Legislature(1999 - 2000)

05/03/1999 01:15 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
         HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                    May 3, 1999                                                                                                 
                     1:15 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Pete Kott, Chairman                                                                                              
Representative Joe Green                                                                                                        
Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                                                                  
Representative Lisa Murkowski                                                                                                   
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Jeannette James                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
* HOUSE BILL NO. 212                                                                                                            
"An Act relating to unlawful trade practices and antitrust                                                                      
activities."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 212 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
OVERVIEW: APPORTIONMENT PRESENTATION BY MARSHALL L. TURNER FROM                                                                 
          THE BUREAU OF THE CENSUS                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 74                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to hunting on the same day airborne."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
(* First public hearing)                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 212                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: UNLAWFUL TRADE PRACTICES/ANTITRUST                                                                                 
SPONSOR(S): JUDICIARY                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 4/26/99      1005     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 4/26/99      1005     (H)  JUD                                                                                                 
 5/03/99               (H)  JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  74                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: SAME DAY AIRBORNE HUNTING                                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) KELLY PETE                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 2/17/99       270     (S)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 2/17/99       270     (S)  RES                                                                                                 
 2/24/99               (S)  RES AT  3:00 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                                                                  
 2/24/99               (S)  MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                              
 2/24/99               (S)  MINUTE(RES)                                                                                         
 2/25/99               (S)  RLS AT 11:30 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                                                                   
 2/25/99               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                                                                         
 2/25/99       363     (S)  RES RPT  6DP                                                                                        
 2/25/99       363     (S)  DP: HALFORD, TAYLOR, PARNELL, PETE                                                                  
                            KELLY                                                                                               
 2/25/99       363     (S)  MACKIE, GREEN                                                                                       
 2/25/99       363     (S)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (F&G)                                                                              
 3/04/99       407     (S)  RULES TO CALENDAR AND 1 OR 3/4/99                                                                   
 3/04/99       409     (S)  READ THE SECOND TIME                                                                                
 3/04/99       409     (S)  ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN                                                                      
                            CONSENT                                                                                             
 3/04/99       409     (S)  READ THE THIRD TIME  SB 74                                                                          
 3/04/99       410     (S)  PASSED Y14 N6                                                                                       
 3/04/99       410     (S)  ELLIS  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                                                                    
 3/05/99       426     (S)  RECONSIDERATION NOT TAKEN UP                                                                        
 3/05/99       427     (S)  TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                  
 3/08/99       386     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 3/08/99       386     (H)  RESOURCES, JUDICIARY                                                                                
 3/17/99               (H)  RES AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                         
 3/17/99               (H)  HEARD AND HELD                                                                                      
 3/17/99               (H)  MINUTE(RES)                                                                                         
 4/07/99               (H)  RES AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                         
 4/07/99               (H)  MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                              
 4/07/99               (H)  MINUTE(RES)                                                                                         
 4/08/99       688     (H)  RES RPT 6DP 1NR                                                                                     
 4/08/99       688     (H)  DP: OGAN, SANDERS, HARRIS, BARNES,                                                                  
 4/08/99       688     (H)  MORGAN, WHITAKER; NR: KAPSNER                                                                       
 4/08/99       688     (H)  SENATE ZERO FISCAL NOTE (F&G) 2/25/99                                                               
 4/08/99       688     (H)  REFERRED TO JUD                                                                                     
 5/03/99               (H)  JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CORY WINCHELL, Administrative Assistant                                                                                         
  to Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 118                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-3777                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on behalf of the House Judiciary                                                                  
                    Standing Committee, sponsor of HB 212.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DAVEED SCHWARTZ, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                     
Commercial Section                                                                                                              
Department of Law                                                                                                               
1031 W. 4th Avenue, Suite 200                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-1994                                                                                                    
Telephone:  (907) 269-5100                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information and answered questions                                                                 
                    regarding HB 212.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MARSHALL L. TURNER, Chief Redistricting Data Officer                                                                            
Bureau of the Census                                                                                                            
U.S. Department Of Commerce                                                                                                     
Address not provided                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (Not provided)                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Discussed the year 2000 census.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 510                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-5241                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 74.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ED DAVIS                                                                                                                        
P.O. Box 71616                                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska 99707                                                                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 479-7263                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 74.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
WAYNE REGELIN, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Wildlife Conservation                                                                                               
Department of Fish and Game                                                                                                     
P.O. Box 25526                                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526                                                                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 465-4190                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 74.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HAYDEN KAYDEN                                                                                                                   
P.O. Box 26                                                                                                                     
Gustavus, Alaska  99826                                                                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 697-2309                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 74.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DICK BISHOP, Vice President                                                                                                     
Alaska Outdoor Council                                                                                                          
P.O. Box 73902                                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska  99701                                                                                                        
Telephone:  (907)463-3830                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 74.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
STEVE PERKINS                                                                                                                   
P.O. Box 5046                                                                                                                   
Koliganek, Alaska  99576                                                                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 596-3478                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 74.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JOEL BENNETT                                                                                                                    
Wolf Management Reform Coalition                                                                                                
15255 Point Louisa Road                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 789-1718                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 74.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD WALLEN                                                                                                                  
Wolf Management Reform Coalition                                                                                                
2940 Douglas Highway                                                                                                            
Douglas, Alaska  99824                                                                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 586-6517                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 74.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
AMY SKILLBRED                                                                                                                   
4477 Abby Way                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 780-4649                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 74.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DOUGLAS POPE                                                                                                                    
421 West 1st Avenue, Suite 200                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 272-2021                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 74.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
TONY UTT                                                                                                                        
P.O. Box 5446                                                                                                                   
Wasilla, Alaska  99654                                                                                                          
Telephone:  (NotProvided)                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 74.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DAVE KELLYHOUSE                                                                                                                 
P.O. Box 478                                                                                                                    
Tok, Alaska  99780                                                                                                              
Telephone:  (907) 883-5384                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 74.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-48, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN PETE KOTT called the House Judiciary Standing Committee                                                                
meeting to order at 1:15 p.m.  Members present at the call to order                                                             
were Representatives Kott, Green, Murkowski, Croft and Kerttula.                                                                
Representative Rokeberg arrived at 1:19 p.m.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 212 - UNLAWFUL TRADE PRACTICES/ANTITRUST                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT announced the first order of business is House Bill                                                               
No. 212, "An Act relating to unlawful trade practices and antitrust                                                             
activities."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0085                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CORY WINCHELL, Administrative Assistant to Representative Pete                                                                  
Kott, came before the committee and presented the bill.  He stated                                                              
that the litigation surrounding antitrust and unfair trade                                                                      
practices, as well as the Consumer Protection Act are long, and                                                                 
often arduous matters, which result in a high amount of discretion                                                              
and sensitivity.  This bill would reinforce the confidential nature                                                             
of such a case by prohibiting certain public disclosures during,                                                                
and even after, an investigation.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINCHELL offered a sectional analysis of HB 212.  Section 1                                                                 
amends the confidentiality section of the state's Unfair Trade                                                                  
Practices Act.  It prohibits the attorney general from making the                                                               
names of persons alleged to have committed unlawful trade practices                                                             
public during and after an investigation.  This section also adds                                                               
investigation records and intelligence information of the attorney                                                              
general that are created in the course of an investigation and the                                                              
work product by exempting it out of public disclosure.  Section 2                                                               
adds a new section on articles of monopoly and restraints of trade.                                                             
The article provides that investigation records obtained or created                                                             
by the attorney general during an investigation are not considered                                                              
public records before or after an investigation.  He stated that it                                                             
does allow and provide for the attorney general to issue public                                                                 
statements warning the public about the present or future                                                                       
violations of the article, however.  The intent is to exempt highly                                                             
critical and complex statements from public disclosure during an                                                                
antitrust lawsuit.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOTT stated, according to his understanding, that is                                                             
how it was done until there was a court decision reversing the                                                                  
ways.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0253                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked Mr. Winchell what precipitated this                                                              
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINCHELL deferred the question to Mr. Daveed Schwartz from the                                                              
Department of Law.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DAVEED SCHWARTZ, Assistant Attorney General, Commercial Section,                                                                
Department of Law, testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  He                                                             
specializes in antitrust and consumer protection cases.  The                                                                    
content of HB 212 was incorporated in HB 142 from a prior                                                                       
legislative session.  It was precipitated by concerns expressed by                                                              
the seafood processing industry regarding the confidentiality of                                                                
state antitrust records after an investigation was concluded.  This                                                             
issue also came before the Alaska Superior Court surrounding salmon                                                             
litigation in relation to price fixing in 1996.  A superior court                                                               
judge ordered the state attorney general's office to release all of                                                             
the investigative information in the state's closed investigative                                                               
file, and treated it as if it were public information.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ explained that there are certain problems posed by                                                                 
treating investigative information as public information.  He said,                                                             
"During the investigation, it impedes the state's progress toward                                                               
an effective result, and then, afterwards, if the companies that                                                                
are cooperating with the state know that, after an investigation is                                                             
closed, which could be a month after it starts or several years                                                                 
after it starts, the companies would be less willing to cooperated                                                              
during the investigative stage or reticent in their statements to                                                               
the attorney general's office knowing that the information could                                                                
become a matter of public record."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ stated that Section 1 relates to the Consumer                                                                      
Protection Act and records thereof.  Currently, those records,                                                                  
