Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/17/2003 01:04 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 17, 2003                                                                                         
                           1:04 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Hugh Fate, Co-Chair                                                                                              
Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Kelly Wolf                                                                                                       
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Cheryll Heinze                                                                                                   
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 139                                                                                                              
"An Act  approving an interim classification  by the commissioner                                                               
of  natural resources  closing certain  land  within the  Glacier                                                               
Creek  and  Winner Creek  drainages  to  new mineral  entry;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     - MOVED CSHB 139(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
HOUSE BILL NO. 163                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to an annual wildlife conservation pass and the                                                                
fee for that pass; relating to nonresident and nonresident alien                                                                
big game tag fees; and providing for an effective date."                                                                        
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
BILL: HB 139                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:CLOSING CERTAIN LAND TO MINERAL ENTRY                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)HAWKER                                                                                             
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/28/03     0339       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
02/28/03     0339       (H)        RES                                                                                          
02/28/03     0339       (H)        REFERRED TO RESOURCES                                                                        
03/17/03                (H)        RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
BILL: HB 163                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:NONRES.GAME TAG FEES/WILDLIFE TOUR PASS                                                                             
SPONSOR(S): RLS BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                      
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/05/03     0433       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
03/05/03     0433       (H)        RES, FIN                                                                                     
03/05/03     0433       (H)        FN1: (DFG)                                                                                   
03/05/03     0433       (H)        FN2: (DFG)                                                                                   
03/05/03     0434       (H)        GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                
03/14/03                (H)        RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
03/14/03                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
03/14/03                (H)        MINUTE(RES)                                                                                  
03/17/03                (H)        RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE HAWKER                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke as the sponsor of HB 139.                                                                            
SARA WRIGHT, Staff                                                                                                              
to Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions relating to HB 139.                                                                     
BOB LOEFFLER, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Mining, Land and Water                                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 139; answered                                                                   
questions relating to the original closure.                                                                                     
GEORGE CANNELOS, Director                                                                                                       
Heritage Land Bank                                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in  support of HB  139; suggested                                                               
it would  provided a real  opportunity to partner with  the state                                                               
and private sector  to really test the  feasibility of developing                                                               
a second major alpine ski resort in the Girdwood area.                                                                          
BRUCE BUSTAMANTE, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)                                                                   
Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  support of HB 139, noting that                                                               
it allowed  for further  study of  the Glacier-Winner  Creek area                                                               
with the possibility of further  development; testified on HB 163                                                               
and  expressed  opposition  to   targeting  any  one  sector  for                                                               
taxation within  the tourism industry  for general  fund purposes                                                               
BARBARA KELLY                                                                                                                   
Alaska Discovery Wilderness Adventures                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns relating HB 163.                                                                        
JULIE HURSEY, Owner                                                                                                             
Alaska Passages Adventure Cruise                                                                                                
Petersburg, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Testified  in  opposition   to  HB  163;                                                               
expressed  concerns  that  the  bill  would  harm  small  tourism                                                               
businesses  and said  she  considered  it to  be  a  head tax  on                                                               
tourists, rather than a wildlife conservation effort.                                                                           
KENT BREKKE, Owner                                                                                                              
Alaska Angling                                                                                                                  
Petersburg, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 163.                                                                         
ALAN LeMASTER, President                                                                                                        
Gakona Junction Village, Inc.                                                                                                   
Gakona, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Testified  in  opposition   to  HB  163;                                                               
suggested  that  targeted  taxes are  unacceptable,  unfair,  and                                                               
DEB AJANGO, Executive Director                                                                                                  
Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association (AWRTA)                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Expressed  concerns  relating  to HB  163;                                                               
noted that  AWRTA was not  opposed to  the concept of  a wildlife                                                               
viewing pass.                                                                                                                   
GORDY WILLIAMS, Legislative Liaison                                                                                             
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Alaska Department of Fish and Game                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 163.                                                                                       
ROBERT NAUHEIM, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                      
Natural Resources Section                                                                                                       
Civil Division (Anchorage)                                                                                                      
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions pertaining to HB 163.                                                                   
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 03-18, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR HUGH FATE called the  House Resources Standing Committee                                                             
meeting  to order  at  1:04 p.m.    Representatives Fate,  Masek,                                                               
Gatto, Wolf,  and Guttenberg were  present at the call  to order.                                                               
Representatives  Chenault,  Lynn,  and Kerttula  arrived  as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.  Representative Heinze was excused.                                                                    
HB 139-CLOSING CERTAIN LAND TO MINERAL ENTRY                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR FATE  announced that the  first order of  business would                                                               
be   HOUSE  BILL   NO.  139,   "An  Act   approving  an   interim                                                               
classification by  the commissioner of natural  resources closing                                                               
certain land within the Glacier  Creek and Winner Creek drainages                                                               
to new mineral entry; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
Number 0133                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  MIKE HAWKER,  Alaska State  Legislature, speaking                                                               
as the sponsor of HB 139,  characterized HB 139 as a pro-economic                                                               
development bill that requires the closure  of a mining area.  He                                                               
noted  that  [HB  139]  has  the support  of  the  Alaska  Miners                                                               
Association  and that  it affirms  the extension  of an  existing                                                               
closure  for  mineral entry  in  Girdwood  near the  Alyeska  Ski                                                               
Resort.   Approximately  10  year  ago, he  said,  this area  was                                                               
closed  to   new  commercial  mining   entry  and   the  existing                                                               
commercial  claims were  purchased outright.   The  mineral entry                                                               
holders  supported  this  closure  in  order  to  facilitate  the                                                               
expansion of  the ski resort.   During the  last 10 years  of the                                                               
existing  closure, he  said, the  hotel  development has  largely                                                               
concluded.  The target for the  next 10 years is to continue that                                                               
development past  the ski  facilities and around  to the  back of                                                               
the mountain, which requires the  reissuance of a mineral closing                                                               
order, to  extend the  closure for 10  more years,  he explained.                                                               
The governor  has reissued the  mineral closing order and  due to                                                               
AS  38.05.300(c)  the  legislature  is  required  to  affirm  the                                                               
closure orders  within 90  days, he said,  and the  90-day window                                                               
will end on April 20th.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER directed attention  to the committee packet                                                               
and the letters  of support, which are  from associations ranging                                                               
from  the  Alaska  Miners  Association  to  the  Municipality  of                                                               
Anchorage  and the  Heritage Land  Bank.   Furthermore, he  said,                                                               
there  has  been verbal  support  of  this legislation  from  the                                                               
Girdwood Board  of Supervisors.   Representative  Hawker informed                                                               
the committee that this area was  heavily mined in the later part                                                               
of the 19th  century and largely played out  to commercial mining                                                               
in  the  mid-20th   century.    Today,  its   prospects  are  for                                                               
recreational mining.   He noted that the  committee packet should                                                               
include  a letter  from  the Division  of  Mining, Department  of                                                               
Natural Resources (DNR), that discusses  the history of this area                                                               
and  its  limited  commercial prospect.    Representative  Hawker                                                               
concluded by urging the committee  to forward this legislation in                                                               
order  to  allow  it  to  reach the  governor  in  the  timeframe                                                               
Number 0516                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK  moved  to  adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS), labeled  23-LS0644\I,  Kurtz,  3/11/03, as  the                                                               
working  document.   There  being  no  objection, Version  I  was                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
Number 0675                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF asked  whether  anybody  has received  input                                                               
from Chugach National Forest regarding support for this.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER  explained  that   there  are  letters  of                                                               
support from  DNR and the  Heritage Land  Bank and that  of 5,740                                                               
acres, approximately  1,000 acres belongs to  the Municipality of                                                               
Anchorage, which supports  [HB 139].  He offered  his belief that                                                               
the land  in question is  state, not federal, property,  and that                                                               
10  years  ago, the  land  was  acquired  via  a Bureau  of  Land                                                               
