Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

03/16/2018 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 16, 2018                                                                                         
                           1:03 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Andy Josephson, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Geran Tarr, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative John Lincoln, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative Justin Parish                                                                                                    
Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                                   
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Chris Birch                                                                                                      
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Chenault (alternate)                                                                                        
Representative Chris Tuck (alternate)                                                                                           
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 23                                                                                              
Supporting enhanced efforts to protect wildlife and domestic                                                                    
animals in the state from infectious diseases, foreign                                                                          
pathogens, and nonendemic parasites.                                                                                            
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 315                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the confidentiality of certain records on                                                                   
animals and crops; and providing for an effective date."                                                                        
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 260                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to electronic possession of certain licenses,                                                                  
tags, and identification cards issued by the Department of Fish                                                                 
and Game; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                 
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HCR 23                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PROTECT WILDLIFE FROM FOREIGN PATHOGENS                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JOSEPHSON                                                                                         
02/21/18       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/21/18       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
03/02/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/02/18       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/16/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
BILL: HB 315                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CONFIDENTIALITY OF ANIMAL & CROP RECORDS                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
01/26/18       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/26/18       (H)       JUD, RES                                                                                               
02/09/18       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
02/09/18       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/09/18       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/12/18       (H)       JUD AT 1:30 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
02/12/18       (H)       Moved HB 315 Out of Committee                                                                          
02/12/18       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/14/18       (H)       JUD RPT 3DP 2NR 1AM                                                                                    
02/14/18       (H)       DP: KOPP, KREISS-TOMKINS, CLAMAN                                                                       
02/14/18       (H)       NR: LEDOUX, MILLETT                                                                                    
02/14/18       (H)       AM: EASTMAN                                                                                            
03/02/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/02/18       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/16/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
BILL: HB 260                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FISH & GAME LICENSES;ELECTRONIC FORM                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SADDLER                                                                                                             
01/16/18       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/8/18                                                                                
01/16/18       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/16/18       (H)       FSH, RES, FIN                                                                                          
02/20/18       (H)       FSH AT 11:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
02/20/18       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/20/18       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
02/27/18       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
02/27/18       (H)       Moved HB 260 Out of Committee                                                                          
02/27/18       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
02/28/18       (H)       FSH RPT 6DP                                                                                            
02/28/18       (H)       DP: EDGMON, EASTMAN, NEUMAN, KREISS-                                                                   
                         TOMKINS, CHENAULT, STUTES                                                                              
03/14/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/14/18       (H)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
03/16/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
KEVIN KEHOE, President                                                                                                          
Alaska Wild Sheep Foundation (AK WSF)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 23.                                                                          
REBECCA SCHWANKE, Staff Biologist                                                                                               
Alaska Wild Sheep Foundation (AK WSF)                                                                                           
Glennallen, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 23.                                                                          
BRUCE DALE, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Wildlife Conservation                                                                                               
Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G)                                                                                        
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions related to HCR 23.                                                                    
PAUL FINCH, Agent                                                                                                               
North Country Farm                                                                                                              
North Pole, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed his concern with the current                                                                   
provisions of HCR 23.                                                                                                           
TIANA THOMAS                                                                                                                    
Mutual Aid Network of Livestock Owners and Producers                                                                            
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HCR 23.                                                                       
AMY SEITZ, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Alaska Farm Bureau, Inc.                                                                                                        
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of the intent of HCR                                                                
23, but urged other action be taken instead.                                                                                    
JOHN STURGEON, First Vice President                                                                                             
Alaska Outdoor Council                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 23.                                                                          
ROBERT GERLACH, DVM, State Veterinarian                                                                                         
Division of Environmental Health                                                                                                
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered a question related to HCR 23.                                                                   
CHRISTINA CARPENTER, Director                                                                                                   
Division of Environmental Health                                                                                                
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided a PowerPoint presentation in                                                                    
support of HB 315.                                                                                                              
MARY ANN HOLLICK, DVM                                                                                                           
Eagle River, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 315.                                                                          
JOHN ANDERSON                                                                                                                   
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified that HB 315 is comprised of both                                                               
good and bad parts.                                                                                                             
AMY SEITZ, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Alaska Farm Bureau, Inc.                                                                                                        
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 315.                                                                          
KEVIN KEHOE, President                                                                                                          
Alaska Wild Sheep Foundation (AK WSF)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed AK WSF's concern with HB 315.                                                                  
REBECCA SCHWANKE, Staff Biologist                                                                                               
Alaska Wild Sheep Foundation (AK WSF)                                                                                           
Glennallen, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed AK WSF's concern with HB 315.                                                                  
ARTHUR KEYES, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Agriculture                                                                                                         
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 315.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE DAN SADDLER                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Speaking as the sponsor, introduced HB 260.                                                              
MARK RICHARDS, Executive Director                                                                                               
Resident Hunters of Alaska                                                                                                      
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 260.                                                                          
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:03:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   GERAN  TARR   called  the   House  Resources   Standing                                                            
Committee meeting  to order  at 1:03  p.m.  Representatives  Tarr,                                                              
Rauscher,  Johnson, Lincoln,  and  Josephson were  present at  the                                                              
call to  order.   Representatives Drummond  and Parish  arrived as                                                              
the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                    
         HCR 23-PROTECT WILDLIFE FROM FOREIGN PATHOGENS                                                                     
1:05:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR  announced that  the first  order of business  would                                                              
be  HOUSE  CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION   NO.  23,  Supporting  enhanced                                                              
efforts  to protect  wildlife and  domestic animals  in the  state                                                              
from  infectious  diseases,  foreign   pathogens,  and  nonendemic                                                              
1:05:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON,  speaking as  the sponsor, introduced  HCR 23.                                                              
He  said  the  resolution  lays   out  facts  and  recommends  the                                                              
legislature  and state agencies  take seriously  the concern  held                                                              
by  many   Alaskans  of  the   potentiality  of  an   outbreak  of                                                              
Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae  (M. ovi)  in Alaska's wild  sheep, goat,                                                              
and  muskoxen   populations,  with   sheep  currently   being  the                                                              
greatest concern.   A  [3/13/18 Alaska Department  of Fish  & Game                                                              
(ADF&G)] press  release announced that  both sheep and  goats have                                                              
shown the  presence of M.  ovi.  He  said he understands  that the                                                              
meat of  [infected]  animals would  not pose  harm to humans  from                                                              
consumption but  depending upon the  severity of the  strain there                                                              
could be a die-off of populations.                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  related that  this [respiratory  pathogen] has                                                              
been  an ongoing  problem  in  the Lower  48  Mountain  West.   It                                                              
became topical  in Alaska politics  through two proposals  brought                                                              
before the  Board of  Game (BOG) about  how to segregate  domestic                                                              
sheep  from wild sheep,  he said,  most recently  in fall  [2017].                                                              
The  proposals  drew  much  attention from  big  game  guides  and                                                              
hunters  as well  as domestic  sheep owners.   The  Board of  Game                                                              
conducted fact finding,  but the ultimate conclusion  was that the                                                              
board lacks  jurisdiction over domestic  animals.   Domestic sheep                                                              
brought  to  Alaska  can  have these  pathogens  and  the  tension                                                              
arises  in what  to do  about  that fact,  he  explained.   Should                                                              
animals  be tested,  and,  if so,  what should  be  done with  the                                                              
results of those tests, what is the remedy, if any?                                                                             
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  said he suspects the most  contentious part of                                                              
HCR 23  is page 2,  lines 6-8, which  state:  "WHEREAS  screening,                                                              
reporting,  and mitigation are  proven and  widely used  tools for                                                              
preventing  the import and  transmission  of disease pathogens  to                                                              
wild populations  as well as domestic  animals".  The rest  of the                                                              
resolution is  relatively pro forma,  he continued.   Principally,                                                              
HCR 23  provides the opportunity  to dialogue and gives  the House                                                              
of  Representatives  in particular  a  chance to  express  concern                                                              
with the  wild sheep  population,  which has  been the subject  of                                                              
concern even without  M. ovi, such concerns being  climate change,                                                              
browse, and declining populations in Southcentral Alaska.                                                                       
1:09:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  noted M. ovi  could cause pneumonia  resulting                                                              
in major die-offs.   At 45,000 Dall sheep, he said,  Alaska has 25                                                              
percent  of America's  populations.   In the  Lower 48 wild  sheep                                                              
have died  off, resulting in critical  loss of population.   There                                                              
are  threats as  well to  goats  and muskoxen,  he continued,  and                                                              
this week goats were detected as having M. ovi.                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  related he has pondered how  domestic sheep at                                                              
elevations  of  500-1,000 feet  would  have  contact with  a  Dall                                                              
sheep  that seemingly  would be  many  miles away.   While  Alaska                                                              
doesn't have free-range  sheep herding, a disease  could be spread                                                              
through  contact  with  fecal  or   other  matter,  he  explained.                                                              
[Alaska]  has about  1,500 domestic  sheep and  it is  potentially                                                              
noteworthy that the  infected sheep were found  in Game Management                                                              
