Legislature(2007 - 2008)CAPITOL 106

03/27/2008 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HJR 39 URGING US TO RATIFY LAW OF THE SEA TREATY TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 39(STA) Out of Committee
*+ HB 412 LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL & LB&A MEMBERSHIP TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled from 03/20/08>
*+ HCR 23 UNIFORM RULES: MEASURE SPONSORS/READINGS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled from 03/20/08>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 27, 2008                                                                                         
                           8:07 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bob Lynn, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Bob Roses, Vice Chair                                                                                            
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Kyle Johansen                                                                                                    
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Andrea Doll                                                                                                      
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 39                                                                                                   
Urging the United States Senate to ratify the Law of the Sea                                                                    
Treaty.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHJR 39(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 412                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the membership of the Alaska Legislative                                                                    
Council and the membership of the Legislative Budget and Audit                                                                  
Committee."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 23                                                                                              
Proposing amendments  to the  Uniform Rules  of the  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature  relating to  withdrawing  measures,  to sponsors  of                                                               
measures, to  prefiling measures,  and to  the three  readings of                                                               
bills.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 39                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: URGING US TO RATIFY LAW OF THE SEA TREATY                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): STATE AFFAIRS                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
03/20/08       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/20/08       (H)       STA                                                                                                    
03/27/08       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 412                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL & LB&A MEMBERSHIP                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) GRUENBERG                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
02/19/08       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/19/08       (H)       STA, RLS                                                                                               
02/21/08       (H)       BILL REPRINTED: 2/21/08                                                                                
03/20/08       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/20/08       (H)       <Bill Hearing Postponed to 03/27/08>                                                                   
03/27/08       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ISAAC EDWARDS, Legislative Director                                                                                             
Senator Lisa Murkowski                                                                                                          
United States Senate                                                                                                            
Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained the concerns of proponents and                                                                 
opponents of HJR 39.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
STEVEN DAUGHERTY, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                    
Natural Resources Section                                                                                                       
Civil Division (Anchorage)                                                                                                      
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the hearing on                                                                 
HJR 39.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BOB LYNN called the  House State Affairs Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to order at 8:07:56  AM.  Representatives Roses, Coghill,                                                             
Johnson, Gruenberg,  Doll, and Lynn  were present at the  call to                                                               
order.   Representative Johansen  arrived as  the meeting  was in                                                               
progress.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HJR 39-URGING US TO RATIFY LAW OF THE SEA TREATY                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:08:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the first order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
JOINT  RESOLUTION NO.  39,  Urging the  United  States Senate  to                                                               
ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:09:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  introduced HJR  39  on  behalf of  the                                                               
House  State  Affairs  Standing   Committee,  sponsor,  which  is                                                               
chaired   by  Representative   Lynn.     He  said   the  proposed                                                               
legislation  is based  upon the  "Compass" piece  penned by  U.S.                                                               
Senator Lisa  Murkowski [included in  the committee packet].   He                                                               
paraphrased  the   sponsor  statement,  which  read   as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     This  resolution urges  the U.S.  Senate to  ratify the                                                                    
     United States  Convention on the  Law of the  Sea ("Law                                                                    
     of the  Sea") treaty.   As Senator Lisa  Murkowski said                                                                    
     in   her  recent   address   to   the  joint   session,                                                                    
     ratification of  this treaty is extremely  important to                                                                    
     protect   U.S.  interests   concerning   the  use   and                                                                    
     development of the high seas  off Alaska and elsewhere.                                                                    
     For example, other nations  are aggressively seeking to                                                                    
     stake their  claims to the  Arctic Ocean as far  as the                                                                    
     North Pole  itself.  The treaty  permits member nations                                                                    
     to  extend  their  exclusive economic  zones  and  will                                                                    
     govern the  development of oceanic resources,  the uses                                                                    
     and  navigational rules  governing  ocean transit,  and                                                                    
     other issues, as well.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