during an investigation, are not available to the general public.                                                               
He said the change ensures that records collected during the                                                                    
investigation will not be public even after the investigation is                                                                
concluded.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ further stated that Section 2 corrects an error in the                                                             
antitrust statute.  The statute currently says that information                                                                 
obtained under antitrust civil investigative demands in the form of                                                             
documentary evidence is confidential and cannot be released unless                                                              
ordered by a court for good cause.  The same confidentiality                                                                    
restrictions apply to testimony obtained under a civil                                                                          
investigative demand.  But for some reason he believes that is an                                                               
oversight.  The statute does not provide for the same level of                                                                  
confidentiality for testimony as it does for documentary material.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ further stated that Section 3 harmonizes the antitrust                                                             
statute with the consumer protection statute.  He said, "Often                                                                  
times, we're proceeding under both antitrust and consumer                                                                       
protection statutes.  Sometimes we proceed only under the antitrust                                                             
statute and we want to make sure that the records of investigation                                                              
are not considered public records during or after an investigation.                                                             
However, like the Consumer Protection Act, the attorney general                                                                 
would have the power to issue public statements describing                                                                      
(indisc.) course of conduct or conspiracy that would constitute a                                                               
violation of the antitrust laws."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0614                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN commented that Mr. Schwartz is undoubtedly                                                                 
aware of the ongoing concern of the state regarding the merger                                                                  
between Exxon [Arco] and BP.  He asked,  "What is your feeling if,                                                              
on one hand, we say, 'Sure.  We can understand that there's going                                                               
to be proprietary information that the certain individuals within                                                               
the state might be privy to, but not the public.' ... What do you                                                               
see the dichotomy here, if any?"                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ replied that, under the current wording of the                                                                     
antitrust laws, documentary material collected pursuant to a civil                                                              
investigative demand is confidential and cannot be released unless                                                              
ordered by a court [AS 45.50.592 (e)].  He is a member of the                                                                   
BP-Arco Merger Task Force in the executive branch.  He explained                                                                
that any information they collect, either from the Federal Trade                                                                
Commission or from the merging parties themselves or from third                                                                 
parties, in the form of documentary material will be confidential                                                               
under the present wording of the antitrust laws.  The antitrust                                                                 
laws are interpreted as allowing the state to issue public                                                                      
statements concerning investigations even now, and Section 3 will                                                               
simply clarify that current interpretation.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0762                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked:  "If you had a request for the                                                                   
information and it was being created in the course of the                                                                       
investigation, and you're anticipating litigation, isn't that                                                                   
already going to be covered by work product?  I mean, you're not                                                                
going to be able to release that information anyway."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ replied that is true.  He explained if there is a                                                                  
request for information during an investigation, then it would be                                                               
treated as not available under the Public Records Act.  He said:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     More often, what happens is we open up a case and close                                                                    
     it rather quickly, and, then, for some reason, whether by                                                                  
     interest of a news reporter or a competitor of a company                                                                   
     that we've looked into or a consumer group, wants to get                                                                   
     at our closed files. ... Our interest in protecting the                                                                    
     confidentiality of closed files has been interpreted by                                                                    
     courts in other states and nationally as being less than                                                                   
     if we had an ongoing investigation.  So, we have less                                                                      
     protection of confidentiality of closed files than we do                                                                   
     current investigations.  And this law would enhance our                                                                    
     ability to protect the identity of companies being                                                                         
     investigated or records collector (indisc.) created that                                                                   
     may cause some unnecessary embarrassment or public                                                                         
     spotlight and infringe on the ability of, or interest of,                                                                  
     companies to cooperate with the state in its                                                                               
     investigation.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0874                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked what the case is that Mr. Schwartz                                                                
explained.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ replied in 1991 the state started an investigation of                                                              
possible antitrust violations in the seafood processing industry,                                                               
and in 1993 wrote a 41-page report detailing information uncovered                                                              
during that investigation.  The state said they did not have the                                                                
resources to pursue the investigation, so the case file was closed.                                                             
Thereafter, some plaintiffs became interested in bringing another                                                               
lawsuit against seafood processors, and requested access to the                                                                 
closed files, which was denied by the state.  A lawsuit was then                                                                
filed against the state for failing to release the information                                                                  
under the Consumer Protection Act and Public Records Act.  The                                                                  
superior court judge involved found that the state was required to                                                              
release their closed investigative files to the plaintiffs.  The                                                                
state appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.  During the appeal                                                                  
process, the state worked out a settlement with the seafood                                                                     
processor plaintiffs where they could get the information in their                                                              
litigation, but keep it confidential under the terms of a                                                                       
protective order.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Mr. Schwartz for a copy of the decision                                                              
allowing the release of those documents.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ commented he would provide a copy to Representative                                                                
Croft, but the order itself is unremarkable and it does not cite                                                                
any cases.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT wanted to know why antitrust would be kept                                                                 
confidential.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1081                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ stated it is highly unusual in Alaska to apply the                                                                 
antitrust laws to examine a merger.  More often the state has                                                                   
initiated an investigation of alleged price fixing, bid rigging,                                                                
monopolization, territorial restraints or other non-merger matters.                                                             
The reason to keep that information confidential during an                                                                      
investigation is not to impede the progress of the investigation                                                                
and to encourage cooperation of the parties.  To keep it                                                                        
confidential after the investigation is to encourage the                                                                        
cooperation of the parties not to release potentially embarrassing                                                              
information that would not have been made public anyway.  He stated                                                             
that, with respect to merger information, the usual result with                                                                 
infrequent merger examinations is to file a consent judgement with                                                              
the court detailing the facts of the case and moving forward with                                                               
the merging party to seek court approval under the antitrust laws.                                                              
Where a merger is challenged or approved, either way, there is                                                                  
going to be a public release of the information in the form of a                                                                
court filing.  He said no one will be left in the dark in terms of                                                              
merger enforcement matters.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT replied that he was left in the dark.  He                                                                  
mentioned the example of the Safeway-Carrs merger in which there                                                                
was a consent decree discussing some elements of it.  He said, "By                                                              
then, it's already an agreement between the AG's [attorney                                                                      
general's] office and the affected, in that case, grocery interest.                                                             
And it was virtually impossible for me to make an evaluation of the                                                             
merits of that decision.  I essentially had to trust - do trust -                                                               
the AG's office, but had to trust them and Safeway and Carrs that                                                               
it had come to the right public policy decision.  And it seems to                                                               
me that there may be a good argument during an investigation                                                                    
because you don't know whether these allegations are correct or                                                                 
not, and you don't want to have them splashed on the front page                                                                 
until you make a decision, but after you have reached some                                                                      
determination-there was merit to it, there wasn't, this is                                                                      
appropriate or it's inappropriate-why wouldn't that be the time to                                                              
involve the public; shield them when there's just an allegation                                                                 
that you haven't had a chance to look at, but why, instead of this,                                                             
shouldn't we say after an investigation everything becomes public?"                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1248                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ replied if companies know going into an investigation                                                              
that, as soon as the attorney general's office is ready to close                                                                
its file, all the information that they have submitted in                                                                       
confidence would become public, then they would be less willing to                                                              
cooperate.  They would probably move for a protective order, and                                                                
would either have to litigate the terms of the protective order or                                                              
a breech of it.  If a protective order is agreed to then it would                                                               
be a court ordered confidentiality that would continue on through                                                               
after an investigation was closed.  If it had to be litigated, it                                                               
would take up a lot of resources every time an antitrust                                                                        
investigation was conducted and a subpoena was issued; protective                                                               
orders would have to be litigated.  As a practical matter, making                                                               
the files available after an investigation is closed could also                                                                 
impede the progress and effectiveness of antitrust investigation.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT stated he understands why it would be more                                                                 
efficient for the attorney general's office and more convenient for                                                             
the parties.  He said, "I guess, I don't yet understand why it's                                                                
better public policy that that isn't, ... (indisc.) never                                                                       
understand why they would want to keep it confidential, but it                                                                  
seems to me the public might have something to say on it, too."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT further said that, on unlawful trade                                                                       
practices, a great job is done enforcing the consumer protection                                                                
laws.  He indicated that it has been a frustration of the                                                                       
complaining party in a consumer protection action that there is                                                                 
very little they can do to get the status of the case.  It seems to                                                             
him appropriate maybe only under the "5521 Section A (indisc.)" to                                                              
say, "Except that the AG may tell the complaining party - the                                                                   
person who said, 'I got swindled by this company.'  Maybe able to                                                               
at least keep them informed about the status of the case."  He                                                                  
asked Mr. Schwartz whether this would be the appropriate section to                                                             
put something like that.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SCHWARTZ replied he does not see that either the current                                                                   
wording of the Consumer Protection Act (521 b (indisc.)) or the                                                                 
proposed wording in HB 212 as an obstacle to doing what                                                                         
Representative Croft just said.  If the complaining party wants to                                                              
know what the status is of an investigation of their own complaint,                                                             
there has never been constraint in terms of communicating that                                                                  
information.  On the other hand, if someone other than the                                                                      
complaining party requests the information, it is treated as a                                                                  
Public Records Act request.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1429                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT wondered whether he is confused.  He thinks                                                                
that there has been a couple of cases where that has been a                                                                     
problem.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ stated, if the complainant wants to know what the                                                                  
status of their complaint is, there has never been a constraint on                                                              
telling them whether their case is still under investigation or                                                                 
resolved.  If it is resolved, it is usually because a settlement                                                                
was agreed upon.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Mr. Schwartz whether confidentiality                                                              
agreements could be entered into with the parties being                                                                         
investigated.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCHWARTZ replied often times there have been agreements                                                                     
insisted upon by the parties.  Since there is no protection of                                                                  
confidentiality after an investigation is closed, the parties                                                                   
submit the records on the condition that the records are returned.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINCHELL stated that one of the policy concerns of interest is                                                              