Unit (GMU)  13 where it  is believed contact  or proximity  may be                                                              
the closest.   He  pointed out  there is  no vaccine or  treatment                                                              
for M. ovi.                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON   further  noted  he  has  forwarded   to  the                                                              
committee  the e-mails  he  has received  because  he believes  e-                                                              
mails should  be posted on BASIS  given that BASIS is  the archive                                                              
and should reflect everything for future dialogue.                                                                              
1:12:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  inquired whether the farmers  keeping these                                                              
1,500 domestic sheep have made official comment.                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  replied hundreds of people have  made enormous                                                              
comment through  groups like  the Alaska Farm  Bureau, Inc.   They                                                              
have  lots of  concern, he  continued,  and he  and Co-Chair  Tarr                                                              
have paired  the committee's consideration  of HCR 23 with  HB 315                                                              
because they are  opposite sides of the same coin.   The question,                                                              
he  explained,  is how  to  reach a  resolution  that  is fair  to                                                              
everybody  and isn't  overreaching  or excessive  in whatever  the                                                              
mitigation might be.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  asked how  large  the population  of  wild                                                              
sheep is in which this pathogen has been found.                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  deferred to ADF&G for an  answer, but surmised                                                              
it would be some fraction of 45,000.                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  TARR noted  several  organizations,  as  well as  ADF&G,                                                              
would be testifying after the sponsor.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON said  she  presumes ADF&G  would have  all                                                              
the facts.                                                                                                                      
1:15:21 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN KEHOE,  President,  Alaska Wild Sheep  Foundation (AK  WSF),                                                              
testified in  support of  HCR 23.   He said he  is a retired  U.S.                                                              
Army officer  and recently  retired small  business owner,  and is                                                              
managing  the   non-profit  foundation   as  a  nearly   full-time                                                              
volunteer.  About  90 percent of the foundation's  600 members are                                                              
Alaska residents,  he continued.   The foundation's mission  is to                                                              
protect Dall  sheep and other wild  Caprinae in Alaska,  which are                                                              
the Rocky  Mountain goat and  muskoxen.  The foundation's  current                                                              
focus, he  explained, is  to prevent  transmission of  the foreign                                                              
pathogen  Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae  (M. ovi)  from domestic  sheep                                                              
and goats  to wild populations.   The foundation  was tremendously                                                              
distressed  by the  recent  news that  some  transmission of  some                                                              
form of this pathogen has occurred.                                                                                             
MR.  KEHOE  said  his organization  supports  HCR  23  because  it                                                              
directly  affects achieving  the  foundation's  mission.   Twenty-                                                              
five percent  of North  America's  wild sheep  live in Alaska  and                                                              
are commonly  owned by all Alaskans,  he pointed out.   Alaska has                                                              
45,000  sheep,  approximately  27,000 Rocky  Mountain  goats,  and                                                              
about  9,000 muskoxen.    A highly  desirable  game species,  wild                                                              
sheep  bring  a tremendous  amount  of  resources into  the  state                                                              
annually from  both resident and  nonresident hunters.   Alaska is                                                              
the only state in  the U.S. in which a sheep  tag can be purchased                                                              
across the counter.   He further noted that Dall  sheep are valued                                                              
by tourists as well as by hunters.                                                                                              
1:19:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA SCHWANKE,  Staff biologist,  Alaska Wild Sheep  Foundation                                                              
(AK WSF),  testified in support  of HCR 23.   She noted that  as a                                                              
biologist for  ADF&G she  used to  manage GMU 13.   She  is before                                                              
the committee,  she continued, as  the staff biologist for  the AK                                                              
WSF  and as  an Alaska  resident hunter  interested in  protecting                                                              
wild sheep and  other public wildlife resources.   She offered her                                                              
respect  for  her   former  colleagues  in  ADF&G   and  said  she                                                              
understands what  it is like to  have other people  interested "in                                                              
what's  going  on  in  your  sandbox."    This  resolution  brings                                                              
attention   to   protecting   Alaska's   wildlife   from   foreign                                                              
pathogens,  viruses, parasites,  and infectious  disease, and  the                                                              
need for this effort has never been greater.                                                                                    
MS.  SCHWANKE stated  she  served on  the  Western Association  of                                                              
Fish and  Wildlife Agencies' Wild  Sheep Working Group  from 2007-                                                              
2014,  and therefore  has a  unique perspective  and history  with                                                              
the  Dall  sheep and  bighorn  sheep  community.   As  the  Alaska                                                              
representative  she   worked  closely  with   bighorn  biologists,                                                              
veterinarians,  and  agency  representatives   to  understand  the                                                              
threats  and  issues affecting  wildlife  across  the  West.   The                                                              
number one  threat and  concern, she  said, was foreign  pathogens                                                              
and respiratory disease in wild sheep and their relatives.                                                                      
MS.  SCHWANKE related  that in  2008  as an  ADF&G biologist,  she                                                              
helped establish  the first Dall sheep capture  and collar project                                                              
in her management  area.  A main  research goal, she said,  was to                                                              
establish   baseline  health  and   disease  information   because                                                              
biologists  knew it  wasn't a  matter  of if  Alaska's Dall  sheep                                                              
populations   would   ever  experience   large-scale   respiratory                                                              
disease, it was a matter of when.                                                                                               
MS. SCHWANKE  addressed why  this was the  belief.   She explained                                                              
that wild sheep  populations across the West are  being tested and                                                              
monitored   now  more   than  ever   before   because  they   have                                                              
experienced  continued effects  of  pneumonia.   Large-scale  die-                                                              
offs and  residual disease  is the number  one ongoing  threat for                                                              
wild sheep  populations in  North America.   Alaska is  facing the                                                              
same  possible outcomes,  she said,  and thinking  it could  never                                                              
happen here  is naive.   The key  at this time  is M. ovi,  an Old                                                              
World  pathogen that  has been  identified in  domestic sheep  and                                                              
goats  on every  continent  except  Antarctica.   Domestics  often                                                              
live with  M. ovi showing  no signs or  limited signs  of illness,                                                              
but  wild  sheep   often  experience  catastrophic   effects  when                                                              
exposed.   M. ovi has  been identified  in Alaska's  domestics and                                                              
now the  state's wild sheep  and goat populations,  she continued.                                                              
This makes  it even more critical  than ever that all  disease and                                                              
pathogen  testing continue  and expand  in the  state, and  HCR 23                                                              
offers the  opportunity to keep  it front and foremost  before the                                                              
Alaskan public.                                                                                                                 
1:23:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. KEHOE thanked  the sponsor for introducing HCR  23 and said it                                                              
symbolizes  the emphasis on  a proactive  approach that  is needed                                                              
now more than ever.   Four Dall sheep and two  mountain goats have                                                              
tested  positive, which  shows the  need to  get on  top of  this.                                                              
Throughout  his career  he  has advised  people  to manage  things                                                              
decisively and for  no regrets, he continued, and HCR  23 would be                                                              
the first  policy statement  of this  type in  North America.   If                                                              
there  is one thing  that is  agreed upon,  it is  that there  are                                                              
more questions  than answers.  The  resolution shows the  need for                                                              
being proactive  and getting the  questions answered fast.   Every                                                              
day the spread and  impact goes a little farther  and currently it                                                              
is  unknown  whether  this strain  of  M.  ovi  is benign  or  the                                                              
beginning of a crisis.                                                                                                          
1:25:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON surmised  [M. ovi] isn't  a new  issue and                                                              
asked when it was first identified.                                                                                             
MR.  KEHOE replied  [AK WSF]  brought  it to  attention in  Alaska                                                              
about two  and a  half years  ago, but  it was  not based  in fact                                                              
until  [3/13/18].     He  said   testing  by  ADF&G   hasn't  been                                                              
extensive, but has  included blood tests and nasal  swabs for this                                                              
particular pathogen.   There has  been no indication  of infection                                                              
until very recently when the test results came back.                                                                            
1:27:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  offered  her understanding  the  positive                                                              
tests came from  GMU 13 and on the Kenai Peninsula.   She inquired                                                              
about the  number of sheep  in those two  areas and  whether these                                                              
are the areas where sheep hunting generally occurs.                                                                             
MR. KEHOE  responded the Boulder  Creek area  is next to  the road                                                              
system,  making   it  accessible  and  popular  for   viewing  and                                                              
hunting.  It  sits on the border  to an adjacent range,  he noted,                                                              
and the  challenge is that  many of the  southern sheep  ranges in                                                              
Alaska are contiguous  - the Chugach Range to  the Talkeetna Range                                                              
to potentially  the Wrangell's.   The  chance of spreading,  quite                                                              
often by traveling young males, is what concerns the AK WSF.                                                                    
MS.  SCHWANKE noted  the  four positive  Dall  sheep samples  were                                                              
reported  in Boulder  Creek, a  central portion  of the  Talkeetna                                                              
Mountain  Range that  is  split by  GMU 13A  and  14A, with  about                                                              
1,000-2,000  sheep in 13A  and about  1,000-2,000 more  sheep west                                                              
of the border  into 14A.  As  an area management biologist  in the                                                              
past,  she continued,  she has  had  concerns about  some sort  of                                                              
pathogen load  in this area  from domestics  from years ago.   The                                                              
Glenn Highway  runs right  through the middle  of a  really narrow                                                              
spot  between the  Chugach  Range and  the  Talkeetna's and  there                                                              
were many  homesteaders in  the area when  the highway  was built.                                                              
These  homesteaders had  sheep and  goats, plus  there was  market                                                              
hunting during  that time  to feed the  people building  the road,                                                              
and goats may have  been used as pack animals.   [Biologists] have                                                              
felt there  may have been some  pathogen transfer in this  spot in                                                              
years past,  Ms. Schwanke related.   No large-scale  die-offs have                                                              
been seen in the Talkeetna Mountains to date.                                                                                   
MS. SCHWANKE  said [ADF&G's] Glennallen  area management  staff is                                                              
responsible  for   a  very  large   section  of  sheep   range  in                                                              
Southcentral  Alaska.  This  huge area  encompasses the  Talkeetna                                                              
Mountains,  a large section  of the  Chugach Mountains,  the South                                                              
Alaska Range,  and almost all the  Wrangell Mountains.   Thus, she                                                              
explained, surveys  get rotated and an area is  surveyed every two                                                              
to  three  years.     She  offered  her  understanding   that  the                                                              
Talkeetna  Mountains  haven't been  surveyed  since  2015.   While                                                              
harvest numbers  have kept up, she  continued, it is  important to                                                              
go look at those populations to try to get a handle on it.                                                                      
MS. SCHWANKE  said the positive  goat samples were from  a capture                                                              
operation in  GMU 15C within  the Kenai National  Wildlife Refuge.                                                              
She  offered  her  understanding   that  those  goats  were  radio                                                              
collared  and are  being  tracked, and  no  unexpected die-off  or                                                              
mortality  has been seen  to date  in that  population.   She said                                                              
her guess is that a couple thousand goats are in that area.                                                                     