          155 nations, including all allies of the United                                                                       
     States and the world's maritime  powers, as well as all                                                                    
     other   nations  bordering   the  Arctic   Ocean,  have                                                                    
     ratified  the  treaty.    Although  some  critics  have                                                                    
     stated that this  country can reap the  benefits of the                                                                    
     treaty without binding itself  to its limitations, this                                                                    
     ignores the over-riding interest  the United States has                                                                    
     in   participating    fully   in    all   negotiations,                                                                    
     deliberations,  and   ratification  of   key  documents                                                                    
     emanating  from the  treaty.   Only treaty  signatories                                                                    
     will have the  right to sit on  the important governing                                                                    
     bodies convened under the auspices of the treaty.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          Because the Senate Foreign Relations Committee                                                                        
     has now reported the treaty  to the Senate floor, it is                                                                    
     particularly   important    and   timely    that   this                                                                    
     legislature  passes  HJR 39  and  transmits  it to  all                                                                    
     members  of the  U.S.  Senate  expressing this  state's                                                                    
     strong  interest  in the  treaty  and  support for  its                                                                    
                                                           th                                                                   
         passage during the remaining months of the 110                                                                         
     Congress.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:12:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ISAAC  EDWARDS,  Legislative  Director, Senator  Lisa  Murkowski,                                                               
United States Congress, testified  on behalf of Senator Murkowski                                                               
in support of HJR 39.   He emphasized Senator Murkowski's support                                                               
of the treaty  and her hope that it would  be ratified this year.                                                               
Regarding  the treaty,  he noted  that on  October 31,  2007, the                                                               
Senate  Foreign  Relations  Committee  voted  17:4  to  recommend                                                               
Senate advice  and consent  to the  treaty.   That is  the second                                                               
time a committee  has recommended advice and consent  - the first                                                               
time occurring  in 2004.  The  treaty is now pending  on the full                                                               
Senate's  calendar,  but no  time  has  been  set aside  for  the                                                               
consideration.    Treaties  require  67  votes  in  order  to  be                                                               
ratified, he said.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS  said opponents  of the  treaty express  concern that                                                               
there would be  a loss of sovereignty if the  U.S. were to become                                                               
a party  of the treaty.   Opponents  question why the  U.S. would                                                               
put  itself  in  situation  where  it might  be  limited  in  its                                                               
actions.   Proponents, including the  U.S. Navy and  Coast Guard,                                                               
he said,  respond that it is  necessary to "lock in"  the freedom                                                               
of  navigation, rather  than  depend  on customary  international                                                               
law.  Currently, the U.S.  Navy transits through narrow straights                                                               
around the  world, which  are shown  to be  international waters.                                                               
The  Law  of  the  Sea Treaty  would  secure  those  navigational                                                               
rights.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EDWARDS, as  an example  of the  tendency for  international                                                               
customary law  to change,  reminded the  committee that  over one                                                               
year ago,  15 British  sailors were seized  for being  in Iranian                                                               
waters, although  evidence shows  they were in  Iraqi territorial                                                               
waters.    Following  the  Iraq/Iran war  from  1988,  there  was                                                               
dispute over  which country  owned what water.   He  said, "Since                                                               
that point in time,  it's been more of a custom  or a practice of                                                               
who owns what,  rather than a specific  delineation."  Proponents                                                               
of the treaty  say [the U.S.] should not put  itself in a similar                                                               
position where customary law could  change over time, but rather,                                                               
should secure the rights now.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS  pointed out that the  Law of the Sea  Treaty expands                                                               
[the  United  States']  territorial   waters,  in  which  it  has                                                               
absolute sovereignty to 12 nautical  miles.  In a previous treaty                                                               
from 1958,  the territorial water  of the U.S. was  only extended                                                               
to 3 nautical  miles.  Furthermore, he noted, the  Law of the Sea                                                               
Treaty  would provide  for  a new,  200  nautical mile  exclusive                                                               
economic zone  - a provision that  has not existed in  any treaty                                                               
to which the  U.S. has heretofore been a party.   He stated, "So,                                                               
although we're currently operating as  if we have rights provided                                                               
under the Law  of the Sea Treaty to those  zones and sovereignty,                                                               
as a  non-party to the  treaty, other nations do  not necessarily                                                               
need  to recognize  our claims  to those  areas."   That fact  is                                                               
particularly important to Alaska,  because over half the nation's                                                               