facilitating or encouraging dialogue between the parties in a                                                                   
claim.  There are a lot of proprietary concerns over certain                                                                    
numbers as well.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1594                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG made a motion to move HB 212 from the                                                                   
committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero                                                                 
fiscal note(s).                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT objected.  This is an area where there are                                                                 
legitimate confidentiality concerns, but there are also significant                                                             
public disclosure concerns not completely addressed to his                                                                      
satisfaction.  He believes the time to keep it confidential is in                                                               
an investigation, but he thinks care needs to be taken to report                                                                
back to the public with some fullness of what was done, what was                                                                
found, and why one thing or another was decided to be done.  He                                                                 
said he has seen the product that results from these antitrust                                                                  
discussions.  He does not feel the consent decree told him enough                                                               
as a private person in terms of whether the merger was a good idea                                                              
or a bad idea.  Even with executive sessions that he has sat in on,                                                             
where he got more information, he was not satisfied with the level                                                              
of information.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT further stated that he thinks a balance needs                                                              
to be drawn closer to public evaluation.  Every step done on                                                                    
confidentiality may make it easier to settle a case and easier on                                                               
the parties to make a disclosure.  In that regard, there is the                                                                 
potential to undermine the confidence of the public in terms of                                                                 
whether the decisions made were good.  He thinks what should be                                                                 
done is to err on the side of telling what was done, what was                                                                   
found, and why it was appropriate.  He referred to the                                                                          
Safeway-Carrs issue and stated, "I have never gotten, despite                                                                   
repeated requests, just some blanket indication of what the merger                                                              
situation was.  That is, the number that approximates how                                                                       
monopolistic a grocery industry is before and after the merger.                                                                 
Even that level, this number that tells you how fractured or                                                                    
monopolistic a market is, which wouldn't tell me how much Safeway                                                               
had or Carrs had or Fred Meyer's had, but simply the level of                                                                   
monopolization.  They said that was too critical, too confidential.                                                             
So, I can't even say, at this point, that it decreased or increased                                                             
the level of monopolization or to what level.  And I don't know                                                                 
that, even in executive session.  My constituents don't know it,                                                                
and I think that does them a disservice.  I don't criticize the                                                                 
Judiciary Committee for putting this forward.  I think it probably                                                              
was the original intent of the statute, but I think we need to                                                                  
balance that statute in the other direction."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1748                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI said she appreciates the fact that the                                                                 
consent decrees may be less than sufficient and that additional                                                                 
information ought to be made available so that whether it has been                                                              
in the public's best interest can be truly determined.  On the                                                                  
other hand, she is very sensitive to the chilling effect that the                                                               
release of certain information would have on the parties.  She                                                                  
indicated that if she were one of the parties and knew that the                                                                 
information was going to be made available to the public at the                                                                 
conclusion of an investigation, she would be less than forthcoming.                                                             
It needs to be ensured that those people reviewing the information                                                              
have absolute full disclosure.  She thinks, perhaps, the consent                                                                
decrees do not go far enough, but a certain level of                                                                            
confidentiality has to be allowed for.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1810                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA commented that this is one of those great                                                               
balancing questions between the public's right to know and the                                                                  
parties' right to negotiate and come to a conclusion.  The state's                                                              
policy is very strong in regards to public records and making them                                                              
available.  She stated that there are many ways that records can be                                                             
held confidential.  Some records are created in the anticipation of                                                             
litigation, and they are going to be confidential anyway under the                                                              
current court rules.  She said if Mr. Schwartz is right, and this                                                               
is the way that he reads the law right at the moment, then she is                                                               
a little bit concerned about trying to do something that might                                                                  
conceivably make records be held confidential when it was not                                                                   
wanted for them to be.  She thinks that there are already a lot of                                                              
protections in place and she would not go this far.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated that he also has some concerns.  He is                                                              
somewhat reassured that what is being talked about is the attorney                                                              
general and not the legislature.  On occasion, the legislature has                                                              
had to go into executive session to get information that was very                                                               
sensitive.  He is really torn between what has been discussed                                                                   
before about the public's right to know, but he also balances that                                                              
as a "member of a cooperative electorate."  He explained that there                                                             
was an executive session almost weekly when he was on the board of                                                              
directors of Chugach Electric Association Incorporated.  It was so                                                              
common that it was actually an agenda item that was always there,                                                               
and the public never really scrutinized it.  That does not mean,                                                                
however, that the public did not want to know.  He is concerned                                                                 
that if "we were to bind ourselves with something like this with                                                                
confidential nature, and inadvertently allowed it (indisc.) that                                                                
then create any litigation potential from an injured party."  He                                                                
stated that since, the way he reads it, they are really talking                                                                 
about the attorney general's office; he agrees with moving the bill                                                             
from the committee but with reservation.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1933                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT said he appreciates the concerns of Representatives                                                               
Croft and Green.  If he were an entrepreneur dealing with the                                                                   
attorney general, he would probably do as much as he could to not                                                               
provide every bit of information that was requested just to stymie                                                              
that investigation knowing that everything would be released.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he is concerned also, but only in the                                                              
sense that he is waiting for an answer from the attorney general's                                                              
office as to why they lied to him about participating in the                                                                    
Safeway-Carrs merger.  He has not received a response and finds                                                                 
himself in agreement with Representative Croft regarding the                                                                    
forthrightness of the Attorney General and his ability to respond.                                                              
He said, "On the other hand, I find that (indisc.) proprietary                                                                  
information ... what to me is the complete constructive divesture                                                               
of Safeway's interest in the state of Alaska to allow them to buy                                                               
Carrs is kind of--I guess they, they divested themselves of enough                                                              
... of their property so they won't have a monopoly--I find that on                                                             
the face kind of obvious.  With that, I'll vote yes on the bill."                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT said, in defense of the attorney general's office,                                                                
they have probably been slow in getting a response to                                                                           
Representative Rokeberg because they are working on so many of                                                                  
these ongoing investigations and trying to get the parties to                                                                   
provide all the information.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented that was last October.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked whether Representative Croft still had an                                                                   
objection.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2038                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT withdrew his objection.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked whether there is any further objection.  There                                                              
being none, HB 212 was so moved from the House Judiciary Standing                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
OVERVIEW:  APPORTIONMENT PRESENTATION BY MARSHALL L. TURNER FROM                                                                
THE BUREAU OF THE CENSUS                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT announced the next order of business is an overview                                                               
by Mr. Marshall L. Turner from the Bureau of the Census.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2080                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MARSHALL L. TURNER, Chief Redistricting Data Officer, Bureau of the                                                             
Census, U.S. Department Of Commerce, came before the committee and                                                              
gave a brief overview of the year 2000 census.  He stated as part                                                               
of a means to correct the undercount in 1990, the bureau has opened                                                             
50 local offices throughout the country in an effort to go to as                                                                
many homes as possible.  There will also be a quality control check                                                             
to determine how many people have been missed or how many people                                                                
have been counted twice before the legal deadline of December 31,                                                               
2000 - the deadline to get the numbers to the president of the                                                                  
United States.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARSHALL further mentioned in Alaska there will be special                                                                  
efforts to enumerate the military by allowing them to be enumerated                                                             
on base or off base.  In addition, the military personnel who are                                                               
overseas will be counted based on their home of record on file,                                                                 
which could read "Alaska."  They will be included in the set of                                                                 
data that will be used for apportionment.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARSHALL further mentioned that Alaska was undercounted in 1990                                                             
by about 11,000, according to a follow-up survey.  But the                                                                      
secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce at the time decided                                                                
not to use the new data as an official undercount correction.  He                                                               
noted that the sampling used for the quality control check for the                                                              
year 2000 census will be more robust - stronger in its validity -                                                               
because it will use a 300,000 household sample as compared to a                                                                 
150,000 household sample used the last time.  It is important                                                                   
because $180 billion in federal funds per annum go back to the                                                                  
state of Alaska and its communities.  He noted that 50 percent of                                                               
the undercount in 1990 was in rural areas as the result of not                                                                  
being able to find a housing unit.  That is being corrected through                                                             
a program called L.U.C.A. [Local Updated Census Addresses] in which                                                             
all the mayors, tribal officials, and county officials have been                                                                
invited to review lists of addresses for accuracy.  The bureau is                                                               
confident that program will help build a better base to start with.                                                             
He further mentioned that there will be another opportunity,                                                                    
starting in January of 2000 through census day, for officials to                                                                
notify the bureau of any new housing units to allow for time to go                                                              
back and count those units that are occupied.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARSHALL further mentioned, as the result of complaints from                                                                
parents of children from mixed races, that there will be more than                                                              
one race category to choose from that will be reflected in the                                                                  
numbers distributed to the states.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARSHALL further mentioned that in April of 2001 the data will                                                              
be sent to the governors, minority and majority leaders, and                                                                    
commissions of each state simultaneously, so that everybody will                                                                
have the same information at the same time.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-48, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SB 74 - SAME DAY AIRBORNE HUNTING                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOTT announced the next order of business is Senate Bill No.                                                              
74, "An Act relating to hunting on the same day airborne."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0671                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY, Alaska State Legislature, came before the                                                                   
committee as sponsor of the bill.  He stated that there was an                                                                  
initiative in 1996 to ban same-day land-and-shoot for predators                                                                 
including wolves.  The people of Alaska supported the initiative,                                                               
but, unfortunately, the law fell victim to the public not knowing                                                               
what they were voting on.  The advertising campaign surrounding the                                                             
initiative depicted it as aerial hunting of wolves.  Of course,                                                                 
that was illegal and remains illegal to this day.  He indicated                                                                 
that the initiative was also sold as a vehicle to preserve the                                                                  
principles of fair chase in sportsmanship.  He feels that nothing                                                               
should be done to violate these principles in the statutes.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY further stated that the problem with the                                                                     
initiative and what is intended to be cleared up in SB 74 is the                                                                
ambiguous language.  It was language that many people believed was                                                              
calling for a lawsuit, and because of that, it ties the hands of                                                                
the fish and game managers, the department, and the Board of Game                                                               
in actually carrying out any kind of aerial management.  He                                                                     
provided an example of the ambiguous language referring to the                                                                  
mention of "feasible alternative" saying that an airborne wolf                                                                  
management plan could not be initiated if there were feasible                                                                   
alternatives.  The language is too broad because many alternatives                                                              
may exist, but they may not be technologically or financially                                                                   
possible.  They may not be effective, but they may be feasible.  It                                                             
requires that the commissioner only instigate airborne means to                                                                 
manage wolves and other predators based on a finding and having                                                                 
adequate data - adequate data is something that could obviously be                                                              
challenged.  There is also reference to an irreversible decline,                                                                
which states that airborne management cannot be carried out unless                                                              
there is an irreversible decline.  He explained that many of the                                                                
professionals that he knows in the industry say that there can                                                                  
never be an irreversible decline because it is the nature of a herd                                                             
to drop from its baseline at 100 percent all the way down to 2                                                                  
percent and then to rebound to 5 or 10 percent.  But that is not an                                                             
irreversible decline because there is a slight rebound.  He                                                                     
reiterated that SB 74 puts management in the hands of the                                                                       
department and the Board of Game, which is where it belongs.  He                                                                
does not believe that the people of Alaska want aerial hunting of                                                               
wolves, but it will allow the professionals within the department                                                               
and the Board of Game to carry out airborne management of predators                                                             
based on a plan that they have deemed fit in accordance with their                                                              
professional background and experience.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0972                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI stated that her office has received more                                                               
POMs [Public Opinion Messages] compared to any other issue that                                                                 
comes to mind.  In reading them, it is very apparent that the                                                                   
public thinks that the bill brings back aerial wolf hunting, but                                                                
that is not the case.  She asked Senator P. Kelly why he is                                                                     
bringing this forward now.  Is he anticipating a challenge down the                                                             
road?                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0963                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY replied a letter from the Board of Game                                                                      
indicated that this has restricted its ability to implement any                                                                 
kind of (indisc.).                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI said, so the board has requested it.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY replied yes.  He has also talked to other                                                                    
professionals in the area who have indicated that their ability to                                                              
carry out wolf management is virtually impossible.  There isn't                                                                 
only a problem with predator-prey control but wolves themselves.                                                                
He cited there is a lice infestation now that should have been                                                                  
dealt with a long time ago.  But it can't be dealt with effectively                                                             
without landing and shooting thereby forcing the department to deal                                                             
with it medically, which is very expensive and is not working very                                                              
well.  He noted that there are a number of other infestations or                                                                
diseases that could break out amongst the wolf populations that                                                                 
would need to be dealt with before it spreads all over the country,                                                             
which cannot be done under the language of the current initiative.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY further stated, in response to the number of                                                                 
POMs, he doesn't know what to do about a lie.  It was a lie when it                                                             
was sold as an initiative.  The news reports were lies nationwide                                                               
as well.  He referred to a survey from 1995, which indicates                                                                    
support by a broad margin for SB 74.  He cited the following                                                                    
question:                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     "Do you agree or disagree with this statement:  If a                                                                       
     biological emergency exists, such as a moose or caribou                                                                    
     population in danger of local extinction, the Department                                                                   
     of Fish and Game should be allowed to use airplanes to                                                                     
     conduct limited aerial wolf control programs?"                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY noted that 69 percent of the people agreed with                                                              
that statement, which is what his bill addresses.  He cited the                                                                 
following question:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     "If Alaska had a statewide ballot initiative that said,                                                                    
     'No person may shoot a wolf, coyote, wolverine, fox or                                                                     
     lynx that same day that person is airborne.  However, if                                                                   
     authorities conclude that a biological emergency does                                                                      
     exist, a same-day aerial wolf control program conducted                                                                    
     by Fish and Game personnel only may be authorized' - Do                                                                    
     you think you would vote for or against that initiative?"                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY noted that 63 percent of the people agreed with                                                              
that statement, but that is not the practical application of the                                                                
initiative.  The initiative says, "You shall not land and shoot."                                                               
It further restricts the department and Board of Game's ability to                                                              
carry out wolf management through aerial means.  The survey really                                                              
asked two different questions in two different ways, and the                                                                    
results show a support for SB 74.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1256                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT commented that the bill's title is very broad and,                                                                
when looking at it, it gives a bad feeling.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1279                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said, under current law, the Board of Game                                                                 
would have to say that a biological emergency exists, while this                                                                
bill repeals that language and requirement.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY replied yes.  It also defines the term "game                                                                 
management program" as a program authorized by the Board of Game or                                                             
the commissioner to achieve identified game management objectives                                                               
in a designated geographic area.  It removes the biological                                                                     
emergency definition and allows for the board to define the need                                                                
for aerial shooting.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1362                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Senator P. Kelly what sideboards does                                                                
the department or board have to meet.  Do they have to declare a                                                                
biological emergency, for example?                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY replied no.  The board would determine through                                                               
the public process the need to carry out wolf control in a                                                                      
particular area.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT noted that the survey says, "if a biological                                                               
emergency exists."  In order to mirror the bill it should have                                                                  
said, "whether or not a biological emergency exists."  The answer,                                                              
however, is not known to that phrasing.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1420                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY said it could also say, "do you think there                                                                  
should not be open management of wolves and other predators, unless                                                             
the Board of Game through the public process agrees."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1445                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Senator P. Kelly why it is appropriate                                                               
to take out biological emergency.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY deferred the question to Mr. Dick Bishop from                                                                
the Alaska Outdoor Council.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1490                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked Senator P. Kelly who would be                                                                    
allowed under the language "an employee" or "agent."  She is                                                                    
interested in knowing who the agents might be.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY replied those decisions would be left to the                                                                 
biologists within the Department of Fish and Game.  Sometimes                                                                   
management is done by permit or contract, which would be an agent.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked Senator P. Kelly whether the                                                                     
department could authorize certain permits to agents to conduct a                                                               
hunt in order to get rid of a pack of lice infected wolves.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY replied yes, but he doesn't think it's likely to                                                             
happen.  He just doesn't want to preclude the availability of                                                                   
contractors or permits should they have to go that route.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1623                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ED DAVIS testified via teleconference from Fairbanks.  He is an                                                                 
avid and successful moose hunter.  He is also a co-founder of a                                                                 
group called Alaskans For Fair Chase, a group of hunters from                                                                   
Fairbanks who advocate hunting ethics.  His main concern is that                                                                
the bill would land the state back to the days of land-and-shoot                                                                
wolf control, which created a huge problem because the concept                                                                  
doesn't work and invites violations.  He is also concerned that the                                                             
bill would return the state to the days of unethical hunting.  It                                                               
would allow anybody to become an agent of the state to participate                                                              
in airborne wolf control regardless of whether or not there is a                                                                
biological emergency.  He thinks airborne wolf hunting undermines                                                               
the image and public respect for all hunters.  He urged the                                                                     
committee members to revise the bill to allow for same day airborne                                                             
wolf control only when it is biologically justified.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 1790                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY noted that the bill meets all of the objectives                                                              
mentioned by Mr. Davis.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1818                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Senator P. Kelly whether the survey                                                                  
question - "If Alaska had a statewide ballot initiative that said,                                                              
'No person may shoot a wolf, coyote, wolverine, fox or lynx that                                                                
same day that person is airborne.  However, if authorities conclude                                                             
that a biological emergency does exist, a same-day aerial wolf                                                                  
control program conducted by Fish and Game personnel only may be                                                                
authorized'" - describes current law.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY replied no.  It doesn't describe the other                                                                   
ambiguities that make it impossible.  Even if a biological                                                                      
emergency did exit, the department would not be able to ... because                                                             
there would be so many challenges.  Was there adequate data when                                                                
the commissioner made the findings?  Was it in the context of an                                                                
irreversible decline?  Those kinds of questions make it impossible                                                              
for the department to conduct wolf management by aerial means.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1891                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said, so it's not so much the need of a                                                                    
biological emergency as the specific terms that create the                                                                      
problems.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY replied yes.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1933                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Senator P. Kelly who he foresees as                                                               
agents.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PETE KELLY replied anybody who the commissioner directs the                                                             
department to employee as an agent and who is approved by the Board                                                             
of Game.  It is not about everybody shooting wolves from a Super                                                                
Cub in a state sanctioned manner, as Mr. Davis indicated in his                                                                 
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2017                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT wondered whether the commissioner could act                                                                       
independent from the Board of Game.  The language reads, "a program                                                             
authorized by the Board of Game 'or' the commissioner to achieve                                                                
identified game management objectives in a designated geographic                                                                
area."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2132                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
WAYNE REGELIN, Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation,                                                                     
Department of Fish and Game, came before the committee to testify                                                               
and answer questions.  The bill does not alter the prohibition on                                                               
same day airborne hunting.  It does not affect hunting or hunters                                                               
in any way.  It does, however, change the standards for the                                                                     
Department of Fish and Game to conduct wolf control.  He noted the                                                              
following three things that the bill does:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     1)  Removes the requirement that the commissioner of fish                                                                  
     and game make written findings based on adequate data                                                                      
     demonstrating that a biological emergency exists and that                                                                  
     there is no feasible solution other than airborne control                                                                  
     to eliminate the biological emergency;                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     2)  Deletes the definition of "biological emergency"; and                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     3) Authorizes the use of nondepartmental personnel as                                                                      
     agents.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN further stated that the department recognizes that the                                                              
term "biological emergency" defined in current law is a very                                                                    
difficult standard to meet because predation just doesn't drive                                                                 
populations to extinctions, but it can drive them to very low                                                                   
levels and hold them there.  The Department of Fish and Game is                                                                 
willing to work with the legislature to develop a different                                                                     
definition.  But it also believes that a standard should be                                                                     
established in statute that must be met before wolf control is                                                                  
