Legislature(1995 - 1996)
05/07/1995 06:02 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE May 7, 1995 6:02 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Joe Green, Co-Chairman Representative Bill Williams, Co-Chairman Representative Scott Ogan, Vice Chairman Representative Alan Austerman Representative John Davies Representative Pete Kott Representative Irene Nicholia MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Ramona Barnes Representative Eileen MacLean COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HB 335: "An Act relating to the Big Game Commercial Services Board, guide-outfitters, transporters, and commercial use permit holders; extending the termination date of the Big Game Commercial Services Board; and providing for an effective date." CSHB 335(RES) PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER GARY KING, Vice President Alaska Professional Hunters Association 202 E. Northern Lights Blvd. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 276-5425 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 335 CATHERINE REARDON, Director Division of Occupational Licensing Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110806 Juneau, AK 99811 Phone: 465-2538 POSITION STATEMENT: Voiced concerns regarding changes to HB 335 EDDIE GRASSER, President Alaska Outdoor Council P.O. Box 73902 Fairbanks, AK 99707 Phone: 466-4262 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 335 GERON BRUCE, Representative Alaska Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, AK 99811-5526 Phone: 465-4100 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 335 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 335 SHORT TITLE: BIG GAME COMMERCIAL SERVICES BOARD SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) OGAN JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 05/05/95 1887 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 05/05/95 1887 (H) RESOURCES 05/07/95 (H) RES AT 05:30 PM CAPITOL 124 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-67, SIDE A Number 000 The House Resources Committee was called to order by Co-Chairman Green at 6:02 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Green, Ogan, Austerman, Davies, and Kott. Members absent were Representatives Williams, Barnes, MacLean, and Nicholia. HB 335 - BIG GAME COMMERCIAL SERVICES BOARD CO-CHAIRMAN JOE GREEN stated the committee has a revised sponsor statement and HB 335 before them. He noted the committee had passed a similar bill, HB 102, earlier in the session which only included the extension of the Big Game Commercial Services Board (BGCSB). He said there are several amendments and a committee substitute. REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN asked what the status is of the original bill. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN responded the original bill is in Senate Finance. REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN said HB 102 is being held in Senate Finance because a certain member of that committee is not going to let it out without changes. He stated the problem is the title is too tight. He told committee members in an attempt to keep the BGCSB from terminating, HB 335 was introduced and added that the proposed changes are what will move the bill. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated in committee members folders is a law opinion from Gross & Burke. He said the Attorney General's office, in another occupational licensing situation with the electrical board, gave an opinion on the effects of the termination of that board. He noted the law office of Gross & Burke was hired by the Alaska Professional Hunters Association to review the potential impact if the legislature fails to take action in extending the termination date of the BGCSB. He pointed out that Legislative Legal also concurred with the vast majority of what is contained in the opinion. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said if the BGCSB sunsets, anyone can be a guide without any licensing, can advertise, and can open a guide business with no restraints. He noted a number of years ago the Owsichek decision ruled that exclusive guide use areas were illegal. The law opinion stated, "in the absence of legislation amending AS 08.54 to expressly transfer BGCSB functions to the Division, there will be no authority for any state agency to issue guide licenses or to discipline licensed guides. Most, if not all, regulations currently on the books that were adopted by the BGCSB to implement its licensing and disciplinary authority will cease to have the force and effect of law and will be effectively repealed." REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated the law opinion continued, "There will be no restrictions on any person in the state conducting guided hunts. Anyone may do so. Guides with licenses that do not expire until December 31, 1995, will technically still have them, but they will be meaningless pieces of paper." He noted Legislative Legal had a problem with the last conclusion in the opinion which states, "The guide use area system, created by regulations under statutory authority given exclusively to the BGCSB, will cease to exist. Any person, licensed or not, will be able to conduct guided hunts in any area of the state, without regard to existing limitations on the number of areas in which a guide may operate." He said Legislative Legal felt that might be ambiguous and end up in court. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said the revised version of HB 335 extends the BGCSB's expiration date from June 30, 1994, to June 30, 1999, and eliminates the Commercial Use Permit. REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES asked if Representative Ogan is referring to the bill or proposed amendments. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said currently HB 335 only extends the BGCSB and has a broad title. He stated what he is discussing are proposed amendments. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN recalled Representative Ogan had mentioned the existing bill (HB 102), which is in the Senate Finance Committee, has too tight of a title. He clarified the three options to get the extension needed is get a certain member of that committee to concur with the extension, get him to agree to a two-thirds vote to open the title and amend it or HB 335. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN responded that is correct. He said his approach is to throw all three of the options on the wall and see which one sticks. He noted there does not seem to be any movement on the other side. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN clarified that Representative Austerman understood the total program. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN stated he could understand if the committee was just going to pass a bill which simply extends the sunset. He felt the five amendments before the committee are rewriting the entire bill and suggested a new bill should be written. He thought a committee substitute should have been written. Number 197 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said there was an attempt to get a committee substitute completed but there was not enough time. He stated negotiations have been ongoing for a number of days. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN asked if anyone had a copy of the original bill, HB 102. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said his understanding is that HB 102 and HB 335 are the same except HB 335 has a broader title. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN asked why HB 102 is being held in Senate Finance. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied it is acceptable to have a broader title than what is in the language but it is not acceptable to have broader words than the title. He said the title in HB 102 only says, "An Act extending the termination date of the BGCSB." REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN stated that is what was sent over and that is what the House intended to do. Number 245 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated a Senator in the Senate Finance Committee will not allow HB 102 to go out of the committee without a broader title to make the changes he wants made. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN clarified what is happening is the House Resources committee is making the changes that Senator wants. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated that is correct. REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT felt the House had done its job. He said it is totally unusual for someone to request a new version of a bill, with a new title, just to provide the opportunity to make an amendment. He stated the original intent of the bill was clear and now the issue is being slammed back on the committee. He thought it was inappropriate. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN agreed that the best and most rational solution would be to simply extend the BGCSB for one more year. He said HB 335 is before the committee. The committee could deal with the issue next year and have adequate public testimony. He stated he is not happy with the process either but the urgency of what will happen to the guiding industry if some solution is not worked out is what is most important. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN noted HB 102 extends the BGCSB from 1994 to 1998. He wondered if there was a misprint with the 1994. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES stated there is a one year sunset period. He felt there was another option available and that is to get a sufficient number of the Senate Finance Committee members to vote HB 102 out of committee. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN responded all the options have been explored. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES clarified that option will not work. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he suspects it will not but he could not forecast that. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES stated if there is going to be such a drastic affect on the guiding community, those folks should have been putting a lot of pressure on the said Senator to get the bill out. He wondered if those people have talked to him. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN replied there has been a tremendous amount of pressure put on that Senator. He said that Senator has strong opinions. He thought the Senator's intent in extending the BGCSB last year was to get these changes made. He stated a committee chairman can hold a bill for whatever reason and at this point, he does not know what the Senator's motivations are. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES agreed with Representative Kott's comments. Number 332 GARY KING, VICE PRESIDENT, ALASKA PROFESSIONAL HUNTERS ASSOCIATION, stated he has been working diligently in trying to keep the BGCSB and the regulations in the industry alive. He said there will be total chaos if the BGCSB is sunsetted and a total deregulation happens. He noted the BGCSB also governs transporters which are air taxis that transport people into the field for the purpose of hunting big game. There are approximately 5,000 to 6,000 nonresident hunters who come to Alaska, along with approximately 3,000 guides in the state. The industry brings in approximately $100 million a year to the state. MR. KING said he wears a hat as a hunting consultant and travel agent, in which he talks to hunters from all over the world about Alaska as a tourism, hunting and fishing destination. Since the Owsichek decision happened and the stability of the Alaska guiding business took a big tailspin, guides have been working very hard in the industry and with the BGCSB to reconstruct the international confidence of Alaska as a destination for sport hunting. He felt there has been success in reestablishing that confidence, not only with the international hunting community but also with the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, etc. He pointed out that the issue of total deregulation is on state land. Many of those in the industry have both federal and state areas in which to conduct business and both areas are critical. Number 382 MR. KING told committee members he would give them a brief history on why the BGCSB is in the position it is in. He said one year ago, when the BGCSB was extended for one year (it will terminate June 30, 1995), Senator Halford had some problems with the statutes and would not come forward to inform the industry what the problems were so they could be addressed. He stated Senator Halford thought he had an agreement to make some changes with Paul Johnson, Chairman of the BGCSB and the President of the Alaska Professional Hunters Association. Those agreements were never conveyed and unfortunately there was never a determination of what the problems were. MR. KING noted HB 102 was merely an extension bill. He stated Senator Halford took offense to that bill thinking that a quick one was being pulled by not allowing him to make any changes to the bill, when in fact that had not crossed the minds of those in the guiding industry. When it appeared there was a problem about two weeks ago, the industry responded with numerous letters to Senator Halford and when it appeared that would not work, there was an attempt to talk to all of the other Senate members through correspondence and faxes trying to tell them how critical the issue was. He said all the