Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/20/1995 01:35 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
         SENATE COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                         
                       February 20, 1995                                       
                           1:35 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
 Senator John Torgerson, Chairman                                              
 Senator Randy Phillips, Vice Chairman                                         
 Senator Tim Kelly                                                             
 Senator Fred Zharoff                                                          
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                         
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
  -- PRESENTATION BY DARROLL HARGRAVES, CHAIRPERSON                            
     ALASKA LOCAL BOUNDARY COMMISSION                                          
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 16                                                            
 "An Act relating to the University of Alaska and university land,             
 authorizing the University of Alaska to select additional state               
 public domain land, and defining net income from the University of            
 Alaska's endowment trust fund as 'university receipts' subject to             
 prior legislative appropriation."                                             
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 56                                                            
 "An Act relating to rights in certain tide and submerged land."               
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 SB 16 - No previous action to record.                                         
                                                                               
 SB 56 - No previous action to record.                                         
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Darroll Hargraves, Chairperson                                                
 Alaska Boundary Commission                                                    
 333 W. 4th Ave., Suite 220                                                    
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
                                                                               
 Senator Steve Frank                                                           
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of SB 16                                 
                                                                               
 Wendy Redman, Vice President of University                                    
  Relations                                                                    
 University of Alaska                                                          
 910 Yukon Drive                                                               
 Fairbanks, AK 99775-2388                                                      
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information in support of                      
                      SB 16                                                    
                                                                               
 Fred Klouda                                                                   
 Alaska Sport Fishing Association                                              
 6324 Air Guard Road                                                           
 Anchorage, AK 99502                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposes SB 16                                          
                                                                               
 Rick Smeriglio                                                                
 HCR 64, Box 565                                                               
 Seward, AK 99664                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposes SB 16                                          
                                                                               
 Brian Rogers                                                                  
 P.O. Box 80690                                                                
 Fairbanks, AK99708                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on SB 16                           
                                                                               
 Charity Green, Student                                                        
 Kenai Peninsula College                                                       
 34820 College Drive                                                           
 Soldotna, AK                                                                  
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testfied in support of SB 16                           
                                                                               
 Senator Loren Leman                                                           
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of SB 56                                 
                                                                               
 Sarah Hannan, Executive Director                                              
 Alaska Environmental Lobby                                                    
 P.O. Box 22151                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Has concerns with SB 56                                
                                                                               
 John Baker, Assistant Attorney General                                        
 Department of Law                                                             
 1031 W. 4th Ave., Suite 200                                                   
 Anchorage, AK 99501-1994                                                      
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified on SB 56                                     
                                                                               
 Bob Juettner                                                                  
 Administrator                                                                 
 Aleutians East Borough                                                        
 P.O. Box 439                                                                  
 Sand Point, AK  99661                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 56                          
                                                                               
 Cliff Eames                                                                   
 Alaska Center for the Environment                                             
 519 West 8th Ave., #201                                                       
 Anchorage, AK  99501                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified against SB 16 & SB 56                        
                                                                               
 Ron Swanson, Director                                                         
 Division of Land                                                              
 Department of Natural Resources                                               
 P.O. Box 107005                                                               
 Anchorage, AK  99510-7005                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 56 with changes             
                                                                               
 Jerry McCune                                                                  
 211 4th St., Suite 112                                                        
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of SB 16 & SB 56                  
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-3, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
  ¶CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  called the Senate Community & Regional Affairs          
 Committee meeting to order at 1:35 p.m.  He stated the first order            
 of business would be a presentation by the Local Boundary                     
 Commission, and he noted the Commission's recommendations for the             
 dissolution of five inactive cities in the state were submitted to            
 the Legislature in the first ten days of the session.  These                  
 dissolutions will automatically take effect within 45 days after              
 the presentation, unless disapproved by a resolution passed by a              
 majority of both bodies of the Legislature.  He noted that his                
 office has checked with each of the senator's staff for the cities            
 in their districts that the Local Boundary Commission has                     
 recommended for dissolution, and Senators Admas, Hoffman and                  
 Lincoln have expressed no opposition.                                         
                                                                               