Management  transfer  to  the  Municipality  [of  Anchorage]  for                                                               
transfer to  the State of Alaska.   He said the  Chugach National                                                               
Forest had been taken out of this issue about 10 years ago.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF,  noting that the Chugach  National Forest is                                                               
neighboring the property,  asked if neighbors had  been asked for                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER deferred the question to his staff.                                                                       
Number 0695                                                                                                                     
SARA WRIGHT,  Staff to Representative  Mike Hawker,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  testified.   She explained  that the  Toohey family                                                               
owned quite  a bit of neighboring  land, and that Cam  Toohey had                                                               
been sent a  copy of the legislation and had  not been heard back                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER said the other  major adjacent land lessor,                                                               
the Alyeska Ski  Resort development area, is "very  much, as part                                                               
of  the 'Girdwood  20/20' organization,  in favor  of this."   He                                                               
talked about  a letter from  Chris Von Imhof, vice  president and                                                               
chief  executive officer  (CEO), Alyeska  Ski Resort,  supporting                                                               
this development.                                                                                                               
Number 0790                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  asked Representative Hawker  about the                                                               
difference between the bill and the proposed CS.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  said he thought  the change  was suggested                                                               
by the  Alaska Miners Association.   He offered his  opinion that                                                               
it makes it a better bill.  He remarked:                                                                                        
     In  the first  draft  -  this is  a  moratorium at  the                                                                    
     moment -  again, it continues a  moratorium against new                                                                    
     mineral entry;  should tenures  come up  without having                                                                    
     any  commencement of  alternate development,  this land                                                                    
     will  revert   and  become  available   for  commercial                                                                    
     mineral  entry   again.    In  the   prior  bill,  that                                                                    
     reversion  required an  affirmative action  on part  of                                                                    
     the  administration.   ... The  CS  version makes  that                                                                    
     reversion  automatic unless  -- it  puts the  burden on                                                                    
     the administration to notify  or give notice that there                                                                    
     has been the  commencement of development.   It was ...                                                                    
     a reversing  of the notification process  and, frankly,                                                                    
     I believe it makes it a better bill.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  remarked,  "That's in  a  conditional                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  HAWKER, in  response, said  yes; that  is exactly                                                               
how that reads.                                                                                                                 
The committee took an at-ease from 1:13 p.m. to 1:14 p.m.                                                                       
Number 0952                                                                                                                     
BOB  LOEFFLER,  Director, Division  of  Mining,  Land and  Water,                                                               
Department of  Natural Resources  (DNR), testified,  noting DNR's                                                               
support for  the bill.   He explained  that the  closure occurred                                                               
about 10 years ago with the agreement  of all of the parties.  He                                                               
said since  that time the  legislature had passed  AS 38.005.300,                                                               
which requires  closures of this nature  to be acted upon  by the                                                               
legislature.  Mr. Loeffler said this  is an area with low mineral                                                               
value but  with a significant  potential for the  Municipality of                                                               
Anchorage.   He  offered his  belief  that a  10-year closure  to                                                               
allow  marketing  and financing  to  determine  whether [it  will                                                               
develop  into] a  significant  tourist location  is  in the  best                                                               
interest  of the  state and  takes very  little from  the mineral                                                               
Number 1034                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  asked if DNR  had contacted  any neighboring                                                               
[property  owners] or  the  Chugach National  Forest  to ask  for                                                               
their comments on this closure.                                                                                                 
MR.  LOEFFLER  said  he  expected  it  was  done  as  part  of  a                                                               
"Turnagain Arm plan" about 10  years ago; the department involved                                                               
"absolutely  everybody who  could possibly  be involved"  at that                                                               
time, and the U.S.  Forest Service was on the team.   He said the                                                               
[department] hadn't  redone it because  [HB 139] is  an extension                                                               
of the previous closure.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  expressed appreciation  and he  indicated it                                                               
was his  intention to ensure  that [the Forest Service]  had been                                                               
involved initially.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  asked Mr.  Loeffler if there  were any                                                               
requirements to ask again if there are any comments.                                                                            
MR. LOEFFLER  said a  public notice  was posted  as part  of this                                                               
mineral  closure.    He  remarked,   "So,  the  interim  closure,                                                               
actually, we already did the  public notice and received very few                                                               
significant comments."                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked for  clarification on whether Mr.                                                               
Loeffler  was  speaking  about the  original  [closure]  or  this                                                               
MR.  LOEFFLER  said it  was  also  done  the  last year  for  the                                                               
Number 1169                                                                                                                     
GEORGE CANNELOS, Director, Heritage  Land Bank, testified, noting                                                               
that  he  was [testifying]  on  behalf  of the  Municipality  [of                                                               
Anchorage].   He thanked Representative Hawker  for sponsoring HB                                                               
139  and he  expressed strong  support  for the  proposed CS;  he                                                               
suggested the  [proposed CS] is a  better bill.  He  said it will                                                               
provide  [the Municipality  of Anchorage]  a real  opportunity to                                                               
partner  with the  state and  private sector  to really  test the                                                               
feasibility of developing  Glacier [and] Winner Creek  as a major                                                               
alpine ski resort area and the  second such area in Girdwood.  He                                                               
talked about the intention later  this year, through the Heritage                                                               
Land Bank,  to issue  a [request for  proposals (RFP)]  to update                                                               
the development  concepts and economics  behind the project.   He                                                               
expressed hope  that by the  end of the year,  formally solicited                                                               
interests from  a prime  developer can be  sought.   He explained                                                               
that a project  of this magnitude would take  several phases, and                                                               
he offered  his belief that  10 years  is a reasonable  amount of                                                               
time  to see  if this  is  going to  go  or not.   He  reiterated                                                               
support for HB 139.                                                                                                             
Number 1262                                                                                                                     
BRUCE BUSTAMANTE,  President and  Chief Executive  Officer (CEO),                                                               
Anchorage  Convention   and  Visitors  Bureau,  testified.     He                                                               
expressed support for  the bill and talked about  HB 139 allowing                                                               
for the further  study of the Glacier-Winner Creek  area with the                                                               
possibility of further development.   He said the feeling is that                                                               
the Alyeska  Ski Resort has  added tremendously to  its portfolio                                                               
of offerings to the tourism industry  and that it adds greatly to                                                               
the  quality of  life in  Southcentral Alaska.   He  talked about                                                               
seeing expansion  of that particular area  to improve Anchorage's                                                               
position as a  world-class ski destination and he  said it really                                                               
"puts us  on the map"  in attracting more competitions  and such.                                                               
He expressed  support of the  city's position to move  ahead with                                                               
further study and development.                                                                                                  
Number 1353                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO noted  that he  was going  to vote  for the                                                               
bill  and  commended  Representative  Hawker for  writing  it  so                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER  gave credit  to legislative  legal counsel                                                               
for good  "lawyerly work" in  helping to  assemble the bill.   He                                                               
said  anybody  with   any  question  about  the   "ins  and  outs                                                               
appearance"  [or] a  concern  about  understanding the  technical                                                               
nature  of   the  legislation  should  refer   to  the  sectional                                                               
analysis, which he  noted is particularly well written.   He said                                                               
the credit  goes to his  staff and legislative legal  counsel for                                                               
doing a good job.                                                                                                               
Number 1461                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK turned  attention to  page 1,  lines 10-12,                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
     The  legislature  finds  that  the  Glacier  Creek  and                                                                    
     Winner Creek  drainages hold significant  potential for                                                                    
     the  development  of  a  new   four  season  resort  in                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK  asked  what  the rationale  was  for  this                                                               
statement to be [included] in the bill.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE HAWKER remarked:                                                                                                 
     As we've heard testimony  today from ... Mr. Bustamante                                                                    
     ...  with  the   [Anchorage]  Convention  and  Visitors                                                                    
     Bureau,   particularly  the   support  this   bill  has                                                                    
     received  up  from  ...  Mr.   Chris  Von  Imhof,  Vice                                                                    
     President  and CEO  of ...  Alyeska  [Ski] Resort,  and                                                                    
     writing  in   its  capacity   as  the   Girdwood  20/20                                                                    
     organization,  recognizing  this  is  a  ...  continued                                                                    
     implementation  of  a  long-term  economic  development                                                                    
     plan  in  the  Girdwood  valley, we  further  have  the                                                                    
     documentation  support in  the packets  here from  both                                                                    
     the  ...   Municipality  of   Anchorage  at   both  the                                                                    
     executive  level  and  specifically with  the  Heritage                                                                    
     Land Bank  personnel; ... Mr.  Cannelos is the  head of                                                                    
     Heritage Land  Bank, whose (indisc.).   The majority of                                                                    