responses to the correspondence indicated the need to talk to Senator Halford. MR. KING stated he came down a week ago and tried to talk to Senator Halford. A five minute conversation occurred in Senator Halford's office and the Senator generated a letter in which he alluded to some of the things he wanted. He said over the past week, he extracted bits and pieces of what Senator Halford was looking for and analyzed many of the things from his and the industry's standpoint. He pointed out one of the reasons Senator Halford did not introduce legislation himself is because he is a guide-outfitter and holds a license, and felt there might be a conflict of interest. Therefore, nothing was put in the original bill except to extend the BGCSB. Number 437 MR. KING reviewed the revised sponsor statement and commented on the points which are beneficial. He said some of the changes are good ideas and others, people will have heartburn with. None of the changes are detrimental. He stated if there is an attempt to push HB 102 through the Senate and Senator Halford changes the title, a two-thirds vote will be required. He felt if Senator Halford is allowed to do that, he could eliminate regulations that would be catastrophic to the industry. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN asked if any of the changes would put the state back in a situation similar to the Owsichek case. MR. KING replied no. The changes have nothing to do with an area allocation system. MR. KING stated the first proposal is to extend the BGCSB. The second change is to eliminate the commercial use permit. He said the commercial use permit was a device put in during the Randall Burns administration to extract more dollars from the industry, to be funneled to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the Department of Public Safety for enforcement and fish and game purposes. The commercial use permit not only mandates that guide- outfitters and transporters pay their $100 a year, but also has provisions for gear rental services. MR. KING pointed out gear rental services might involve a business that rents a white water river raft to anybody who wants to rent one. If that person uses the raft to float down a river and shoots a caribou, all of a sudden that person, if he does not have his license, is in violation. He explained that same requirement also falls on photographic or videographic services wanting to take a picture of a moose or caribou. He stressed the regulations are unenforceable. He said it is impossible to extract $100 from every person who sends someone to Alaska to hunt. MR. KING felt the commercial use permit was only good because there was a provision that every transporter had to have a commercial use permit. In order to get a commercial use permit, regulations said a person could not have had a violation of state or federal guiding or hunting regulations within the previous five years. He noted the same provision is in the guide-outfitter permit statute but not under transporters. He explained a scenario is an outlaw guide who gets busted. All he would have to do is say he is going to be an air taxi now and continue to haul hunters into the field. He said that is the only real purpose of the commercial use permit other than collecting about $50,000 annually from the industry. Number 504 MR. KING stated the next change is adding language to the transporter license requirements requiring the applicant to not have been convicted of violating a state or federal hunting or guide-outfitting regulation or statute within the last five years for which the person was fined more than $500 or imprisoned for more than five days. He noted this is the same requirement the guide-outfitters have. MR. KING said the next change eliminates the requirement for a written test for assistant guide-outfitters. He stated during the Randall Burns administration, a written test was developed for assistant guides. Prior to that time, assistant guides only needed a recommendation from a guide-outfitter who was going to be responsible for that assistant guide when he or she was going to be working for him in the field, they needed to be 18-years-old, have a first-aid/CPR card, and be in sound health. He explained the state has contracted a business in Utah to write a written test for assistant guides and also grades the test. He stressed the test is very arbitrary and includes questions not even on the subject. He pointed out there are several questions on the test which some very qualified people to be assistant guides could not pass. Therefore, the labor pool has been diminishing and the industry has been forced, because of the statute, to hire some licensed assistant guides who are quite elderly, or nonqualified people with no field experience who could pass the test. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated a guide-outfitter is fully responsible for everything the assistant guide does in the field, as well as his clients. Therefore, the guide-outfitter has complete liability. He said by eliminating the requirement for the test, many of the people in the villages will be able to be hired. They are quite qualified since they grew up in the village, they know how to hunt and fish, but they cannot pass the test. MR. KING said there are many qualified people out there. He stated many of the guide-outfitters who have larger operations are Alaskan people and they want to hire Alaskan people. He noted previously there was a rule that a person had to be an Alaskan to be an assistant guide but that was proven unconstitutional. Therefore, there are many people from outside who can take the test and pass, resulting in an influx of outside people who have never been in any of the remote areas of the state. MR. KING explained the next change eliminates requirements that a guide-outfitter provide the BGCSB with permission from the state or federal land managers in order to obtain a guide use area. The BGCSB will still need proof of permission from private landowners. He said the next change eliminates the requirement to register base camps. He stated this has been in statute but has been incorporated in the guide-outfitter's operations plan when registering for a guide use area. MR. KING said the next change eliminates the requirement for a guide-outfitter to carry public liability insurance. He stated many industries governed under boards similar to the BGCSB do not require public liability insurance. Those in the industry who are full-time and serious carry public liability insurance far exceeding the requirements of the state. All of the federal land managers and private land managers require public liability insurance. He pointed out 99 percent of the guide-outfitters and transporters have public liability insurance. The only people who do not carry the insurance are the people who are not serious about being in the industry and are guide-outfitting as a hobby or a weekend job. MR. KING stated another change is eliminating the requirement for a guide-outfitter, utilizing aircraft, to carry passenger liability insurance. He said he does totally agree with these two insurance changes and noted these insurances are not required of many other industries at the state level. Number 603 MR. KING said the final change is to eliminate the authority of the BGCSB to require additional qualifications of assistant guides to qualify for licensing. He stated the desire is to encourage as many new people into the industry as possible. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN noted that many of the requirements eliminated are going to be required on federal lands. MR. KING said that is correct. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated private and federal landowners require insurance. MR. KING felt Senator Halford will get HB 335 through the Senate. He urged the committee to pass HB 335 immediately. Number 629 CATHERINE REARDON, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (DCED), stated it is very important the BGCSB be continued and not go out of existence on July 1, as it would have serious repercussions for the guide industry, as well as customers. She said the department has concerns about the policy implications of the proposed changes and does not support several of them. MS. REARDON stated in regard to the issue of liability and aircraft insurance, the liability insurance was deleted from the statute last year. Therefore, all that remains is the requirement that marine mammal guide-outfitters have general liability insurance. She felt the aircraft insurance is an important feature. Most of the people using guide-outfitters come from out of the state or out of the country, pay a lot of money and probably assume that whoever flies them around will have some type of insurance. She pointed out the opportunity for the buyer beware does not exist because by the time people get to Alaska and get on the plane, it is too late to discover that the guide-outfitter does not have insurance. MS. REARDON stressed it is important for guide-outfitters and assistant guides who fly clients to have this type of insurance. She felt there is also a need to determine whether or not the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has any requirements for insurance. She stated guide-outfitters have been exempted from the requirement that they meet all the commercial license requirements but it is worth asking the FAA, if the state eliminates the insurance requirement, whether or not they will then require guide- outfitters to be commercial pilots. She said the Administration has concerns about the implications of no aircraft insurance on the public. MS. REARDON said the other major issue is the provision for evidence of permission from landowners before the Division of Occupational Licensing issues a permit for a certain guide area. Currently, the division requires people who want to be guides in a certain area to submit some evidence of permission from the landowner. These landowners can be in one guide area and can involve five different landowners. She noted the landowners could include two different federal agencies, a Native corporation, a private citizen, and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The division has been collecting those permissions and issuing the permit. MS. REARDON pointed out with the change, the division would not be asking for the evidence of permission any longer. She thought it would be a disservice to the guides and the general public. If no evidence of permission is asked for, the division will be issuing permits to individuals and giving them permission to guide in an area. At the same time, DNR or the federal government may say they do not have permission. She felt it would be a very confusing situation. She stated if one guide wants to check on one of his competitors to determine if he has permission to do what he is doing, the division will no longer be able to determine the answer. When a customer wants to be guided, the division will not be able to say whether or not a guide has permission to be in a certain area. TAPE 95-67, SIDE B Number 000 MS. REARDON stated she is not hearing from guides saying they should not be required to have aircraft insurance or that it is onerous to be required to provide evidence of landowner permission. She questioned where the major problems are with the situation and what is so unreasonable. She reiterated the Administration supports the continuation of the BGCSB. MS. REARDON added that the elimination of the commercial use permit does not affect the division. The division does issue the commercial use permits but the money is passed along to ADF&G and the Department of Public Safety. She felt it was important for the committee to check with those two departments on the implications of losing that funding source. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN noted the committee has a dilemma. The committee can continue to review HB 335 but cannot take any action, due to the lack of a quorum, or recess until the next day. He felt if the committee cannot hear HB 335 and get it to the House floor the next day, it does not have a chance to get approved by the Senate. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN stated he can appreciate the dilemma the BGCSB finds itself in. He said it goes against his grain to act on HB 335 because if Senator Halford had been serious about the issue, any Senator could have drafted a similar bill and introduced it. He felt a game was being played. He noted he does not agree with all of the proposed changes. He wondered why the committee was doing Senator Halford's work. Number 088 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said the best way for the House to remain in control of any changes to the BGCSB statutes was to pass HB 335 with a tight title describing what the changes are. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN reiterated he does not agree with some of the changes. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT stated he does not have anything against the BGCSB. He felt the BGCSB is being used as a political pawn. He said not one other extension bill has any language other than the extended date and the effective date. He recalled Mr. King had mentioned that Senator Halford did not want to make the changes on the Senate side because it might be a conflict of interest. He thought there was an indication of a conflict of interest currently. He asked Mr. King to tell committee members which changes he was opposed to. MR. KING said the eliminations of insurance are a bad idea. He stated those two changes do not lend professionalism to the industry. He did not think the Senate would allow Senator Halford to get away with pulling out those insurance requirements. However, if HB 335 does not get over to the Senate, the industry and the BGCSB does not have a chance. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN stated he also has a concern with the change eliminating the evidence of permission from the landowner. MR. KING said guide areas will span across several landownerships. He stated just because a guide registration area spans those different landownerships, a guide may not have permission from one of those land managers. He pointed out the DCED will still issue the license, knowing that a particular section of the area cannot be used. A guide is not required to have permission for all of the area but is only required to have permission for part of it and that is the only part the state issues the license for to hunt. He did not feel the elimination of this requirement is a major problem. Number 173 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said guides will still have to get permission to use the land. Any commercial use, whether it be a logger, a fish camp, a trapper, a recreational cabin, etc., has to get permission from the landowner. Otherwise, violations of laws occur. He stated the only thing being eliminated is the BGCSB enforcing some other agency's regulation. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN recessed the meeting until 9:00 a.m. Monday, May 8. TAPE 95-68, SIDE A Number 000 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN called the meeting back to order at 9:20 a.m. on Monday, May 8. Members present were Representatives Green, Ogan, Austerman, Davies, and Kott. Members absent were Representatives Williams, Barnes, MacLean, and Nicholia. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN told committee members a committee substitute was drafted which incorporates the changes discussed previously. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN made a MOTION to ADOPT CSHB 335(RES), version C. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES OBJECTED for discussion purposes. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said the sponsor would go through the changes contained in the committee substitute. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES WITHDREW his OBJECTION. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there were any other objections. Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated Section 1 changes the date of when the BGCSB will cease to exist from June 30, 1994, to June 30, 1999. He said Section 2, line 14, eliminates the requirement to hold a commercial use permit. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked what the fiscal impact is going to be with the elimination of the commercial use permit. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said he did not know the answer but thought there were people in the audience who might be able to answer the question. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN recalled previously the committee was told that eliminating this permit means a loss of $50,000. MS. REARDON stated the loss would be between $50,000 and $60,000. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN clarified that figure would be in addition to the HB 102 fiscal note the committee passed earlier. MS. REARDON said that was correct. Number 097 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked if that is the entire hit with respect to the change throughout the bill. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN responded to the best of his knowledge, it is. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated with the loss of one commercial use permit member on the BGCSB, it was determined that the board member slot needed to be filled by another person. Therefore, it is proposed that a change be made from two to three public members on the board. He stressed public members contribute a lot of good things to the board. He noted there have been complaints in the distant past that the board was slanted and run by guides. He felt having more public involvement is a positive step. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said Section 3, lines 21-23, eliminates the written test for assistant guide-outfitters. He stated the guide- outfitter is responsible for the assistant guide's actions and the people the assistant guide guides in the field. He felt there is a tremendous amount of accountability. He noted that many of the questions on the current test for assistant guides are ambiguous. There are people who are very qualified to be assistant guides who may not be able to pass the test. He thought the elimination of this requirement will give guide-outfitters the opportunity to hire more people familiar with the areas in which they are going to guide. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said the changes on page 2, lines 30 and 31 are cleanup from the elimination of the commercial use permit. The changes on page 3, lines 1, 2, 5, 8, and 11 are language cleanup regarding the commercial use permit. He stated page 3, lines 11- 13, eliminates the requirement for guide-outfitters to register base camps in order to get their license. He pointed out this elimination does not change the requirement for a land use permit from the various landowners. He told committee members the requirement to get a land use authorization from private landowners remains. He pointed out the DNR and the federal government have their own systems of enforcing their permit uses in-house. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN clarified page 3, beginning at line 11, is the elimination of the requirement for guides to register base camps. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said that is correct. He stated currently there is still a reporting process in which a guide fills out his hunt plan, which is then filed with the BGCSB staff. He said the Department of Public Safety still has the ability to know where the base camps are. This change simply eliminates the requirement as a condition of getting a guide license. He felt this change is simply a paper reduction act. Number 220 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated the changes on page 4, line 20 and page 5, lines 13, 14, and 20-22 are language cleanup. He said Section 7 is a major change regarding the issue of an assistant guide being able to get hired with a written recommendation from a master guide-outfitter. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN clarified that section refers back to page 3. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said no. It refers back to page 2, lines 22 and 23. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated the change on page 6, lines 3 and 4, refers to assistant guides and eliminates the additional qualifications the board may establish, as the additional qualifications are ambiguous. He said that goes along with the same line of reasoning of allowing guides to hire whomever they like because they are responsible for them. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN thought assistant guides had a requirement of previously working for a guide for a short period of time before getting their assistant guide license. MR. KING replied there is not a requirement to that effect. He said there is a requirement for an assistant guide license for the person to have hunted in the state for two of the previous five years. He stated with this statute change, that person must also receive a recommendation from a guide-outfitter or master guide and meet the other qualifications. He reiterated that the guide- outfitter takes sole responsibility for the assistant guide. Therefore, a guide will not hire a person who is incompetent. He noted that currently, guides are being forced to hire incompetent people because they have passed the test. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated the next change is on page 6, line 9, with the added language, "has not been convicted of a state or federal hunting or guide-outfitting statute or regulation within the last five years for which the person was fined more than $500 or imprisoned for more than five days;". He said in light of the commercial use permit fee being eliminated, this addition relates to a transporter. A transporter is someone who only provides transportation for hunters in the field. He pointed out transporters see what is going on in the field. He felt it was important to have transporters who do not have major hunting violations and convictions. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if this requirement is for a person serving only as a transporter or under any circumstance, such as a road guide now doing transporting only. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated it is only a transporter. He said the requirement also prevents guides who get convicted for a major violation from going into the transporting business. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said on page 6, lines 25-27, the language, "A transporter may also provide, under authority of a commercial use permit, other big game commercial services as defined under AS 08.54.460." He stated changes on page 6, lines 30 and 31, on page 7, lines 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, 19, 24, and 26-29, page 8, lines 7, 8, 9, 10, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24-26, and 28-30, and page 9, lines 5, 6, 11, 12, and 22-26 are all commercial use permit language cleanup. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated the next change is on page 10, line 2. He said this change eliminates the requirement for guides to report to the BGCSB that they have their land use permits from the DNR and the federal government. This change is also contained on page 10, lines 30 and 31. He said page 10, line 18 is a commercial use permit language cleanup. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated the repealers in Section 19 include AS 08.54.400(c)(3), which is commercial use permit language cleanup; AS 08.54.460 and AS 08.54.470 is the commercial use permit provision; and AS 08.54.590(1) and AS 08.54.590(12) refers to the base camps and spike camps. Number 471 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked what the current constitution of the BGCSB is. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said that information is contained on page 1 of the BGCSB statutes and regulations book. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN wondered where the regulation is listed providing that guide-outfitters be responsible for assistant guides and their actions. MR. KING replied that information is contained on page 16, "Sec. 08.54.540. Responsibility of guide-outfitter for violations." He read the regulation. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN commented in serving on the BGCSB, he can attest that the official attitude of the board is to give the maximum discipline for every case. He noted sometimes the discipline on the part of the board exceeds what the criminal courts give. MR. KING said the BGCSB was very good about notifying the industry, in writing, their intention to be very strict on this issue. Number 518 EDDIE GRASSER, REPRESENTATIVE, ALASKA OUTDOOR COUNCIL (AOC), stated AOC is concerned about the possible elimination of the BGCSB. He said AOC is very supportive of HB 335 and hopes the bill can move quickly. He noted there is some contention among members on the Senate side about the issue. He thought perhaps the Administration has concerns about the changes being made but it is hoped the legislature and the Administration can work these issues out. MR. GRASSER said his family started in the guide outfitting business in the 1930s. He stated the guiding industry is good and one of the few industries in Alaska which is self-supporting. He urged the committee to pass HB 335. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN recalled there had been a discussion about the fiscal note. GERON BRUCE, REPRESENTATIVE, ADF&G, stated the fiscal note associated with the elimination of the commercial use permit will reduce interagency revenues received by the department by $45,000. He said he has asked staff to prepare the fiscal note and there will be an attempt to get it completed as quickly as possible. He explained initially ADF&G used that money to work with the BGCSB to develop the guiding areas. The past couple of years, the department has provided all the money to the Department of Public Safety and they have been using it for enforcement activities. MR. BRUCE stated the department's plans were, beginning in the fiscal year 1997, to split the money with the Department of Public Safety and use a portion of the funds to establish and pay part of the costs for a position in the department to function as the liaison with the BGCSB. He said he did not know if that position will be established without the funding. MR. BRUCE told committee members ADF&G supports efforts to keep the BGCSB in existence as it is very important to the state's hunting industry. He noted approximately 10 percent of the hunters who hunt annually in the state are nonresident and contribute approximately 75 percent of the license fees going to the department. He said most of the nonresident hunters are required to have guides. Therefore, the guiding industry is very important to the department. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN asked if Mr. Bruce knew the total dollar amount nonresident fees generate. MR. BRUCE stated he did not know an exact figure but he would estimate the nonresident fees are about 75 percent of the licensing fees the Division of Wildlife Conservation generates and is approximately $5 million or $6 million. Number 582 REPRESENTATIVE OGAN pointed out that nonresident fees are quite expensive and can range from $250 to $750. Therefore, a significant amount of ADF&G's budget is paid by nonresident hunters and the vast majority of those hunters retain the services of guides. He suggested it would be a big drain on ADF&G's budget if the BGCSB is eliminated. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN recessed the meeting at 9:58 a.m. to the call of the Chair. TAPE 95-68, SIDE B Number 000 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN called the meeting back to order at 10:47 a.m. Members present were Representatives Green, Williams, Ogan, Davies and Austerman. Members absent were Representatives Barnes, Kott, MacLean, and Nicholia. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN announced there is a quorum present. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked, since he had to leave earlier, if there is a Department of Public Safety fiscal impact related to HB 335. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated the fiscal impact is approximately $45,000. (Representative KOTT joined the committee.) REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES questioned whether or not there is a fiscal note attached to the bill reflecting that effect. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said a fiscal note is being prepared. He explained the money is given to ADF&G and is then transferred to the Department of Public Safety who uses it to lease helicopter time in western Southcentral Alaska for enforcement purposes. He noted if the BGCSB does not get extended, there will be a bigger hit on the fiscal note due to the potential drop in nonresident licensing fees, which amount to approximately $5 million a year. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES noted he is concerned about that larger impact. He stated he is also concerned that if there is a fiscal impact, that impact should be reflected in a fiscal note, and the bill referred to the House Finance Committee. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said that is a question for Speaker Phillips or Co-Chairman Green. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN mentioned there is a fiscal note being drafted, which most likely will be attached to the bill before it leaves the committee. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES stated he would like to leave the concern on the record that it is his understanding there are several fiscal impacts and they should be reflected in a fiscal note, and therefore should be referred to the Finance Committee. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN commented the fiscal impact is revenue neutral. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN agreed the impact is revenue neutral. He thought the only impact would be to the Department of Public Safety. Number 100 CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN recalled that ADF&G indicated earlier their fiscal note would be reduced to approximately $45,000. He thought the fiscal note would be attached to the bill redraft. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN made a MOTION to AMEND the title of CSHB 335(RES) to read, "An Act extending the termination date of the Big Game Commercial Services Board to June 30, 1999; eliminating the requirement for a commercial use permit and for payment of commercial use permit fees; amending the membership of the Big Game Commercial Services Board; relating to the qualifications for an assistant guide-outfitter license; eliminating the requirement for testing of assistant guide-outfitters; providing for additional licensing requirements for transporters; eliminating the requirement for prior approval to enter or remain on state and federal land; eliminating the requirement to register base camps; amending the definition of `big game commercial services'; and providing for an effective date." CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN stated Speaker Phillips had sent a note to the committee indicating that the BGCSB and Senator Halford have worked out the difficulties. Therefore, if HB 335 is acceptable to the committee and the House, it will be acceptable on the Senate side. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN WITHDREW his MOTION. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated a new committee substitute is now available. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN made a MOTION to ADOPT CSHB 335(RES), version F. He indicated the only change is the title. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT OBJECTED since he did not have a copy to look at. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said the proposed committee substitute tightens up the title. Number 161 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if the new title in version F is supposed to reflect the Utermohle amendment. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN said that is correct. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT thought it was different. He stated perhaps it tightens up the title even further. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT WITHDREW his OBJECTION. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there were any objections to the motion. Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES made a MOTION to AMEND CSHB 335(RES) on page 6, lines 10 and 11, the deletion be made and substitute the language, "(6) has not been convicted of a state or federal hunting or guide-outfitting statute or regulation within the last five years for which the person was fined more than $500 or imprisoned for more than five days." REPRESENTATIVE OGAN OBJECTED for the purpose of discussion. He thought that was already a requirement. MR. KING stated in regard to the language on page 6, lines 10 and 11, which is being deleted, the industry feels that provision is not needed, provided the other proper language is in the requirements. He said lines 16-19, on page 6, is a provision for the guide-outfitter and that requirement is added to the transporter requirements. He reiterated the assistant guide is solely the responsibility of his employer who must be a registered or master guide. Number 206 MR. KING noted Sec. 08.54.540 of the statute outlines the responsibility of the guide-outfitter for violations, which makes the guide-outfitter responsible for any violation of statute, regulation or hunting law by the class-A assistant or assistant guide while in the course of the class-A assistant guide- outfitter's or assistant guide-outfitter's employment. He said the section also refers to AS 08.54.500 which is the discipline general provisions. He felt the provisions are very tight and protection is provided for. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked what the additional requirements established by the BGCSB for assistant guides were. MR. KING said the test was in the provisions and there were no additional qualifications. He stated it was just an ambiguous line in the statute which said the BGCSB could establish additional requirements. He noted the Senate Finance Committee requested the reduction of arbitrary powers of the BGCSB to make it easier for new participants to join the industry at the base level, which is the assistant guide level. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked what happens if an assistant guide violates a state statute and is fined $600. He wondered if the guide pays the fine. MR. KING replied the guide is responsible for the actions of the assistant guide. He said the guide probably would not pay the fine although he could. However, the guide's license would be in jeopardy for the acts of his employees. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES stated the fine of $600 does not remove the guide's license. He asked how the guide is responsible. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN responded the BGCSB has the authority to revoke licenses and impose fines up to $5,000, in addition to the criminal penalties the guide would be liable for, due to his assistant breaking the rules. He stated the guide is just as responsible as if he committed the violation himself. Number 291 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked why anyone would object to a requirement that an assistant guide could not operate if he had been convicted of a violation. MR. KING said the guiding industry would not have objection to that requirement. He noted that has never been a requirement in the past. He expressed concern with timing. He wondered if this additional amendment would slow down the bill. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES replied he did not know. He said his concern is public policy. He expressed appreciation for the desire to reduce the arbitrariness of the BGCSB. He stated this amendment would do that. He thought it was a reasonable compromise and a reasonable requirement. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN noted on page 14 of the BGCSB statutes and regulations booklet, Sec. 08.54.510 outlines the discipline provisions. He said in that section it speaks to anyone being in violation of either AS 08.54.500 or AS 08.54.505. If they are convicted, they cannot be hired. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN suggested that Representative Davies offer the amendment on the House floor. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES WITHDREW his OBJECTION. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES noted that pages 10 and 11, Sections 16 and 17, remove the requirement to show evidence of permission to operate in a particular area. He stated his general concern is the issue of allowing the Division of Occupational Licensing to issue a permit to operate in an area where no evidence of permission has been shown. He felt potential lawsuits were being set up. He said he did not know what the big deal was--if a person has permission to operate in an area, what is so difficult about copying the permit and giving it to the division at the time of application for the license. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN stated if that elimination is taken out, he can assure the committee the bill will be dead. He said the reason the language was eliminated was because people still have to get permits but no other industry has to report to a board to get a permit to operate. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN made a MOTION to MOVE CSHB 335(RES) with fiscal notes to be attached, out of committee with individual recommendations. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT stated before the bill can be transmitted to the Chief Clerk, it must be accompanied by a fiscal note. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN said the bill can move from committee as long as the committee understands the fiscal note and the fiscal note itself can follow. He noted testimony has indicated there will be a fiscal impact but it will still be revenue neutral. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked what that means. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN replied instead of actually having the fiscal note attached to the document, as long as the fiscal effect is discussed in committee and the representatives voting on the bill know what the fiscal responsibility is, the bill can be transmitted. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said that was not his question. He asked how there can be a fiscal impact and the bill be revenue neutral. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN responded because it is fees paid rather than funds paid out of the general fund. He stated it is general fund neutral. Number 397 REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS stated there are a lot of questions being asked about the bill. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN recessed the meeting at 11:12 a.m. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN called the meeting back to order at 2:45 p.m. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN WITHDREW his MOTION. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN made a MOTION to MOVE CSHB 335(RES), version F, out of committee with individual recommendations. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN WITHDREW his MOTION. Number 435 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES made a MOTION to AMEND CSHB 335(RES) on page 6, line 10, the deletion be made and insert the language, "(6) has not been convicted of a state or federal hunting or guide- outfitting statute or regulation within the last five years for which the person was fined more than $500 or imprisoned for more than five days." CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. REPRESENTATIVE OGAN made a MOTION to MOVE CSHB 335(RES), as amended, with attached fiscal note, out of committee with individual recommendations. CO-CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there were any objections. Hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to come before the House Resources Committee, Co-Chairman Green adjourned the meeting at 2:53 p.m.