 DARROLL HARGRAVES, Chairman of the Local Boundary Commission,                 
 addressed the committee over the teleconference network from                  
 Ketchikan.  He introduced commission members Myrtle Johnson, Toni             
 Salmeir, Frances Hallgren and Dr. Hugh Fate, who were participating           
 via teleconference from various locations in the state.                       
                                                                               
 Mr. Hargraves explained that the Local Boundary Commission's duties           
 include acting on proposals for: municipal incorporation;                     
 annexation; detachment; dissolution; merger; consolidation; and               
 reclassification of cities.  Staff support to the Commission is               
 provided by the Department of Community & Regional Affairs.                   
                                                                               
 Summarizing the 1994 activities, Mr. Hargraves said the commission            
 held 16 meetings and approved petitions for:  incorporation of the            
 City Egegik; annexation to the City of Sand Point; and dissolutions           
 of the cities of Atmautluak, Kaisigluk, Newtok, Tununak and                   
 Tuluksak.  He noted the incorporation of the City of Egegik remains           
 subject to approval by the local voters, and the dissolution of the           
 five cities is subject to review by the Legislature.  The                     
 Commission also reconsidered the northwest boundary of the Lake &             
 Peninsula Borough and the final action is that the boundaries will            
 stay as they are.                                                             
                                                                               
 Activities currently pending before the Commission include:                   
 dissolution of the City of Akiak; detachment of 5,400 square miles            
 from the Fairbanks North Star Borough; incorporation of the 10,000            
 square mile North Pole Borough; and the reconsideration of the                
 incorporation of the City of Pilot Point.                                     
                                                                               
 Mr. Hargraves noted that the Commission's annual report to the                
 Legislature addressed several policy issues which include: growing            
 interest in borough detachment; growing interest in dissolution of            
 cities; the lack of limitations on the authority of municipalities            
 to levy certain taxes; and the lack of compensation for the                   
 Commission.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Mr. Hargraves outlined two suggestions for legislation to enable              
 the state to deal more effectively with dissolution of cities.  The           
 first is to permit traditional councils to hold title to real                 
 property, and the second is to broaden the law concerning                     
 succession to assets, liabilities and duties of a dissolved                   
 municipality.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Mr. Hargraves pointed out that concerns continue to be expressed              
 over the lack of limits on the authority of municipalities to levy            
 fsales taxes.  The Commission offers no proposals to limit such               
 authority, however, it wishes to ensure that the Legislature is               
 aware of the concerns being expressed.                                        
                                                                               
 In his concluding comments, Mr. Hargraves said the Commission has,            
 in the past, urged the Legislature to provide compensation for                
 services rendered by the members of the Commission, and the                   
 legislation has advanced to different levels, but it has never                
 passed.  He noted that if members of the Commission were                      
 compensated at $150 per day for an estimated 25 meetings per year,            
 the total fiscal note for the compensation would be $18,750.                  
                                                                               
 Number 230                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TORGERSON asked if committee members had questions for Mr.            
 Hargraves or any of the other Commission members.  Hearing none, he           
 thanked Mr. Hargraves for his overview on the Local Boundary                  
 Commission and its activities.                                                
                                                                               
 SCRA - 2/20/95                                                                
         SB  16 INCREASE LAND GRANT TO UNIV. OF ALASKA                        
                                                                              
 Number 246                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON introduced SB 16 as the next order of business.             
                                                                               
 SENATOR STEVE FRANK, prime sponsor of SB 16, noted the same                   
 legislation was passed by the Senate the previous session, but                
 failed to come to a vote on the House floor during the final hours            
 of that session.                                                              
                                                                               