initiated.  The department cannot support this bill without such a                                                              
standard.  The department also thinks that it is not wise to have                                                               
non-agency personnel conduct predator control programs under the                                                                
term "agents."  A wolf control program is so controversial that it                                                              
should only be conducted by agency biologists.  There is certainly                                                              
a need for nondepartmental individuals to fly helicopters or fixed                                                              
wing aircraft which are used in a predator control plan.  But the                                                               
department currently has that authority as long as a departmental                                                               
person is in the aircraft.  He further noted that a large segment                                                               
of the population doesn't want to see the department engage in wolf                                                             
control as a routine management action, unless there's an                                                                       
emergency...                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-49, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN continued.  The department has standards which are used                                                             
to initiate wolf control, or recommend it to the board, but only                                                                
after three criteria have been met.  First, they have to have sound                                                             
scientific data showing predation is the fundamental cause of a                                                                 
decline or a continued low level.  Second, they have to try to make                                                             
sure that the social and economic benefits associated with any                                                                  
program are weighed and that the anticipated benefits exceed the                                                                
costs.  Third, there has to be a level or indication of acceptance                                                              
among Alaskans.  They have learned that if they try to do this                                                                  
without proper public consultation it will fail.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN further noted that regulations have been adopted by the                                                             
Board of Game relating to wolf control and that the board is in                                                                 
full control of authorizing when it can be conducted.  He said 5 AC                                                             
92.110 sets the standards for biological data and requires that be                                                              
presented at two public meetings, one within the area where wolf                                                                
control would be conducted.  Furthermore, it sets out that it has                                                               
to be in a confined geographic area; it authorizes the number of                                                                
wolves that can be taken and the number of wolves that must be left                                                             
in the field after the control effort is completed, it also talks                                                               
about the duration.  He indicated that there are additional                                                                     
standards.  Mr. Regelin further stated, "We feel like there's                                                                   
probably wisdom in having a standard in statute but one that is not                                                             
going to result--or has a standard that just can't be met like an                                                               
irreversible decline so we would like to work with the sponsor, or                                                              
your committee ... to propose some suggested wording or standards."                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0239                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Regelin whether he has any suggested                                                                    
language.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied no he doesn't, but someone else may.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Regelin whether Alaska currently has a                                                                  
problem with wolf control; is that the purpose of this legislation?                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied he believes that SB 74 is anticipating concerns                                                             
of trying to meet the standard of an irreversible decline before                                                                
action can be taken.  As controversial as this is, someone could                                                                
very likely take that standard and go to court and win because                                                                  
there is no way a biologist could testify that it's going to be an                                                              
irreversible decline based.  He further stated, "Having the                                                                     
commissioner make a written finding that there's a big problem or                                                               
that there's an emergency, but then defines that emergency in a way                                                             
that the commissioner can use his judgement to initiate action -                                                                
you have to remember he can't do that without the Board of Game                                                                 
holding two public hearings, passing a regulation and a whole lot                                                               
of data being collected."  Mr. Regelin also believes that a                                                                     
standard would give comfort to a lot of people and the Department                                                               
of Fish and Game wants language to make sure that it never happens.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 0399                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT referred to Sections 2 and 3 of the bill.  He said,                                                               
in his opinion, the department could contract their own agent                                                                   
without the board's approval.  Section 3 defines game management.                                                               
In theory, there could be two game management programs for airborne                                                             
wolf hunting implemented at the same time, one by the board and one                                                             
by the commissioner.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied he doesn't believe that is correct because the                                                              
commissioner is also obligated to follow regulations adopted by the                                                             
Board of Game, and they have adopted regulations that have full                                                                 
control of authorizing wolf control.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA noted that she also has a problem with the                                                              
broadness of the language in Section 3 of the bill in relation to                                                               
an identified game management objective.  She asked Mr. Regelin                                                                 
whether that is identified elsewhere in statute and whether that                                                                
could be identified as a game management objective of increasing                                                                
moose or other animals.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied he doesn't know anywhere in statute where it                                                                
talks about game management objectives, but it does so in                                                                       
regulations.  The department has gone through the process within                                                                
the Board of Game of establishing game management objectives, which                                                             
the Department of Fish and Game has a standard process of trying to                                                             
identify the number of animals (with a lot of public input -                                                                    
including the advisory committees).  Mr. Regelin added the number                                                               
of animals that the department would like in the population, the                                                                
number of animals that are necessary to meet the needs of people                                                                
that harvest and other things like that.  He concluded that he                                                                  
doesn't read anything of real problem or substance in Section 3.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0621                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN mentioned that there is wolf control on the                                                                
Canadian side.  He said he doesn't know whether that was a                                                                      
sterilization or an eradication program, however.  He asked Mr.                                                                 
Regelin how he would take care of something like that, if it                                                                    
weren't for this program.  Does the process of two hearings and a                                                               
finding create a time burden so that things can get "out of whack"                                                              
before the department can finally start implementing some sort of                                                               
control?                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied the department usually sees these things                                                                    
developing and can get ahead of them and take action.  However, at                                                              
times it might be a little frustrating when it takes up to a year                                                               
and sometimes two years before action can be initiated.  He                                                                     
reiterated that they have to go through the process of collecting                                                               
the necessary data and working with the public.  "While it might be                                                             
frustrating to some of the field biologists, it's necessary as part                                                             
of the public process, or we'll get stopped about the time you get                                                              
started."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN further pointed out that the department currently has                                                               
what they consider a wolf control project in the 40-mile area that                                                              
is based on sterilization and movement of the sub-developed wolves                                                              
that doesn't involve killing them.  They are looking for ways to be                                                             
able to reduce or regulate wolf populations.  He mentioned that                                                                 
Canada conducted a project for three years with a small caribou                                                                 
herd and was very successful, which also helped their moose heard                                                               
populations.  He further explained that the Department of Fish and                                                              
Game is in their second year and has sterilized wolves twice and                                                                
just finished moving them again.  This goes on in conjunction with                                                              
trapping.  The concept is that the department wants to have two                                                                 
wolves hold the big pack territory.  Mr. Regelin concluded that                                                                 
they have been successful; none of the wolf packs that have been                                                                
sterilized have reproduced, and all of them have held their                                                                     
territories.  As a result, the numbers have been reduced from 100                                                               
to approximately 27.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 0878                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Regelin how the sterilization program is                                                                
conducted.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN explained that the department goes out in late January                                                              
or February, darts the alpha male and alpha female, and conducts                                                                
vasectomies and tubal ligations.  The department then goes back,                                                                
usually in mid-April and collects the young ones (usually they're                                                               
yearlings) and moves them to new locations where there's an                                                                     
abundance of prey.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Mr. Regelin whether language that talks                                                              
about the authority to remove diseased or lice infested wolves                                                                  
would help.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied it would probably help because they feel that                                                               
they have the authority under statute and the regulatory authority                                                              
of the commissioner to take action for the general health of a                                                                  
population.  The department recently treated 27 out of 27 infected                                                              
wolves in Palmer and they didn't shoot them - they were captured,                                                               
which is a little more expensive.  He emphasized that it's still an                                                             
experiment and they don't know whether they were successful because                                                             
loner wolves can reinfect the pack and the department won't know                                                                
that until probably next winter.  But that doesn't have anything to                                                             
do with an agent.  If the department is going to dart animals, they                                                             
would have to do it themselves and licensed veterinarians would                                                                 
handle the drugs.  He said, "The agent part is probably the idea                                                                
that you could contract with certain people that live out in remote                                                             
areas to say, to shoot under a permit from the department, 'x'                                                                  
number of wolves in this area, and the reason it's there, it's                                                                  
language right out of the federal airborne hunting act, and they                                                                
use the word 'agent.'  It's the way things were done years ago.                                                                 
The Department of Fish and Game didn't have staff in certain places                                                             
and people were authorized as agents of the department or under                                                                 
contract to take 'x' number of wolves in certain areas."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1096                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Mr. Regelin whether he could be an agent                                                             
under this bill.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN responded, "Only if I would approve it and I wouldn't."                                                             
[Laugher].                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Mr. Regelin what standards would he use;                                                             
ones that are similar to the federal standards?                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied that he probably wouldn't ever use them because                                                             
they are so controversial.  He has attended many public hearings                                                                
where they have been "a big bone of contention."  In addition, the                                                              
public doesn't trust the department to allow people to do that in                                                               
wolf control situations, they want the department to do it                                                                      
themselves.  Mr. Regelin further stated, "If we ever build back up                                                              
the public trust, maybe we'd want to use agents, but I probably                                                                 
would never ever do it myself."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked, besides Mr. Regelin's resistance, is                                                                
there anything in SB 74 that would prohibit him from being an                                                                   
agent?                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied the commissioner would name the agents.  He                                                                 
can't believe that the Board of Game would not set very stringent                                                               
criteria.  In 1992 or 1993 the board passed language that would                                                                 
allow agents, which was very stringent.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1203                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said, "But if we passed a bill that said 'or                                                               
agent,' we tend to get upset when, by regulation they write that                                                                
out of the law.  I mean if it said, 'or agent,' you guys wrote                                                                  
regulations that didn't allow it - we'd get into that kind of                                                                   
conflict all the time and I could see a follow-up where we said                                                                 
agent and we meant it and you haven't approved an agent request in                                                              
two years, and we're mad."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Mr. Regelin whether it's the                                                                         
irreversible nature of a decline that makes it problematic; would                                                               
substantial or serious decline help?                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied the term "irreversible decline" is a real                                                                   
problem because the department knows they can't meet that standard.                                                             
It needs to be clear that the commissioner makes a determination                                                                
based on his judgement and that there has to be a very serious                                                                  
problem.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Regelin whether the federal government has                                                              
a similar wolf control program.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied the federal government's wildlife service                                                                   
program has a very active aerial coyote control program in                                                                      