coastline is in Alaska.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:16:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS  named international treaties that  resulted from the                                                               
Law of the  Sea Treaty:  the Convention on  Straggling and Highly                                                               
Migratory Stocks,  which provides both access  to and protections                                                               
for  fish  stalks   that  migrate  through  the   high  seas  and                                                               
jurisdictions of other nations,  including the pollock fishery in                                                               
the Bering  Sea; and the  Convention of Fisheries in  the Central                                                               
Bering Sea, which  gives an unprecedented degree  of control over                                                               
the activities  of other fishing  nations in the  central portion                                                               
of  the  Bering  Sea  beyond  the  United  States'  and  Russia's                                                               
exclusive economic zone.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS pointed  out that the 1991  Maritime Boundary Treaty,                                                               
between Russia  and the United  States, which is  widely regarded                                                               
as highly favorable to the U.S.,  in terms of fishing grounds and                                                               
mineral rights,  is consistent  with the Law  of the  Sea Treaty.                                                               
The U.S.  Senate has ratified  the Maritime Boundary  Treaty, but                                                               
the  Russian Duma  has not.    He stated,  "There are  increasing                                                               
cries  from Moscow  to renegotiate  that treaty  because it's  so                                                               
favorable to  the U.S."  He  explained that if the  U.S. does not                                                               
become part to  the Law of the Sea Treaty,  its Maritime Boundary                                                               
Treaty "may  also be in  doubt," because Russia has  not ratified                                                               
it,  and  "it  would  be extremely  difficult  to  renegotiate  a                                                               
boundary agreement with similar popular results for the U.S."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS, regarding sovereignty,  said the issue of subjecting                                                               
the  U.S. to  an international  dispute  resolution tribunal  has                                                               
been raised  as an  objection.  Opponents  question why  the U.S.                                                               
should put  its interests, including its  military activities, in                                                               
hands  not  sympathetic to  the  United  State's position.    Mr.                                                               
Edwards  said that  concern is  valid,  and is  addressed in  the                                                               
Senate Resolution  on Advice  and Consent  that would  ratify the                                                               
treaty.  He continued:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Article  287 of  the treaty  allows for  declaration of                                                                    
     which  form of  dispute  resolution a  party wishes  to                                                                    
     use.  And  the Senate Resolution on  Advice and Consent                                                                    
     ...  says   that  the  U.S.  would   choose  a  special                                                                    
     arbitration tribunal for  matters related to fisheries,                                                                    
     marine  environment,  marine scientific  research,  and                                                                    
     navigation - including pollution from vessels.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     ... Most  importantly, Article 298  of the  treaty says                                                                    
     that a  state may declare  that it does not  accept any                                                                    
     other  procedures for  dispute  settlement  for any  of                                                                    
     three types of disputes.   ... Those include:  boundary                                                                    
     delimitations   for   territorial   waters,   exclusive                                                                    
     economic  zones,  or  the continental  shelf;  disputes                                                                    
     concerning  military  activities   or  law  enforcement                                                                    
     activities,   including   the   definition   of   those                                                                    
     activities;  and disputes  in which  the U.N.  Security                                                                    
     Council is  exercising its ...  function.  And  so, the                                                                    
     Senate  Resolution on  Advice and  Consent exempts  the                                                                    
     U.S.  from   all  three   of  those   categories,  from                                                                    
     boundaries,  military  activities,  and  U.N.  Security                                                                    
     Council  activities.     So,   we're  not   subject  to                                                                    
     international dispute  resolution under the Law  of the                                                                    
     Sea Treaty in those areas.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS  said another issue  raised asks why the  U.S. should                                                               
become  a party  to  the treaty  now, rather  than  waiting.   He                                                               
offered his view  that the answer concerns  the amendment process                                                               
of the treaty.  He explained  that when the treaty was formed, it                                                               
delayed the possibility  of any amendment being made  to it until                                                               
10 years  after its entry into  force.  That 10  years came about                                                               
as of  November, 2004.   He stated  that the U.S.  needs to  be a                                                               
party  to  the treaty  to  block  objectionable amendments.    He                                                               
continued:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     ... Even  if an  objectionable amendment  would somehow                                                                    
     come into force, ... if the  U.S. were to be a party to                                                                    
     the treaty, the language  doesn't necessarily impact us                                                                    
     because the only  language that impacts us  is what the                                                                    
     Senate  provides in  the Advice  and Consent  to Ratify                                                                    
     the treaty - not language  that occurs after the Senate                                                                    
     has  ratified the  treaty, unless  ...  the Senate  ...                                                                    
     provides an  amendment to the  treaty.  So,  that's why                                                                    
     it's  important   to  be  a   party  now,   before  any                                                                    
     objectionable amendments might be adopted.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:20:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS stated  that the U.S. needs to be  able to defend its                                                               
claims to the Arctic in its  extended continental shelf.  He said                                                               
the Arctic ocean  covers about 3 percent of  the earth's surface,                                                               
but  accounts for  about 25  percent of  the world's  continental                                                               
shelf.   The mapping expedition  by the Coast Guard  Cutter Healy                                                               
found that the  continental shelf off of  Northern Alaska extends                                                               
for  an  additional  hundred miles  beyond  what  was  previously                                                               
thought.   However,  the  U.S.  cannot claim  that  area and  the                                                               
resources that  are in it, without  being a party to  the treaty,                                                               
or  at   least  cannot   have  its   claims  recognized   by  the                                                               
international  community.   He reviewed  that Russia  has already                                                               
laid  claim to  its extended  continental shelf,  which gives  it                                                               
control over  half of the Arctic.   The Commission on  the Limits                                                               
of  the  Continental Shelf  currently  is  examining that  claim.                                                               
Other nations  are making claims as  well, he relayed.   In fact,                                                               
eight   submissions  have   already   been   made  for   extended                                                               
continental  shelf  claims  since  December 2001,  and  more  are                                                               
expected.   Mr.  Edwards  said the  aforementioned commission  is                                                               
made up of 21 members who  not only are experts in various fields                                                               
of geology, geophysics, and hydrography,  but also are parties to                                                               
the Law  of the  Sea Treaty.   The U.S. cannot  have a  member on                                                               
that commission, because it is not party to the treaty.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:22:24 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL,  regarding  sovereignty,  asked  if  the                                                               
[area  of   continental  shelf]   claimed  by  Russia   has  been                                                               
authorized under the treaty.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS answered that Russia  can make that claim through the                                                               
Commission  on  the Limitation  of  the  Continental Shelf.    He                                                               
explained that  a country  can claim an  extended portion  of the                                                               
continental shelf if  it can show that the  subsurface area comes                                                               
from  the   land  mass   that  belongs   to  the   that  country.                                                               
Previously,  he  said, countries  were  not  able to  make  those                                                               
claims  because  technology  did  not exist  with  the  necessary                                                               
mapping capabilities under  the ocean.  In response  to a follow-                                                               
up  question from  Representative Coghill,  he clarified  that in                                                               
order to  be internationally recognized,  the claims  Russia made                                                               
had to be submitted to the commission.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL asked  if the  Maritime Boundary  has not                                                               
been  ratified  because of  the  change  in government  from  the                                                               
U.S.S.R. to Russia.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS said no, but said  he would not rule that possibility                                                               
out.   He stated  that the  Russian government  has said  it will                                                               
"follow this agreement" and "act as  if this treaty is in place."                                                               
He  said there  have been  an increasing  number of  articles and                                                               
comments from  Russia that  show that the  country does  not like                                                               
the  good  deal  the  U.S.  got  regarding  fishing  grounds  and                                                               
potential mineral  rights, and Russia  wants to  renegotiate that                                                               
deal.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said  he would argue that  Russia is "ever                                                               
encroaching."   He  asked, "How  many disparate  resolutions have                                                               
happened  within  this treaty  that  have  been resolved  to  the                                                               
U.N.'s satisfaction?"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS  said he does  not know,  but he emphasized  that the                                                               
U.N. plays a limited role in this issue - "in name only."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said he is glad to hear that.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EDWARDS  added that  the  treaty  was negotiated  under  the                                                               
offices  of  the  U.N.,  but  that entity  has  no  role  in  the                                                               
governance of the  treaty itself or the commissions  that are set                                                               
up by the treaty.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EDWARDS,  in  response to  a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Coghill, explained  that a treaty does  not need the vote  of the                                                               
U.S. House of  Representatives.  The last step in  the process is                                                               
Senate ratification of the treaty.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:27:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL   explained  that  he  had   asked  about                                                               
disparate resolution  history because  his understanding  is that                                                               
Russia  has displayed  an absolute  disregard for  treaties.   He                                                               
said, "I'm feeling that ... we  might end up being 155, plus one,                                                               
if we sit on  the council, or we might be just one  to one, if we                                                               
stay outside of the treaty."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS  pointed out  that the  Convention on  the Straddling                                                               
and Highly  Migratory Stocks and  the Convention on  Fisheries in                                                               
the Central  Bering Sea both have  dispute resolution arbitration                                                               
clauses, which  are what the U.S.  would adhere to in  the Law of                                                               
the Sea Treaty.  Russia is involved in those, as well, he noted.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL emphasized  his need to know  who would be                                                               
in charge of  the dispute resolution and how it  would be handled                                                               
before supporting  the proposed resolution.   He stated, "Because                                                               
what we're  going to do is  subject ourselves, as a  nation, to a                                                               
panel  that may  not  be ...  of  our choosing,  and  may not  be                                                               
sympathetic at all to the United States."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:28:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EDWARDS,  explained  how  the   members  of  the  panel  are                                                               
selected, as follows:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Article 287 says that a  state can choose from a number                                                                    
     of  mechanisms for  dispute resolution:   You  have the                                                                    
     international tribunal  for a  law of the  sea; there's                                                                    
     the International  Court of  Justice; and  then there's                                                                    
     the Arbitration Tribunal.   There's two different types                                                                    
     of   arbitrating  tribunals:     a   plain  arbitration                                                                    
     tribunal and a special arbitration tribunal.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     The Senate's Resolution on Advice  and Consent says the                                                                    
     U.S.  will  choose  the arbitration.    ...  Under  the                                                                    
     special arbitration  process, which is  the principally                                                                    
     chosen  one for  maritime issues,  both parties  select                                                                    
     two  arbitrators,  and   then  those  four  arbitrators                                                                    
     select a  fifth and  a final arbitrator.   If  they are                                                                    
     unable  to agree  on that  fifth  arbitrator, they  can                                                                    
     agree on  a third party  to select a  fifth arbitrator.                                                                    
     And  if   still  no  agreement  can   be  reached,  the                                                                    
     Secretary General  of the U.N.  would then  appoint the                                                                    
     fifth arbitrator.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Under  regular  arbitration,  each  party  selects  one                                                                    
     arbitrator,  and then  mutually  agree  on three  other                                                                    
     arbitrators.   And  if there's  no  agreement, a  third                                                                    
     party may appoint the three remaining arbitrators.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EDWARDS, in  response to  Representative  Coghill, said  the                                                               
third  party  would not  necessarily  have  to be  the  Secretary                                                               
General of  the U.N.  - it  could be  whatever the  two countries                                                               
agreed to.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:30:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DOLL  asked if  there have  been instances  in the                                                               
past  when the  U.S. has  wished  that it  had been  part of  the                                                               
treaty.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS answered that currently  Senator Murkowski wishes the                                                               
U.S. could  be part of the  treaty, because of Russia's  claim to                                                               
the Commission  on the Limitation  of the Continental  Shelf that                                                               
it  should  have  control  of  over half  of  the  Arctic  Ocean.                                                               
Without being part  of the treaty, the U.S. is  not in a position                                                               
where it  can refute that  claim.  In response  to Representative                                                               
Doll, he said  the Law of the Sea Treaty  was "open to signature"                                                               
in 1982  - the  text having been  more or less  agreed to  by the                                                               
negotiators, and  then it was  opened up to countries  around the                                                               
world  to become  a party  to it  if they  so wished.   The  U.S.                                                               
declined  to be  a party  to it  because of  a provision  on deep                                                               
seabed mining, which Mr. Edwards  said was socialistic in nature,                                                               
in  terms of  the transfer  of technology.   No  developed nation                                                               
wanted to  be involved,  because they  would not  get any  of the                                                               
benefits.  A  renegotiation of that portion of the  treaty led to                                                               
a  1994 agreement  on deep  seabed  mining.   He stated,  "Enough                                                               
parties -  enough states -  had ratified  and become a  member to                                                               
the Law  of the Sea  Treaty by 1994,  with the agreement  of this                                                               
deep seabed mining  provision, that it went into  effect ..., and                                                               
so, that's  when the  10-year clock started  ticking in  terms of                                                               
when amendments could take place."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DOLL  clarified that  she wants  to know  if there                                                               
have been  any times  in the past,  not including  current times,                                                               
when  the U.S.  has been  limited  by not  being a  party to  the                                                               
treaty.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EDWARDS answered,  "Not so  much."   He  explained that  was                                                               
partially  because  of  the  10-year   window  of  time  when  no                                                               
amendments to  the treaty  could be  offered.   He said  the U.S.                                                               
has, since the Reagan Administration,  been operating as if under                                                               
the treaty,  so there have been  no times when the  U.S. has been                                                               
"challenged on  it."  He  reiterated that the military  wants the                                                               
U.S. to lock into those rights.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:34:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked Mr. Edwards to  confirm that "all                                                               
of  the administrations"  and "both  parties" have  supported the                                                               
treaty since its initiation.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS  answered that  is correct,  with the  exception that                                                               
the  Reagan Administration  would not  "sign off  on it"  in 1982                                                               
until  the deep  seabed mining  provision had  been "fixed."   In                                                               
response  to  Representative  Gruenberg, he  speculated  that  it                                                               
would be  possible to make sure  there are the required  67 votes                                                               
in support  of the treaty  before bringing it up  to a vote.   He                                                               
said a  resolution from the State  of Alaska would be  helpful in                                                               
showing  that  there  is  support   for  the  treaty  outside  of                                                               
Washington, D.C., and  in showing that the one state  in the U.S.                                                               
that makes  the U.S. an  Arctic nation recognizes  the importance                                                               
of the  Law of  the Sea and  how it could  impact the  Arctic and                                                               
other nation's claims.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS, in response to  Representative Gruenberg, noted that                                                               
in 2004,  the Resolution on  Advice and Consent was  reported out                                                               
by a vote of 19-0; therefore,  there "was no minority view."  The                                                               
resolution in  2007 was voted out  with a vote of  17-4, so there                                                               
were some objections.  He  stated, "I don't believe the committee                                                               
has yet  put out  the actual  report on the  treaty itself."   In                                                               
response to  a follow-up question,  he said  he will find  out if                                                               
there is  a report and  get that  information to the  House State                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee if it is available.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:37:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  asked  if  there are  any  other  Arctic                                                               
nations outside  of the northern coast  of the U.S. that  are not                                                               
part of the treaty.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS answered no.  He  said there are 155 nations that are                                                               
part of the treaty.  He  told Representative Coghill that he will                                                               
supply the committee with a history of dispute resolutions.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:39 :07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN closed public testimony.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:39:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to adopt Amendment  1, which read                                                               
as follows:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 7:                                                                                                            
          Delete "for ratification"                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 18:                                                                                                           
          Delete "claims of"                                                                                                    
          Insert "claim of authority by"                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, lines 23 - 26:                                                                                                     
          Delete "oil, gas, and mineral resources in the                                                                        
     Arctic Ocean and other northern  waters, the conduct of                                                                    
     essential  scientific research  in the  world's oceans,                                                                    
     the right of the United States  to the use of the seas,                                                                    
     the rules of  navigation, and the effect of  the use of                                                                    
        the seas on the world's economic development and                                                                        
     environmental concerns"                                                                                                    
     Insert new paragraphs to read:                                                                                             
               "(1)  oil, gas, and mineral resources in the                                                                     
     Arctic Ocean and other northern waters;                                                                                    
               (2)  conduct of essential scientific                                                                             
     research in the world's oceans;                                                                                            
               (3)  right of the United States to the use                                                                       
     of the seas;                                                                                                               
               (4)  rules of navigation;                                                                                        
               (5)  effect of the use of the seas on world                                                                      
     economic development; and                                                                                                  
     (6)  environmental concerns related to the use of the                                                                      
     seas"                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL objected for discussion purposes.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG offered  his  understanding that  there                                                               
are  no substantive  changes  made by  Amendment  1; the  changes                                                               
proposed  address   a  typographical   error,  a   correction  of                                                               
terminology   recommended   by   the    bill   drafter,   and   a                                                               
simplification of confusing language.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:42:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL removed  his objection.   There  being no                                                               