 The legislation would allow the University of Alaska to select one            
 million acres of unencumbered land from the State of Alaska.  The             
 University previously received 112,000 acres of land, which is                
 small by comparison to most of the rest of the western public land            
 states.  Some universities in states with much smaller state land             
 grants, such as New Mexico and Oklahoma, have received up to one              
 million acres.                                                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR FRANK believes the legislature should follow through on the           
 intent of the Congressional Moral Act of 1862, which granted states           
 the right to receive public lands to support universities, by                 
 increasing the grant to the University and to allow them to develop           
 the lands in a responsible manner and benefit from the revenues               
 that they can generate.  With the decline in the state's general              
 fund revenues, providing the University a greater land grant and an           
 opportunity for more revenues from land development would let the             
 University continue to meet its mission with a more diversified               
 financial system of support, he stated.                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR FRANK stated the legislation contains adequate protection             
 for the state, and he urged its favorable consideration by the                
 committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 290                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if there are differences between the bill                 
 passed by the Senate last year and this version.  SENATOR FRANK               
 said the final version passed by the Senate last year decreased the           
 amount of the land grant from one million acres to 500,000 acres.             
 SB 16 increases it back to the original one million acres.  SENATOR           
 R. PHILLIPS commented that he is more favorable to the 500,000 acre           
 figure.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 332                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF noted that on a map of Prince of Wales Island, he             
 observed that the community of Whale Pass has a couple of                     
 subdivisions and University land is identified within those                   
 subdivisions.  He asked how the University acquired parts of those            
 subdivisions.  SENATOR FRANK answered that those lands are probably           
 part of the existing 112,000 acres granted.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 350                                                                    
                                                                               
 WENDY REDMAN, Vice President, University Relations, University of             
 Alaska, speaking to other differences between last year's                     
 legislation and SB 16, directed attention to page 8, line 9,                  
 subsection (n).  It provides that if the University is not actively           
 managing the land to provide income within a 10-year period of                
 time, DNR can recover title to those lands.                                   
                                                                               
 The other change was made in Section 5, on page 8.  It requires the           
 University to establish substantially similar regulations for                 
 mineral entry, location, and leasing procedures.                              
                                                                               
 Number 400                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR R. PHILLIPS questioned a possible conflict between                    
 subsection (n) and Section 5.  SENATOR FRANK acknowledged that                
 there is and said they will try to find a better way to address it.           
 He said the whole message to the University is to go ahead and                
 develop these lands, but it needs to have language that is                    
 workable.  WENDY REDMAN added that concern has been expressed on              
 the possibility of the University flooding the market with land,              
 and she agreed that this provision needs to be worked on.   She has           
 had discussions with DNR on Section 5 and they have given her some            
 ideas of language changes that would be better for the University             
 and also address the major concern of the mining industry.                    
                                                                               
 Number 415                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR HOFFMAN asked if land taken back will be deducted                     
 permanently from the amount of land conveyed to the University, or            
 will the University be allowed to select lands in another area.               
 WENDY REDMAN responded it is her understanding is that there is no            
 reselection provision so it is permanently lost.                              
                                                                               
 Number 430                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF asked, in the case of a legal dispute over the                
 land, if the University or the state handles the matter.  SENATOR             
 FRANK answered that the state has the final word and that there is            
 no opportunity for the University to take the state to court.                 
                                                                               
 Number 445                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR HOFFMAN asked what the rationale was for reducing the                 
 figure to 500,000 acres in last year's legislation.  SENATOR FRANK            
 answered that he didn't think there was a specific rationale.                 
                                                                               
 Number 460                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY inquired who takes precedence over the University in            
 terms of selecting land.  SENATOR FRANK replied that full authority           
 is given to the commissioner of DNR to make those million acres               
 subordinate to any other state interest.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 490                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TORGERSON directed attention to some proposed amendments to           
 SB 16 and SENATOR FRANK offered the following overview:                       
                                                                               
 Page 4, line 4:  Clarifies that the University lands would be                 
 considered public lands as they are already in law.                           
                                                                               
 Page 7, line 5:  Clarifies that earnings from oil and gas                     
 development are subject to the permanent fund royalties and bonuses           
 language.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Page 7, line 29 and page 8, line 1:  Decreases the time frame to              
 make it a more efficient process for the conveyance of the lands.             
                                                                               
 Page 8, lines 5 & 6:  Clarifies that the state will bear the cost             
 of recording all documents and deeds.                                         
                                                                               
