               
alternative ways to collect data.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:32:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES opened the hearing up to public testimony.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:33:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARK RICHARDS, Executive Director, Resident Hunters of Alaska,                                                                  
 Stated his  belief that the  nominee was uniquely  qualified for                                                               
the  position.   Mr. Richards  had worked  with the  commissioner                                                               
appointee and said he was a good communicator and very open.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:34:18 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  closed public  testimony. She  thanked Commissioner                                                               
Vincent-Lang.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:34:57 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP thanked  Commissioner  Vincent-Lang for  his                                                               
willingness to  step up  and be  considered for  the commissioner                                                               
position.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:36:38 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   STUTES   echoed   Representative  Kopp's   comments   and                                                               
recommended the commissioner's appointment be moved forward.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:37:25 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 10:37 a.m. to 10:40 a.m.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
         HB  35-CONFLICT OF INTEREST: BD FISHERIES/GAME                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  35, "An Act relating to  participation in matters                                                               
before  the Board  of  Fisheries and  the Board  of  Game by  the                                                               
members of the respective boards;  and providing for an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:40:37 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS),  Version  31-LS0297\M, Bullard,  3/4/19,  as  a                                                               
working document.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES objected  for purpose of discussion.  She noted that                                                               
online were Alpheus Bullard,  Legislative Legal Services; Bradley                                                               
Meyen  Assistant  Attorney  General,  Department  of  Law;  Glenn                                                               
Haight,  [Executive Director,  Board of  Fisheries], and  Christy                                                               
Tibbles; Executive Director, Board of Game.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MATT GRUENING, Staff, Representative  Louise Stutes, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, explained  the changes to  HB 35 under  the proposed                                                               
CS,  "Version  M,"  on behalf  of  Representative  Stutes,  prime                                                               
sponsor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:42:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP asked if members  would be allowed to vote on                                                               
issues before the board(s) if they had a conflict.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRUENING  responded that  they would not  be allowed  to vote                                                               
but could deliberate with the board.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES requested information on the contents of the bill.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRUENING described  how HB 35 would change the  way the Board                                                               
of Fisheries  and the  Board of Game  function by  allowing board                                                               
members  to deliberate  on subjects  for which  the members  have                                                               
declared a  conflict of personal or  financial interest according                                                               
to  AS 39.52;  the Executive  Branch Ethics  Act. Members  to the                                                               
board(s) are selected  based on their knowledge  and abilities in                                                               
the  field of  action  of the  board, with  a  view to  providing                                                               
diversity in interests  and points of view in  membership.  Title                                                               
39 prohibits a member from  taking or withholding official action                                                               
in order  to affect a matter  in which the member  has a conflict                                                               
of personal  or financial interest.   Official action  is defined                                                               
as "Advice,  participation or assistance", which  could include a                                                               
recommendation,  decision,  approval  or  disapproval,  vote,  or                                                               
other similar action  including an action by  the public officer.                                                               
Currently, when  a conflict  is determined  the member  must step                                                               
down and  cannot participate.   HB 35  would allow the  member to                                                               
deliberate but not participate in the vote.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:44:35 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  removed her  objection to the  motion to  adopt the                                                               
proposed   committee   substitute  (CS),   Version   31-LS0297\M,                                                               
Bullard, 3/4/19, as  a working document.  There  being no further                                                               
objection, Version M was before the committee.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:44:58 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRUENING explained  the  goal of  HB 35  was  to remove  the                                                               
requirement for board  members to divulge a  conflict of interest                                                               
for themselves  or their immediate  family members  regarding the                                                               
subject being deliberated.   The bill would  allow the conflicted                                                               
member to offer  his/her input.  The conflicted  member would not                                                               
be allowed to be part of  the vote of the board regarding whether                                                               
the member  has a conflict  of interest.  Currently  the decision                                                               
on a  possible conflict  of interest  is up to  the chair  of the                                                               
board  to decide.   If  board members  disagree with  the chair's                                                               
ruling, a majority  of voting members including  the chair decide                                                               
whether a  conflict exists.   The member whose  possible conflict                                                               
is being voted  upon, is not allowed to participate  in the vote.                                                               
This  process is  consistent with  current practice.   This  bill                                                               
would  enable  the  board  to benefit  from  all  board  members                                                                
knowledge and points of view.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR GRUENING explained  that Board of Fisheries and  Board of Game                                                               
issues tend to be complex  and require knowledge-based solutions.                                                               
Board members often  have family or direct  financial or personal                                                               
interests  which are  tied to  the complex  knowledge the  member                                                               
would  need   in  order   to  understand   the  sometimes-nuanced                                                               
discussions of  the board.   Members are selected based  on their                                                               
knowledge of the field.   Their knowledge would benefit the board                                                               
discussions and  be on the  record even  if they have  a personal                                                               
conflict of interest,  but they should not be allowed  to vote on                                                               
an issue if a conflict exists.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRUENING said a concern  regarding how the process is working                                                               
with  these   boards  is  that  off-the-record   discussions  are                                                               
occurring between board members.   The off-the-record discussions                                                               
are  not part  of  the public  record;  the proposed  legislation                                                               
would enable those discussions to occur  on the record.  He said,                                                               
"As a life-long  commercial fisherman, I can't tell  you how many                                                               
times I have heard or  seen really extremely qualified candidates                                                               
say  they don't  want  to  put their  name  in for  consideration                                                               
because they  know they would be  conflicted out of a  lot of the                                                               
proposals  of  which  they  have knowledge  on."    The  proposed                                                               
legislation would allow the member  with the conflict of interest                                                               
to impart  his/her knowledge before recusing  him/herself for the                                                               
vote.   This  should lead  to more  informed decisions,  stronger                                                               
resource management statewide, and  align the process with intent                                                               
regarding  boards benefitting  from  the  members  knowledge  and                                                               
diversity  of viewpoints.   Mr.  Gruening stated  that Version  M                                                               
would allow for board members of  the Board of Game and the Board                                                               
of Fisheries to  deliberate if they have a  conflict of interest,                                                               
but they could not vote on the subject.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:49:37 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  asked what course of  action is [currently]                                                               
available if  the member  does not recuse  him/herself or  cite a                                                               
conflict of interest if others felt a conflict existed.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRUENING  explained that under  AS. 39.52 there is  a process                                                               
for  complaints filed  with the  Attorney  General. Mr.  Gruening                                                               
deferred to  [Assistant Attorney General] Bradley  Meyen for more                                                               
in-depth explanation.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:50:42 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
 BRADLEY  MEYEN,  Senior   Assistant  Attorney  General,  Natural                                                               
Resources  Section,  Civil  Division (Anchorage),  Department  of                                                               
Law, stated that  two provisions could apply:   AS. 39.52.230 for                                                               
reporting violations and AS.39352.310 for complaints.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:51:27 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE VANCE  referred to Section  3 of HB  35, regarding                                                               
"financial interest  relating to the involvement  of the member".                                                               
She noted  that a  similar bill,  HB 44,  cites a  minimum dollar                                                               
amount,  and  she asked  Mr.  Gruening  if  that issue  had  been                                                               
considered  under HB  35  as a  threshold for  a  conflict to  be                                                               
declared.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:52:05 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRUENING  explained that  the  Executive  Branch Ethics  Act                                                               
states  less  than  $5000   is  considered  insignificant,  while                                                               
anything $5,000  or above  would be  considered significant.   He                                                               
offered his understanding that AS  39.52.120 (1)(d) provides that                                                               
a  stock  or  ownership  interest   in  a  business  is  presumed                                                               
insignificant if the value or  stock of other ownership interest,                                                               
including an  option to purchase  an ownership interest,  is less                                                               
the $5000.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE brought  that  issue  up because  different                                                               
bills  have  different  thresholds  for  financial  conflicts  of                                                               
interest,  and  she  asked  Mr.  Gruening  if  he  knew  why  the                                                               
inconsistency existed.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRUENING  answered that  he was not  sure of  the legislative                                                               
intent regarding the financial differences.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:53:34 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP drew  attention  to  language [beginning  on                                                               
page 2, line 31, through page 3, line 4], which read as follows:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
               (c) If a member of  the Board of Fisheries or                                                                    
     the  Board of  Game discloses  a personal  or financial                                                                    
     interest relating to the involvement  of the member, or                                                                    
     immediate family  member of that member,  in a business                                                                    
     or  organization relating  to fish  or game  resources,                                                                    
     the  member is  not disqualified  from deliberating  or                                                                    
     participating in the matter.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP said  that makes  sense because  people with                                                               
industry knowledge are  serving on the boards.   He then referred                                                               
to continuing  language [on page  3, beginning on line  4 through                                                               
line 6], which read:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     If the supervisor  or a majority of the  members of the                                                                    
     respective  board determine  that the  member's further                                                                    
     involvement will result in a  violation of AS 39.52.110                                                                    
     -  39.52.190, the  board  member may  not  vote on  the                                                                    
     matter.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  opined that  that  is  good, because  those                                                               
[statutes]  address  violations,  including  improper  influence,                                                               
misuse  of official  public position  outside of  employment, and                                                               
improper representation.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kopp continued:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     What I'm having a hard  time understanding is it sounds                                                                    
     like if it doesn't fall  under that, we're still saying                                                                    
     they can't  vote if they  have a personal  or financial                                                                    
     interest.     Because  you  can  have   a  personal  or                                                                    
     financial  interest but  not be  in violation...of  how                                                                    
     the statute says that that...arrives to a misuse.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP said  the legislature  tries  to ensure  the                                                               
board is  balanced to  ensure balanced  outcomes.   He questioned                                                               
whether taking away  the ability to vote would  throw the balance                                                               
of the board.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:57:26 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRUENING clarified  that board  members with  a conflict  of                                                               
interest  currently  could  not  vote.   The  language  regarding                                                               
"further  involvement   will  result   in  a   violation"  simply                                                               
describes the process  that currently takes place.   The proposed                                                               
change would  allow them  to deliberate.   The voting  balance of                                                               
the board  was considered,  but there  was concern  regarding the                                                               
possibility of  a member abusing  the system for  financial gain.                                                               
The sponsor and community felt  like allowing a conflicted member                                                               
to vote was a step too far.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:58:57 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT  asked,   hy  would we  do this  with these                                                               
two boards and not others?                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRUENING answered  that he  was only  aware of  this problem                                                               
with  the two  boards.   User groups  have brought  this specific                                                               
issue forward since changes/revisions to  the Ethics Act in 1988.                                                               
There  was concern  that  in  the attempt  to  fix  the Board  of                                                               
Fisheries and Board of Game,  similar changes to other boards may                                                               
result in unforeseen repercussions.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
11:00:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES  mentioned that all  the boards and  commissions are                                                               
different.  The Board of Fisheries  and Board of Game some of the                                                               
few allocative boards.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRUENING added  there are professional boards  that have more                                                               
members to cover  the knowledge gaps if one of  the members had a                                                               
conflict of  interest.  The Board  of Fisheries and the  Board of                                                               
Game  only a  single member  may  have knowledge  of the  subject                                                               
being discussed.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:01:37 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT  discussed his concern  that if HB  35 were                                                               
to pass, other  boards and commissions could  come forward asking                                                               
for similar regulation.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRUENING  said  he  didn't  foresee  the  mentioned  changes                                                               
occurring but agreed it was possible.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT indicated he  thought the discussion was to                                                               
allow the [board  members] expertise to be shared.   He clarified                                                               
his  real  concern  was  that  it  appeared  that  currently  the                                                               
conversations  are  occurring  "behind   the  scenes"  and  board                                                               
members may not  only bring their expertise  to the conversations                                                               
but might  be advocating for  something that  personally benefits                                                               
them.   Representative  Pruitt suggested  adding language  to the                                                               
bill that would not allow a  board member to advocate publicly or                                                               
privately  for  something  that would  benefit  him/her.  Once  a                                                               
member  was recognized  as having  a conflict,  the member  would                                                               
only  be  allowed  to  share his/her  expertise.  He  shared  his                                                               
concern  that it  appears committee  members are  already sharing                                                               
information  off the  record on  issues  in which  they may  have                                                               
conflict of interest.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRUENING  stated he thought  the Representative Pruitt  had a                                                               
fair point and  that he'd look to  the will of the  chair and the                                                               
committee  regarding whether  that was  a change  they wished  to                                                               
consider.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  VANCE  voiced  her  concerns about  the  duty  to                                                               
create consistency  within the  boards.   She suggested  that the                                                               
committee investigate what could be  done to preemptively do what                                                               
is right  for the  public before problems  arise.   She explained                                                               
that  was   her  reason  for   bringing  up  the   dollar  amount                                                               
differences for  conflict of interests  as a legislator  versus a                                                               
board.  She  expressed concern that the public would  not want to                                                               
have  to  look up  all  the  differences between  the  government                                                               
entities  regarding  the  various   standards  for  conflicts  of                                                               
interest.   She expressed her  desire to  keep in mind  the other                                                               
boards and commissions and their future concerns.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
11:06:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES shared  with the committee that HB 35  is the result                                                               
of requests by  user groups.  Through the  years this legislation                                                               
has been  worked on there  have not  been any other  reports from                                                               
boards or commission that had similar problems.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRUENING  noted that  he had two  additional letters  for the                                                               
legislators   packets:   One  was  from  the Resident  Hunter  of                                                               
Alaska,  in  opposition;  and  the  other  was  from  the  United                                                               
Southeast Gillnetters Association, in support.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
11:07:51 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STUTES announced that HB 35 was held over.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
11:08:38 AM                                                                                                                   
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Fisheries meeting  was adjourned  at 11:09                                                               
a.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB 35(FSH) Work Draft ver M 03.04.19.pdf HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 35
HB 35 Explanation of Changes Ver A to M 03.05.19.pdf HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 35
HB 35 Fiscal Note-DAS 03.01.19.pdf HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 35
HB 35 Informational Document BOF-BOG History and Process 03.06.19.pdf HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 35
HB 35 Informational Document-ADF&G BOF Ethics Process Overview and Recusals 3.6.19.pdf HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 35
HB 35 Sponsor Statement 03.05.19.pdf HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 35
HB 35 Suporting Document SEAFA 03.02.19.pdf HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 35
HB 35 Supporting Document UFA 03.06.19.pdf HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
HRES 3/29/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 35
HB 35 Supporting Documents (Combined) 30th Legislature 03.03.19.pdf HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 35
HB 35 ver A 02.22.19.PDF HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 35
Doug Vincent-Lang DFG_Redacted.pdf HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
Confirmation Hearing Doug-Vincent Lang
HB 35 Letter of Support USAG 03.07.19.pdf HFSH 3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM
HB 35