1:32:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON asked  whether sheep  migrate by  distance                                                              
or by elevation.   She further asked  how the herds would  be seen                                                              
as intermingling.                                                                                                               
MS. SCHWANKE answered  sheep are not a migratory  big game species                                                              
in Alaska,  but that unfortunately  young males go on  long forays                                                              
on a  regular basis.   She  related she  has lived  in the  Copper                                                              
River  Basin for  17  years  and has  a  long list  of  documented                                                              
forays of  mountain goats and  Dall sheep.   The latest  was about                                                              
two years  ago when a  Dall sheep showed  up on the  Gulkana River                                                              
in the middle  of the Copper River  Basin on a tiny  clay bluff in                                                              
the  middle  of the  boreal  forest,  roughly  45 miles  from  the                                                              
nearest known sheep range.                                                                                                      
1:33:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER declared  he has  a conflict of  interest                                                              
because he is  a sheep hunter and  also raises goats.   He said he                                                              
has packed  his goats  into the  hills to hunt  sheep, but  had to                                                              
stop when  about six years  ago it was  determined that  sheep and                                                              
goats were  a problem and goat  packing was disallowed  from sheep                                                              
hunting.   He has therefore  been involved  in this argument  as a                                                              
member of the public, he stated, but not as a legislator.                                                                       
1:36:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LINCOLN  inquired whether  M.  ovi is  transmitted                                                              
only by direct contact, such as mouth-to-mouth contact.                                                                         
MS. SCHWANKE  replied it  is an  airborne pathogen,  as far  as is                                                              
known.   It is a  matter of close  proximity because  the pathogen                                                              
cannot live long  outside of a host species, she  explained.  When                                                              
an animal  is carrying the  pathogen, when  it is detected  in the                                                              
nasal  cavity,  the  thought  is   that  it  isn't  transmitted  a                                                              
significant distance.   However, an infected animal  that actually                                                              
becomes  sick will  start  coughing or  have  nasal discharge  and                                                              
there would then be a longer distance for aerial transmission.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  LINCOLN asked  whether there  is much  opportunity                                                              
for transmission between sheep and goats.                                                                                       
MS.  SCHWANKE  responded  that   during  aerial  surveys  she  has                                                              
observed Dall  sheep and mountain goats  in the same groups.   So,                                                              
she  continued,  those  two  groups  can  come  into  nose-to-nose                                                              
contact in areas where they overlap in range.                                                                                   
1:37:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LINCOLN observed  that in  its press release  this                                                              
week the Alaska  Wild Sheep Foundation offered $600,000  to fund a                                                              
project  of testing  and  replacing infected  [domestic]  animals.                                                              
He requested further elaboration about the project.                                                                             
MR.  KEHOE  answered  that  this is  a  unique  solution  tailored                                                              
toward  Alaska because  unlike  in the  Lower  48, Alaska  doesn't                                                              
typically  have  herds  grazing   up  in  the  mountains.    After                                                              
checking  with its  technical experts  to ensure  its science  was                                                              
correct for  coming up with  a solution,  AK WSF decided  that the                                                              
best  way  to  allow  for  both  a  sheep  hunting,  guiding,  and                                                              
outfitting  industry and a  domestic sheep  [industry] was  to try                                                              
an approach  called M. ovi  free.  This  approach was  chosen over                                                              
trying  to do  something with  separation  because even  if a  15-                                                              
mile-long  foray range  were used  instead of  45 miles, it  would                                                              
virtually  eliminate the  entire  industry of  domestic sheep  and                                                              
goats.  So,  he explained, if  people would come forward  and have                                                              
their  animals tested,  AK  WSF has  offered  to pay  for the  vet                                                              
visit,  the testing  which  is about  $50 each  in  a sequence  of                                                              
three  nasal swabs  about two  to three  weeks apart,  and also  a                                                              
serology  test,  all  of  which  would done  by  a  laboratory  at                                                              
Washington State  University and would be as  seamless as possible                                                              
[to the livestock  owner].  Mr. Kehoe said the  veterinarian would                                                              
be able to tell  the livestock owner the results  and AK WSF would                                                              
also  have  access to  the  test  results  it  paid for  of  those                                                              
animals found to  be positive.  Currently the  only known solution                                                              
for an animal testing  positive for the presence of  M. ovi is the                                                              
following mitigation:   destroy the animal; quarantine  the animal                                                              
for the  rest of  its days  as long  as an  agency can inspect  to                                                              
ensure it  is staying onside; or  transport the animal  to another                                                              
location, preferably  a non-sheep  jurisdiction, for which  AK WSF                                                              
would pay  the cost.   He pointed out  that this money  comes from                                                              
volunteer  hours  and  donors,   so  there  must  be  testing  and                                                              
mitigation stipulations, not just free testing.                                                                                 
1:42:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LINCOLN  said HCR 23 is good and  positive but also                                                              
kind  of vague.   He  inquired  whether Mr.  Kehoe  thinks the  AK                                                              
WSF's proposal would be adopted if the resolution were passed.                                                                  
MR. KEHOE replied  it is designed to be separate,  so would not be                                                              
automatic if the  resolution passes.  He said it  isn't vague, but                                                              
rather it  is in a  general sense, because  there is a  whole host                                                              
of pathogens,  such as winter tick.   With changing  climate there                                                              
are potential  pathogens that could affect  Alaska.  So  AK WSF is                                                              
taking an  approach that could  potentially energize all  of those                                                              
different efforts.   At the  same time  it would lay  a foundation                                                              
for building  off of and in a  year or so there could  be specific                                                              
legislation  that might  be required  to  actually implement  this                                                              
specific solution.                                                                                                              
1:44:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  remarked  that this  issue  is  profoundly                                                              
disturbing.   When  a pathogen  is  first introduced  into a  wild                                                              
population it  is impossible to  know how devastating it  will be,                                                              
he  said.   A  few  mutations  and  the pathogen  becomes  a  high                                                              
mortality disease  that could  cause extirpation.   If  it becomes                                                              
pandemic  in the  sheep and  goat  populations in  one region,  it                                                              
could extend  into the  populations statewide  and could  get into                                                              
the  muskoxen  populations.    He related  that  according  to  an                                                              
article in  the Journal  of Animal Ecology  it is associated  with                                                            
long-term declines  in wild sheep populations.   So, he continued,                                                              
it could  be possible that  this is the  beginning of the  end for                                                              
Alaska's  wild  sheep.    He  commended   the  Alaska  Wild  Sheep                                                              
Foundation for  committing a tremendous  sum of money.   According                                                              
to  the article,  he related  further, once  this disease  becomes                                                              
established  in a population  it is  extremely hard to  eliminate.                                                              
Just because  animals aren't  dying this  year doesn't  mean there                                                              
won't  be a  mass  die-off  next year.    If transmission  of  the                                                              
disease  is  mouth-to-mouth,  then  common browse  is  all  that's                                                              
CO-CHAIR  TARR offered  her  belief  that some  of  Representative                                                              
Parish's statements  are inaccurate.  She inquired  whether he has                                                              
a specific question he would like to ask.                                                                                       
1:48:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  asked  what  it  would take  to  make  Ms.                                                              
Schwanke  confident  about  the  long-term  health  of  the  sheep                                                              
MS. SCHWANKE replied,  "A time machine is the  only solution right                                                              
now  that  would   make  me  feel  comfortable   with  what  we're                                                              
learning."   She said  Representative Parish's  foresight  is well                                                              
focused  and M.  ovi is  particularly frightening  because it  has                                                              
evolved  significantly over  time    at  least 60  strains of  the                                                              
pathogen are known  with some strains more virulent  and deadly to                                                              
populations  than  others.    There   are  different  interactions                                                              
between different strains of M. ovi and different wild sheep.                                                                   
MS. SCHWANKE  noted that  currently almost all  of the  science is                                                              
with bighorn,  and in the vast majority  of times when  M. ovi has                                                              
been documented  to having  entered a  wild sheep population,  the                                                              
population has  experienced some  form of significant  respiratory                                                              
disease  and die-off.   Washington  State  University is  watching                                                              
this  pathogen in  bighorn  sheep,  she reported,  and  of the  42                                                              
bighorn  populations  being watched  that  are pneumonic,  42  are                                                              
positive for M.  ovi.  Pneumonic means regular  cases of pneumonia                                                              
come  up  year  after  year  -  sometimes  it's  adult  mortality,                                                              
sometimes lamb  mortality, and  sometimes it's delayed  mortality.                                                              
Of the  35 healthy non-pneumonic  populations that  the university                                                              
is watching only four have tested positive for M. ovi.                                                                          
MS.  SCHWANKE said  M.  ovi is  different  from other  respiratory                                                              
bacteria  affecting the  Caprinae  family because  it affects  and                                                              
compromises  the immune  system, making  [wild sheep]  susceptible                                                              
to many other  respiratory pathogens.  Once infected  with M. ovi,                                                              
she continued,  populations generally  have negative impacts.   If                                                              
they don't,  it doesn't mean they  aren't going to in  the future.                                                              
The pathogen could  evolve or another strain of M.  ovi could come                                                              
in and  current research says those  animals will entirely  have a                                                              
negative  response  to it.    Once a  pathogen  is  in a  wildlife                                                              
population it is  virtually impossible, if not  impossible, to get                                                              
rid of it in the population.                                                                                                    
MS. SCHWANKE  related that Western  states have been  dealing with                                                              
this  for over  a decade  and many  difficult political  decisions                                                              
have been  made in those states.   The most successful  management                                                              
action  is to  test and  cull,  she explained,  and  if an  animal                                                              
tests positive  for M.  ovi it gets  removed from the  population.                                                              
Test and cull is  now happening in most of the  Western states and                                                              
is very  emotional and controversial.   It is something  that will                                                              
now likely  be discussed in the  state of Alaska for  forever, she                                                              
posited, because she doesn't see it going away.                                                                                 
MR. KEHOE  added that  the worst  case is to  have to  eliminate a                                                              
certain  population  when  testing   shows  infection  and  it  is                                                              
warranted.   That  is  why the  Alaska  Wild  Sheep Foundation  is                                                              
pushing for  more testing  and more study  of the wild  population                                                              
as soon  as possible, he  said.  It  would be up  to organizations                                                              
like  AK WSF to  explain [to  the public]  that that  is the  best                                                              
solution.   This year  in Colorado  three or  four rams  came into                                                              
contact with domestic  sheep.  In Alaska mountain  goats came into                                                              
Palmer  and  were transported  back  to  the  mountain.   But,  he                                                              
continued,  this was  an error -  they probably  should have  been                                                              
destroyed due to  the potential of contact.  If  wild animals come                                                              
into the  proximity [of  domestics], it  is best  to play  it safe                                                              
and eliminate  those animals as  a precautionary action,  at least                                                              
until more studies have been done and more is known.                                                                            
1:54:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  inquired about the  cost to test  and cull.                                                              