 Page 9, line 28:  Clarifies that after conveyance if they were to             
 sell the land or put it into mineral production, etc., that the               
 requirement for customary and traditional uses doesn't follow with            
 it after conveyance.                                                          
                                                                               
 Page 9, line 31:  Clarifies that until any conveyance is made the             
 property can continue to be used for customary and traditional uses           
 and provides tort immunity to the University except in cases of               
 gross negligence or reckless or intentional misconduct, etc.                  
                                                                               
 Page 10, lines 7-12 and line 28:  Clarifying language.                        
                                                                               
 Number 546                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY referred to the amendment to page 7, line 28, and               
 asked if it means that the University will be selling some of the             
 land.  WENDY REDMAN answered that it is there hope that they would            
 be eventually selling the land to make money for the University.              
 She added that in the past they have improved and converted some of           
 their land into homesites and then sold it for tidy profits.  She             
 also clarified that the land conveyed to the University is not                
 subject to taxation until such time as it is sold to private                  
 ownership.  SENATOR FRANK added that he believes it is the                    
 University's intent to get into the actually selling of any this              
 land in a very small and limited fashion, and it is not designed to           
 be a major portion of their overall program.                                  
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-3, SIDE B                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TORGERSON announced that the committee would take testimony           
 on SB 16 over the teleconference network.                                     
                                                                               
 FRED KLOUDA, testifying from Anchorage and representing the Alaska            
 Sport Fishing Association, stated that with the lack of state                 
 control over fish and game resources, they are against conveying              
 land out of public ownership.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 035                                                                    
                                                                               
 CLIFF EAMES, testifying from Anchorage and representing the Alaska            
 Center for the Environment, voiced their opposition to SB 16 and              
 the transfer of these lands out of general public ownership.  They            
 oppose the increased fragmentation of Alaska's land ownership and             
 the severely reduced opportunities for the citizens of Alaska to              
 determine how Alaska's public lands should be managed.  He cited              
 numerous problems connected to the transfer of lands to the Mental            
 Health Lands Trust.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 090                                                                    
                                                                               
 RICK SMERIGLIO, a resident of Moose Pass, testified in opposition             
 to SB 16.  He said Moose Pass is a small unincorporated community             
 on the road system that has traditional or recreational use of                
 their private and public lands, as well as a proud tradition of               
 public input.  He noted that because of ANCSA (Alaska Native Claims           
 Settlement Act), municipal entitlement, the Mental Health Trust               
 settlement, a lot of the good land in their area has been selected            
 already, and he fears that with another conveyance to the                     
 University, Moose Pass will get targeted again.                               
                                                                               
 Number 150                                                                    
                                                                               
 RON SWANSON, Director, Division of Lands, Department of Natural               
 Resources, stated he was present in Anchorage to answer questions.            
                                                                               
 Number 155                                                                    
                                                                               
 BRIAN ROGERS, formerly Vice President for Finance at the University           
 of Alaska, addressed issues raised earlier in the meeting.                    
                                                                               
 In response to Senator Zharoff's inquiry concerning University land           
 on Prince of Wales Island, he said those subdivisions were received           
 in 1982 as a result of settlement of claims by the University when            
 the state took land away from the University under the Municipal              
 Entitlement Act.                                                              
                                                                               
 Responding to Senator Hoffman's inquiry for examples of some of the           
 University's income from lands, Mr. Rogers related that last year             
 the University  earned $10 million, against expenses of around                
 $800,000 for land management.  The major activities have been                 
 timber, subdivision lands, oil and gas, and commercial leases.  He            
 noted the Board of Regents' policy on land favors the University              
 retaining ownership and leasing the land in most circumstances.               
 However, he added that it is not appropriate for subdivisions and             
 for certain commercial development and it is in the University's              
 best interest to sell those lands.                                            
                                                                               
 In response to Senator Kelly's question on what takes precedence              
 over the University in selecting land, Mr. Rogers said any land               
 that has already been identified by the Legislature for parks,                
 refuges or is otherwise designated by the Legislature is not                  
 available to the University for selection under SB 16.                        
                                                                               