     the  property Heritage  Land Bank  currently holds  and                                                                    
     operates is  in the Girdwood  valley, and it's  a major                                                                    
     mission   that   they're   undertaking,   is   economic                                                                    
     development   for  the   entire  Southcentral   Alaska,                                                                    
     specifically, the Municipality of Anchorage.                                                                               
     I truly believe  the support of this bill  - the reason                                                                    
     we're doing  it is for  the furthering of  the economic                                                                    
     potential of  a four-seasons resort  development, which                                                                    
     is for  the point  in the legislation  [that] indicates                                                                    
     the  legislature finds  that  these  drainages do  hold                                                                    
     specific potential  for the development of  a new four-                                                                    
     seasons  resort   based  on  the   extremely  competent                                                                    
     testimony  and well-based  research  done in  preparing                                                                    
     this legislation  and having  all of the  support we've                                                                    
     accumulated behind it.                                                                                                     
Number 1609                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO remarked:                                                                                                  
     If the  commissioner certifies that they  have followed                                                                    
     the rules and  have begun development, it  reminds me a                                                                    
     little bit  of stranded gas.   Once they've  passed the                                                                    
     test of  beginning development, is there  ... any limit                                                                    
     to saying, "Hey, you've got  to ... finish something in                                                                    
     some amount of time," or  is it just reserved for their                                                                    
     development at that point?                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE   HAWKER  offered   his  belief   that  there   is                                                               
sufficient  latitude in  the language  of the  bill, particularly                                                               
under Section 1  [page 1, lines 13-14,  and page 2, line  1].  He                                                               
said Anchorage  has utilized these land-use  and land-development                                                               
master plans extensively and he believed  it would be a very good                                                               
basis for  determining if the  development is legitimate  or not.                                                               
He mentioned  having sufficient  interests on  both sides  of the                                                               
issue  in the  future to  make certain  that that  development is                                                               
Number 1709                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  MASEK  moved  to  report CSHB  139  [Version  23-                                                               
LS0644\I,  Kurtz,  3/11/03]  out  of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying  fiscal notes, and she asked                                                               
for unanimous consent.   There being no  objection, CSHB 139(RES)                                                               
was reported from the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                       
The committee took an at-ease from 1:27 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.                                                                       
[Co-Chair Fate turned the gavel over to Vice Chair Masek.]                                                                      
HB 163-NONRES.GAME TAG FEES/WILDLIFE TOUR PASS                                                                                
VICE CHAIR MASEK announced that  the next order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 163,  "An Act  relating to an  annual wildlife                                                               
conservation  pass  and  the  fee  for  that  pass;  relating  to                                                               
nonresident  and  nonresident  alien   big  game  tag  fees;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
VICE  CHAIR  MASEK noted  that  the  committee had  taken  public                                                               
testimony on 3/14/03 and would  continue to take public testimony                                                               
for HB 163.                                                                                                                     
Number 1789                                                                                                                     
BARBARA   KELLY,   Alaska    Discovery   Wilderness   Adventures,                                                               
testified, noting that Alaska Discovery  (AKD) is based in Juneau                                                               
and  offers  guided sea  kayaking,  river  rafting, and  canoeing                                                               
trips throughout the  state.  She said  philosophically, AKD does                                                               
not have a problem with asking its  guests who go on its trips to                                                               
pay an annual fee  as proposed in HB 163.  She  said that is only                                                               
in the  case that the  funds are put  into a separate  account in                                                               
the  general  fund,  however, and  this  year's  budget  proposal                                                               
includes an  amendment that appropriates a  substantial amount of                                                               
those funds for  the purpose of wildlife  viewing, education, and                                                               
management programs.   She suggested that  strong intent language                                                               
that  clearly  directs  future   legislatures  to  appropriate  a                                                               
significant portion  of these funds  for the purpose  of wildlife                                                               
programs should  also be included in  the bill.    Ms. Kelly said                                                               
it  is felt  that  those programs  would be  a  benefit to  AKD's                                                               
guests  and that  AKD would  also  support some  of those  funds'                                                               
going  toward a  tourism-marketing program  that would  draw more                                                               
independent visitors to the state.                                                                                              
MS. KELLY expressed  concern about the burden this  will place on                                                               
AKD as an  operator, in ensuring that all of  its guests have the                                                               
wildlife pass in  their possession.  The most  expeditious way to                                                               
do this  would be to  act as a vendor,  she said, but  this would                                                               
require extra  time and work  on AKD's  part to collect  and keep                                                               
track of  the fee.   Ms. Kelly  expressed concerns about  how AKD                                                               
would handle  the fee for  guests who  only doing a  kayaking day                                                               
trip in Glacier Bay National  Park [and Preserve] because many of                                                               
these  trips are  booked at  the last  minute by  guests who  are                                                               
staying at  [bed-and-breakfast establishments] in Gustavus.   She                                                               
said AKD  would not be  able to sell a  pass in advance  to these                                                               
MS. KELLY suggested this would  require extra time and hassle for                                                               
AKD's guides  to check with each  guest to ensure that  they have                                                               
the pass and to sell them one if  they don't.  She said AKD would                                                               
urge that an  exemption be allowed for places such  as Pack Creek                                                               
that  already  have  a  substantial  fee in  place.    Ms.  Kelly                                                               
explained that  AKD also has a  concern about the timing  of this                                                               
bill, which  was also expressed by  some of the other  people who                                                               
previously testified.   She recommended [HB 163]  not take effect                                                               
prior to  September of 2003,  because if  it goes into  effect in                                                               
the middle of the season, it  is felt that [the pass requirement]                                                               
would create a undue burden on AKD as an operator.                                                                              
Number 1979                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked Ms.  Kelly where guests initially                                                               
arrive for tours.                                                                                                               
MS. KELLY said  guests show up for a pre-trip  meeting before the                                                               
trip goes  out into the  field, and  the guides are  dealing with                                                               
the  guests at  that point.   She  said guides  don't collect  or                                                               
handle  money at  the  pre-trip  meetings and  it  wouldn't be  a                                                               
workable  situation for  AKD to  have  guides sell  passes.   Ms.                                                               
Kelly said that's  why AKD would act as a  vendor and explain the                                                               
pass to  guests and tell them  that they could purchase  the pass                                                               
through  AKD  during the  initial  sign  up.    If a  guest  were                                                               
purchasing  the pass  through somebody  else because  of multiple                                                               
activities,  she said,  AKD would  inform the  guest that  he/she                                                               
didn't need  to get the pass  through it, but would  need to have                                                               
it.   She  said AKD  would want  guests to  have the  pass before                                                               
attending the pre-trip meeting.                                                                                                 
Number 2061                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG,  noting that  AKD had already  set its                                                               
tour  prices for  the year,  asked Ms.  Kelly what  percentage of                                                               
season trips had already been sold.                                                                                             
MS.  KELLY, in  response, said  a little  over 50  percent.   She                                                               
noted  that   AKD's  prices  had  already   been  circulated  and                                                               
Number 2080                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked Ms. Kelly  how she would  verify that                                                               
the pass did, in fact, belong to the person presenting it.                                                                      
MS. KELLY relayed her understanding  that the pass would have the                                                               
person's name  on it.  She  said she hadn't thought  about asking                                                               
the person for  identification to prove the pass  belonged to him                                                               
or her and that  she would assume that if the  guest was going on                                                               
a trip and presented a pass, the pass was his or hers.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked if guests  fly in directly to  AKD or                                                               
whether there are prior stops before their arrival.                                                                             
MS.  KELLY  responded that  most  of  AKD's trips  are  multi-day                                                               
trips, so a  lot of times people  are just doing a  trip with AKD                                                               
and  not anything  else,  but not  necessarily;  guests could  be                                                               
doing multiple activities with other operators.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked if all of AKD's trips are multi-day.                                                                 
MS. KELLY said the majority of  trips are multi-day; AKD offers a                                                               
couple  of day  trips  such  as to  Pack  Creek  and Glacier  Bay                                                               
National Park and Preserve.   She noted AKD also offers three-day                                                               
Number 2145                                                                                                                     
VICE CHAIR MASEK  asked Ms. Kelly if she kept  lists of the names                                                               
of the guests.                                                                                                                  
MS. KELLY responded that AKD has  a database where it keeps track                                                               
of all of its guests that sign  up for the trips; at the pre-trip                                                               
meeting the guide  has a list of  all of the names  of people who                                                               
are on that particular trip.                                                                                                    
Number 2172                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO noted  that Pack  Creek already  requires a                                                               
MS. KELLY said  yes, a significant fee of $50  per person for the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked how that fee is collected.                                                                           