He  further  inquired  whether  Ms.  Schwanke  found  any  of  his                                                              
remarks to be inaccurate.                                                                                                       
MS. SCHWANKE  replied she  doesn't have  budget figures,  but that                                                              
most Western  bighorn populations  are accessible  by road,  which                                                              
provides  opportunity  for  biologists  to drive  close  to  these                                                              
areas.   However, she  continued, these  Western state  biologists                                                              
must  still charter  helicopters  to  net-gun the  animals,  which                                                              
costs  thousands of  dollars, and  sometimes $10,000  is spent  to                                                              
capture only  a handful  of animals.   In the  areas where  M. ovi                                                              
first  started being  detected the  animals  were presenting  with                                                              
illness.  Hunters  or biologists saw animals that  were clinically                                                              
ill, so  a look was taken  and the population  tested.  It  took a                                                              
long  time  for  some  of those  states  to  come  around  to  the                                                              
decision to  cull these animals,  she related.   It is  brutal and                                                              
hard to  do, especially  when they  test positive  but still  look                                                              
healthy.   It is not as  big of a deal  if it can be  done quickly                                                              
and one  or two animals  at a time.   A few populations  have been                                                              
extirpated on  purpose by state  agencies, she continued,  because                                                              
they were such small populations or they were all infected.                                                                     
MS. SCHWANKE said  she didn't find any specific  inaccuracies with                                                              
Representative  Parish's  statements.   There  are many  different                                                              
scenarios  and  lots of  different  populations  have  experienced                                                              
pneumonic die-offs.   Many different pathogens have  been reported                                                              
and different  percentages  had M.  ovi, she  advised, so  lots of                                                              
different  numbers could  be  provided.   An  ongoing concern  for                                                              
populations with M.  ovi is that once a die-off  occurs, generally                                                              
5-20  percent of  the  population remains  with  the pathogen  and                                                              
becomes carriers and the population never recovers.                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  TARR,  regarding her  statement  about  the accuracy  of                                                              
Representative  Parish's  statements, said  she  was referring  to                                                              
two things she wants  to ask Mr. Dale of the  Alaska Department of                                                              
Fish  & Game.   First  is that  just having  the bacteria  doesn't                                                              
mean an animal  is going to get  sick.  Second is that  the strain                                                              
detected  has  not  been  tied to  the  genetic  strain  found  in                                                              
domestic animals.                                                                                                               
1:57:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  asked  when construction  of  the  Glenn                                                              
Highway  occurred, along  with the  market hunting  of wild  sheep                                                              
and use  of pack goats.   She also  asked how transmission  occurs                                                              
given the M. ovi pathogen cannot live long outside an animal.                                                                   
MS.  SCHWANKE replied  she  doesn't  know the  exact  year, but  a                                                              
regularly traveled  dirt trail existed  by the mid-1930s  from the                                                              
Knik  River Valley  to McCarthy.   Regarding  market hunting,  she                                                              
said Jim  Reardon has  written some  excellent  books and  she has                                                              
seen photos  from those  times of  Dall sheep  hanging from  trees                                                              
next to  camps.   Jim Reardon  wrote about  specific people  along                                                              
the Richardson  Highway who  made money  market hunting  and sheep                                                              
was one of  those species.   She said she understands  that market                                                              
hunting  occurred along  the  Glenn Highway  during  construction.                                                              
She added that  homesteaders, lodges, and roadhouses  had goats to                                                              
provide milk for  travelers, so domestics were spread  up and down                                                              
those roads before they were turned into highways.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND asked  how  the pathogen  lived from  the                                                              
1930s to now.                                                                                                                   
MS. SCHWANKE responded  that when population declines  occurred in                                                              
adjacent  areas  the thought  was  where pathogen  transfer  could                                                              
have come from.   Several of the respiratory pathogens  have to be                                                              
passed nose-to-nose  or within a  couple hundred yards,  she said,                                                              
and  [ADF&G] is  interested in  many  other respiratory  pathogens                                                              
when it  does testing.   It was felt  that some historic  transfer                                                              
of  pathogen could  have occurred,  but  it was  in passing  given                                                              
there  has been  no  large-scale die-off.    Different species  of                                                              
pathogens are  found in pneumonic  sheep, she explained,  and over                                                              
the past  decade it's  come to the  attention of state  biologists                                                              
that  a lot  of those  pathogens  are now  endemic  and common  in                                                              
sheep  populations  across  Alaska,  including  in  the  Talkeetna                                                              
Mountains.    When   wild  animals  are  in  close   proximity  to                                                              
homesteads  and domestics  it doesn't  take  much to  have a  Dall                                                              
sheep come  down to a  yard where there is  feed or water.   There                                                              
are photos  from Dawson of  Dall sheep  and domestics in  the same                                                              
pen.    Those Dall  sheep  had  been  living  with some  of  those                                                              
respiratory  pathogens for  a long time.   M.  ovi is a  different                                                              
pathogen,  she continued.   It has  been difficult  to detect  and                                                              
years  ago   testing  didn't   exist  for  it.     She   said  her                                                              
understanding  is that the  first testing  for M.  ovi was  in the                                                              
Chugach  sheep population  that was  collared in  2008.  The  wild                                                              
populations have  therefore been sampled  for M. ovi for  the past                                                              
10 years  and no evidence  has yet been  found of the  pathogen in                                                              
nasal  cavities through  nasal swabs  or  even exposure  to it  as                                                              
evidenced through a blood serology test looking for titers.                                                                     
MR.  KEHOE added  that he  describes it  as a  "one-two punch"  in                                                              
that M.  ovi is poly-microbial -  it creates an  immune deficiency                                                              
by disarming the  cilia in the linings of the  airways, which then                                                              
allows these  other pathogens, which  could have  been transmitted                                                              
way back  when.  The  blood tests described  by Ms.  Schwanke have                                                              
found that many  of those are already in the population.   He said                                                              
it  can  be  thought  of as  "kindling  waiting  for  the  match,"                                                              
meaning  one  is  already  out  there and  if  the  match  can  be                                                              
prevented from hitting the kindling then there is a shot.                                                                       
2:05:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  inquired whether test and cull  is of the                                                              
wild or the domestic population.                                                                                                
MS.  SCHWANKE  answered  she is  specifically  talking  about  the                                                              
wildlife populations  in the Western  states.  It is  the wildlife                                                              
populations  that have  experienced pneumonic  die-offs and  those                                                              
are  the focus  of how  to  stop it  and how  to  get those  herds                                                              
healthy again.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND referenced a  document reporting  that 39                                                              
mountain goats on  the Kenai Peninsula were captured  and analyzed                                                              
and  2  tested positive.    She  asked  whether those  goats  were                                                              
tested and released.                                                                                                            
MS. SCHWANKE  offered her understanding  that they  were released.                                                              
She explained  the goats were  radio collared, samples  taken, and                                                              
the  samples sent  to  a lab,  and  it can  take  days, weeks,  or                                                              
longer to get the full test results.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  surmised  that  to test  and  cull,  the                                                              
testers would have had to retain the animals.                                                                                   
MS. SCHWANKE  replied  right.  At  this time  the technology  that                                                              
the department  is utilizing is  standard draw the blood,  send it                                                              
to a  lab in Washington,  and have it  sampled.  Newer  technology                                                              
is  being tested  by Washington  State University  that allows  in                                                              
the field-testing that takes up to 45 minutes to get a result.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND inquired  about the  testing of  Alaska's                                                              
domestic  population,   which  is  much  smaller   than  the  wild                                                              
population, and which was talked about by Mr. Kehoe.                                                                            
MR. KEHOE  responded that cull is  the option that  would probably                                                              
have to take  place for the wild.   But for domestic,  mitigate is                                                              
the  term   used  because   there  are   three  options   -  cull,                                                              
quarantine,  or ship.   To go M.  ovi free  it is essentially  the                                                              
same look in both cases.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  asked whether the meat of  culled animals                                                              
is edible.                                                                                                                      
MR. KEHOE answered the meat is not affected at all.                                                                             
2:07:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  inquired how  long before an  animal dies                                                              
once it has contracted this disease.                                                                                            
MS.  SCHWANKE   replied  it   depends  on   the  strain   and  the                                                              
interaction between  the pathogen and  the wild animal.   It could                                                              
be as  quick as 24 hours  or could take  weeks or could  be never.                                                              
The hope is that it is a benign strain and nothing happens.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER surmised  that  if the  disease had  been                                                              
passed  to the  wild animals  by [pack  goats] 10  years ago  then                                                              
they would have been "wiped out" by now.                                                                                        
MS. SCHWANKE responded  not necessarily.  These  pathogens come in                                                              
many different  strains and  some are  more virulent than  others.                                                              
Had there  been a virulent  strain of M.  ovi or another  pathogen                                                              
60-80 years  ago, then,  yes, it would  be remnant populations  of                                                              
Dall sheep and mountain goats in those areas.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER said that was not his question.                                                                         
MR. KEHOE added  that in current testing about 4-5  percent of the                                                              
domestics were positive.   It is possible that that  group of pack                                                              
goats  wasn't infected  and then  there are  the variables  talked                                                              
about by Ms. Schwanke.                                                                                                          
2:10:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  offered his  understanding  it is  being                                                              
said that this  is an emergency, that these animals  could contact                                                              
something that could  wipe them out.  He asked why  it didn't wipe                                                              
out  the population  10  years  ago if  they  contracted  it.   He                                                              
further asked whether  it is being said that  the wild populations                                                              
could contract it and not be wiped out.                                                                                         
MR.  KEHOE confirmed  it's possible  the  populations wouldn't  be                                                              
wiped out,  which is  what Ms.  Schwanke explained.   The  hope is                                                              
that it is relatively  benign.  But, he continued,  the problem is                                                              
that  currently there  are more  questions than  answers and  what                                                              
that  says is  there isn't  an emergency  that  can absolutely  be                                                              
declared because not  enough is known.  It says there  needs to be                                                              
surveys and to take  it aggressively to find out  whether there is                                                              
a problem.  Perhaps  that's an over-reaction, but  it's the safest                                                              
way because under-reaction could result in being bitten.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER opined  that hunting  with pack  goats is                                                              
not mating with wildlife and that they never touch each other.                                                                  
2:11:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON offered her  understanding that  the goats                                                              
that were  collared, tested, and  released in the Kenai  area came                                                              
up positive.   She  asked why  ADF&G biologists  couldn't  be sent                                                              
back to [cull] those collared goats.                                                                                            
MS. SCHWANKE  answered there  are differing professional  opinions                                                              
on what to do  with an animal that has tested  positive with this.                                                              
If it  were up  to her  she would immediately  helicopter  out and                                                              
euthanize  those  animals  to remove  them  from  the  population.                                                              
Other  professionals  take  the wait-and-see  approach  and  won't                                                              
kill a  healthy-looking animal when  nothing has happened.   Those                                                              
are the two ends of a hotly debated discussion right now.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSON   asked  how   the   Alaska  Wild   Sheep                                                              
Foundation would  feel about  hunters packing  a test kit  to swab                                                              
animals at harvest.                                                                                                             
MR. KEHOE  replied  AK WSF advocated  for and  offered funds  last                                                              
year to  do that, but  the money wasn't  needed because  the state                                                              
came up  with funds.  Hunter-killed  [Dall] sheep are  required to                                                              
be sealed by ADF&G,  he explained, and he is  unsure whether these                                                              
animals were  tested in the  field by the  hunters or by  ADF&G at                                                              
sealing.   The department  very aggressively  tested at  its check                                                              
stations.   He  said AK  WSF would  be  working aggressively  this                                                              
year to promote the testing of harvested animals.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  inquired  as  to how  many  [tests]  were                                                              
received from hunters.                                                                                                          
MS. SCHWANKE  deferred to ADF&G  for an  answer.  She  offered her                                                              
belief that about  300 samples were taken  between hunter-reported                                                              
kits and animals swabbed by ADF&G at sealing.                                                                                   
2:14:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LINCOLN  asked  whether  ADFG  currently  has  the                                                              
statutory authority to make a decision to cull.                                                                                 
MS. SCHWANKE deferred to ADF&G to provide an answer.                                                                            
2:15:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR  requested Mr.  Bruce Dale of  ADF&G to  discuss the                                                              
recently  received test  results and  whether it  is correct  that                                                              
the strain  detected is not  tied to the  genetic strain  found in                                                              
domestic animals.   She further requested Mr. Dale  to address the                                                              
previous  statements that  it  is unknown  where  and when  [wild]                                                              
animals may have been exposed.                                                                                                  
2:16:26 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE DALE,  Director, Division  of Wildlife Conservation,  Alaska                                                              
Department  of Fish  &  Game (ADF&G),  reported  ADF&G hasn't  yet                                                              
completed  work  with the  laboratory  on identifying  the  strain                                                              
that  was  found  in the  wild  goats  and  sheep.   The  work  is                                                              
ongoing, he  said, and  requires looking  at additional  genes and                                                              
comparing them for matches with known samples in the gene bank.                                                                 
CO-CHAIR TARR  related that according  to the ADF&G  press release                                                              
the  positive-testing   sheep  were   harvested  by   hunters  and                                                              
appeared to  be healthy.   She asked whether  ADF&G is  taking the                                                              
wait-and-see/need-more-information  approach  or  the approach  of                                                              
culling the positive-testing wild animals.                                                                                      
MR.  DALE responded  the positive-testing  sheep appeared  healthy                                                              
in every  respect to  the hunters  who brought them  in.   He said                                                              
ADF&G  is   waiting  to  develop   a  monitoring  plan   for  that                                                              
population  and  is  trying  to decide  whether  to  collar  them.                                                              
There is  some chance  that handling an  infected animal  and then                                                              
handling other  animals afterwards  could spread the  bacteria, he                                                              
explained, so  ADF&G is looking  to identify the strains  and then                                                              
develop a  monitoring plan.  There  are additional samples  yet to                                                              
be run and it may  be found that it is a larger  area that must be                                                              
worked with.  The  monitoring plan for the sheep  must be based on                                                              
the area.   He noted that  samples have been collected  from large                                                              
parts of the state that did not test positive.                                                                                  
MR. DALE said  the goats that tested positive  are radio collared,                                                              
so  ADF&G is  able to  monitor their  health.   Regarding  culling                                                              
those animals,  he noted it is  two positive goats and  three more                                                              
still  needing additional  testing that  are possibles.   That  is                                                              
two out of  39, he continued,  which tells that there  very likely                                                              
are many  other positive  goats on  the Kenai.   Removing  the two                                                              
from  that   sample  wouldn't   remove  the   bacteria  from   the                                                              
population.   Those two goats can  tell the department  whether or                                                              
not they are going  to get sick, so they are  more valuable onsite                                                              
right  now so ADF&G  can monitor  their health  and determine  how                                                              
extreme of a reaction should be had with these animals.                                                                         
2:19:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LINCOLN  urged his question not be  misconstrued as                                                              
being in  favor of culling.   He asked  whether Mr.  Dale believes                                                              
ADF&G  has the  authority and  tools  necessary to  make the  best                                                              
decision for how to address this issue in the wild populations.                                                                 
MR.  DALE answered  ADF&G wishes  it had  more tools  but, of  the                                                              
known tools,  the department has  those in its toolbox.   Hundreds                                                              
of  samples have  been collected,  so ADF&G  has done  a good  and                                                              
aggressive job  of getting out there,  especially in the  last few                                                              
years, to screen  as much as it  can for this and  other diseases.                                                              
The department  has been monitoring  diseases for a long  time, he                                                              
said,  it  is  part  of  what  ADF&G   does.    For  example,  the                                                              
department  is monitoring other  issues, such  as winter  kick and                                                              
chronic wasting  disease, both of  which would be  catastrophic to                                                              
moose and  caribou populations.   Despite Alaska's lack  of roads,                                                              
he  continued, ADF&G  probably  has a  more  extensive program  of                                                              
handling  animals than  do most  states  and can  handle and  cull                                                              
animals.  He reiterated he believes ADF&G has the tools.                                                                        
2:21:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR opened public testimony on HCR 23.                                                                                
2:21:24 PM                                                                                                                    
PAUL FINCH,  Agent, North  Country Farm,  testified that  his herd                                                              
of  goats reproduces  to about  70  animals every  summer and  are                                                              
marketed for their  meat.  He said HCR 23 is a  complex issue that                                                              
puts  Alaska's  small farms  with  goats  and sheep  at  economic,                                                              
legal,   and  emotional   risk   that  may   potentially  not   be                                                              
survivable.   He argued  that theoretical data  from the  Lower 48                                                              
is being  used to fuel  the premise behind  HCR 23.  He  urged the                                                              
committee  to  allow  appropriate   input  from  farmers  on  this                                                              
hunter-sponsored resolution  to find a common-sense  solution that                                                              
protects all parties.                                                                                                           
2:23:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON  inquired whether Mr. Finch is  suggesting that                                                              
the Mountain West die-off is not M. ovi related.                                                                                
MR. FINCH  replied that is  not what he said.   The issue  is that                                                              
the  grazing  habits  in the  Lower  48  have  no bearing  on  the                                                              
Alaskan picture.   There  are many  barriers between domestic  and                                                              
wild populations  that  will never  be overcome,  he said,  so the                                                              
initial proposals  from the [AK WSF] and others  were overreaching                                                              
shock statements  designed to  produce results.   It is  worrisome                                                              
that this  is a unidirectional  steppingstone toward  unreasonable                                                              
mitigation measures.                                                                                                            
2:24:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  asked  what  Mr.  Finch would  view  as  a                                                              
reasonable solution.                                                                                                            
MR. FINCH  responded that  various goat groups  in the  state have                                                              
proposed very reasonable,  step-wise solutions.   While he doesn't                                                              
have those  handy,  he continued,  it is basically  that the  risk                                                              
needs to  be stratified  and applied  in appropriate  geographical                                                              
measure.   Nobody  wants to  hurt wild  populations, he  stressed,                                                              
but it  isn't appropriate to impose  draconian measures on  a herd                                                              
that will never  see wild sheep habitat and that  the closest they                                                              
will come  is in frozen  packages in the  freezer.  More  time and                                                              
more input from these groups needs to happen, he added.                                                                         
CO-CHAIR TARR  stated she would  be thinking about both  angles as                                                              
the committee considers HCR 23.                                                                                                 
2:25:26 PM                                                                                                                    
TIANA  THOMAS,   Mutual  Aid  Network  of  Livestock   Owners  and                                                              
Producers,  testified  that  HCR   23  would  be  an  ineffective,                                                              
costly, and crippling  blow against food security  and food access                                                              
in  Alaska.   She stated  that 3  percent of  the Alaska  domestic                                                              
sheep in  which it was found  are asymptomatic.  She  further said                                                              
that these sheep  cannot spread it past one foot  because they are                                                              
not sick  and not  coughing and  so do not  broadcast it  into the                                                              
air.  She maintained  that the goat variant, which  is likely what                                                              
the GMU 13A  goats were exposed  to many years ago, is  not fatal.                                                              
The  sheep  variant is  fatal,  especially  when  commercial-sized                                                              
herds  are going  into habitat,  but  Alaska does  not have  that.                                                              
Alaska  also doesn't  have  transplanted  animals  that have  lost                                                              
their historic  travel patterns  and are  more likely  to interact                                                              
with domestics.   She said the quotes on science  are conveniently                                                              
ignoring  studies that  state  packhorses are  as  lethal as  pack                                                              
goats with a different bacterium.                                                                                               
MS. THOMAS  stated that to  demand the state  be M. ovi free  is a                                                              
scientific  impossibility  because it  cannot  be  proved that  it                                                              
won't exist.  She  said the [AK WSF] has stated  it will not allow                                                              
an animal  to be proved  negative if it  has tested  positive once                                                              
on serology, which  means the animal has had it and  beaten it off                                                              
and is no longer  carrying it.  She argued that  if the nasal swab                                                              
is negative  and the animal  just has an  antibody remnant  in its                                                              
blood, it  is no longer  a transmitter  or carrier.   However, she                                                              
continued, the  [AK WSF] will not  allow that animal to  be proven                                                              
negative no matter how many negative nasal swabs it has.                                                                        
MS.  THOMAS added  that current  science states  a positive  nasal                                                              
swab does  not indicate the presence  of infection.   Detection is                                                              
not  infection, she  said.   The  same animal  in many  subsequent                                                              
tests  will  come up  negative;  they  can clear  the  mycoplasma.                                                              
Infection  is not  lethal in  every case.   She  charged that  the                                                              
science  is  being  conveniently  edited for  the  worst  possible                                                              
outcome.   She said  her organization's  solution  is to cull  via                                                              
isolation   rather  than   to  cull  via   euthanasia,  but   this                                                              
[proposed] solution is being ignored.                                                                                           
2:29:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH inquired  about the  percentages that  were                                                              
found in the results from voluntary testing.                                                                                    
MS. THOMAS  replied that  about 80  percent of her  organization's                                                              
members have had  their flocks cleared through  voluntary testing.                                                              
Of the  rest, about 3  percent of the sheep  and 1 percent  of the                                                              