 Number 230                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHARITY GREEN, a student at the Kenai Peninsula College, pointed              
 out that at the Board of Regents' most recent meeting, they voted             
 to eliminate the consolidation cap and to increase tuition, which,            
 she said, will have a drastic impact on all of the University's               
 campuses.  She added that with the budget shortfalls, the students            
 recognize that they have to do their part.  She voiced support for            
 SB 16 and urged its passage which, she said, will show the                    
 legislators are still concerned about the university's problems and           
 the students' needs.                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 270                                                                    
                                                                               
 JERRY MCCUNE, President, United Fishermen of Alaska, stated support           
 for SB 16, but he does have concerns with certain areas of it, such           
 as the amount of acreage to be conveyed.  He suggested extending              
 the time frame for the Board of Regents to adopt policies for an              
 annual plan for management and disposition of university land, as             
 well as limiting where the University might be able to sell the               
 land.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 300                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TORGERSON closed the public hearing on SB 16, bringing it             
 back before the committee.                                                    
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 302                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY moved the following amendments be adopted into a                
 committee substitute.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.               
                                                                               
 Page 4, line 4                                                              
 Following last sentence insert:  "Provided, however, that land                
 conveyed to the University under AS 14.40.365 shall be treated as             
 other public land and shall be managed in accordance with AS.                 
 14.40.366 and regulations promulgated by the University."                     
                                                                               
 Page 7, line 5                                                              
 Following the semicolon (;) insert "and AS 37.13.010;"                        
                                                                               
 Page 7, line 29                                                             
 Delete the period (.) and insert "within one year of request by the           
 University."                                                                  
                                                                               
 Page 8, line 1                                                              
 Following "resources shall" insert "within one year of request by             
 the University"                                                               
                                                                               
 Page 8, line 5                                                              
 Delete "execution" and insert "recording"                                     
                                                                               
 Page 8, line 6                                                              
 Following the period (.) insert "The State shall bear the cost of             
 recording all documents and deeds."                                           
                                                                               
 Page 9, line 28                                                             
 Following "University of Alaska shall" insert ",prior to disposal             
 or conveyance to third parties,"                                              
                                                                               
 Page 9, line 31                                                             
 Add new section to read as follows:                                           
    *Sec.___.  AS 14.40 is amended by adding a new section to read:            
   Sec. 14.40.371.  TORT IMMUNITY FOR CLAIMS ARISING ON                        
 UNIVERSITY LAND NO IMPROVED BY THE UNIVERSITY.  The University of             
 Alaska is not liable in tort, except for an affirmative act that              
 constitutes gross negligence or reckless or intentional misconduct,           
 for property damage or for injury to or death of a person who                 
 enters or remains on land owned by the University of Alaska;                  
 provided that the above exemption from liability does not apply to            
 claims which arise on that portion of those lands which have been             
 improved and actively maintained by the University of Alaska after            
 its receipt of tide thereto.                                                  
                                                                               
 Page 10, lines 7-12                                                         
 Delete                                                                        
                                                                               
 Page 10, line 28                                                            
 Delete "or"                                                                   
 Following "state property," insert "or property owned by the                  
 University of Alaska"                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 315                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY moved that on page 9, line 3, delete "30" and insert            
 "60" in its place.  Hearing no objection, the amendment was                   
 adopted.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY moved that on page 4, line 8, change "one million               
 acres" to "two million acres."  After brief discussion, he withdrew           
 the amendment.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 347                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR PHILLIPS moved that on page 4, line 8, change "one million            
 acres" to "500,000 acres.  After brief discussion, he withdrew the            
 amendment.                                                                    
                                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF voiced his concern of the University selecting land           
 within an area that has not incorporated as a municipality, but               
 when they do incorporate as a municipality, under their                       
 entitlement, they should be able to have the opportunity to select            
 land within that area if the University has not done anything with            
 the land.  He said he would possibly offer such an amendment in the           
 Finance Committee.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 430                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR PHILLIPS moved that CSSB 16(CRA) be passed out of committee           
 with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so             
 ordered.                                                                      
 SCRA - 2/20/95                                                                
              SB 56 RIGHTS IN TIDE/SUBMERGED LAND                              
                                                                              