Number 2183                                                                                                                     
MS. KELLY  said AKD includes the  fee in the price  of the tours;                                                               
the fee is  not collected separately.  She said  AKD pays the fee                                                               
to the Forest Service at a later time.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked  what is given in return  for the Pack                                                               
Creek fee.                                                                                                                      
MS. KELLY said  AKD has permits to  bring from 5 to  10 guests to                                                               
Pack Creek on  certain days, from early  July through mid-to-late                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked what is  given in return for  the $50                                                               
MS. KELLY noted that there are  no facilities of any kind at Pack                                                               
Creek  and the  fee gives  AKD permission  to go  there with  its                                                               
guests and  do a guided  walking tour and  sit for quite  a while                                                               
and watch  for bears and other  wildlife in the area.   She noted                                                               
that there is a viewing tower located in Pack Creek.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked if the  tower is provided as  part of                                                               
the fee at Pack Creek.                                                                                                          
MS.  KELLY said  yes; [the  tower]  is the  one structure  that's                                                               
Number 2301                                                                                                                     
BRUCE BUSTAMANTE,  President and  Chief Executive  Officer (CEO),                                                               
Anchorage  Convention  and  Visitors   Bureau,  testified.    Mr.                                                               
Bustamante  said the  organization  he represents  is opposed  to                                                               
targeting  any  one  sector for  taxation  within  the  [tourism]                                                               
industry, for  general fund purposes  only.  He offered  his view                                                               
that the  [wildlife viewing pass]  fee falls into  that category,                                                               
and that  it doesn't  really bring  any added  value for  the fee                                                               
collected  to  [Alaska's]  visitors.   Mr.  Bustamante  expressed                                                               
concern  about   [the  state's]  image  in   a  very  competitive                                                               
marketplace in  which [Alaska's tourism  industry] is  up against                                                               
very aggressive,  well-funded state marketing organizations.   He                                                               
noted that Alaska's tourism industry  is competing against Canada                                                               
as  well.   For  the  purpose  of  growing the  state's  economy,                                                               
through  growing the  visitor  industry, [HB  163]  is viewed  as                                                               
really creating an obstacle for  the state's tourism industry, he                                                               
MR.  BUSTAMANTE suggested  that this  is  not a  good message  to                                                               
convey and that the industry is  trying to bring more visitors to                                                               
the state;  he said the timing  for the visitor industry  has not                                                               
been good  for the last  couple of  years based on  world events.                                                               
Mr. Bustamante said for those  reasons, the [Anchorage Convention                                                               
and Visitors Bureau] is opposed  to that particular portion of HB                                                               
163 as it relates to the wildlife viewing pass.                                                                                 
VICE  CHAIR  MASEK  indicated  that   several  other  states  are                                                               
implementing similar programs.  She  said the State of Washington                                                               
is currently  proposing a  wildlife stewardship  decal of  $25 to                                                               
encourage  donations to  fund wildlife  viewing activities.   She                                                               
suggested the  wildlife viewing fee  isn't really a  new concept,                                                               
although  it is  for Alaska.   She  expressed her  view that  she                                                               
didn't see it as targeting a certain [group] of people.                                                                         
Number 2466                                                                                                                     
JULIE   HURSEY,  Owner,   Alaska   Passages  Adventure   Cruises,                                                               
testified, noting her and her  husband's business entails running                                                               
[sightseeing]  trips out  of Petersburg.    Ms. Hursey  expressed                                                               
concerns at hearing the [governor's  State of the] Budget address                                                               
about the wildlife viewing pass.   The additional cost of $15 per                                                               
person added on  to one of the  trips that she offers  could be a                                                               
problem, she said.  For a family  of six, that's going to mean an                                                               
additional cost of  $90.  She explained  that Petersburg recently                                                               
adopted  a local  sales tax  and  the sales  tax for  one of  her                                                               
charters is going to  be $152 per trip.  Ms.  Hursey said she had                                                               
already sent  out many  of the invoices  and that  her [business]                                                               
would have  to absorb that  cost of the [wildlife  viewing pass].                                                               
She  said the  [industry] has  been  trying to  recover from  the                                                               
terrible  "slump" in  tourism that  has occurred  since September                                                               
11, 2001,  and that last season  the amount of business  was down                                                               
considerably  because many  Americans decided  to stay  closer to                                                               
Number 2510                                                                                                                     
MS. HURSEY suggested that with the  economy the way it is, people                                                               
are being more  careful with their money and that  creating a new                                                               
tax  could make  people think  twice about  going on  one of  her                                                               
charters.  She noted that [tourists]  can go to Canada, where the                                                               
cost of trips is cheaper, and  she offered her belief that Alaska                                                               
needs to  try to  stimulate the tourism  economy.   She remarked,                                                               
"While it may seem attractive to  stick outsiders with a tax like                                                               
this,  it  can  affect  businesses  like mine  that  are  run  by                                                               
Alaskans."  Ms. Hursey talked  about the terrible downturn of the                                                               
salmon industry in recent years  and the changes in the Southeast                                                               
Alaska  economy that  have led  some people  to turn  to tourism.                                                               
She noted that  her local tourist industry  is pretty small-scale                                                               
and is in the very early stages  of development.  She said a head                                                               
tax like this  is going to make [her and  her husband's business]                                                               
less  competitive,  and that  maybe  the  big cruise  lines  from                                                               
outside  [Alaska] could  absorb this  kind of  expense and  lower                                                               
their  prices to  accommodate the  tax, but  [smaller businesses]                                                               
can't do that and don't have that big margin.                                                                                   
Number 2549                                                                                                                     
MS. HURSEY said  she wondered if cruise ship  passengers are also                                                               
going to be targeted  by this tax, but she had  heard that it was                                                               
mostly going to be the local  outfitters.  She offered her belief                                                               
that it  was disingenuous for this  tax to be presented  as a way                                                               
to fund wildlife conservation, because  at this time, the revenue                                                               
is earmarked  for the general fund  or put in a  special account,                                                               
which  may or  may not  be  appropriated by  the legislature  for                                                               
wildlife  management  and  education.   Ms.  Hursey  offered  her                                                               
understanding that  it is not  constitutional to  dedicate funds.                                                               
She said  she was in agreement  with Barbara Kelly that  [HB 163]                                                               
needs strong intent language if it is to go forward.                                                                            
Number 2570                                                                                                                     
MS. HURSEY  suggested that the state  has done away with  much of                                                               
the funding for wildlife management  that is not directly tied to                                                               
hunting or fishing,  and she said she couldn't  imagine that this                                                               
"trend"  was  going   to  change  suddenly.     She  offered  her                                                               
understanding that  from what was  said by the  Alaska Department                                                               
of Fish  and Game  (ADF&G) personnel  [in the  previous meeting],                                                               
the CARA  [Conservation and  Reinvestment Act]  funds were  to be                                                               
used for viewing, education, and  conservation of species, not to                                                               
hunt, fish, or trap.  She  asked if that meant the matching money                                                               
raised  by  the  wildlife  viewing pass  will  go  towards  whale                                                               
watching education,  and she  said if the  money goes  toward the                                                               
predator  control of  wolves, as  is being  done in  McGrath, her                                                               
clients would "hit the roof."   There's already talk of a tourism                                                               
boycott  over that  situation, she  said; [the  tourism industry]                                                               
was  affected by  the last  tourism  boycott over  "heavy-handed"                                                               
wolf  management  and Alaska  does  not  need  that kind  of  bad                                                               
MS. HURSEY asked  who would be responsible  for administering the                                                               
collection  of the  wildlife  viewing pass  fee  and checking  to                                                               
verify  the  [tourists]  have  the  pass.    She  suggested  that                                                               
verifying the  passes would cost  a lot  of money, and  she asked                                                               
what would  happen in the case  of other types of  charters, such                                                               
as research or glacier viewing,  when wildlife is not the target.                                                               
Ms. Hursey  told the committee that  she thinks of [HB  163] as a                                                               
"head tax"  and not a way  to conserve wildlife.   She reiterated                                                               
that the money  is earmarked for the general fund,  and she urged                                                               
members to  vote against [HB 163]  because of her belief  that it                                                               
would  hurt  small  businesses  like   hers.    She  thanked  the                                                               
committee for the opportunity to testify.                                                                                       
Number 2629                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked Ms.  Hursey if she  was aware  of the                                                               
age limits that apply to the pass.                                                                                              
MS.  HURSEY said  yes; however,  not everyone  has kids  under 16                                                               
years  of  age.   For  example,  she  said, she  anticipated  the                                                               
charter  of a  family with  three kids  over the  age of  16, who                                                               
would all have to pay for the pass.                                                                                             
Number 2658                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA asked  Ms. Hursey  how many  groups [her                                                               
and her husband's business serves] every summer.                                                                                
MS. HURSEY  replied that  it was  between 10 and  12, and  that 8                                                               
[groups] are already booked for [this year].                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA asked  how many  people are  normally on                                                               