goats were asymptomatic  detection.  However, she  reiterated, the                                                              
goat  strain  is not  as  lethal  as  the sheep  strain,  so  goat                                                              
contact is  not a concern.   She noted that  1 percent could  be a                                                              
statistical anomaly; it could be a false positive.                                                                              
2:30:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  asked  whether the  livestock  producers                                                              
who are  members of  Mutual Aid  Network of  Livestock Owners  and                                                              
Producers are  in Alaska.   She further  asked whether  Ms. Thomas                                                              
is located in Alaska and, if so, where.                                                                                         
MS. THOMAS  replied she is  in Alaska and  resides within  GMU 14.                                                              
She was born in  Juneau and moved to her current  location in 1985                                                              
and has been involved with livestock ever since.                                                                                
2:31:22 PM                                                                                                                    
AMY  SEITZ,   Executive  Director,   Alaska  Farm  Bureau,   Inc.,                                                              
testified  the bureau  agrees with  HCR 23's  intent to  encourage                                                              
agencies to protect  the health of Alaska's wildlife  and domestic                                                              
animals.    However,  she  continued, the  bureau  would  like  to                                                              
address  the clause  on page 1,  line 13,  which states,  "WHEREAS                                                              
the state subscribes  to science-based wildlife management".   She                                                              
agreed that having  effective practices in place is  key, and said                                                              
the Alaska Farm  Bureau wants to ensure that the  science used for                                                              
managing  Alaska's resources  is  relevant to  Alaska.   It  isn't                                                              
prudent  to encourage  agencies  to implement  decisions based  on                                                              
situations or information pertinent in other states.                                                                            
MS. SEITZ  stated that  in working  with agencies  on the  current                                                              
issue  of domestic  and wild  sheep  and goat  interaction and  M.                                                              
ovi,  the bureau  has found  the agencies  are doing  what HCR  23                                                              
encourages.   They  are  gathering  the information  necessary  to                                                              
base a  decision on science relevant  to Alaska and  Alaska's Dall                                                              
sheep  populations.   Taking  this  action  is the  necessary  and                                                              
prudent  route  as  opposed  to  implementing  a  solution  before                                                              
having  the facts.   Instead of  passing a  resolution like  this,                                                              
she said,  the legislature  could encourage  and support  Alaska's                                                              
agencies  in  their efforts  by  doing  things like  enacting  [HB                                                              
315].  That bill  would encourage people to test  their animals so                                                              
Alaska's agencies  would know what  diseases are out  there, would                                                              
help  with  early  detection,  and would  give  agencies  time  to                                                              
respond appropriately.   While the intent  of HCR 23 is  fine, she                                                              
reiterated, the Alaska  Farm Bureau believes there  are other ways                                                              
the legislature could show its support for agencies.                                                                            
2:33:36 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  STURGEON,  First  Vice President,  Alaska  Outdoor  Council,                                                              
testified  in  support  of  the  Alaska  Wild  Sheep  Foundation's                                                              
efforts and thanked  the sponsor for introducing HCR  23.  He said                                                              
HCR 23  is a  good step  to help solve  a potentially  devastating                                                              
problem in  Alaska's wild  sheep, goats,  and muskoxen.   Alaska's                                                              
wildlife is  valuable for  hunting and viewing  and Alaska  is the                                                              
only  state with  Dall sheep,  a treasure  that needs  to be  kept                                                              
healthy.   In  the Lower  48, he  related,  it is  not unusual  to                                                              
require the  testing of domestic  animals to ensure they  are free                                                              
of disease  that could infect  other domestic animals  or wildlife                                                              
populations.   From 25  years of hunting  in Montana  and Wyoming,                                                              
he said,  he is aware  of mountain ranges  where 70-80  percent of                                                              
the sheep have  been killed by M.  ovi.  This very  deadly disease                                                              
shouldn't  be  underestimated,  he  stressed.   It  lurks  in  the                                                              
background  until the  conditions  are right,  then  it gives  the                                                              
double whammy of  another pathogen coming in and the  sheep die in                                                              
large numbers.   Regarding  the question  about what the  domestic                                                              
folks would propose  for a solution, he said he  thinks the Alaska                                                              
Wild Sheep Foundation's proposal to pay for testing is generous.                                                                
2:36:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR closed public testimony on HCR 23.                                                                                
2:37:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR  asked Dr.  Gerlach whether  eradicating the  M. ovi                                                              
bacteria from Alaska is a realistic goal.                                                                                       
2:37:26 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT   GERLACH,    DVM,   State   Veterinarian,    Division   of                                                              
Environmental  Health,  Department of  Environmental  Conservation                                                              
(DEC),  replied  that  the  total  elimination  of  a  disease  is                                                              
extremely  difficult.   Only  two  diseases have  been  completely                                                              
eliminated  in the  world   rinderpest  in cattle  and small  pox.                                                              
Rinderpest was identified  as cattle fever in the  1700's and most                                                              
veterinary schools  were formed to address that  disease, he said.                                                              
It took  until just  a couple years  ago to eliminate  rinderpest,                                                              
he continued, so  to totally eliminate a pathogen  is an extremely                                                              
large and costly task.                                                                                                          
[HCR 23 was held over.]                                                                                                         
        HB 315-CONFIDENTIALITY OF ANIMAL & CROP RECORDS                                                                     
2:38:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                              
HOUSE BILL  NO. 315,  "An Act relating  to the confidentiality  of                                                              
certain  records  on  animals  and crops;  and  providing  for  an                                                              
effective date."                                                                                                                
2:38:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTINA CARPENTER,  Director, Division of  Environmental Health,                                                              
Department  of   Environmental  Conservation  (DEC),   provided  a                                                              
PowerPoint  presentation in  support of HB  315 entitled,  "HB315:                                                              
Confidentiality  of  Animal  and  Crop  Records,"  dated  3/16/18.                                                              
Turning to  slide 2, she said she  and Dr. Gerlach are  before the                                                              
committee  regarding   HB  315,  which  would   keep  confidential                                                              
certain  records  held  by  DEC  and  the  Department  of  Natural                                                              
Resources  (DNR).   [The departments]  would  continue to  release                                                              
general information  found in  their records,  but the  bill would                                                              
prohibit [the  departments] from  being responsible  for releasing                                                              
records that may  contain personally identifying  information.  It                                                              
would also  allow information  disclosure from [the  departments']                                                              
records if  there were  a threat  [to the health  or safety  of an                                                              
animal, crop,] or  the public, Ms. Carpenter stated.   This can be                                                              
compared  to  some  of the  other  protections  that  are  already                                                              
provided  to  other  commercial   industries,  one  example  being                                                              
commercial  fisheries.   The  Alaska  Department  of Fish  &  Game                                                              
(ADF&G) has  a clause in  statute that  allows it to  keep certain                                                              
information   reported  by   commercial   fishermen  exempt   from                                                              
disclosure,  which includes  such things  as fishing  holes.   She                                                              
said ADF&G  needs that information  to properly manage  commercial                                                              
fisheries,  but commercial  fishermen wouldn't  like that  subject                                                              
to  disclosure because  that's proprietary  business  information.                                                              
So,  she  continued, [DEC  and  DNR]  are  trying to  get  similar                                                              
confidentiality to Alaska's agricultural producers.                                                                             
2:40:23 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. CARPENTER  moved to slide  3 and noted  the concept of  HB 315                                                              
has been  discussed between  DEC, DNR,  and Alaska's  agricultural                                                              
producers for  at least 10 years.   This concept is  even timelier                                                              
now given the  recent M. ovi discussion,  she added.   The bill is                                                              
mutually  beneficial  to  state  agencies as  well  as  individual                                                              
producers.   She said  [the departments]  believe that  animal and                                                              
crop producers  will be more  willing to participate  in voluntary                                                              
surveillance sampling  programs with DEC and DNR if  they know the                                                              
results  of those  tests  are not  subject  to public  disclosure.                                                              
When  the M.  ovi discussion  came  up 18-24  months  ago and  Dr.                                                              
Gerlach was trying  to set up this M. ovi study  in domestic sheep                                                              
and   goat  populations,   many  Alaska   livestock  owners   were                                                              
reluctant to participate  in the study because they  knew the test                                                              
results would be  subject to disclosure if DEC  were in possession                                                              
of them.  A  benefit of passing HB 315 is that  [DEC] will receive                                                              
additional information  on emerging threats and  disease outbreaks                                                              
so the department  can work with  its peers in the  other resource                                                              
agencies to properly manage Alaska's resources.                                                                                 
MS.  CARPENTER addressed  slides  4-5  to discuss  the  difference                                                              
between a  record versus information  and what [DEC] is  trying to                                                              
do with this.   She said the  Office of the State  Veterinarian is                                                              
not looking to  withhold information from public  consumption, but                                                              
is trying to  protect the records it  has on file.   A record that                                                              
is currently subject  to disclosure has personal  information like                                                              
name,  address, phone  number, specific  destination  information,                                                              
and test  results, as  well as  potentially including  identifying                                                              
animal ear tag information.   Right now if there  was a Freedom of                                                              
Information Act  (FOIA) request, DEC  would have to give  out this                                                              
record without  redacting it.   Under HB  315, she continued,  DEC                                                              
would still  share information  with the public,  but it  would be                                                              
in a  more generalized  and anonymous  format.   For example,  the                                                              
department  would say  that in  late December  nine reindeer  were                                                              
transported  by air  from Alaska  to Texas  and they  came from  a                                                              
herd that was confirmed  to be chronic wasting disease  free.  Ms.                                                              
Carpenter explained  that in an  animal cruelty investigation  DEC                                                              
would release  the information  from its  records that  would help                                                              
law enforcement  officials in their  investigation.  But  if there                                                              
was disease  information  that required public  outreach,  such as                                                              
rabies,  DEC  would coordinate  with  its  peers in  state  public                                                              
health  and fish and  game agencies,  as well  as coordinate  with                                                              
the local public  health and veterinarian officials  so they could                                                              
increase  public  outreach and  awareness  so that  everybody  was                                                              
looking for rabies symptoms in domestic and wild blocks.                                                                        
MS. CARPENTER  moved to slide  6 and said  HB 315 would  encourage                                                              
better animal  husbandry because  animal owners would  be engaging                                                              
with  the  [state  veterinarian's]  office  and  participating  in                                                              
surveillance sampling,  which is non-mandatory sampling  and which                                                              
owners  can  then  use  as a  marketing  tool  for  their  Alaskan                                                              
agricultural products.   She stated the bill would  also allow for                                                              
early identification  of and reaction  to an emerging  outbreak or                                                              
threat  that public  health and  animal health  officials need  to                                                              
deal with.   Further, proprietary  information would  be protected                                                              
from  disclosure  to  a  competitor.   Turning  to  slide  7,  Ms.                                                              
Carpenter said  HB 315 would  not keep  DEC or DNR  from releasing                                                              
general information  that the public needs  to know if  there is a                                                              
public  health  threat.   It  would  also  not hamper  efforts  to                                                              