(indisc.--paper shuffling) western states in relation to livestock                                                              
predation.  But the federal government isn't allowed to conduct                                                                 
that type or program in most states, except for a little bit around                                                             
Palmer.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1325                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked:  "If we wrote into the law, agent, and there                                                               
were regulations that were promulgated that would authorize that,                                                               
what kind of accountability would you envision holding over the                                                                 
heads of these agents who may run amiss or amuck?"                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied the department would be very cautious to not                                                                
allow anybody to be an agent that they didn't have a high level of                                                              
trust in.  He said, "I think that was probably important 15 or 25                                                               
years ago, I'm not certain that it's that important on the agents                                                               
today because I think that it's hard for me to envision an area of                                                              
Alaska where we wouldn't put our own staff in the field to do it."                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1416                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Regelin whether the airplane would have to                                                              
be set on the ground or can a person shoot from the air.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied they usually use a helicopter or a fixed wing                                                               
airplane and shoot out of if in the air.  He said it's no longer                                                                
hunting and it's no longer fair chase (indisc.) that would apply if                                                             
it's a department sponsored wolf controlled activity and the                                                                    
department would want to do it in the most efficient and effective                                                              
way possible.  He mentioned that they would always have a                                                                       
helicopter to lift the wolf.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Regelin whether he envisions more than one                                                              
agent.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN responded he doesn't envision agents at all.  The                                                                   
department would probably put two or three aircrafts in the air at                                                              
the same time and biologists would be pulled from different areas                                                               
in the state that are very good at this.  It would be done with                                                                 
their own staff.  The shooter would always be a division employee                                                               
and they might contract with pilots, but they feel that they                                                                    
already have that authority.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA clarified as to whether - if the bill                                                                   
passes - they could actually shoot and the commissioner could allow                                                             
that.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied that is correct.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Regelin whether they are actually shooting                                                              
or are they blowing a dart.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied they are actually shooting a dart propelled by                                                              
a 22-caliber shell.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Regelin whether the term "shooting" or                                                                  
"shoot" is defined to allow a person to do that.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. REGELIN replied he's not sure.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 1645                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HAYDEN KAYDEN came before the committee to testify.  He said, "My                                                               
concern is more with the initiative process and what happens                                                                    
afterwards.  And I think this bill, as written, is unnecessary.                                                                 
There is no real new information or changed circumstance that has                                                               
been brought forward that necessitates a major revision of the                                                                  
initiative."  He said the people have spoken on the issue through                                                               
the initiative process and the Department of Fish and Game is                                                                   
living with the terms of the initiative and would be happy if the                                                               
committee tweaked a definition, which seems to be a fairly easy                                                                 
thing to do and would not necessitate changing the whole terms of                                                               
the initiative.  Mr. Kayden further stated, "It seems like all too                                                              
often, after an initiative passes we hear that the voters didn't                                                                
know what they were voting on. ... With all due respect, the people                                                             
aren't stupid, they elected you right.  This type of a wholesale                                                                
revision of an initiative assumes that the people are stupid that                                                               
they can't read or that they're easily duped by these greater minds                                                             
from outside our state.  I'd just say if you trust your                                                                         
constituents you should leave the basic language of the initiative                                                              
alone until there's a demonstrable need to change it.  A relatively                                                             
minor definition amendment makes Fish and Game happy and leaves the                                                             
will of the people in place."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked Mr. Kayden whether he has any                                                                    
suggested language.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. KAYDEN replied no he doesn't.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1750                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DICK BISHOP, Vice President, Alaska Outdoor Council, appeared                                                                   
before the committee to testify.  He directed the member's                                                                      
attention to a copy of a postcard entitled, "Legislature to                                                                     
Re-Legalize [sic] Airborne Wolf Shooting", and stated it is                                                                     
absolutely false and the people that distributed it know perfectly                                                              
well that it's false.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP further stated:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Senate Bill 74 does not relegalize anything.  Airborne                                                                     
     hunting - that is shooting from the air is illegal under                                                                   
     federal law unless it is part of an approved state                                                                         
     management program and you've talked about the conditions                                                                  
     for accomplishing that approval.  And it does not                                                                          
     relegalize same day airborne shooting that is land and                                                                     
     shoot by private citizens under conventional hunting or                                                                    
     trapping regulations.  Senate Bill 74 does three things,                                                                   
     it eliminates the requirement that there be a biological                                                                   
     emergency before using aircraft in predator management.                                                                    
     ... You talked a bit about possible definitions of                                                                         
     emergencies and so on, that as a rule in the practice of                                                                   
     wildlife management and that is my professional field                                                                      
     from which I've retired, management is done to prevent                                                                     
     biological emergencies.  That the whole point of fish and                                                                  
     wildlife management is to provide for the maintenance of                                                                   
     fish and wildlife populations on the sustained yield                                                                       
     principle, and by definition that means that you do your                                                                   
     darnedest to avoid emergencies, biological or otherwise.                                                                   
     The law on the books now that was put there by the                                                                         
     initiative, requires that you sit on your hands until                                                                      
     there's a biological emergency before you undertake the                                                                    
     appropriate management and that is counterproductive                                                                       
     (indisc.--paper shuffling) to the logic of scientific                                                                      
     wildlife management.  The point of management is to avoid                                                                  
     emergencies and to avoid being put in the situation where                                                                  
     you're forced to do something drastic in response to an                                                                    
     emergency.  Second, the bill removes the unworkable junk                                                                   
     science definition of 'biological emergency.'  I just saw                                                                  
     that term the other day and I think it fits here very                                                                      
     well because what we have is a very loose concoction of                                                                    
     ideas about what a biological emergency means and you've                                                                   
     already talked about the impracticality of talking about                                                                   
     an irreversible decline, and so on.  In the law, as it                                                                     
     stands now, it would require that it be shown that the                                                                     
     decline in the prey population be a result of wolf                                                                         
     predation and that it couldn't recover without                                                                             
     instituting aerial shooting of wolves and that there's no                                                                  
     viable alternative to that.  So it's essentially a                                                                         
     definition made for court not for wildlife management.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Finally, the bill does provide for management of                                                                           
     predation if necessary by the Department of Fish and Game                                                                  
     and authorized agents, and the essence of how authorized                                                                   
     agents has worked in the past is that the board and the                                                                    
     department have set requirements for the qualification of                                                                  
     agents that had to do with their ability and familiarity                                                                   
     with the area, their reliability as best the department                                                                    
     was able to tell, and they were permitted to assist the                                                                    
     department under rather strict operating conditions.  It                                                                   
     does not relegalize SB 74, or same day airborne shooting                                                                   
     by the public, or aerial shooting.  It does make it                                                                        
     possible for the department to use aircraft when it is                                                                     
     important to diminish predation on prey populations. ...                                                                   
     There is abundant evidence that predation is the                                                                           
     principal factor contributing to annual mortality of big                                                                   
     game prey and is often the principal factor holding down                                                                   
     big game prey populations.  And, although this is an                                                                       
     issue of great public interest and concern, but when you                                                                   
     come right down to it, there's really only 10 to 15                                                                        
     percent of Alaska in total where it is either legally or                                                                   
     ecologically possible to undertake this kind of program                                                                    
     or even in most cases habitat management programs to                                                                       
     improve opportunities for prey populations to recover.                                                                     
     ... There have not been any circumstances that have                                                                        
     arisen to point to in the recent past saying, 'Gosh,                                                                       
     we've just gotta fix this law because our hands have been                                                                  
     tied,' those situations where there have been low prey                                                                     
     populations such as a very low prey population in the                                                                      
     upper Kuskokwim where local people have asked for                                                                          
     predation control, have simply been deferred by one means                                                                  
     or another - the Administration has been unwilling to                                                                      
     address them. ... But frankly this provides perfect cover                                                                  
     for anyone in the Administration who is unwilling to face                                                                  
     the challenge of deciding whether there should predation                                                                   
     control in certain areas.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2142                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Mr. Bishop whether it's true that the                                                                
state program which is hampered now would be legalized under the                                                                
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP replied it is constrained but is legal under SB 74.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT remarked that there was testimony that                                                                     
indicated it's virtually impossible.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP replied he agrees that it is virtually impossible.                                                                   
However, it's not illegal.  He added that it has not been                                                                       
prohibited, but it has been greatly constrained.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 2214                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT stated it wasn't the airborne wolf shooting                                                                
part but the relegalized part that he [Mr. Bishop] took issue with                                                              
on the postcard.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP explained that he objected to the postcard saying it                                                                 
would relegalize airborne wolf shooting.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT indicated that there would be, under the                                                                   
bill's authority, a broader scope to shoot from the air with state                                                              
programs and in some cases state agents.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP stated that it would expedite the process, but it is not                                                             
currently illegal for the state to shoot wolves from the air, even                                                              
under current state or federal law; it would not be relegalizing                                                                
it.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Mr. Bishop whether it would make it                                                                  
easier for the state to shoot wolves from the air.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP replied in the affirmative.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT commented that the state is constrained now                                                                
and in a wider variety of circumstances the state could shoot                                                                   
wolves from the air.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP replied he's not sure it would be a wider degree of                                                                  
circumstances.  He's not sure broader is the right term either.  He                                                             
added that he does agree, however, if the point is to make it more                                                              
feasible for the Board of Game and the Department of Fish and Game                                                              
to come to the conclusion that a situation warrants the use of an                                                               
aircraft.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2321                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said Mr. Bishop makes a good point about the                                                               
need to avoid biological emergencies.  He asked, couldn't a                                                                     
rational and well-informed public decide that they are going to do                                                              
everything first, and only in emergencies do wolf control because                                                               
of the effect on tourism or whatever?                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP replied, in general, he agrees with that statement.  The                                                             
committee might consider passing a law that would ensure there was                                                              
a rational and well-informed public [laughter].  But when                                                                       
information like the postcard is floating around it's hard to have                                                              
a rational and well-informed public.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT remarked it was legal as a state program.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP replied that's correct.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT added that this severally constrains the                                                                   
parameters of the state program.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP replied that's correct.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 2398                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA asked Mr. Bishop whether he thinks that the                                                             
bill would allow aerial shooting before an emergency.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP replied it would allow aerial shooting before an                                                                     
emergency, especially in the sense of how biological emergencies                                                                
are currently defined in law.  There have been situations where it                                                              
was very clear both to the Department of Fish and Game and to the                                                               
Board of Game.  He cited that unless the predation was reduced in                                                               
the 40-mile area along the Taylor Highway the moose population had                                                              
no possibility of recovering within any reasonable length of time,                                                              
if at all.  So the recommendation was made through the board to                                                                 
conduct aerial shooting of wolves by the department and perhaps by                                                              
agents.  That was done for a year or two and the result was that                                                                
the moose population did begin to recover.  He said, "Well, whether                                                             
you could fit that situation into any particular definition of                                                                  
'biological emergency,' I would be reluctant to say, but I guess I                                                              
would add that I would also be reluctant to try to invent a                                                                     
definition of 'biological emergency' that would be put in                                                                       
statute..."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-49, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA stated she doesn't disagree with that, but                                                              
if there is no legal standard there is a risk of being challenged                                                               
in court.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BISHOP replied he agrees.  There is a possibility of                                                                        
challenging the adequacy of the information.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA indicated that she would like to see a                                                                  
better definition of biological emergency.  She realizes that is                                                                
not easy, however.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0054                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
STEVE PERKINS testified via teleconference from Dillingham.  The                                                                
bill would work.  It is the only effective way to manage wolves in                                                              
many areas of the state.  Wolves need to be managed in order to                                                                 
manage ungulates - moose, caribou, deer and sheep.  In regards to                                                               
the agents, they should be qualified members of the public who are                                                              
willing to harvest wolves expertly and with virtually no cost to                                                                
the state.  He indicated that an added benefit would be the money                                                               
added to cash poor economies of the state.  Alternatives like                                                                   
sterilization and transplanting are very costly and unacceptable to                                                             
the segment of the public that does not want to see any game                                                                    
management at all.  He further commented that the legislature is                                                                
charged with managing game in accordance with Article VII, Section                                                              
4, of the constitution on a sustained yield basis, which is not                                                                 
being done at present.  The Board of Game has had its hands tied by                                                             
not being able to use this most valuable tool that SB 74 would                                                                  
provide.  He said that he would like to know and he would like the                                                              
legislature to know what the additional costs are for implementing                                                              
some of the programs that seem to be failing.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 0151                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Mr. Perkins whether he is aware of discussions                                                              
that have taken place with the Board of Game that may have                                                                      
suggested that they would have implemented a same-day wolf hunting                                                              
airborne policy if they had been given looser conditions.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. PERKINS replied yes.  He attended the last Board of Game                                                                    
meeting and he thinks that they have some programs that are suppose                                                             
to be ongoing throughout the state, but they can't implement                                                                    
anything with the way the law is now; SB 74 may change that,                                                                    
however.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JOEL BENNETT, Wolf Management Reform Coalition, came before the                                                                 
committee to testify.  He is a member of the coalition that                                                                     
sponsored Proposition 3 in 1996, which is now AS 16.05.783 and the                                                              
statute that SB 74 changes.  He read from a letter:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Dear representative, we believe that SB 74 does not                                                                        
     currently reflect the will of the people in this state                                                                     
     nor does it represent the view of the people in your                                                                       
     various districts.  We believe that the public still                                                                       
     opposes the use of aircraft to control wolves in Alaska.                                                                   
     Wolves are causing a serious decline in a prey population                                                                  
     and there is no other feasible alternative.  SB 74                                                                         
     eliminates this standard completely.  In addition SB 74                                                                    
     allows the use of agents, raising serious questions of                                                                     
     control and accountability.  Proposed control programs,                                                                    
     in the past, have drained state time and resources over                                                                    
     the years and have rarely been implemented.  In 1996, an                                                                   
     overwhelming 58 percent of Alaskans voted against this                                                                     
     method absent serious biological problem.  There is                                                                        
     simply no widespread pressure to change current law.                                                                       
     High numbers of wolves are already being taken each year                                                                   
     by other legal means, such as trapping, snaring and                                                                        
     ground shooting, and the state is presently controlling                                                                    
     wolves through sterilization and relocation.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT indicated that the letter was signed by former members                                                              
of the Board of Game:  James Brooks, former commissioner of                                                                     
Department of Fish and Game; Jack Lentfer, former regional                                                                      
supervisor of Department of Fish and Game.  He referred to the                                                                  
postcard that Mr. Bishop mentioned, and stated that the coalition                                                               
spent a lot of time trying to find language that did not suggest                                                                
that SB 74 relegalizes aerial hunting.  Specifically, the word                                                                  
"shooting" was used to underscore that point.  He is constantly                                                                 
perplexed and disturbed by how the groups opposed to the statute                                                                
want to pick it apart.  They have been trying their best to                                                                     
characterize what SB 74 does and does not do.  If Mr. Bishop has                                                                
discovered, through a long study of the postcard, that there is a                                                               
slight mischaracterization, he believes it is a petty comment and                                                               
conclusion.  He pointed out that the thrust of the postcard says                                                                
that, in fact, airborne wolf shooting would be reauthorized on an                                                               
expanded basis, which is what SB 74 does.  He added that they would                                                             
have used the word "hunting," if it was going to relegalize land                                                                
and shoot hunting.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. BENNETT referred to Senator P. Kelly's sponsor statement                                                                    
indicating that the bill would preserve the original stated intent                                                              
of the 1996 ballot measure.  The bill does not preserve the                                                                     
original intent of the 1996 ballot measure, because it simply goes                                                              
too far.  Instead of clarifying specific terms and modifying them,                                                              
it removes part of the heart of the 1996 ballot measure.  He                                                                    
doesn't think that Senator P. Kelly would find that the coalition                                                               
involved in this process would have any difficulty with the well-                                                               
meaning working group that modified some of the terms in the                                                                    
statute through the committee and a broader legislative effort.                                                                 
Nobody ever said that the language in the initiative was absolutely                                                             
perfect.  It is to the credit of the people who advanced the                                                                    
initiative that they're willing now to consider meaningful changes                                                              
that do address Senator P. Kelly's concern.  He agreed that an                                                                  
irreversible decline, while it wasn't meant in the beginning to be                                                              
the last stage, could be interpreted that way.  He would not be                                                                 
opposed to better language.  Also, he thinks that other terms                                                                   
brought forward could be best dealt with by a specific amendment                                                                
giving the commissioner the maximum degree of discretion to                                                                     
determine when the facts adequately support the need to go ahead                                                                
with this rather extraordinary method.  Similarly, a red flag has                                                               
been introduced because with the present statute there is simply no                                                             
way that the Department of Fish and Game can respond to diseased                                                                
animals.  He would not object to clarifying that point.  The agent                                                              
question is perhaps the one part where he feels there is an                                                                     
impasse.  He doesn't believe that it is good public policy to do                                                                
that, because it has to do with past experience, accountability,                                                                
control, and public perception.  He pointed out that some people                                                                
don't have a place in this business and to the extent that the                                                                  
public identifies those people as being prime candidates now for a                                                              
new program, if agents were authorized, he feels there would be a                                                               
serious lack of confidence.  In conclusion, he stated that there                                                                
needs to be clarification and it is a reasonable matter to do that,                                                             
but SB 74 goes too far.  He appreciates the sponsor's efforts to                                                                
maintain the original intent of the initiative, but he still feels                                                              
that the language in the bill modifies the original ballot measure                                                              
in a very substantial way.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0664                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD WALLEN, Wolf Management Reform Coalition, came before the                                                               
committee to testify.  He read his testimony:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     I'm a long time resident of Alaska and a member of the                                                                     
     Steering Committee for the recently passed public                                                                          
     initiative on same day airborne wolf shooting.  I'm                                                                        
     opposed to the passage of SB 74 in its present form.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     I served a term on the Board of Game from 1990 to 1993                                                                     
     following a decade of bitter controversy on the wolf                                                                       
     issues.  In an effort to resolve the issues a citizens'                                                                    
     Wolf Management Planning Team, recommended by the board,                                                                   
     was formed and facilitated by the Alaska Department of                                                                     
     Fish and Game.  Members of the team came from all parts                                                                    
     of the state and represented many viewpoints on the wolf                                                                   
     issues from those of animal protectionists to those of                                                                     
     aerial hunters.  I recall that there were twelve team                                                                      
     members and they convened monthly or bi-monthly during                                                                     
     1991 in different parts of the state.  I attended several                                                                  
     of the meetings, alternating with other Board of Game                                                                      
     members.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Among the points of consensus coming out of this effort                                                                    
     was a recommendation that same day airborne hunting be                                                                     
     banned, that wolves be elevated, for management purposes,                                                                  
     to equal status with other large mammals, and that                                                                         
     control programs be a special tool to be applied when                                                                      
     ungulates were threatened with a decline toward a                                                                          
     "predator pit."  Not withstanding the recommendations of                                                                   
     the team, in late 1992 the board authorized three                                                                          
     controversial wolf control programs over areas of the                                                                      
     state about the size of Montana.  Some of the team                                                                         
     members, feeling betrayed, resigned in protest, and state                                                                  
     and national public reaction was swift and painful for                                                                     
     Alaska.  Bowing to the magnitude of the protest, Governor                                                                  
     Hickel halted the program and convened a National "Wolf                                                                    
     Summit" in Fairbanks, which I attended.  The consensus of                                                                  
     the Summit mirrored that of the Planning Team.  Wolf                                                                       
     Control should be reserved to prevent incipient                                                                            
     biological emergencies.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The scale of the protest was beyond anyone's predictions.                                                                  
     By the state's own figures, when the Governor canceled                                                                     
     the control programs, Alaska had lost $85.6 million in                                                                     
     tourism revenues, and many millions more when the loss of                                                                  
     Alaska jobs was figured in.  I have included copies for                                                                    
     you from the Alaska Economic Report, February, 1993.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Some people dismiss that protest as interference in                                                                        
     Alaska's affairs by 'Outsiders'.  This conclusion                                                                          
     overlooks Alaska public opinion.  It dismisses the work                                                                    
     of the Planning Team, the Wolf Summit, Alaska public                                                                       
     opinion polls, and the recently passed Public Initiative.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Alaska's expensive Wolf Wars have exacted a toll in time,                                                                  
     money and public confidence in Alaska's wildlife                                                                           
     managers.  Their history is one of wolf control advocates                                                                  
     winning battles with Boards and Legislatures while losing                                                                  
     the war in both public opinion and in control programs                                                                     
     carried out.  SB 74 in its present form will trigger                                                                       
     another round in the Wars if control programs are                                                                          
     instituted when no impending biological emergency can be                                                                   
     demonstrated, if agents other than Fish and Game                                                                           
     personnel are used, or if other actions are taken outside                                                                  
     the guidelines approved by the voters in the initiative.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALLEN indicated that one of the reasons the public opposes the                                                             
use of agents is a matter of motive.  If there are people pushing                                                               
for a wolf control program in order to pay for gasoline for a Super                                                             
Cub it gives the public a lot less confidence.  Whereas, if the                                                                 
state does it, and is willing to take the heat from the public and                                                              
justify the program, then the question of motive doesn't enter into                                                             
the picture.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 0903                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Mr. Wallen what is meant by the term                                                                 
"predator pit" and does it have to do with an irreversible decline.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALLEN replied the term "predator pit" is when a predator has                                                               
taken a prey species down to a point where that species cannot                                                                  
recover within a certain period of time.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Mr. Wallen whether that was the genesis                                                              
of the language in the initiative.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. WALLEN replied yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0958                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
AMY SKILLBRED came before the committee to testify.  She explained                                                              
that she was one of the people who stood outside of K-Mart in 1996                                                              
to collect signatures for the initiative.  One of the things that                                                               
warmed her on those cold evenings was that invariably people signed                                                             
or they said that they had already done so.  It was very heartening                                                             
to be volunteering and collecting signatures on something that was                                                              
so well received by the public.  She pointed out that in 1996 it                                                                
was the initiative that received the most votes of any initiative                                                               
that was on the ballot.  Alaskans voted against aerial wolf control                                                             
except for under vary limited circumstances.  She was glad to hear                                                              
that the Department of Fish and Game recognizes the public's                                                                    
involvement in this issue, because the public does play an                                                                      
important roll in what happens with wolf control in Alaska.  The                                                                
tourism boycott was real and it was a cost to the state, so the                                                                 
cost to the state needs to be taken into consideration if there is                                                              
not a specific kind of wolf control program.  She stated that HB                                                                
74, as written, does not preserve the original intent of the ballot                                                             
measure passed in 1996.  In fact, the existing state statute has                                                                
the exact language from the ballot measure, so it didn't go through                                                             
any interpretation when it became statute.  She feels that SB 74                                                                
undermines the 1996 wolf initiative by removing the limitations                                                                 
that were intentionally included in the initiative.  Specifically,                                                              
it removes the requirement of a written finding, the requirement of                                                             
limiting airborne wolf control to the geographical area, the                                                                    
requirement of only taking the minimum number of wolves necessary,                                                              
the requirement that there be no feasible solution other than                                                                   
airborne control, and the requirement that only the Department of                                                               
Fish and Game personnel be the ones authorized to carry out the                                                                 
wolf control.  One of the things that she thought was heartening in                                                             
the hearing was the discussion on redefining the term "biological                                                               
emergency."  It seems that section is why the Department of Fish                                                                
and Game has a difficult time operating within this law.  She                                                                   
concluded that the objective of the initiative was for aerial                                                                   
shooting of wolves to be the last remedy used by the Department of                                                              
Fish and Game for wolf control.  She added that wolf control has                                                                
not stopped in the state; they're just figuring out a better way of                                                             
doing it.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1221                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DOUGLAS POPE testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  He                                                                   
indicated that he is one of the two original sponsors of the                                                                    
initiative, along with Joel Bennett.  He said that they would be                                                                
willing to talk about amendments and one thing he would like to                                                                 
emphasize is that at the time they drafted the initiative it was                                                                
not just a few people sitting around a table.  He served as the                                                                 
chairman of the Board of Game when the board grappled with these                                                                
issues in 1991, and he recalls a meeting where they spent ten days                                                              
exclusively on the current issue.  He ran that committee and they                                                               
met from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. for ten straight days until they                                                             
got to a point where they had to take a recess because one of the                                                               
members was complaining of chest pains.  They discussed all of the                                                              
same concepts being discussed currently.  He said that Joel                                                                     
Bennett, Richard Wallen and himself all attended the National "Wolf                                                             
Summit" that Governor Hickel called in Fairbanks that lasted three                                                              
days.  It was out of those meetings that the language in the                                                                    
initiative was born.  The "biological emergency" definition was in                                                              
essence what was being discussed at the time as the conditions                                                                  
under which aerial wolf control should move forward.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. POPE further stated that he would like to address some of the                                                               
basic concepts in the initial initiative and why those choices were                                                             
made.  The first and one of the most important choices is whether                                                               
it's going to be the commissioner of the Department of Fish and                                                                 
Game or the Board of Game who is going to make a decision to                                                                    
implement wolf control with the use of airplanes.  It is obvious                                                                
from the past and the tourism boycott that the Board of Game can                                                                
make decisions that can impact the entire state.  The way things                                                                
happen on the Board of Game are similar to that of the legislature;                                                             
there are incredible lobbying pressures.  They lobby for what their                                                             
members want, which many times involves aerial wolf control to                                                                  
increase moose and caribou populations to higher levels to be                                                                   
harvested by hunters.  There is nothing wrong with that, but when                                                               
a board makes a decision like that, it has the potential to affect                                                              
tourism revenues.  It seems pretty obvious to the coalition that                                                                
this is a decision that needs to come from the commissioner who is                                                              
directly responsible to the governor, rather than from the board.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. POPE further stated that the reason for the language, "there is                                                             
no feasible solution other than airborne control," is because                                                                   
frequently they found that there would be over-hunting of certain                                                               
populations of moose and caribou and that population would                                                                      
collapse.  As soon as the moose and caribou populations started                                                                 
showing stress, the people would run to the Board of Game and start                                                             
clamoring for a wolf control program to control wolf predation.  In                                                             
Canada they do have a successful aerial predation control program,                                                              
but one of the things they absolutely insist upon is that there                                                                 
will be no open hunting seasons prior to any aerial wolf control                                                                
program being implemented.  In addition, the reason that the "no                                                                
feasible alternative" language is in SB 74 is because there                                                                     
typically is a feasible alternative to over-hunting and that is to                                                              
reduce the hunting pressure so that the moose and caribou                                                                       
populations will come back.  He explained that wolf control is an                                                               
extremely controversial subject with the public and it is very                                                                  
draining to the biologists in the Department of Fish and Game,                                                                  
while the attention should be given to other things.  He said that                                                              
he applauds the Department of Fish and Game for saying that they                                                                
can live with some revisions to the bill, because they want a                                                                   
program that the public can accept.  The public will not accept                                                                 
wolf control with the use of aircraft except as a last resort.  He                                                              
urged the committee to keep that in mind.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. POPE further stated that he is prepared to suggest some                                                                     
amendments.  He thinks that the reference in the current law to the                                                             
term "adequate data" creates some mischief that no one intended,                                                                
and he would not have a problem with deleting references to that                                                                
term.  He is also prepared to work with the committee and the                                                                   
department to come up with a different definition of the term                                                                   
"biological emergency."  He referred to Representative Croft's                                                                  
suggestion to change it from an irreversible decline to a serious                                                               
decline and said that it is worth some discussion.  He explained                                                                
that irreversible decline is not something that they made up; it is                                                             
something that the biologists and managers were talking about in                                                                
the early 1990s when all the wolf wars were going on.  He pointed                                                               
out that SB 74 makes the situation worse then before the                                                                        
initiative; it opens the door to going back to the day when there                                                               
were wolf agents that were hired by the state and federal                                                                       
government to go out and kill wolves.  He knew people that killed                                                               
100 to 150 wolves a year and they were payed to do it by the state                                                              
or the federal government.  He doesn't see how the public can                                                                   
distinguish between a gun hired by the Department of Fish and Game                                                              
and a hunter out there hunting with a hunting license.  The public                                                              
does not make that distinction.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1994                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TONY UTT testified via teleconference from Wasilla.  She stated                                                                 
that she opposes SB 74 and any effort to change the 1996 ban on                                                                 
same day airborne wolf shooting.  If there is a biological                                                                      
emergency, instead of creating another possible biological                                                                      
emergency in another species by killing, sterilizing or relocating,                                                             
why not close the hunting seasons like they have done for fishing                                                               
in the past.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2053                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DAVE KELLYHOUSE testified via teleconference from Tok.  He has had                                                              
a 20-year career as a fish and game biologist in Alaska.  He                                                                    
applauded the committee for listening and trying to sort out the                                                                
information given in testimony.  Over-hunting, contrary to what Mr.                                                             
Pope just said, was insignificant.  The moose population declined                                                               
because of severe winters and predation.  He stated that he                                                                     
supports SB 74.  All it does is provide the commissioner with the                                                               
authority that the voters of the state thought they had allowed the                                                             
commissioner when they voted in 1996.  He believes that the voters                                                              
were mislead then and he believes that Mr. Bishop was right that                                                                
the flier is also misleading.  The willingness of the proponents of                                                             
the 1996 ballot initiative to entertain amendments to what                                                                      
constitutes a "biological emergency" is a new found grace on their                                                              
part.  They realize that they have been exposed in front of the                                                                 
committee.  As far as agents of the state go, that language simply                                                              
mirrors the language in the 1971 federal airborne hunting Act.  The                                                             
agents of the state would clarify that the Department of Fish and                                                               
Game could indeed use charter pilots, because charter pilots are                                                                
not currently employees of the state.  SB 74 would also clarify                                                                 
that the commissioner would have unilateral authority to authorize                                                              
same day airborne taking of these animals, if an emergency arose.                                                               
He added that he whole heartedly supports SB 74.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT closed the meeting to public testimony.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT indicated that the bill would be held over for                                                                    
further consideration.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN KOTT adjourned the House Judiciary Standing Committee                                                                  
meeting at 4:22 p.m.                                                                                                            

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