further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:42:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  directed attention to Article  26, [shown                                                               
on page  33 of  "Oceans and  Law of the  Sea; Division  for Ocean                                                               
Affairs and the Law of the  Sea; United Nations Convention on the                                                               
Law of the Seas Agreement  Relating to the Implementation of Part                                                               
XI of  the Convention; (Full texts),"  prepared by Representative                                                               
Coghill's Office,  included in the committee  packet], which read                                                               
as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                           Article 26                                                                                           
         Charges which may be levied upon foreign ships                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
       1.  No charge may be levied upon foreign ships by                                                                        
      reason only of their passage through the territorial                                                                      
     sea.                                                                                                                       
         2.  Charges may be levied upon a foreign ship                                                                          
      passing through the territorial sea as payment only                                                                       
       for specific services rendered to the ship.  These                                                                       
     charges shall be levied without discrimination.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  said he  would like  to know  what effect                                                               
that would have  on Alaska's taxation of cruise ships  and "if we                                                               
would be  in violation  of the  treaty if  we didn't  treat every                                                               
ship  the same  - specifically  big ships  and the  smaller ships                                                               
that don't pay the tax."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:43:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVEN DAUGHERTY,  Assistant Attorney General,  Natural Resources                                                               
Section, Civil  Division (Anchorage), Department of  Law, stated,                                                               
"I don't believe this would have  any impact on cruise ships that                                                               
are making  landing in Alaska."   He  said the right  of innocent                                                               
passage means passage through a  territorial sea without making a                                                               
landing within the state.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  said  the  genesis of  his  question  is                                                               
derived  from   paragraph  (2)  of  Article   26  [text  provided                                                               
previously].                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:44:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EDWARDS  said  he  would   have  to  check  with  the  state                                                               
department to  find out what  its reading of that  language would                                                               
be.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON stated  for the  record that  he did  not                                                               
support the cruise tax and, thus,  hopes that "it might, in fact,                                                               
be something that the cruise line could hang their hat on."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:45:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DOLL cited  language [beginning  on page  2, line                                                               
31, through page 3, line 2], which read as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
      WHEREAS the United Nations Convention on the Law of                                                                     
        the Sea will not interfere with the intelligence-                                                                       
         gathering efforts of the United States or the                                                                          
     navigational freedom of the United States Navy; and                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DOLL  asked if that sovereignty  is "under Article                                                               
298," to which Mr. Edwards previously referred.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS answered  that is correct.  In response  to a follow-                                                               
up question from  Representative Doll, he said it would  be up to                                                               
the  U.S. to  determine  what  a military  activity  is and  what                                                               
intelligence-gathering activity  is, in terms  of the  U.S.'s own                                                               
activities.   Along  those  lines, he  said,  under the  Senate's                                                               
Resolution on  Advice and Consent,  the U.S. would  have exempted                                                               
itself "from  anybody questioning  our ability  to do  that under                                                               
the Law of the Sea."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DOLL  asked, "And so,  that would also  pertain to                                                               
Canada,  Russia,   and  others   who  would  also   be  gathering                                                               
intelligence?"                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS answered:                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     If they have exempted themselves from that Article of                                                                      
      the Law of the Sea, they would define, in their own                                                                       
     terms, what they believe their military activity is.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:47:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROSES moved  to report HJR 39, as  amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:48:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL objected  to  state that  he  is not  yet                                                               
comfortable  with  the  Law  of  the Sea  Treaty.    He  said  he                                                               
understands that  Alaska has  the majority of  coast line  in the                                                               
U.S., thus,  he said he  is open to the  discussion.  He  said he                                                               
will  be   checking  out  the   dispute  resolution   claims  and                                                               
settlements.   He  reiterated his  observation that  the Russians                                                               
have disregarded  treaties in  the past -  even taking  land from                                                               
the  U.S.   He  said  he is  confident  that  the governments  of                                                               
Canada, Greenland,  Iceland, Denmark,  and Norway will  be easier                                                               
to deal with.  He said  he thinks "we" might inadvertently end up                                                               
in  the position  he previously  described as  being one  of 155,                                                               
rather than  1:1.   He said it  seems that  historically, America                                                               
has been  willing to submit  itself, while  others have not.   He                                                               
stated that  he wanted these thoughts  on the record, as  well as                                                               
voiced to Senator Murkowski's office,  and he said he needs "some                                                               
comfort level" before he is willing to "agree to this."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:49:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN said  he thinks Representative Coghill  raises a valid                                                               
point.  The U.S. must maintain its sovereignty.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:50:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS said he understands  that there is concern that other                                                               
nations may not  live up to their commitment.   He said, "We have                                                               
many, many  treaties that  we are a  party to,  both multilateral                                                               
and bilateral."   He  repeated that he  would get  information to                                                               
Representative Coghill  regarding dispute resolution  history and                                                               
"whether or not there have been  issues out there with Russia, in                                                               
particular."   The issue  of whether or  not other  countries are                                                               
going  to play  by the  rules is  one that  the U.S.  will always                                                               
face, he remarked.  He added, "I  don't have a good answer to say                                                               
to that,  other than that's  part of what  people look up  to the                                                               
United States for is that we do play by the rules."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LYNN noted  that Representative  Coghill chairs  the House                                                               
Rules Standing  Committee -  the next  committee of  referral for                                                               
HJR 39.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:51:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL removed  his objection  to the  motion to                                                               
move  HJR  39,  as  amended, out  of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and  the attached fiscal  notes.  There  being no                                                               
further objection,  CSHJR 39(STA) was  reported out of  the House                                                               
State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:52:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG, in the  interest of time, requested the                                                               
committee hear HB 412 next.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 412-LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL & LB&A MEMBERSHIP                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:52:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  last order of business  was HOUSE                                                               
BILL NO.  412, "An Act relating  to the membership of  the Alaska                                                               
Legislative Council and the membership  of the Legislative Budget                                                               
and Audit Committee."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:52:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  introduced HB 412 as  prime sponsor, on                                                               
behalf of every  member of the House Minority.   He said the bill                                                               
was  introduced once  before on  behalf  of every  member of  the                                                               
House Minority in the Twenty-Third  Alaska State Legislature.  He                                                               
stated that with  one exception, HB 412 completes  a concept that                                                               
began  back  in approximately  1987  or  1988, in  the  Fifteenth                                                               
Alaska State  Legislature, when  a member  of the  House Minority                                                               
approached  Representative  Gruenberg,  then the  House  Majority                                                               
leader,  asking  for   proportional  representation  on  standing                                                               
committees.    At  that  time,  he  noted,  "we  were  not  in  a                                                               
coalition," and the members of  the Democratic majority agreed to                                                               
the  concept  of  proportional  representation  on  the  standing                                                               
committees and amended the Uniform Rules accordingly.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said  that for  whatever  reason,  the                                                               
membership of the Alaska Legislative  Council and the Legislative                                                               
Budget and Audit Committee was  not made proportional at the same                                                               
time.    He noted  that  those  two  committees were  created  by                                                               
statute and do  not require a two-thirds vote,  but rather follow                                                               
a majority  vote.  He said  the only committee that  has not been                                                               
included  in  HB 412  was  the  Joint Armed  Services  Committee,                                                               
because "we just didn't feel that that was necessary."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:55:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said there are  six sections to the bill                                                               
which   provide  proportional   representation   on  the   Alaska                                                               
Legislative  Council   and  the  Legislative  Budget   and  Audit                                                               
Committee.   He said  both the majority  leader and  the minority                                                               
whip support  the legislation, although  neither one was  able to                                                               
attend today's meeting.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG,  in response  to a question  from Chair                                                               
Lynn, described  the present  make-up of  the two  committees and                                                               
how  the bill  would change  them.   He  said he  would have  the                                                               
numbers written  down for the  chair by  the next hearing  of the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:57:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LYNN announced that HB 412 was heard and held.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
State  Affairs  Standing  Committee   meeting  was  adjourned  at                                                               
8:58:09 AM.                                                                                                                   

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