control a  disease outbreak or mitigate  a threat and  it wouldn't                                                              
limit law enforcement agencies in animal cruelty investigations.                                                                
MS. CARPENTER  reviewed the  sectional analysis  on slide 8.   She                                                              
said Section 1,  the meat of the bill, would  make certain records                                                              
held by DEC and  DNR exempt from the Alaska Public  Records Act if                                                              
they  meet   certain  criteria.     But,   she  continued,   those                                                              
departments  would  still be  allowed  to release  information  if                                                              
there were a public health threat.                                                                                              
2:46:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  stated he understands what  Ms. Carpenter                                                              
is trying to convey  about people being hesitant to  declare or to                                                              
have  their  animals  tested,  and   that  people  would  be  less                                                              
hesitant to  come forward if  HB 315 was passed.   He said  he was                                                              
singled out as  possibly being the reason for  [wild] goats having                                                              
this infection.                                                                                                                 
2:47:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND drew  attention to  slide 5 regarding  an                                                              
example  of release  of  information.   She  inquired whether  Ms.                                                              
Carpenter  is talking  only  about  a zoonotic  disease  outbreak,                                                              
which  is  a disease  that  can  be transmitted  from  animals  to                                                              
humans, or  whether it  would also  include pathogens  [in animals                                                              
only, such as M. ovi in sheep and goats].                                                                                       
MS. CARPENTER replied  [DEC] would release information  related to                                                              
a  disease  outbreak   that  is  zoonotic  or   transmittable  but                                                              
transmittable through  domestic or  wildlife herds.   For example,                                                              
rabies can  impact domestic livestock  and humans, so  with rabies                                                              
[DEC] would  want to involve the  Department of Public  Health and                                                              
ADF&G.   However, she  continued,  M. ovi s  not transmittable  to                                                              
humans,  so   [DEC]  would   have  no   reason  to  release   that                                                              
information to its peers in public health.                                                                                      
2:49:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  drew attention to HB 315, page  2, lines 7-                                                              
11,  which state,  "Notwithstanding  (a) of  this  section or  any                                                              
other   provision  of   law,  the   Department  of   Environmental                                                              
Conservation   and  the  Department   of  Natural  Resources   may                                                              
disclose  any records  that are  subject  to this  section if  the                                                              
Department  of Environmental  Conservation  or  the Department  of                                                              
Natural Resources  determines there is  a threat to the  health or                                                              
safety of  an animal, a  crop, or the  public."  He  asked whether                                                              
he is accurate in  interpreting this language to mean  that on any                                                              
occasion  in which an  animal were  diseased, it  would be  at the                                                              
discretion  of DEC  and DNR  whether or  not to  release the  full                                                              
MS. CARPENTER responded that that is accurate.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  offered   his  apologies  for  an  earlier                                                              
remark  and  said  it  was  very   unlikely  that  [Representative                                                              
Rauscher's] animals were implicated.                                                                                            
2:48:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR opened public testimony on HB 315.                                                                                
2:51:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MARY  ANN HOLLICK,  DVM, testified  she  has practiced  veterinary                                                              
medicine  for the past  30 years  and supports  HB 315  because it                                                              
represents  an individual's  medical privacy.   Animal owners  are                                                              
currently required  to disclose diagnostic  test results to  be in                                                              
compliance  with state  rules,  she related.    These results  are                                                              
currently public  records.   These owners  know these  records are                                                              
available for  all to see and they  may very well be  reluctant to                                                              
have their  animals tested  voluntarily for  these diseases.   The                                                              
owners and  where they  live should not  be public knowledge,  she                                                              
said.    Early  detection  is  the   key  to  controlling  serious                                                              
widespread  outbreaks that  could  jeopardize  animals and  public                                                              
health.   These same  test results  are private  in other  states,                                                              
she pointed  out.   If there  is credible  threat, she  continued,                                                              
the  state veterinarian  would disclose  relevant information  and                                                              
act  to ensure  animal  and public  safety.   Dr.  Gerlach was  in                                                              
private  practice  before  becoming the  state  veterinarian,  she                                                              
added, and is very well respected by the veterinary community.                                                                  
2:52:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH asked  which diseases  are not required  to                                                              
be reported to the state veterinarian.                                                                                          
DR. HOLLICK  answered that  diseases such  as parvovirus,  a small                                                              
animal disease, are not required to be reported.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  inquired whether Dr. Hollick  supports or                                                              
opposes HB 315.                                                                                                                 
DR. HOLLICK replied she supports the bill.                                                                                      
2:54:18 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN ANDERSON  testified that  HB 315  has good  parts as  well as                                                              
questionable parts.   He said he likes the  [confidential] testing                                                              
and that  it is a  way to  get more animals  tested.   However, he                                                              
continued, he  has an issue  with the import  side of the  bill as                                                              
there  are no  checks and  balances.   He  said he  has looked  at                                                              
import records from  the state veterinarian's office  for the past                                                              
two years and  imported animals are being misrepresented  and sold                                                              
as Alaska Grown.   When he brought  this issue to the  Division of                                                              
Agriculture he  was told there  is no budget  to be able  to check                                                              
even though  the paperwork that  a person signs to  participate in                                                              
Alaska  Grown says  the Division  of Agriculture  can come  out to                                                              
the participant's farm  at any time.  The division  isn't checking                                                              
Alaska  Grown  accountability  through  the  state  veterinarian's                                                              
office,  he said,  and  he has  personally  done  that because  he                                                              
would  like to protect  his  farm and  the work he  does with  his                                                              
cattle.  For  example, he is caring  for his cattle at  50 degrees                                                              
below zero  while other people bring  in animals and slip  them in                                                              
as Alaska  Grown to receive a  premium.  He requested  that import                                                              
records be looked  at.  He pointed out that import  records can be                                                              
obtained from  the U.S. Department  of Agriculture (USDA)  as well                                                              
as the  Division of  Agriculture and said  there is  no difference                                                              
in the records.   He reiterated that he likes the  testing part of                                                              
HB 315, but  that the import  records won't help because  they can                                                              
be found elsewhere.                                                                                                             
2:57:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  TARR requested  Ms.  Carpenter  clarify  whether HB  315                                                              
addresses the import issue.                                                                                                     
MS. CARPENTER  responded HB 315  would allow [DEC] to  keep animal                                                              
or  crop   importation  records   confidential  that   identify  a                                                              
particular animal,  crop, business, or  individual.  She  said she                                                              
is sensitive to  Mr. Anderson's concerns, but DEC's  mission is to                                                              
ensure that  those animals  imported into  Alaska are  healthy and                                                              
disease  free.   Any  marketing  aspect  issue  would need  to  be                                                              
answered to  by DNR.   The reason [DEC]  would want to  keep those                                                              
animal importation  records subject  to a confidentiality  clause,                                                              
she continued, is  because the records include  the name, physical                                                              
address, and location  where those animals are going  to and where                                                              
they came from,  and that could be considered  private business or                                                              
proprietary information  that is part of what [DEC]  is looking to                                                              
do   keep  people's business information  private.  The  intent is                                                              
to protect  the state's  agricultural producers  so they  can grow                                                              
their business.                                                                                                                 
2:59:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR noted  that Alaska Grown misbranding  provisions are                                                              
in another  section of statute which  the committee is  looking at                                                              
in HB 217.                                                                                                                      
3:00:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   PARISH  asked   whether  the   USDA  is   already                                                              
furnishing information  about animal and crop  importation records                                                              
with the things that are trying to be protected with HB 315.                                                                    
MR.  ANDERSON  answered  correct,  he  has  used  the  Freedom  of                                                              
Information  Act (FOIA)  to go  through  the state  veterinarian's                                                              
office as well as  the USDA and he has those  documents.  The same                                                              
truckloads  of animals  can  be  looked at  from  each agency  and                                                              
except for  one or two lines  they have the same  information that                                                              
can be compared.  He offered to provide this information.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  inquired  whether  there is  a  difference                                                              
between the  state and federal  agencies in  the fees or  costs to                                                              
access that information.                                                                                                        
MR. ANDERSON replied  there is no charge by either  agency at this                                                              
time.   He added that the  USDA takes a  about a month  to provide                                                              
the records and the state takes about 10 business days.                                                                         
3:01:43 PM                                                                                                                    
AMY  SEITZ,   Executive  Director,   Alaska  Farm  Bureau,   Inc.,                                                              
testified  in support  of HB  315.   Allowing confidentiality  for                                                              
certain  personal  and  business   records  will  afford  Alaska's                                                              
farmers  some security  in their  business  as well  help to  keep                                                              
Alaska's agricultural  sector healthy, she  said.  To  comply with                                                              
state and  federal laws, farmers  must supply certain  information                                                              
to DEC or DNR,  she continued.  There are also  situations where a                                                              
farmer  may  be  required  to  submit  test  results  or  want  to                                                              
participate  in a voluntary  surveillance  program.  Records  that                                                              
DEC  and DNR  maintain  can  be  specific to  particular  animals,                                                              
crops,  information  on  the  farmers'  businesses,  and  specific                                                              
results from  testing.   Under current law  these records  are not                                                              
protected,  she   noted.    The  bureau  wants   farmers  to  feel                                                              
comfortable  in working  with state  agencies  in maintaining  the                                                              
health  of animals  and crops.   Knowing that  someone can  access                                                              
specifics on  these results does  not afford security  to Alaska's                                                              
farmers, she advised,  and it does not encourage  participation in                                                              
these  testing programs.   Having  more  farmers participating  in                                                              
testing  could  help  in producing  higher  quality  products  and                                                              
increase  efficiencies in  production.   It could  also help  with                                                              
early detection  of a  possible outbreak  or concern,  which would                                                              
give agencies time to respond appropriately.                                                                                    
MS.  SEITZ  noted  HB  315  does   cover  general  information  on                                                              
imports.  She  said general information on testing  would still be                                                              
available  if  the  bill  were passed  and  that  this  should  be                                                              
sufficient  information to let  people know  what is happening  in                                                              
the  state.   Steps  are  available  to  take  for a  person  with                                                              
concerns about  misuse of the Alaska  Grown logo or  concerns that                                                              
the appropriate  steps aren't being  taken for a  possible disease                                                              
or  pathogen.   She reiterated  the Alaska  Farm Bureau's  support                                                              
