Legislature(2019 - 2020)GRUENBERG 120
03/12/2019 11:00 AM FISHERIES
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ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES March 12, 2019 11:03 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 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." - MOVED CSHB 35(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE 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 03/07/19 (H) Heard & Held 03/07/19 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 03/12/19 (H) FSH AT 11:00 AM GRUENBERG 120 WITNESS REGISTER MATT GRUENING, Staff Representative Louise Stutes Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on HB 35, on behalf of Representative Stutes, prime sponsor. FRANCES LEACH, Executive Director United Fishermen of Alaska Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 35. JERRY MCCUNE, Board President Cordova District Fishermen United Cordova, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 35. MARK RICHARDS, Executive Director Resident Hunters of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 35. ACTION NARRATIVE 11:03:03 AM CHAIR LOUISE STUTES called the House Special Committee on Fisheries meeting to order at 11:03 a.m. Representatives Kreiss-Tompkins, Vance, Pruitt, Kopp and Chairman Stutes were present at the call to order. Representatives Bryce Edgmon and Tarr arrived as the meeting was in progress. HB 35-CONFLICT OF INTEREST: BD FISHERIES/GAME 11:04:10 AM CHAIR LOUISE STUTES announced the only order of business would be: CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 35(FSH) "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." 11:05:05 AM MATT GRUENING, Staff, Representative Louise Stutes, Alaska State Legislature, on behalf of Representative Stutes, prime sponsor of HB 35 shared statistics highlighting how often board members were conflicted out of deliberating on board issues. He stated there were two new letters of support for the bill and all letters regarding HB 35 were in support. 11:06:42 AM CHAIR STUTES opened invited testimony. FRANCES LEACH, Executive Director, United Fishermen of Alaska read a statement: We represent 35 commercial fishing organizations and hundreds of fishermen and crewmembers participating in fisheries off of Alaska's coastal waters. Thank you for giving me this opportunity today to speak on behalf of HB 35. This is an extremely important bill to United Fishermen of Alaska, and one that we have supported for a very long time. If you have ever had the opportunity to attend a Board of Fisheries meeting then you know how important passage of this bill is. Board members are chosen because they pertain certain expertise in their region or fishery. At this time, when the board is deliberating on a proposal, board members who have that expertise on a subject are often not permitted to participate due to conflicting out. Prior to being the Executive Director of the united fishermen, I had the pleasure of working for the Board of Fisheries as a Department of Fish and Game board- support staff member. I have participated in over fifty Board of Fisheries meetings. I have sat far too many times at these meetings where a board member conflicts out and is forced to sit in the back of the room while the remaining board members at the table struggle to comprehend the nuances of the proposals, when the board member who has the answer is muted in the back of the room. By allowing members to participate fully in deliberations, this not only builds a better record and help[s] assist the board members in their decisions, it also makes for a more transparent discussion that is clearly established on the record. We want to encourage people who pertain expertise to be on the board of fisheries and game but as this law currently sits people are discouraged from putting their name forward because they know they would conflict out of many of the deliberations. We want a strong and skilled Board of Fisheries and Board of Game and transparent deliberations. This bill will allow for that. Thank you for this opportunity to testify. 11:09:14 AM JERRY MCCUNE, President, Cordova Fisherman United, commented that Frances [Leach] had done a good job laying out the issues. He described board members he knew and the variety of reasons they had conflicted out of board meetings. He spoke in support of HB 35. 11:11:40 AM CHAIR STUTES Opened public testimony on HB 35. 11:11:44 AM MARK RICHARDS, Executive Director, Resident Hunters of Alaska mentioned his organization did not have the latest committee substitute before last week, which contributed to its original letter of opposition. Once his organization received the latest bill, its members were happy to support HB 35. 11:13:22 AM CHAIR STUTES closed public testimony on HB 35. REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT agreed with the ability of a board committee member to share his/her knowledge but requested that the House Special Committee on Fisheries intentions be clear. 11:15:10 AM REPRESENTATIVE KOPP clarified his thoughts regarding undue influence regarding a person's personal benefit versus a collective benefit that would apply to a broader group. REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT indicated that a board member should be able to share his/her knowledge for the benefit of a group of people, not for personal benefit. 11:16:32 AM REPRESENTATIVE KOPP moved to report CSHB 35, Version 35LS0297\M, Bullard,, March 3, 2019 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being not objections, CSHB 35 (FSH) was reported out of the House Special Committee on Fisheries. 11:17:26 AM ADJOURNMENT There being no further business before the committee, the Fisheries Committee meeting was adjourned at 11:17 a.m.