 Number 470                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TORGERSON brought SB 56 before the committee as the final             
 order of business.                                                            
                                                                               
 SENATOR LOREN LEMAN, prime sponsor of SB 56, said the basic concept           
 of the legislation is to get decision making for tidelands and                
 submerged lands made at the local level instead of at the state               
 level.  The bill will provide a mechanism for the Department of               
 Natural Resources to turn these lands over to municipalities who              
 identified tide and submerged lands for development.  It provides             
 for four conditions that would have to be met before land could be            
 conveyed to municipalities.                                                   
                                                                               
 Senator Leman pointed out that land conveyed under this bill is               
 still subject to the public trust doctrine, and if a municipality             
 is dissolved, the land would revert to the state.  Further, it                
 doesn't affect the general land entitlement of a municipality                 
 provided by AS 29.65.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 530                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TORGERSON opened the public hearing on SB 56.                         
                                                                               
 SARAH HANNAN, Executive Director, Alaska Environmental Lobby,                 
 stated their support for the intent of SB 56, but they are                    
 concerned that the bill neglects to supply recourse to the state              
 for decisions which must be made in the best interest of the state            
 and the public.  There is no availability for the state not to                
 convey the land if it meets the four criteria in the bill.  She               
 suggested the bill should provide that if the state could prove               
 that its concerns outweigh the municipality, the commissioner could           
 recommend that the land not be transferred.  Other than that, the             
 Lobby supports Senator Leman's attempt to help local governments              
 diversify their economy and develop their economies.                          
                                                                               
 Number 622                                                                    
                                                                               
 JOHN BAKER, Assistant Attorney General, Natural Resources Section,            
 Anchorage Attorney General's office, spoke to the public trust                
 doctrine.  He said where the Legislature authorizes conveyance of             
 tide and submerged lands, which it has done on a very limited basis           
 since statehood, except in very narrow circumstances those lands              
 are subject to the public trust.  That means members of the public            
 can not be absolutely excluded from pursuing public trust uses on             
 those lands.                                                                  
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-4, Side A                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 BOB JUETTNER, Administrator of the Aleutians East Borough (AEB),              
 testified in support of SB 56 and supports the municipal ownership            
 of tidelands for the following reasons:  flood control, costs and             
 equity.  A municipality cannot spend G.O. bonds on state-owned                
 lands; it must secure a minimum lease for a five-year period, which           
 is becoming more difficult to do.  The second issue is the cost of            
 leasing.  A current tideland lease of 4.4 acres has a modest lease            
 fee of $1,100 which represents only one-fifth of the total annual             
 costs.  Additional expenses include appraisal costs and the ongoing           
 costs of insurance and bonding requirements.  Another issue with              
 the municipalities is the equity issue.  First class and home rule            
 cities incorporated prior to 1964 received the fee simple issue to            
 their tidelands.  Not only did they receive the title to their                
 tidelines, but any city so incorporated can annex the tideline and            
 still apply for the tideland, anytime after the annexation is                 
 approved.  Finally, there is the issue of disposable tidelands.  AS           
 38.05.820 (b)(7) states that municipalities that have been                    
 incorporated since 1964 shall have reasonable access to public                
 waters.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 090                                                                    
                                                                               
 CLIFF EAMES, representing the Alaska Center for the Environment               
 (ACE), stated ACE does not support SB 56.  He emphasized it is                
 important to retain remaining state lands in state ownership so               
 that all Alaskans have an opportunity to influence how that land is           
 managed.  The municipalities have had some opportunities for                  
 municipal entitlement and if there is a need for more lease                   
 processors, ACE would support the providing of additional                     
 processors.  ACE does not believe this legislation is necessary               
 because the opportunity to lease those lands from the state exists.           
 He reiterated ACE's preference to continue to work with the                   
 existing process and not transfer additional land out of state                
 ownership.                                                                    
                                                                               