for HB 315 for the aforementioned reasons.                                                                                      
3:04:45 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN KEHOE,  President,  Alaska Wild Sheep  Foundation (AK  WSF),                                                              
testified  his organization  generally  supports keeping  personal                                                              
information private,  but that AK WSF also thinks  testing records                                                              
should remain public.   He allowed that trying to  weigh these two                                                              
is a big  challenge and deferred  to Ms. Schwanke to  provide more                                                              
specific information.                                                                                                           
3:05:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA SCHWANKE,  Staff Biologist,  Alaska Wild Sheep  Foundation                                                              
(AK WSF),  testified HB 315  is vague,  which concerns her  from a                                                              
biological  perspective.   [The  bill  would  cover] M.  ovi  that                                                              
affects Alaska's  wild sheep and  goats as well as  other diseases                                                              
and pathogens that  can affect any number of  Alaska's wild animal                                                              
populations,  she said,  so it  is much  bigger than  M. ovi.   To                                                              
fully  understand  the  current  state  of  pathogens,  parasites,                                                              
viruses, and  other diseases that  may be detrimental  to wildlife                                                              
in Alaska,  she continued, it will  be critical to have  access to                                                              
all available test and import records.                                                                                          
MS.  SCHWANKE said  the  components  of HB  315  that concern  her                                                              
focus  on the  confidentiality  of  individual and  specific  test                                                              
results.  She  stated that the general information  which DEC says                                                              
it  will release  is not  good enough  for independent  scientific                                                              
community members  and isn't fair  to domestic owners who  wish to                                                              
know what diseases  or pathogens are present in the  state.  In M.                                                              
ovi outbreaks  in the  western states,  understanding the  strains                                                              
is critical  to understanding what  is being dealt with  and where                                                              
it  came from,  she  continued.    Understanding the  pathways  of                                                              
disease is important  and critical for mitigating  and controlling                                                              
disease.   She said  she is  far more  concerned with  maintaining                                                              
open access  to what comes in  the state through imports  and what                                                              
is already  in the state  as known from  testing records  than any                                                              
individual names or personal information.                                                                                       
MS.  SCHWANKE offered  her belief  that the  majority of  Alaska's                                                              
domestic  animal  owners  are  responsible  and  don't  let  their                                                              
animals come in  contact with wild sheep and goats.   However, she                                                              
continued,  not every owner  is responsible,  some animals  escape                                                              
farms, and some  owners let their animals open-land  graze when in                                                              
the  mountains,  which  is  documented  by  photos.    The  recent                                                              
importation   and   testing   records   must   remain   publically                                                              
accessible in  case a conflict is  seen or a novel  pathogen shows                                                              
up  in the  state.   Sometimes  that will  only  be known  through                                                              
import  records  or  the  testing  the  state  does.    Geographic                                                              
locations  or at  least the  specific regions  must remain  public                                                              
information  when it comes  to understanding  any possible  threat                                                              
to wildlife  or  other domestic  owners.   In no  way does AK  WSF                                                              
want  to jeopardize  individuals  with these  comments, she  said,                                                              
but  there  are  larger  concerns  when  it  comes  to  protecting                                                              
Alaskan wildlife.                                                                                                               
3:07:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  drew attention  to  page  2 of  the  bill,                                                              
lines 10-11, which  state DEC and DNR can disclose  any records if                                                              
"there is a threat  to the health or safety of  an animal, a crop,                                                              
or the public."   He inquired whether in the case  of any positive                                                              
test  result  for a  disease,  [AK  WSF]  would argue  that  there                                                              
exists  such a  threat.   He  further  inquired  whether [AK  WSF]                                                              
believes that if it came to a court case it would prevail.                                                                      
MR. KEHOE  responded that that is  one of [AK WSF's]  concerns and                                                              
the hope  is for  a re-write  of the  bill so  [AK WSF] could  get                                                              
behind  this.  As  it stands  currently, he  noted, the  committee                                                              
just  heard a  debate on  whether it  is or  isn't a  threat.   So                                                              
there'd  come a  time  when [AK  WSF] would  be  blocked from  any                                                              
information  simply because someone  didn't think  it is  a threat                                                              
and then  it would evolve  into a court case.   That is  a concern                                                              
and  [AK WSF]  believes  "threat"  should  be clearly  defined  in                                                              
statute; for  example, is or  isn't M.  ovi a threat.   Otherwise,                                                              
he  continued, that  information  could  be blocked  and  probably                                                              
would be blocked from [AK WSF].                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH invited  the Alaska  Wild Sheep  Foundation                                                              
and  DEC to  work  with  him in  his  office  to figure  out  what                                                              
language would answer  AK WSF's concern.  He invited  Mr. Kehoe to                                                              
make a suggestion for today's record if Mr. Kehoe would like.                                                                   
MR. KEHOE  answered [AK  WSF will] submit  some language  and some                                                              
concepts on  doing that.   He said AK WSF  would be happy  to work                                                              
with anyone  to resolve these  issues to get  to where AK  WSF and                                                              
the  sportsmen's  groups  that   support  AK  WSF  would  also  be                                                              
comfortable with this particular language.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  asked about the Division  of Agriculture's                                                              
position on HB 315 and whether the division has concerns.                                                                       
3:10:33 PM                                                                                                                    
ARTHUR  KEYES, Director,  Division of  Agriculture, Department  of                                                              
Natural  Resources (DNR),  replied he  supports HB  315.   He said                                                              
the  Division of  Agriculture needs  to  collect information  when                                                              
working  with   farmers  and  there   is  a  need  to   keep  that                                                              
information  confidential.   In regard  to the  Alaska Wild  Sheep                                                              
Foundation's  position, he  said that without  the confidence  the                                                              
information  would be  kept confidential  there  would be  trouble                                                              
trying  to  gather   the  information  needed  to   make  informed                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON stated her  hope that  a way can  be found                                                              
to  facilitate  this   and  bring  both  sides   to  agreement  on                                                              
something that will  work for both.  She surmised  Mr. Keyes would                                                              
be willing to work on that.                                                                                                     
3:12:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR  closed public testimony  after ascertaining  no one                                                              
else wished to testify.                                                                                                         
3:12:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR held over HB 315.                                                                                                 
          HB 260-FISH & GAME LICENSES;ELECTRONIC FORM                                                                       
3:13:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR  announced that  the final  order of business  would                                                              
be HOUSE BILL  NO. 260, "An Act relating to  electronic possession                                                              
of  certain licenses,  tags, and  identification  cards issued  by                                                              
the Department  of Fish and Game;  and providing for  an effective                                                              
3:13:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DAN SADDLER,  Alaska  State Legislature,  speaking                                                              
as the  sponsor,  introduced HB  260.   He said HB  260 would  let                                                              
sportsmen  keep   their  state  hunting,  fishing,   and  trapping                                                              
licenses   on  their  cellular   phones.     State  law   requires                                                              
outdoorsmen  to  carry  their  paper   licenses  with  them  while                                                              
enjoying  the licensed activity.   However,  he continued,  anyone                                                              
who has  fallen into a  river or sat in  a rainy duck  blind knows                                                              
those paper  licenses will fall  apart at the inopportune  time of                                                              
a state  trooper asking to  see the license,  but a cell  phone is                                                              
always with a person.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  pointed out that since 2013  Alaskans have                                                              
been  authorized  under  law  to   display  their  auto  insurance                                                              
coverage by  digital device, and  this capability can  be extended                                                              
to fishing licenses  as well.  This would have  several beneficial                                                              
effects.   It  would  make it  easier  for hunters,  fishers,  and                                                              
trappers  to obtain  and  carry  their licenses.    It would  help                                                              
entice  new  entrants  into  these   activities  by  lowering  the                                                              
barrier to  entry.   It would  make Alaska  a more attractive  and                                                              
enjoyable   tourist  destination   because   tourists  could   get                                                              
nonresident fishing  licenses online  before their ship  pulled in                                                              
[to port].   It would  improve compliance  with Alaska's  fish and                                                              
game laws  by making  it easier for  enforcement agents  to verify                                                              
that  users are  legal.   It could  save the  state money  through                                                              
less  cost for  providing paper  and  less cost  for supplies  and                                                              
equipment.  It would  also lay out the foundation  for smart phone                                                              
based applications  that he hopes  eventually will let  the Alaska                                                              
Department  of  Fish  and  Game  (ADF&G)  deliver  information  to                                                              
fishermen on  regulations, openings,  closings, and  hazards while                                                              
letting  outdoorsmen   reciprocate   by  sharing  information   on                                                              
harvest  and conditions  back with  the department.   Until  then,                                                              
Representative   Saddler  said,  the   benefits  of  HB   260  are                                                              
significant enough to deserve swift approval of the bill.                                                                       
[The committee treated public testimony as open for HB 260.]                                                                    
3:15:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK  RICHARDS, Executive  Director, Resident  Hunters of  Alaska,                                                              
testified that his organization fully supports HB 260.                                                                          
3:16:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR  closed public testimony  after ascertaining  no one                                                              
else wished to testify.                                                                                                         
3:16:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR held over HB 260.                                                                                                 
3:16:34 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further business  before the committee,  the House                                                              
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:16 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HCR23 Game Mngmnt Unit 13.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR23-wildlife econ importance-in-2011-summary-report.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR23_ NR_Movi Detected_3-13-18.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR 23_AK-WSF-PRESS-RELEASE.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR23_ AK WSF Support Ltr.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR23_dalls_sheep_news_winter_2017.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HB 315 Transmittal Letter 2.14.2018.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB 315 ver A 2.14.2018.PDF HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB 315 Fiscal Note DEC-EHL 2.14.2018.PDF HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB 315 Supporting Document - Presentation 3.15.18.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB 315 Additional Documentation - DEC Letter re Alaska Grown 2.14.2018.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB 315 Supporting Documents - Homer Swift Creek Ranch 2.8.2018.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB260 Sponsor Statement 1.25.18.pdf HFSH 2/20/2018 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/4/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 260
HB260 ver A 1.25.18.pdf HFSH 2/20/2018 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/4/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 260
HB260 Residential Hunters AK Letter of Support HB 260.pdf HFSH 2/20/2018 11:00:00 AM
HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 260
HB 260 Fiscal Note-DFG- 2.16.18.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/4/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 260
HB 260 Supporting Document - Status of Electronic Fish Game licenses, mobile apps and websites in other states 3.15.18.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/4/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 260
HCR 23 Version A .PDF HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR23 Disease Free in the North.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR 23 Supporting Document - Territorial Sportsmen 3.16.18.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR 23 Fiscal Note - LEG-SESS- 03.16.18.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR23 Support ltr, AK Prof Hunters Assoc..pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR23 Opposition, Judd.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR 23 Opposition, Crosby.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HCR 23
HB315 Support, AK WSF Comments.pdf HRES 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315