those trips.                                                                                                                    
MS. HURSEY replied that 6 people is the limit.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  offered   her  understanding  that  Ms.                                                               
Hursey's business was a very small operation.                                                                                   
MS. HURSEY answered in the affirmative.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  asked Ms.  Hursey about the  local sales                                                               
tax she had mentioned previously.                                                                                               
MS. HURSEY  explained that a 6  percent sales tax was  applied to                                                               
charter boats located in Petersburg.                                                                                            
Number 2698                                                                                                                     
KENT  BREKKE, Owner,  Alaska Angling,  testified, noting  that he                                                               
also a small  charter boat operator and does weeklong  trips.  He                                                               
said he had just returned  from promoting his business down south                                                               
and was surprised  to learn about HB 163.   Mr. Brekke noted that                                                               
he had not had time to do  the research and submit a "nice write-                                                               
up" like  Ms. Hursey  had, but  that he did  have questions.   He                                                               
suggested that it  is obviously mandatory for  people to purchase                                                               
the  pass, because  when people  go out  on a  charter, they  are                                                               
going to  be viewing wildlife  even if  it is not  the [intended]                                                               
activity.   He asked, if some  members of a [charter]  group were                                                               
purchasing a  fishing license and  others did not,  whether those                                                               
that did  not purchase the license  would be required to  buy the                                                               
wildlife viewing pass even if  they were pretty much just reading                                                               
their books and sitting on the boat.                                                                                            
Number 2736                                                                                                                     
MR. BREKKE noted  that he has some clients that  fly directly out                                                               
to his boat  and he indicated [obtaining  wildlife viewing passes                                                               
would be problematic  for those clients].  He  said he questioned                                                               
some of  the [revenue generated  from the wildlife  viewing pass]                                                               
being used  for predator  control.  He  remarked, "If  people are                                                               
paying to  view a wolf and  then knowing that that  money is also                                                               
being  used to  kill a  wolf, I  think that's  definitely setting                                                               
some question."   Mr. Brekke  said he  thought the timing  of the                                                               
bill was definitely  an issue and that he had  already priced his                                                               
trips for  this coming year  and received deposits and  some full                                                               
payments  for those  trips.   He  remarked,  "I definitely  think                                                               
there are  a lot of  questions, and I think  there's a lot  of us                                                               
that are opposed to this tax."                                                                                                  
Number 2790                                                                                                                     
ALAN   LeMASTER,  President,   Gakona  Junction   Village,  Inc.,                                                               
testified, noting  that he was  a small-business operator  in the                                                               
Copper Valley.   He thanked the committee for  the opportunity to                                                               
testify on  HB 163, and  he said  for years, small  businesses in                                                               
the visitor  industry have tried  to explain that  targeted taxes                                                               
on  individual segments  of the  industry  are unacceptable,  are                                                               
unfair to  separate sectors  of fellow  business, and  really are                                                               
unwarranted.     There  are  better,  more   comprehensive,  more                                                               
equitable ways to  accomplish these goals, he suggested.   A user                                                               
fee  targeted at  those  visitors  that wish  to  simply look  at                                                               
wildlife is hard to understand, he  said.  He suggested that many                                                               
questions  have arisen  from the  debate [over  the bill]  in the                                                               
last few  days.  He  asked, "Who is required  to pay such  a fee;                                                               
what conditions  does the  fee kick in;  who will  be responsible                                                               
for the  collection of  fees; how much  of the  dollars collected                                                               
will be  earmarked for  marketing of the  state's visitor  to the                                                               
world so people will come and view our wildlife ...."                                                                           
MR.  LeMASTER  suggested  that   neither  the  governor  nor  the                                                               
legislature can dedicate funds collected  from any special tax or                                                               
fee system, so there's no guarantees  that the funds will be used                                                               
for the  purposes intended, which  is the reason  "targeted taxes                                                               
give  us  pause."     He  suggested  that   the  legislature  had                                                               
alternative   choices   to  implement   [for   revenue-generating                                                               
purposes],  such   as  converting   the  permanent  fund   to  an                                                               
endowment,  establishing a  broad-based  seasonal  sales tax,  or                                                               
taxing the permanent fund dividend.                                                                                             
MR. LeMASTER encouraged  the committee to pay  close attention to                                                               
assessing  a  seasonal  sales  tax   on  retail  commodities  and                                                               
services  statewide.   A seasonal  sales tax  equitably addresses                                                               
several issues, he  said.  It would spread the  burden of payment                                                               
to  all of  the buyers  of business  and services  in commodities                                                               
according to  their level of  use.  A broad-based  seasonal sales                                                               
tax could  collect far more  dollars than fragmented  users fees,                                                               
he suggested.   He said  retail outlets, for  compensation, could                                                               
be responsible  for collecting and  paying the tax to  the state,                                                               
thus  eliminating special  collection  programs  like the  "mess"                                                               
created  with  the  sales  and collection  of  fees  for  fishing                                                               
licenses  and  salmon stamps.    The  visitor industry  marketing                                                               
program should  share in  the bounty  to use  a portion  of those                                                               
funds to build  visitation numbers for the future  through a good                                                               
comprehensive marketing program, he suggested.                                                                                  
Number 2896                                                                                                                     
MR. LeMASTER said  a portion of the seasonal  sales tax collected                                                               
by businesses  in the visitor  industry could be earmarked  by an                                                               
addendum to the  millennial agreement for marketing  the state to                                                               
potential  visitors.    He  suggested  that  about  half  of  the                                                               
seasonal  sales  taxes collected  by  the  [tourism] industry  be                                                               
reinvested  in  the  state's marketing  program  currently  being                                                               
administered by  the Alaska  Travel Industry  Association (ATIA).                                                               
Mr.  LeMaster  suggested that  since  9/11  [September 11,  2001]                                                               
businesses in the  [tourism] industry are struggling  and, in far                                                               
too many cases, failing.   He asked, "With little assistance from                                                               
the legislature  to date,  isn't it  now time to  step up  to the                                                               
plate and  do your share to  ensure that the largest  industry in                                                               
the state, after oil, survives and  grows?"  Mr. LeMaster said he                                                               
prays that  the committee  would consider the  options to  HB 163                                                               
and  opt out  of  a target-tax  plan in  favor  of a  broad-based                                                               
program that  spreads the burden  across the board,  and benefits                                                               
all of the players in the game and residents of the state alike.                                                                
Number 2948                                                                                                                     
VICE CHAIR  MASEK noted  that Mr. LeMaster's  point on  the sales                                                               
tax  is  not  a  resource   issue,  and  that  the  committee  is                                                               
addressing the resource aspect [of the bill] regarding wildlife.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  highlighted  Mr. LeMaster's  comment  that                                                               
since  9/11,  the [tourism]  industry  had  been suffering.    He                                                               
talked about  the suggestion  that because  of 9/11,  more people                                                               
aren't going on vacations that are  overseas, and he noted that a                                                               
previous testifier  had mentioned that [her  business] was nearly                                                               
two-thirds booked for  the season.  He said it  seems to him that                                                               
it isn't a loss of business that  seems to be the effect, and yet                                                               
that is what he'd been  hearing.  Representative Gatto asked, "Is                                                               
there some  way to say  that ... we have  taken a hit  because of                                                               
events  of the  world and  therefore  we should  be excused,  but                                                               
we're not; do you know?"                                                                                                        
MR.  LeMASTER said  one of  his businesses  distributes brochures                                                               
across Alaska and Canada for  about 100 pretty-well-based tourism                                                               
TAPE 03-18, SIDE B                                                                                                            
Number 3016                                                                                                                     
MR.  LeMASTER suggested  [that many  businesses]  are engaged  in                                                               
getting ready  for the  season and that  most people  would agree                                                               
that  businesses  had  experienced  approximately  a  20  percent                                                               
reduction in sales  last year as a result of  9/11.  Mr. LeMaster                                                               
offered his  belief that this  year, it  does not appear  at this                                                               
time  that [businesses]  would see  an  appreciative increase  in                                                               
sales over last year.  He remarked:                                                                                             
     I think,  when you talk  to somebody that  says they're                                                                    
     three-quarters  booked for  the  season,  two or  three                                                                    
     things are at  play here that you have to  be aware of,                                                                    
     and  one   is  that  those  people   who  are  directly                                                                    
     connected with  the cruise ship  industry seem  to, ...                                                                    
     in  some cases,  be having  a little  better year  than                                                                    
     they may  have had last  year.   But when you  get away                                                                    
     from that  particular direct  connection to  the cruise                                                                    
     ships,  I think  for  the  most part,  most  of us  are                                                                    
     beginning  to  see  that  this  year  is  going  to  be                                                                    
     significantly down from two years  ago, and may be down                                                                    