 RON SWANSON, Director of the Division of Lands, Department of                 
 Natural Resources (DNR), stated DNR supports SB 56 in concept but             
 has two concerns.  DNR strongly feels some discretion should be               
 allowed to the Commissioner and that the burden of proof should be            
 put on the Department, not on the applicant, but they feel it would           
 be inappropriate to require the Commissioner to convey land just              
 because it is suitable for development.                                       
                                                                               
 MR. SWANSON stated DNR also recommends the deletion of the phrase             
 "for sale" from page 2, line 18.  He pointed out that tidelands,              
 shorelands, and submerged lands are all managed under the Public              
 Trust Doctrine.  This is a living doctrine that has evolved and               
 continues to evolve over time.  Other states and the courts have              
 long found that the sale of these lands, while not necessarily                
 violating the public trust doctrine at the time of sale, may, by              
 its use, violate the doctrine at a later date.                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if DNR's second concern was in regard to the              
 lease, or the sale, or both.  MR. SWANSON replied DNR's concern is            
 with the sale.  He reiterated DNR supports the ability of the                 
 municipalities to lease tide, shore and submerged lands.                      
                                                                               
 Number 168                                                                    
                                                                               
 JERRY McCUNE testified on behalf of himself.  He described to the             
 committee how a friend of his, in Cordova, after taking incorrect             
 survey readings, built a house.  The house is situated on 1 foot of           
 state land so the builder cannot close his loan.  SB 56 could                 
 correct the situation by conveying that piece of land to the                  
 municipality who would convey it to this individual.  He discussed            
 a second situation in Cordova, in which the ferry terminal and dock           
 are located in ten feet of water as the result of an earthquake.              
 The ferry is unable to dock there.  The dock is used as a launch              
 for fishermen and other boaters.  The municipality has been trying            
 to get the rights to that land but is in dispute with the state.              
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY asked if the proposed amendment came from DNR.                  
 SENATOR TORGERSON answered affirmatively, and added it is already             
 in the companion House bill.  SENATOR KELLY questioned whether the            
 Administration might oppose SB 56 if it is not amended.  MR.SWANSON           
 replied DNR would oppose SB 56 without the amendments.                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR KELLY moved the adoption of the following amendment.                  
 Add to Section 1(a):                                                          
 Unless the commissioner finds that the public interest in               
 retaining state ownership of the land clearly outweighs the                   
 municipality's interest in obtaining the land, the                           
 commissioner shall convey to a municipality tide or submerged                 
 land requested by the municipality that is occupied or                        
 suitable for occupation and development if the...                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR PHILLIPS objected because only one person would be making             
 the determination.  A roll call vote was taken with the following             
 result:  SENATORS HOFFMAN, KELLY, ZHAROFF, and TORGERSON voted                
 "YEA," and SENATOR PHILLIPS voted "NAY."  The motion to adopt the             
 amendment passed.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 243                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF commented he concurs with DNR's second concern to             
 delete the phrase "or sale" from page 2, line 18.  He moved to                
 amend SB 56 by deleting that phrase.  SENATOR TORGERSON asked how             
 that would affect the homeowner in Cordova.  SENATOR HOFFMAN asked            
 for Senator Leman's opinion.   SENATOR LEMAN stated he preferred to           
 leave the phrase in because of recurring situations like the case             
 in Cordova.                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR HOFFMAN noted he was the manager in Bethel for several                
 years, and great strides were taken to obtain public input before             
 land was leased, therefore he felt it is important to give the                
 local government as much discretion as possible.                              
                                                                               
 Number 270                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF withdrew his amendment to delete the phrase "or               
 sale" from page 2, line 18, but he suggested including a letter of            
 intent.  SENATOR LEMAN felt that in light of the fact that the                
 Commissioner would have the final approval, he would not have any             
 problem with a letter of intent.  SENATOR ZHAROFF commented some              
 municipalities might want to work with this legislation as soon as            
 possible, therefore he suggested adding an immediate effective                
 date.  After discussion, SENATOR LEMAN agreed.                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR PHILLIPS moved that CSSB 56 (CRA) be passed out of                    
 committee with individual recommendations.  There being no                    
 objection, so ordered.                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR TORGERSON adjourned the meeting at 3:27 p.m.                          
                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects