Legislature(1999 - 2000)
05/07/1999 02:20 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE May 7, 1999 2:20 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Pete Kott, Chairman Representative Joe Green Representative Norman Rokeberg Representative Jeannette James Representative Lisa Murkowski Representative Eric Croft Representative Beth Kerttula MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 225 "An Act relating to election campaigns and legislative ethics; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED CSHB 225(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE SENATE BILL NO. 74 "An Act relating to hunting on the same day airborne." - MOVED HCSSB 74(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE HOUSE BILL NO. 219 "An Act relating to the rule against perpetuities, nonvested property interests, and powers of appointment; and providing for an effective date." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD HOUSE BILL NO. 220 "An Act relating to the amendment and revocation of spouses' community property agreements and community property trusts; and providing for an effective date." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 11(JUD) "An Act relating to good time credits for prisoners serving sentences of imprisonment for certain murders." - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 225 SHORT TITLE: CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND LEGISLATIVE ETHICS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) COWDERY, Kohring Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 5/05/99 1180 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 5/05/99 1180 (H) JUDICIARY 5/06/99 (H) JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120 5/06/99 (H) HEARD AND HELD 5/07/99 1247 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KOHRING 5/07/99 (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 JUDICIARY 5/03/99 (H) JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120 5/03/99 (H) HEARD AND HELD 5/07/99 (H) JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120 WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COWDERY Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 204 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3879 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 225. 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: Answered questions regarding SB 74. SENATOR PETE KELLY Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 510 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-2327 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 74. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 99-60, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIRMAN PETE KOTT called the House Judiciary Standing Committee meeting to order at 2:20 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Kott, Green, Rokeberg, James, Croft and Kerttula. Representative Murkowski arrived at 2:27 p.m. HB 225 - CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND LEGISLATIVE ETHICS CHAIRMAN KOTT announced the first order of business is HB 225, "An Act relating to election campaigns and legislative ethics; and providing for an effective date." Number 0073 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a motion to adopt the proposed committee substitute for HB 225, Version 1-LS0931\G, Cramer, 5/7/99. There being no objection, it was so adopted. Number 0128 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT referred to page 5, subsection (H), and noted the phrase - "...however, a legislator or legislative employee may not use governmental resources to solicit contributions for or gather signatures on..." It's appropriate to say "resources" in that phrase because it means a state employee cannot be used from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to gather signatures for a petition or use a Legislative Information Office, for example. It read "facilities" before when it was suppose to incorporate the two concepts. Number 0239 CHAIRMAN KOTT noted that is his understanding of the intent of the language in (H) as well. Number 0261 CHAIRMAN KOTT offered a conceptual amendment to Section 4 of the proposed committee substitute. Susie Barnett is requesting an effective date of December 1, 1999. In reading a memo from her, she indicated that she spends several hours with Terry Cramer of the Legislative Affairs Agency every time the ethics code is amended discussing how it should be interpreted. She also has the responsibility of compiling that information into a handbook for new employees. Number 0406 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked Chairman Kott whether it would change only the ethics portion of the proposed committee substitute or the campaign portion as well. CHAIRMAN KOTT replied it would change only the ethics portion. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES inquired as to whether Section 4 actually says that. CHAIRMAN KOTT reiterated the intent of the conceptual amendment is to make sure that the ethics portion of the bill goes into effect December 1, 1999. Number 0471 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COWDERY, Alaska State Legislature, came before the committee as sponsor of HB 225. It is also his understanding that a pamphlet has to be worked on for new employees. The conceptual amendment would give ample time for that; it is acceptable to him. Number 0512 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES clarified as to whether Sections 1 and 2 would have an immediate effective date, while the rest of the proposed committee substitute would have an effective date of December 1, 1999. CHAIRMAN KOTT replied that's the intent of the conceptual amendment. Number 0602 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT stated that the only reason Section 2 is in the bill is because of a cross-reference to Section 3. He noted that Section 1 should match the effective date in Section 5, while Sections 2 and 3 should match the proposed December 1, 1999 effective date. He suggested substituting "December 1, 1999" for "effective immediately" on page 5, line 21, of the bill. CHAIRMAN KOTT noted that he would inform the drafter of the intent of the conceptual amendment in the event that the change is not accurate. CHAIRMAN KOTT asked whether there is any objection to the conceptual amendment. There being none, it was so adopted. Number 0750 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG made a motion to move HB 225, Version 1-LS0931\G, Cramer, 5/7/99, as amended, from the committee with individual recommendations and the attached fiscal note(s). There being no objection, CSHB 225(JUD) was so moved from the House Judiciary Standing Committee. SB 74 - SAME DAY AIRBORNE HUNTING CHAIRMAN KOTT announced the next order of business is SB 74, "An Act relating to hunting on the same day airborne." Number 0883 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT moved Amendment 1. It reads as follows: Page 1, line 5 insert after "airborne." "However, the Board of Game may authorize a wolf control program involving the shooting of wolves from the air if (1) the Commissioner of Fish and Game makes written findings demonstrating that a biological emergency exists and that there is no feasible solution other than airborne control to eliminate the biological emergency, and (2) the program is conducted only by Department of Fish and Game personnel (3) the program is limited to the specific geographical area where the biological emergency exists, and (4) the program removes only the minimum number of wolves necessary to eliminate the biological emergency. Page 2, line 8, after "flight" delete "; and (2) an employee or agent of the department who, as part of a game management program, is authorized to shoot or to assist in shooting wolf, wolverine, fox, or lynx on the same day that the employee or agent has been airborne." Insert: ";or (2) activities conducted by the Department of Fish and Game to remove diseased or louse infected wolves that are considered a threat to the health of the population." Page 2, line 13 insert "Sec. 3 AS 16.05.783(d) is amended to read: (2) "biological emergency" means a condition, as determined by the commissioner, where a wolf population in a specific geographic area is causing a serious decline in a prey population to the point that the prey population might not likely recover within a reasonable time without implementing wolf control." Page 2, line 13, Sec. 3 is renumbered to Sec. 4 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG objected. Number 0914 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT stated the amendment attempts to address some of the major concerns voiced in the testimony - the irreversible decline issue, as noted by the sponsor; the agent issue, as noted by the testifiers; the inability to move quickly for disease or louse infected wolves, as noted by the sponsor; and concern about the definition of the term "biological emergency." In particular, the definition of the term "biological emergency" has "serious decline" rather than "irreversible decline." The testimony indicated that it's not an unheard of biological idea. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT further stated that the amendment would still require findings but it takes out the adequate data. Under the criteria before, the commissioner had to show written findings based on demonstrated and adequate data. Under the amendment, the commissioner would have to make written findings demonstrating that a biological emergency exists. The adequate data portion didn't materially add to the statute but it added a hook for a legal challenge. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT further stated that the amendment would eliminate the authorization of agents, whose purpose is to take out diseased wolves, and would insert a specific authority to remove diseased or louse infested wolves. Number 1197 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES referred to the language - "the Commissioner of Fish and Game makes written findings demonstrating that a biological emergency exists and that there is no feasible solution other than airborne control to eliminate the biological emergency" - and stated without wolf control there will not be any moose to eat in a subsistence area. She asked Representative Croft whether that would be considered a biological emergency. Number 1226 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT replied under the amendment there wouldn't need to be proof of irreversible decline, which the sponsor has indicated is hard to prove, but there would need to be proof of a serious decline to the point that the prey population might not likely recover within a reasonable time without wolf control. Number 1257 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked whether that means all moose hunting has to be stopped for subsistence users before wolf control. Number 1276 REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA noted that it doesn't change any other standard in statute. She suggested hearing from the Department of Fish and Game on that matter. Number 1310 WAYNE REGELIN, Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation, Department of Fish and Game, came before the committee to answer questions. He noted the language Representative James is questioning would not require the Board of Game to eliminate all hunting before wolf control could start. He cited in one area, where there is wolf control, a minimal harvest is allowed in order to meet the subsistence needs of the people. It is a small harvest so that the herd can recover faster. Number 1356 SENATOR PETE KELLY, Alaska State Legislature, came before the committee as sponsor of SB 74. He also has an amendment which attempts to do some of the same things, but he thinks that his is the amendment that Representative Croft, himself, and the committee members can live with. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT noted that there are some conceptual similarities and differences. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT withdrew his motion on Amendment 1 in order to discuss Senator Pete Kelly's amendment. Number 1444 SENATOR PETE KELLY explained the following amendment: *Section 1:(a) would read: (a) A person may not shoot [OR ASSIST IN SHOOTING] a free-ranging wolf, wolverine, fox, or lynx the same day that a person has been airborne. However, the Board of Game may authorize a predator [WOLF] control program involving shooting from the air if *Section 1: (1) would read: (1) The Commissioner of Fish and Game makes written findings based on biological data that (A) Predation is an important factor contributing to low or to a declining prey population that is inconsistent with a game management program authorized by the Board of Game and (B) Reduction of predation can reasonably be expected to result in aiding an increase in the prey population or in arresting the decline of a prey population or, (C) A disease or parasite is threatening the normal biological condition of a predator population or, if left untreated would spread to other populations. *Section 1: (2) would read: (2) The Commissioner determines that airborne or same day airborne shooting is necessary to accomplish a game management program authorized by the Board of Game. SENATOR PETE KELLY noted that his amendment would put some sideboards by bringing the commissioner back into the loop. Under Representative Croft's amendment, there are ambiguities that might make it an irresistible target for a lawsuit from the more radical environmental and animal rights groups in the state. Number 1550 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked Senator Pete Kelly whether the commissioner would make written findings on (A) and (B) or (C) independently. SENATOR PETE KELLY replied yes. He is concerned about the necessity in dealing with a predator population should it have parasite or disease outbreaks, which was not brought up in the initiative process, as seen in the lice infestation jump from the canine population to the wolf population. Number 1593 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT noted that there are a couple of points of agreements and disagreements. He cited the definition of troubling terms, adequate data, irreversible decline, and the authority to get rid of diseased wolves as areas of agreements. He cited the use of agents, and definition of "biological emergency" as areas that are not consistent between the two amendments. Number 1698 SENATOR PETE KELLY stated the findings are specific and sound to implement predator control. The "minimum number of wolves necessary" creates another target. He said, "What Doug Popes' (ph) idea of minimum is and what the average Alaskans idea of what the minimum is may be very different. It may also be very different between what Doug Pope (ph) thinks or the Friends of the Animals, who would more than likely institute a lawsuit, or the people of McGrath who depend on prey populations for food source and what they consider a minimum." The Board of Game is called to manage a specific resource for abundance, therefore, he is afraid that putting in "minimum" is counter to what the steward agency is suppose to do. He thinks the sideboards that he has recommended are very defendable; they still allow the Board of Game to be in the loop and to make some calls for predator control without worrying about a lawsuit, which is also why a biological emergency doesn't need to be defined. He would rather leave it up to the public process than to memorialize it in statute. Number 1801 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated the language - "there is no feasible solution other than airborne control to eliminate the biological emergency" - in Representative Croft's amendment troubles her because it is open to who a person is and that person's beliefs. In other words, it is open to debate. In addition, removing the language - "minimum number of wolves necessary" - is of concern because what constitutes a minimum number - one, two, three, the alpha male, alpha female, or the entire pack. Those are decisions that have to be made by those who are into these types of things. Number 1866 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said, in reading both amendments side by side, Representative Croft's deletes any authority for airborne hunting. He wondered whether that is the intent. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT replied it is neither the intent nor the effect. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG noted the deletion of the language - "(2) an employee or agent of the department who, as part of a game management program, is authorized to shoot or to assist in shooting wolf, wolverine, fox, or lynx on the same day that the employee or agent has been airborne" - and the insertion of the language - "(2) activities conducted by the Department of Fish and Game to remove diseased or louse infected wolves that are considered a threat to the health of the population" - makes no reference to airborne hunting. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT responded the first part of the amendment reads, "However, the Board of Game may authorize a wolf control program involving the shooting of wolves from the air if ..." REPRESENTATIVE CROFT moved the following language incorporating Senator Pete Kelly's disease language [new Amendment 1]: "However, the Board of Game may authorize a predator control program involving the shooting of wolves from the air if (1) (A) A disease or parasite is threatening the normal biological condition of a predator population or, if left untreated would spread to other populations." CHAIRMAN KOTT noted it seems to be similar language. Number 2042 SENATOR PETE KELLY said he would resist any amendment other than the one that he has provided because the stated reason for the initiative was to stop airborne hunting of wolves, and this stops it. Further restrictions on the Department of Fish and Game restricts its ability to carry out game management. His amendment can go as far as it can and still have a departmental management program while not allowing for aerial hunting of predators. Number 2079 REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA stated new Amendment 1 is good because it considers both amendments. Number 2105 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said he took part of his amendment verbatim, and clarified as to whether Senator Pete Kelly is considering his amendment as all or nothing. Number 2116 SENATOR PETE KELLY stated Representative Croft is pulling out of his amendment something that further protects wolves/predators, but nothing that protects prey populations. The current law already over protects predators when he wants to protect both predators and prey populations. Number 2155 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT stated the new Amendment 1 gives a whole new blanket authority in the area of diseases and lice. SENATOR PETE KELLY replied he doesn't have any objection to that. He has objection to going too far to protect predator populations even to their detriments. It wouldn't allow for aerial hunting if they have a disease. He further stated that the original bill was just fine. It carried out the objectives of the original initiative - to not allow for aerial hunting. But language was purposely included to make it so that no predator - specifically wolves - could not be killed by the department even when necessary because some people don't like killing wolves. He reiterated he wants to maintain the objective of the initiative and still allow the department to carry out predator control. Number 2226 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT withdrew his motion on new Amendment 1. Number 2240 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked whether it would be the same if it read, "to allow predation of the predator for parasitically bothered critters." Number 2295 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT stated that is what he did, but he is getting the sense that this is a package deal. His idea of incorporating elements of both amendment is not what the sponsor wants, which is why he withdrew it. Number 2340 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES moved Amendment 2. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT objected. The most problematic section is the removal of the language "or assist in shooting". Number 2381 SENATOR PETE KELLY stated the language was removed to deal with the issue of assisting departmental employees so that they can carry out the actual shooting of the animal while being transported by a helicopter or airplane, which is the current practice in most cases. Number 2411 CHAIRMAN KOTT stated the departmental personnel would be the ones actually pulling the trigger. SENATOR PETE KELLY said yes. Number 2419 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI said she doesn't have a problem with the removal of the language - "or assist in shooting" - because the department needs the flexibility to hire a pilot while they do the shooting. She does have a problem with the language - "agent" - in Section 2 (2), however. CHAIRMAN KOTT indicated that is not addressed in this amendment. TAPE 99-60, SIDE B Number 0001 CHAIRMAN KOTT called for an at-ease at 3:08 p.m. and called the meeting back to order at 3:12 p.m. Number 0029 CHAIRMAN KOTT asked whether there is any objection to Amendment 2. There being none, it was so adopted. Number 0038 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES made a motion to move SB 74, as amended, from the committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note(s). There being no objection, HCSSB 74(JUD) was so moved from the House Judiciary Standing Committee. ADJOURNMENT CHAIRMAN KOTT recessed the House Judiciary Standing Committee meeting to the call of the chair at 3:14 p.m.