     from last year.                                                                                                            
Number 2958                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN commented:                                                                                                  
     No one knows what the  future holds; everybody knows we                                                                    
     are on,  probably, the brink of  hostilities with Iraq.                                                                    
     No  one can  predict  whether there  [will] be  another                                                                    
     9/11-equivalent terrorist event  here or even something                                                                    
     half  or  a  fourth  of  what  that  was.    These  are                                                                    
     unknowns.   I  fear  that this  anticipation that  this                                                                    
     might  happen  ...  from   terrorist  attacks  ...  and                                                                    
     sundry, plus  all this including 9/11  itself, is going                                                                    
     to be a big hit on  the tourist industry coming up, and                                                                    
     that  some  of  the  people who  already  booked  these                                                                    
     wonderful  tours may  pull out  if  things start  going                                                                    
     downhill as  far as hostilities are  concerned, and any                                                                    
     future  terrorist   activity.    ...  That's   just  an                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN asked Mr. LeMaster if he cared to comment.                                                                  
Number 2914                                                                                                                     
MR. LeMASTER remarked:                                                                                                          
     I did have  a conversation with one of  my clients just                                                                    
     two  days   ago,  and  he   made  a   very  interesting                                                                    
     observation  about his  business.   He  said early  on,                                                                    
     last fall, business seemed to  take hold and he thought                                                                    
     he had ...  real good feelings about what  was going to                                                                    
     happen this  year because  it took off  ....   And then                                                                    
     when we got into this  situation regarding the war, and                                                                    
     as it  got more serious,  all of the sudden  the phones                                                                    
     quit ringing  again.   And I  hadn't really  given that                                                                    
     much thought,  but you  know, after  I did  think about                                                                    
     it,  I went  back and  looked at  my bookings  a little                                                                    
     bit, and that happened to me too.                                                                                          
     I  just assumed  that  because I  was  traveling and  I                                                                    
     wasn't  paying  that  close attention  to  some  of  my                                                                    
     bookings  early on  in the  season -  I do  most of  my                                                                    
     bookings  a little  bit later  in the  year due  to the                                                                    
     marketing that  I do  - I just  assumed maybe  that was                                                                    
     part of the impact.  But  it's true that we're seeing a                                                                    
     very slow movement  on bookings at this  time and we're                                                                    
     praying that  that will  turn around  when, and  if the                                                                    
     war happens and  the war is quick -- but  like you say,                                                                    
     there's  no guarantees,  but any  impact on  a specific                                                                    
     area of our industry, in  these times, when things have                                                                    
     been as bad as they have  for the last year and a half,                                                                    
     is going to be crucial.                                                                                                    
     Keep  in  mind  that  many of  our  businesses  in  the                                                                    
     visitor  industry,  too many  of  them  - not  a  great                                                                    
     number, but  too many  of them  - have  actually failed                                                                    
     over the last  year.  And ... some  of these businesses                                                                    
     have been around for a while.   And this is a struggle;                                                                    
     we have a struggle.  We're  not saying we don't want to                                                                    
     pay the  taxes or  don't want to  pay our  share; we're                                                                    
     just  saying  we want  to  have  a broad-based  payment                                                                    
     schedule  that will  affect everybody  equally and  not                                                                    
     just pick on one section or another.                                                                                       
     And it  seems like  not only this  bill, but  there are                                                                    
     several  items  on this  plate  that  do exactly  that,                                                                    
     they're  picking  on   ...  wildlife  viewing,  they're                                                                    
     picking on education for $100  here ... [or] there, and                                                                    
     by the time  you get all done with  it, we've collected                                                                    
     something around one hundred  million dollars.  Why not                                                                    
     have a single tax that  will tax everybody in the state                                                                    
     equitably and raise  the same kind of funds,  and do it                                                                    
     at a time  of the year when the visitors  will pay part                                                                    
     of the bill.  That's my point.                                                                                             
Number 2802                                                                                                                     
VICE CHAIR  MASEK pointed out  that this [bill] would  not affect                                                               
residents of Alaska.   She offered her belief  that [residents of                                                               
Alaska] have been  "picking up the tab" time and  time again, and                                                               
that as  a lifelong resident of  the state, she felt  that people                                                               
that visit Alaska should pay "their fair way too."                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA thanked  Mr. LeMaster  for his  analysis                                                               
and for his  concern about taxation.  She  talked about voluntary                                                               
[wildlife contribution]  programs in  other states and  she asked                                                               
Mr.  LeMasters if  he  thought tourists  might  be interested  in                                                               
buying a special tag to support wildlife conservation.                                                                          
MR. LeMASTERS remarked:                                                                                                         
     As was  mentioned a moment  ago, anything  is possible.                                                                    
     We can't  predict the future,  but that seems  a little                                                                    
     farfetched to  me if I  am sitting here thinking  of my                                                                    
     ... king  salmon fishing clients  and they're  going to                                                                    
     come  in  here  and  they're   going  to  be  asked  to                                                                    
     voluntarily  [donate] money  so  that they  can go  and                                                                    
     watch wildlife.                                                                                                            
     One of our  problems in this state  is whereas wildlife                                                                    
     abounds in Alaska,  the worst person you  can ask about                                                                    
     wildlife viewing  is the highway traveler.   He doesn't                                                                    
     see much wildlife; he's  consistently asking me where's                                                                    
     the wildlife  ... and, of  course, I keep  telling him,                                                                    
     well,  you've got  to get  up  a three  o'clock in  the                                                                    
     morning and  get them before  the motor homes do.   ...                                                                    
     So,  I don't  know that  they would  be very  inclined,                                                                    
     since  they haven't  seen too  much to  begin with,  my                                                                    
     clients, ...  to voluntarily step  up to the  plate and                                                                    
     start paying a fee on a voluntary basis.                                                                                   
Number 2679                                                                                                                     
DEB AJANGO,  Executive Director,  Alaska Wilderness  Recreation &                                                               
Tourism  Association (AWRTA),  testified, noting  that AWRTA  has                                                               
approximately 200  business members  and is a  trade organization                                                               
that supports  wilderness-dependent businesses.  Ms.  Ajango said                                                               
this bill  would certainly  affect most, if  not all,  of AWRTA's                                                               
members, and that  AWRTA is not against the concept  of this type                                                               
of pass.   She  suggested [the  bill] needs a  little work  to be                                                               
successful, and she noted that  AWRTA was in agreement with those                                                               
who provided  previous testimony.   She said she thought  the key                                                               
to this would be to include  some strong intent language and that                                                               
she didn't think people who come  to Alaska, who have values that                                                               
embrace the wilderness and wildlife,  would have a problem paying                                                               
$10 or  $15 for this  type of a pass  if they thought  that money                                                               
was going back into wildlife conservation.                                                                                      
MS.  AJANGO said  if the  money  goes straight  into the  general                                                               
fund,  however, and  there's any  [indication]  that [the  money]                                                               
could go  towards predator control  or something  [similar], then                                                               
she didn't think it would be  successful.  Businesses will have a                                                               
lot of very  angry customers, she suggested.  Ms.  Ajango said it                                                               
would be unreasonable  to try to implement  [the wildlife viewing                                                               
pass] this year;  it's very fast-tracked, and  she suggested that                                                               
businesses  would have  to  pay [the  wildlife  viewing fee]  for                                                               
people who had  already signed up for [trips], or  there would be                                                               
very upset  customers who have  signed up  and are now  having an                                                               
additional fee  added [to the cost  of the trip].   She remarked,                                                               
"So, it's  a lose-lose proposition."   Ms. Ajango  suggested that                                                               
this bill  would stand a chance  of being a successful  source of                                                               
revenue to be  used towards wildlife conservation if  the time is                                                               
taken to  do it  right; if  it is explained  to people  what this                                                               
[wildlife viewing pass] is for; and  if there was a way to funnel                                                               
this [money] into ADF&G's [Division of Wildlife Conservation].                                                                  
Number 2541                                                                                                                     
VICE CHAIR  MASEK, upon  determining that no  one else  wished to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
VICE CHAIR MASEK  offered her belief that based  on the testimony                                                               
that was  heard, there are a  couple of areas that  are troubling                                                               
to  the  industry  that  this  bill  would  affect.    She  noted                                                               
testimony  voicing  opposition  to  targeting  tourists  and  the                                                               
desire  [to include]  strong intent  language  regarding the  way                                                               
money is  going to be  handled once  it's collected and  put into                                                               
the general  fund.  She  also highlighted concerns  regarding the                                                               
timing of the legislation, and  she indicated there would be some                                                               
amendments offered.                                                                                                             
Number 2450                                                                                                                     
GORDY WILLIAMS, Legislative Liaison,  Office of the Commissioner,                                                               
Alaska  Department of  Fish and  Game, testified.   Mr.  Williams                                                               
said  in regard  to  concerns about  a targeted  tax,  it is  the                                                               
expressed  intent  of  the  governor  that  this  bill  apply  to                                                               
nonresidents and  exempt Alaskans to  the extent allowed  by law.                                                               
He said  as far as  trying to get  most of the  nonresidents that                                                               
would  take  advantage  of  what's  defined  in  the  bill  as  a                                                               
"commercial   service  provider   of  an   opportunity  to   view                                                               
wildlife," the [department] believes  the bill addresses a pretty                                                               
broad range in  the definition of what those providers  are.  Mr.                                                               
Williams remarked,  "Certainly, have heard some  other discussion                                                               
about additions or subtractions to the list of providers."                                                                      
MR. WILLIAMS  highlighted the March  14, 2003,  committee hearing                                                               
on  [HB  163], during  which  Representative  Wolf had  expressed                                                               
interest in [applying the pass] to  people who drive to the state                                                               
in their  own vehicles  and are viewing  wildlife.   Mr. Williams                                                               
said it is  difficult to find a mechanism to  collect [fees] from                                                               
people  [who drive  to the  state],  and as  Mr. Robert  Nauheim,                                                               
Assistant Attorney General, had  testified to during the meeting,                                                               
commercial providers  are the method  or the  collection entities                                                               
for this fund, and it's hard  to capture those people who will be                                                               
driving here.   However, he  explained, it  is felt that  a large                                                               
number of those  people, while they're here, are  either going to                                                               
be purchasing  a hunting or  fishing license, which  then exempts                                                               
them from this fee and does  make a contribution.  He offered his                                                               
belief that  a large  number of  those people  who are  coming up                                                               
independently  will probably  end  up  participating an  activity                                                               
requiring the  [wildlife viewing  pass] one way  or another.   He                                                               
said it  was the  purview of the  legislature to  consider intent                                                               
VICE CHAIR  MASEK called attention  to previous  legislation that                                                               
she  had  sponsored  regarding  snow  machine  registration;  she                                                               
talked about  the success of the  bill, and she explained  that a                                                               
lot of fees had been  collected from the registration portion and                                                               
had  been going  to DNR  [the Department  of Natural  Resources],                                                               
which in  turn has been  awarding the  funding in grants  to help                                                               
with access [and] trail maintenance.   She remarked, "So far, the                                                               
money's been going  through the program."  Vice  Chair Masek said                                                               
she wondered if  this bill could be put together  so [the revenue                                                               
generated from the  wildlife viewing pass] could be  put back out                                                               
to the  public in the form  of grants.  She  suggested looking at                                                               
access and she  indicated that Alaskans have  very limited access                                                               
to the  resources.  Vice Chair  Masek said she would  like to see                                                               
more access opened up, especially  in fishing, because fishing is                                                               
such an important [resource] for  the state during the summertime                                                               
for the sport enthusiasts that come to Alaska to fish.                                                                          
Number 2271                                                                                                                     
MR. WILLIAMS  said in regard to  funds coming in, it  would be up                                                               
to  the  legislature  to appropriate  those  funds,  but  there's                                                               
certainly  roads,  waysides,  and   things  like  that  which  do                                                               
contribute  to  opportunities to  view  wildlife.   He  indicated                                                               
ADF&G envisions  a portion  of those funds'  being used  to match                                                               
federal CARA  funding, or other  funding that might  be available                                                               
for grants for  rural communities or others who want  to get into                                                               
the  wildlife [viewing]  business,  and that  might involve  some                                                               
forms of  access.  Mr.  Williams said he  thought there may  be a                                                               
grant program  along the lines  that Vice Chair Masek  had talked                                                               
Number 2220                                                                                                                     
VICE CHAIR MASEK  brought attention to concerns  about the timing                                                               
of  HB  163;  she  said  if it  is  implemented  to  take  effect                                                               
immediately, vendors  will have trouble collecting  the [wildlife                                                               
viewing pass] fee.                                                                                                              
MR.  WILLIAMS mentioned  that as  ADF&G had  testified to  at the                                                               
last hearing, it  would do its best  to get this into  place.  If                                                               
the bill was  to take effect July  1, ADF&G would do  its best to                                                               
meet  that deadline  by getting  those [wildlife  viewing passes]                                                               
printed up  and out to  vendors.   He noted that  ADF&G currently                                                               
has  1,600 vendors,  but he  anticipated  that there  would be  a                                                               
significant new  number of vendors -  people who run the  tours -                                                               
that  would  want to  participate  in  being  able to  sell  [the                                                               
wildlife viewing  passes] for a  convenience.  He  explained that                                                               
[vendors] are able to retain a  portion of the sales, plus $1 per                                                               
transaction, so there is a  little bit of compensation that comes                                                               
to people who  sell the [wildlife viewing passes].   Mr. Williams                                                               
reiterated that  ADF&G would  do its best  to meet  the effective                                                               
date of the bill.                                                                                                               
Number 2153                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA asked  what the  plan is  for the  money                                                               
that's "over  and above what would  be used to leverage  the CARA                                                               
funding."  She  said the testimony indicates [the  amount] may be                                                               
as much  as $5  million more  than what would  be needed  for the                                                               
CARA leverage.                                                                                                                  
MR. WILLIAMS, in response, said  it was an appropriation into the                                                               
general  fund   and  it's  up   to  the  administration   or  the                                                               
legislature  to  make  suggestions;  the  legislature  holds  the                                                               
ultimate appropriation powers for those funds.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  turned attention to AS  16.05.420, which                                                               
     Sec. 16.05.420.  License, tag, and permit violations.                                                                      
          (a) A false statement of a material fact in an                                                                        
     application for a license, tag,  or permit issued under                                                                    
     AS  16.05.330 -  16.05.430 voids  the license,  tag, or                                                                    
     permit for which the application is made.                                                                                  
          (b) A person may not make a false statement, or                                                                       
     omit a material fact, in  an application for a license,                                                                    
     tag, or  permit issued under AS  16.05.330 - 16.05.430.                                                                    
     A person who without any  culpable mental state makes a                                                                    
     false  statement   as  to  the  person's   identity  or                                                                    
     residency  in an  application for  a  license, tag,  or                                                                    
     permit issued under AS 16.05.330  - 16.05.430 is guilty                                                                    
     of a violation  and upon conviction is  punishable by a                                                                    
     fine  of not  more than  $300. A  person who  knowingly                                                                    
     violates  this  subsection  is  guilty  of  a  class  A                                                                    
          (c) A person to whom a license or tag has been                                                                        
     issued under this chapter may  not alter, change, loan,                                                                    
     or transfer the license or tag.  A person may not use a                                                                    
     license or tag that has  been issued under this chapter                                                                    
     to another person.                                                                                                         
Number 2115                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA said it seemed  onerous to her that there                                                               
is either a $300  fine or a class A misdemeanor  for this kind of                                                               
a permit.   She  asked if  there had  been any  policy discussion                                                               
about that in the department.                                                                                                   
MR.  WILLIAMS noted  that the  issue had  been discussed,  and he                                                               
said [AS 16.05.420] talks about  making a false statement of fact                                                               
on  the  license,  and  in  this  case,  it  added  the  wildlife                                                               
conservation pass to that.   Mr. Williams indicated ADF&G did not                                                               
anticipate  requiring  the  amount   of  discrete  data  that  is                                                               
required with  a hunting  and fishing license.   He  remarked, "I                                                               
don't how  much this would actually  apply to the fee  the way we                                                               
have  it  now."    Mr. Williams  suggested  Mr.  Robert  Nauheim,                                                               
Assistant Attorney General, could  speak about penalties for "not                                                               
holding  one of  these, which  is not  addressed directly  in the                                                               
bill, but ... since it's ...  issued under Title 16, it's covered                                                               
under the penalties section."                                                                                                   
Number 2023                                                                                                                     
ROBERT  NAUHEIM, Assistant  Attorney  General, Natural  Resources                                                               
Section,   Civil  Division   (Anchorage),   Department  of   Law,                                                               
testified.   Mr. Nauheim  explained that  the intent  in drafting                                                               
the bill was  to integrate the conservation pass in  a way that's                                                               
analogous to hunting  and fishing licenses, to sort  of "fold it"                                                               
in  to  the  way  hunting   and  fishing  licenses  are  treated,                                                               
including   the  penalty   provision,   so   there's  really   no                                                               
distinction there.   Currently, he  said, the offense  of hunting                                                               
or fishing  without the required  license is  in the nature  of a                                                               
civil penalty  under [Alaska Rules of  Court] Administrative Rule                                                               
43.2 and carries  a $200 fine.  Mr. Nauheim  said if these passes                                                               
were going  to be treated in  a way that is  analogous to hunting                                                               
and fishing licenses,  that kind of penalty  structure would also                                                               
be appropriate.  He said that's  the best answer he could provide                                                               
for why it's structured the way it is at the present time.                                                                      
[Vice Chair Masek turned the gavel over to Co-Chair Fate.]                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked if  [Fish and Wildlife Protection                                                               
Troopers]  are responsible  for enforcing  Title 16,  and whether                                                               
they  would  also  be  responsible  for  enforcing  the  wildlife                                                               
viewing pass requirement.                                                                                                       
MR. WILLIAMS said he believed  that was correct; that enforcement                                                               
was primarily under the Department of Public Safety.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG,  noting the expense of  sending a Fish                                                               
and Wildlife Protection  Trooper to a remote  location, asked why                                                               
[Title  16]  is under  ADF&G  and  not  under the  Department  of                                                               
MR. WILLIAMS  said he thought the  intent was to add  this to the                                                               
list  of licenses  and  permits similar  to  hunting and  fishing                                                               
licenses; it's  another user group  of wildlife, so  the decision                                                               
was  made  to incorporate  that  into  the  mix of  licenses  and                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG asked Mr.  Williams what he thought the                                                               
timeline was  for writing regulations  for the  [wildlife viewing                                                               
pass].  He said the variables  built into this bill for having to                                                               
come  up with  regulations  seem "pretty  wide  and sweeping"  to                                                               
cover  all situations.    He  asked Mr.  Williams  if he  thought                                                               
regulations could be completed and in place by this season.                                                                     
MR.  WILLIAMS  said  he  had not  spoken  with  "our  regulations                                                               
people" and  that he didn't  know what the complexities  would be                                                               
to  get the  program underway.    He indicated  that he  couldn't                                                               
speak to the timing.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  asked about the increases  in tag fees                                                               
for big game.   He asked, "What  we're facing now would  be ... a                                                               
silly decision;  if an  appropriate time,  why are  we justifying                                                               
raising the fees to begin with?"                                                                                                
Number 1783                                                                                                                     
MR. WILLIAMS said  he thought this was a recognition  of the fact                                                               
that  fees  are  in  kind  of a  mid-range  for  those  tags  for                                                               
nonresidents;  a   lot  of  the   Western  states   are  charging                                                               
significantly  more money  for  similar species.    So, he  said,                                                               
recognizing  the quality  of the  experience  in Alaska,  [ADF&G]                                                               
felt this level of increase was justified.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE   GUTTENBERG  said   the   state   was  facing   a                                                               
multimillion liability case.                                                                                                    
MR.  NAUHEIM,  in  response to  a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Guttenberg, said the timing issue  is really not a legal question                                                               
and that his  understanding is that the fee increase  on the game                                                               
tags  was initiated  by  the  governor's office  and  ADF&G.   He                                                               
mentioned  Carlson v.  State, CFEC,  to the  extent it's  seen as                                                             
poor  timing, given  the Carlson  case.   There  are really  some                                                             
important  distinctions to  be  made from  the  case of  imposing                                                               
nonresident tag  fees and the  Carlson case, which was  a license                                                             
fee  in  the commercial  fishing  industry,  he explained.    Mr.                                                               
Nauheim said [the state] has very  good law from the U.S. Supreme                                                               
Court analyzing a Montana statute that  allowed for a game tag of                                                               
25  times as  large as  the resident  fee, and  the U.S.  Supreme                                                               
Court, in a landmark decision,  held that that was constitutional                                                               
under the privileges and immunities analysis.                                                                                   
Number 1641                                                                                                                     
MR.  NAUHEIM  continued, saying  the  court  didn't consider  the                                                               
commerce clause,  but since  that time and  even well  before, it                                                               
has  been  the "conventional  legal  wisdom"  that it's  okay  to                                                               
charge  nonresident hunters  a higher  fee  because the  activity                                                               
that is  being engaged  in isn't so  important that  it threatens                                                               
constitutional  interests.   Mr.  Nauheim said  in  terms of  the                                                               
Carlson case, he  wasn't sure that the timing was  bad in any way                                                             
because he  thought the Carlson  case really doesn't  address the                                                             
question  of  higher tag  fees  for  nonresidents.   He  said  he                                                               
thought it  was important  to recognize  that even  without these                                                               
increases,  the tag  fees  are  already quite  a  bit higher  for                                                               
nonresidents.  He  offered his understanding that  the intent was                                                               
to increase  these fees a little  bit, in keeping with  what is a                                                               
fairly moderate position among the other states.                                                                                
Number 1564                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  agreed  that   there  was  a  different                                                               
position  with  respect  to  hunting in  terms  of  resident  and                                                               
nonresident.   She said  she hadn't  heard any  information about                                                               
what the  necessity is for raising  the fee, such as  an increase                                                               
in  costs  to  the  department or  some  increased  patrolling  -                                                               
anything  to justify  [the increase].   Representative  Kerttula,                                                               
noting   that   the   [increase  had   been   targeted   towards]                                                               
nonresidents,  asked  why  it  had   not  been  applied  to  both                                                               
residents and nonresidents.                                                                                                     
MR. NAUHEIM  said he really didn't  have an answer for  that, and                                                               
that  he thought  that  was  a policy  call  from  ADF&G and  the                                                               
governor's office.                                                                                                              
Number 1476                                                                                                                     
MR.  WILLIAMS said  he  wasn't  aware of  a  one-to-one tie  into                                                               
increased   costs.      He  explained   that   [the   department]                                                               
periodically  reviews fees  and that  in the  course of  that, he                                                               
thought  the  governor's  office  and  the  department  discussed                                                               
whether  big-game  tag fees  were  in  line [with  other  states'                                                               
fees], and that  it was decided that those  particular tags could                                                               
use a  small [fee increase]  to be more  in line with  what other                                                               
states  were charging.   Mr.  Williams offered  his understanding                                                               
that  some other  state's [fees]  were over  $1,000 for  a sheep,                                                               
although it  may not be exactly  the same species.   He said [the                                                               
fees] were  in the mid-range  and the  policy call was  made that                                                               
these  [fees]  could  bear  some  additional  [increases].    Mr.                                                               
Williams noted  that this money  goes into ADF&G's fund  and that                                                               
there  are  things that  the  Division  of Wildlife  Conservation                                                               
could do with additional revenues.                                                                                              
Number 1423                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  asked if the  state still charged a  fee for                                                               
state park use.                                                                                                                 
MR. WILLIAMS  said he believed so,  but that was overseen  by the                                                               
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)  and he wasn't exactly sure                                                               
of its fee structure.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF asked if [charging  a fee for state park use]                                                               
would [present] an opportunity to  have the wildlife viewing pass                                                               
fee collected from  [recreational vehicle] users.   He noted that                                                               
a tremendous  amount of [recreational  vehicles visit]  the Kenai                                                               
Peninsula and  that to target  one particular [user  group] seems                                                               
very limited.  He suggested reviewing the issue.                                                                                
Number 1327                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR FATE suggested that  recreational vehicles users consume                                                               
a lot of fuel and pay fuel taxes.                                                                                               
Number 1315                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO offered his belief  that it was not atypical                                                               
for  states to  discriminate against  [nonresidents].   He called                                                               
attention  to out-of-state  tuition;  he said  it is  [practiced]                                                               
commonly and  is acceptable,  even though occupying  a seat  in a                                                               
classroom costs the  same amount of money.   Representative Gatto                                                               
remarked, "Now, I  recognize the states very  often subsidize the                                                               
universities,  but   it  even  seems   to  be  true   in  private                                                               
universities."   He  suggested that  charging more  for [wildlife                                                               
viewing] is essentially  the same thing; the state  has a certain                                                               
ownership  that it  tries  to reserve  for  [residents] and  then                                                               
charges extra for [nonresidents].                                                                                               
Number 1262                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN,  suggesting that exports from  Alaska needed                                                               
to  be increased,  said  the  top "export"  should  be taxes  and                                                               
exporting taxes to nonresidents wherever possible.                                                                              
The committee took an at-ease from 2:28 p.m. to 2:31 p.m.                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  FATE, noting  the four  pages of  [proposed] amendments                                                               
that were  before the committee,  said the [amendments]  would be                                                               
given to  [Legislative Legal  and Research  Services] and  to the                                                               
administration   to  consolidate   into   a  proposed   committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for the purpose of saving time.                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR FATE indicated HB 163 would be held for further review.                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:35 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects