Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/16/2003 01:00 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 16, 2003                                                                                         
                           1:00 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Scott Ogan, Vice Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 93                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to limitations on actions to quiet title to,                                                                   
eject a person from, or recover real property or the possession                                                                 
of it; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                    
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 64                                                                                                              
"An Act requiring certain consumer reporting agencies to provide                                                                
individuals with certain information without charge."                                                                           
     MOVED CSSB 64(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 155                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to hunting on the same day airborne; and                                                                       
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     MOVED CSSB 155(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Confirmation Hearings:                                                                                                          
     Commission on Judicial Conduct - Richard Burton;                                                                           
     Select Committee on Legislative Ethics - Shirley McCoy;                                                                    
     CONFIRMATIONS ADVANCED                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SB 93 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 3/11/03 and 4/1/03.                                                                
SB 64 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 2/20/03 and 4/3/03.                                                                
SB 155 - See Judiciary minutes dated 3/31/03 and 4/4/03.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Richard Burton                                                                                                              
Ketchikan, AK  99901                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions pertaining to his                                                                     
confirmation                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Shirley McCoy                                                                                                               
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions pertaining to her                                                                     
confirmation                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Amy Seitz                                                                                                                   
Staff to Senator Wagoner                                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SB 93 for the sponsor                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Tom Scarborough                                                                                                             
1676 Taroka Dr.                                                                                                                 
Fairbanks, AK  99701                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed to SB 93                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Henry Crow                                                                                                                  
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed to SB 93                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Jim Butler                                                                                                                  
Baldwin & Butler                                                                                                                
125 N Willow                                                                                                                    
Kenai, AK  99611                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports Version V of SB 93                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Jon Tillinghast                                                                                                             
Simpson, Tillinghast, Sorenson & Longenbaugh                                                                                    
One Sealaska Plaza                                                                                                              
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions about SB 93                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Steve Cleary                                                                                                                
Alaska Public Interest Research Group                                                                                           
PO Box 101093                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, AK 99510                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 64                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Sam Trivett                                                                                                                 
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 64                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Marie Darlin                                                                                                                
Capital City Task Force - AARP                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 64                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Matt Robus                                                                                                                  
Division of Wildlife Conservation                                                                                               
Department of Fish & Game                                                                                                       
PO Box 25526                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK  99802-5226                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions about SB 155                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-24, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order  at 1:03 p.m.   Senators  Ogan, Ellis                                                               
and  Seekins   were  present.  Senator  French   arrived  shortly                                                               
thereafter. The first  item to come before the  committee was the                                                               
confirmation  of  Richard  Burton  to the  Alaska  Commission  on                                                               
Judicial Conduct.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
      CONFIRMATION ALASKA COMMISSION on JUNDICIAL CONDUCE                                                                   
                                                                                                                              
MR. RICHARD BURTON, nominee to  the Alaska Commission on Judicial                                                               
Conduct,  told  members  he  is a  retired  commissioner  of  the                                                               
Department of  Public Safety (DPS)  and a resident  of Ketchikan.                                                               
He has  been involved in  public service all  of his life  and he                                                               
has a  high regard  for law  and order and  public safety.  He is                                                               
very familiar with  Alaska's judicial system and has  a desire to                                                               
continue to participate in public service.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN asked  Mr. Burton to describe what  kind of judicial                                                               
conduct he would consider to be inappropriate.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BURTON said  the commission  does not  investigate unless  a                                                               
complaint  is filed.  The  commission's  responsibilities are  to                                                               
screen and  review complaints and pass  them on to the  court for                                                               
action.  He  then gave  more  biographical  details. He  came  to                                                               
Alaska as a  teenager and ran survey crews to  build highways. He                                                               
quit that work  because it was seasonal and ended  up working for                                                               
the  police department  in Ketchikan.  He  went to  Vietnam as  a                                                               
police advisor  for the State  Department for two years  and then                                                               
served as  commissioner of  DPS under  Governor Hammond.  He also                                                               
set up police  departments in Saipan and  on Indian reservations.                                                               
He then worked for Governor  Hickel and eventually did consulting                                                               
work for police departments. He is  serving his third year on the                                                               
Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN asked  Mr. Burton how he plans to  hold the judicial                                                               
branch  accountable.  He   asked  Mr.  Burton  if   he  read  the                                                               
applicable statutes  and what kind  of complaints  he anticipates                                                               
reviewing. He  said it  is common knowledge  that police  are not                                                               
always  enamored of  judicial decisions  and  asked whether  that                                                               
would be an issue if he serves.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BURTON said  some  of  his closest  friends  are judges  and                                                               
attorneys.  He said  his  decisions  would not  be  based on  his                                                               
opinion of a  judge's conduct. The Alaska  Commission on Judicial                                                               
Conduct is  one of the  few constitutionally  established boards.                                                               
It  has  a  well-balanced  membership   of  three  judges,  three                                                               
attorneys, and  three lay  members. He does  not believe  one ex-                                                               
police officer  will carry  a lot of  weight and  slant decisions                                                               
one way  or the other. He  said he has  a lot of respect  for the                                                               
judicial system  and has no axes  to grind.  He  pointed out that                                                               
Judge  Fitzgerald  was  his  employer   when  he  was  the  first                                                               
commissioner of DPS.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
There  being  no  further  questions,   Senator  Ogan  moved  Mr.                                                               
Burton's  name, with  no particular  recommendation, to  the full                                                               
body  for  consideration for  confirmation  as  a member  of  the                                                               
Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS announced  that  without  objection, Mr.  Burton's                                                               
nomination  moved to  the full  body for  consideration. He  then                                                               
called Shirley McCoy.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
          CONFIRMATION - LEGISLATIVE ETHICS COMMITTEE                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHIRLEY  ANN  McCOY,  nominee to  the  Select  Committee  on                                                               
Legislative Ethics,  told members  she has  served on  the ethics                                                               
committee for nine years and  is up for reconfirmation. She noted                                                               
that she  sent members a copy  of a statement she  sent following                                                               
her initial confirmation hearing.  That hearing was not completed                                                               
and the next hearing was cancelled.  She said she would prefer to                                                               
concentrate  on her  reputation and  not  on a  hearing that  has                                                               
nothing to do with her confirmation.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH thanked  Ms.  McCoy for  attending  and said  her                                                               
demeanor  at the  earlier hearing  impressed him.  He said  he is                                                               
personally happy that she is willing to serve in this capacity.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS commented  that the  ethics committee  is not  the                                                               
easiest place  to provide  public service.  He thanked  Ms. McCoy                                                               
for the years  she has served and her willingness  to continue to                                                               
do so.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
There being no further questions,  Senator Ogan moved the name of                                                               
Shirley McCoy to the full  body with no particular recommendation                                                               
for consideration  of her nomination  to the Select  Committee on                                                               
Legislative Ethics.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS announced that with  no objection, Ms. McCoy's name                                                               
would be forwarded to the  full Senate for consideration. He then                                                               
asked  her if  her nomination  has been  considered in  the House                                                               
committees.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. McCCOY said she has no idea  what is going on with the House.                                                               
She then commented that the  ethics committee has been stalemated                                                               
because  numerous members  are up  for confirmation.   She  asked                                                               
legislators to consider making a  change so that ethics committee                                                               
members are considered in January  so that the committee can move                                                               
forward with its work.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OGAN  said he  believes  the  ethics committee  has  the                                                               
authority  to  act  regardless   of  whether  members  have  been                                                               
confirmed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. McCOY agreed,  but noted that on  several occasions decision-                                                               
making  has carried  over for  two or  three meetings  and it  is                                                               
difficult when a member is  replaced mid-way through addressing a                                                               
complaint.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said the Boards  of Game and Fisheries  share that                                                               
same frustration. He thanked Ms. McCoy  and announced SB 93 to be                                                               
up for consideration.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                    SB 93-ADVERSE POSSESSION                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. AMY  SEITZ, staff to Senator  Tom Wagoner, sponsor of  SB 93,                                                               
told members that  adverse possession is an  archaic doctrine. It                                                               
was  established  during  the Middle  Ages  when  the  government                                                               
wanted a vast amount of wild  land put to use. A trespasser could                                                               
squat on  property and  after a period  of years,  the trespasser                                                               
would  gain title  to the  property at  the expense  of the  true                                                               
owner. SB  93 will align some  of the rights of  private property                                                               
owners with the rights of  the state and federal governments that                                                               
have already exempted themselves from adverse possession laws.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS interrupted  Ms. Seitz  to ask  that the  proposed                                                               
committee substitute be addressed.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OGAN moved  to adopt  the proposed  committee substitute                                                               
for  SB 93,  version  V, and  then objected  for  the purpose  of                                                               
hearing an explanation of the changes.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Ms.  Seitz to continue  her overview  on the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ told members the changes  made in Version V are on page                                                               
2, beginning  on line 7.  The phrase  "or other interest  in land                                                               
necessary  for   the  construction,  management,   operation,  or                                                               
maintenance of a public transportation or public access right-                                                                  
of-way"  was  added.  The  reason   is  that  the  Department  of                                                               
Transportation and  Public Facilities  (DOTPF) is  concerned that                                                               
the  original language  would  not include  land  outside of  the                                                               
right-of-way area, such as rest stops and culverts.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  said he was  looking at  the previous bill  and the                                                               
sentence Ms. Seitz described is also in that version.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ replied, "The uniform  version was not the version that                                                               
was passed out  of [Senate] Labor and Commerce. That  was a draft                                                               
CS that Senator Wagoner and  everyone agreed would not be adopted                                                               
so  I believe  the  Q  version... was  passed  out  of Labor  and                                                               
Commerce."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said that  members now  had a  copy of  version Q,                                                               
which passed  from the  Senate Labor  and Commerce  Committee and                                                               
they could compare that to Version V.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SEITZ  repeated the  change  to  Version  V  is on  page  2,                                                               
beginning on line 7.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN asked why that language was added.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ  said it was added  to include the land  outside of the                                                               
right-of-way areas  that is necessary for  maintenance of rights-                                                               
of-way, such as rest stops, ditches and culverts.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS explained that a  fill area overlapping a right-of-                                                               
way would also be covered under this legislation.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ agreed.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   OGAN  asked   for  an   explanation   of  the   phrase,                                                               
"uninterrupted adverse notorious possession."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ said that phrase is in AS 09.45.052.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN asked  what would be accomplished by  adding the new                                                               
subsection (c)  that deals  with uninterrupted  adverse notorious                                                               
possession.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS explained  DOTPF  is concerned  that without  this                                                               
provision it could not use federal  funds to build a road because                                                               
it would not be able to  tell the federal government it had clear                                                               
title to a right-of-way.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said instead of the  state having to prove that it                                                               
owns every  square inch of  a right-of-way  it could rely  on the                                                               
fact that  a road  has existed  for 20 years.  Even if  it didn't                                                               
have proof through an uninterrupted  title, it could say it owned                                                               
it through adverse possession.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said without that  provision, DOTPF would  have to                                                               
prove that it owned every square inch.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OGAN reminded  the committee  to be  mindful of  private                                                               
property rights  as well. He  maintains that DOTPF has  gotten by                                                               
for  years  without  this  language  and  questioned  why  it  is                                                               
necessary now and how it will affect private property rights.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS said  it  was included  because  the committee  is                                                               
trying to  change the first section  of the bill. In  order to do                                                               
that, the state  must make it clear that it  is continuing with a                                                               
policy that has already been in effect.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH agreed and said  it basically extinguishes adverse                                                               
possession as to all players in the state except for the state.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OGAN  removed  his  objection  and  version  V  was  the                                                               
document before the committee.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS called for public testimony.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOM  SCARBOROUGH, a registered land  surveyor from Fairbanks,                                                               
said if  Alaska extinguishes  this right, it  might be  the first                                                               
state  to  do  so.  Most   likely,  most  Alaskan  surveyors  are                                                               
adamantly   opposed  to   preventing  adverse   possession.  Many                                                               
driveways in the Fairbanks Northstar  Borough trespass on someone                                                               
else's property.  Many of  the rights-of-way  in some  areas have                                                               
been  developed from  adverse possession  because they  have been                                                               
used for many  years. He said it is not  right to extinguish this                                                               
doctrine because  the Native  corporations do  not want  to spend                                                               
money to police their own property.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  asked Mr.  Scarborough how  this bill  would affect                                                               
those people who have driveways  on property that does not belong                                                               
to them.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. SCARBOROUGH  said it is  common for  a driveway to  cross the                                                               
corner of a  neighbor's lot. If your neighbor  decides he doesn't                                                               
want the  driveway there  anymore, you would  have no  rights and                                                               
access to  your property  could be blocked  even though  you used                                                               
the driveway  for many years without  any objection.  He  said he                                                               
believes  the current  statute reads  that to  maintain right  to                                                               
one's property, the individual has  to block access at least once                                                               
per year.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HENRY CROW,  a commercial  fisherman and  homesteader stated                                                               
opposition to  SB 93. He  said the current statutes  are adequate                                                               
to handle  any kind of  land infringement. SB  93 will open  up a                                                               
can of worms.  Whenever a law is enacted that  infringes upon the                                                               
Constitution or the  Bill of Rights, we go back  to anarchy and a                                                               
time  when there  were no  laws  to protect  the individual.  The                                                               
right to have or possess a  dwelling or shelter goes back to when                                                               
God gave  the Torah and  other laws  to mankind. He  told members                                                               
that Senator  Wagoner informed  him that  this bill  failed three                                                               
times  and  he  asked  members  to  reject  it  again  as  it  is                                                               
unnecessary.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ  told members that  DOTPF staff, a  representative from                                                               
Sealaska  Corporation,  and  Jon Tillinghast  were  available  to                                                               
answer questions.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  noted that  version U  included an  exemption for                                                               
prescriptive  easements.  He  asked  why version  V  removed  the                                                               
exemption.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SEITZ  said that  a  representative  of the  Homer  Electric                                                               
Association (HEA)  spoke to Senator  Wagoner several days  ago to                                                               
express concern  that some of  their power lines that  go through                                                               
easements might be affected so subsection (d) was removed.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  if  the exemption  was  inserted at  HEA's                                                               
request and then removed at HEA's request.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JIM BUTLER, an attorney  representing HEA, said this bill was                                                               
brought to  his attention  a few  weeks ago while  he was  in the                                                               
process of  working with the  land manager to evaluate  the scope                                                               
of  utility   easements  that  have   been  proven   through  the                                                               
prescriptive easement  process. He  has been  trying to  find out                                                               
what other interests  the bill attempts to address to  see if all                                                               
parties could agree  on some language. Subsection  (d) in version                                                               
U  appears  to  address  the   issue  but  he  wants  to  clearly                                                               
understand  whether simply  addressing prescriptive  easements is                                                               
sufficient.  He is  also  attempting to  understand  some of  the                                                               
other issues  raised for other  types of  prescriptive easements.                                                               
He  asked Senator  Wagoner's  staff  for a  little  more time  to                                                               
address the issue.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked if this bill  would be held in committee and                                                               
if the easement issue is up for study.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS said  because there  are unanswered  questions, he                                                               
plans to hold it over for another meeting.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  asked what motivated  the sponsor to  introduce the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
[SENATOR THERRIAULT joined the committee.]                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER informed members  that Sealaska Corporation asked                                                               
him to introduce  this bill. It deals with a  lot of Sealaska and                                                               
other  Native corporation  property.  The  corporations have  had                                                               
many problems and hire people to  police their lands to make sure                                                               
no one is squatting on their properties.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OGAN said  one of  his  concerns is  that large  private                                                               
properties might  not have an  RS 2477  or other access  to their                                                               
lands  so   the  only  avenue   available  to  them   is  adverse                                                               
possession. He  said part of  a landowner's responsibility  is to                                                               
check  his or  her land  and, if  someone built  a cabin  on that                                                               
land, the landowner has 10 years to find it.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WAGONER said that Sealaska's  attorney could address that                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. JON TILLINGHAST, legal counsel  for the Sealaska Corporation,                                                               
told members  that a private  landowner is obliged to  police his                                                               
land only  because the  government has  imposed an  obligation on                                                               
the  private landowner  to  do so.  One of  the  ironies of  that                                                               
requirement  is  that  the  government  does  not  put  the  same                                                               
obligation  on  itself. If  one  asks  why  a person  cannot  get                                                               
adverse  possession  rights  against  the  state  or  the  United                                                               
States,  they  are  told  it is  because  the  government's  land                                                               
holdings are large and remote and  it would be an undue burden to                                                               
police its own  land. Sealaska thinks that  logic applies equally                                                               
to  private lands.  The doctrine  of adverse  possession used  to                                                               
have  legitimate   social  functions.   It  came   about  because                                                               
possession used to  equate to title. The doctrine  went through a                                                               
lot of  iterations and came to  the U.S. when the  railroads were                                                               
getting  large grants  of land  adjacent to  the lines  they were                                                               
laying.  Western legislators  wanted  individual homesteaders  to                                                               
take that  land from the  absentee railroads so the  doctrine was                                                               
imported to  the western states. He  said he does not  believe it                                                               
is  the   state's  public   policy  to   take  land   from  large                                                               
corporations and give it to individuals at no cost.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. TILLINGHAST  said when  writing the  bill, Sealaska  tried to                                                               
take care  that it  would not affect  existing rights.  Section 3                                                               
says  if a  person has  driven across  a driveway  for 10  years,                                                               
nothing in  this bill  takes that right  away. However,  from now                                                               
on, if one  wants to drive across another  person's property, the                                                               
person will have to pay for it.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  asked  about   situations  in  which  people                                                               
thought their driveways were legitimately on their own property.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. TILLINGHAST said  there are two types  of adverse possession:                                                               
bad faith  and good faith.  The bad  faith involves a  person who                                                               
moves onto  a piece  of property and  builds a  squatter's cabin.                                                               
The  good faith  involves a  person with  a deed  for a  piece of                                                               
property  and he  thinks he  knows  the boundaries,  but ends  up                                                               
inadvertently  using   adjacent  property.   He  said   the  bill                                                               
introduced  last year  would have  abolished  good faith  adverse                                                               
possession.  This bill  does not,  it only  deals with  bad faith                                                               
adverse  possession  where a  person  has  no written  instrument                                                               
whatsoever on  which to base  his claim.  He said the  bill would                                                               
not affect the people in Senator Therriault's example.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  said that  a previous testifier  said that  if this                                                               
bill were  enacted, Alaska would be  the first state to  undo its                                                               
adverse possession laws. He asked if that is accurate.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TILLINGHAST  said to  the  best  of  his knowledge  that  is                                                               
correct. He  said that in response  to a question about  the need                                                               
for state governments since a  federal government exists, Justice                                                               
Brandeis said  that states serve as  laboratories for improvement                                                               
of our  laws. He said  Alaska is the first  state to take  a hard                                                               
look at  where the doctrine  of adverse possession came  from and                                                               
whether it serves any continuing social utility.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN said  he probably could claim  adverse possession on                                                               
his neighbor's  land because  he's been  riding his  horse across                                                               
that land for over 20 years. He  asked if he would have to assert                                                               
possession before the effective date of this bill.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.   TILLINGHAST  said   his  possession   would   have  to   be                                                               
uninterrupted,  adverse, contrary  to  the  owner's interest  and                                                               
notorious,  meaning it  was not  a  hidden activity.  He said  if                                                               
Senator Ogan could meet all  of those requirements, he would have                                                               
a vested  right to the easement  now and the bill  would not take                                                               
that away.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT asked  if  that  would grant  a  right to  an                                                               
easement, not to ownership.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-24, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. TILLINGHAST said that is correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS said  he would  hold SB  93 in  committee to  give                                                               
everyone a  chance to  get their  questions answered.  He thanked                                                               
participants and announced the committee would take up SB 64.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:52 p.m.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
                    SB 64-CREDIT INFORMATION                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
SENATOR HOLLIS  FRENCH, sponsor  of SB  64, explained  to members                                                               
that SB  64 is aimed  at stemming  the growth of  identify theft,                                                               
which is  one of  the fastest  growing crimes  in America.  It is                                                               
believed  that  more  than  750,000  people  may  be  victims  of                                                               
identity  theft each  year and  each  will spend  many hours  and                                                               
typically, more than  $1,000 to repair the damage done  to his or                                                               
her reputation  and finances. Victims of  identity theft continue                                                               
to be turned  down for loans, credit and for  jobs long after the                                                               
initial  damage. They  are victims,  but are  often made  to feel                                                               
guilty.  The first  indication many  people have  that they  have                                                               
been  victimized  is  when  credit  problems  surface.  Regularly                                                               
reviewing  one's  own  credit  report  is an  easy  way  to  stop                                                               
identity theft  in the early stages.  Providing Alaskan consumers                                                               
with one free credit report a  year will not only help consumers,                                                               
but  also  the many  businesses  that  extend credit.  Minimizing                                                               
losses to  the business community  through identity theft  is one                                                               
aim of this legislation.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said businesses  inspect consumer credit histories                                                               
when   they   evaluate   applications  for   credit,   insurance,                                                               
employment  and even  leases. An  individual's credit  history is                                                               
recorded in  files maintained by  credit reporting  agencies that                                                               
sell those  reports. A credit  report often  contains information                                                               
about a person's  income, debts, credit and  payment history, and                                                               
it also  indicates whether  a person has  been sued,  arrested or                                                               
filed  for  bankruptcy. If  that  information  is incorrect,  the                                                               
consumer  can  suffer.  SB  64  will  require  consumer-reporting                                                               
agencies that  maintain files on  Alaskans to provide  an Alaskan                                                               
with one free copy  of his or her file once  a year if requested.                                                               
The report  would include  all consumer  and credit  reports. Six                                                               
other states have  taken similar strong action  to help consumers                                                               
protect and correct their credit ratings.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT moved  to adopt Amendment 1  and asked Senator                                                               
French to address the proposed amendment.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  told members the  amendment was drafted  after he                                                               
spoke with Chair  Seekins about his concern  that businesses that                                                               
extend  credit might  somehow  become  responsible for  notifying                                                               
customers  of this  right. He  said that  is not  the aim  of the                                                               
legislation. The  purpose is  to enable  Alaskans to  contact the                                                               
three  big credit-reporting  agencies  and tell  them that  under                                                               
Alaska  law they  are entitled  to  one free  credit report  each                                                               
year.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said  it is not uncommon for businesses  to have to                                                               
prove  that they  gave notice  to consumers.  He said  if someone                                                               
came  to his  dealership and  applied  for credit  from the  Ford                                                               
Motor Credit Company, he might  be required to notify that person                                                               
of his or her right and if he  did not do so, he could be subject                                                               
to penalty. The  objective of the amendment is to  make sure that                                                               
someone in  the business of providing  a loan is not  required to                                                               
notify the applicant of this particular right.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT again moved to adopt Amendment 1.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  announced that without objection,  Amendment 1 was                                                               
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said  in his experience, states  with similar laws                                                               
post this consumer right on their state websites.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said he has  found that  credit-reporting agencies                                                               
do not necessarily  object to having to provide  one free report.                                                               
They  see  it as  a  marketing  opportunity for  their  reporting                                                               
services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH  said  that  is a  valid  point  because  credit-                                                               
reporting agencies frequently market one  free credit report as a                                                               
come-on to certain individuals. His  take is that when people see                                                               
something offered  for free on  a website,  they know there  is a                                                               
hitch.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said they should know  that, but many people do not                                                               
make  that connection.  He said  he  is not  arguing against  the                                                               
bill, he  is just saying those  people that take advantage  of it                                                               
should  expect to  be targeted  for additional  solicitations. He                                                               
then took public testimony.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. STEVE CLEARY  from the Alaska Public  Interest Research Group                                                               
(AkPIRG)  said  this  bill  would   provide  one  more  tool  for                                                               
individuals  to  manage  their  own  credit.  It  also  puts  the                                                               
responsibility for maintaining your own  file on the consumer. He                                                               
said  identity theft  is on  the increase,  especially among  the                                                               
elderly and AARP and similar  organizations will be excited about                                                               
this bill.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS said  he would  be careful  about advising  people                                                               
that  one credit  check per  year will  prevent them  from having                                                               
their identity stolen.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAM  TRIVETT  said  that  SB 64  is  an  excellent  consumer                                                               
protection  bill.  He is  the  president  of the  Retired  Public                                                               
Employees Association  and although  he is not  representing that                                                               
association today he is aware that  identify theft is a big issue                                                               
for older people. SB 64 will  encourage citizens to do checks. He                                                               
found  he had  several credit  cards  listed on  his report  from                                                               
stores that  had been out of  business for many years.  He said a                                                               
credit check is beneficial for  citizens and businesses. He urged                                                               
members to support the bill.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MARIE DARLIN, coordinator of  the Capital City Task Force for                                                               
AARP, said AARP members have  been interested in this legislation                                                               
since  it  was  introduced  because   many  older  citizens  have                                                               
problems  with  their  credit   reports.  This  legislation  will                                                               
provide  an  opportunity  to  urge people  to  get  their  credit                                                               
checked. She asked if  there is any way to put  AARP members on a                                                               
"do not call" list regarding solicitations.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said AARP would have to research that question.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. DARLIN said that AARP supports SB 64.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  said he  does not believe  this will  have an                                                               
impact on  whether a  person would be  able to  block unsolicited                                                               
phone  calls selling  that service.  They would  probably receive                                                               
solicitations in the mail.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS  pointed  out  that  Ms.  Darlin  was  referencing                                                               
another piece  of legislation  that addresses  the "do  not call"                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  encouraged Ms.  Darlin to  inform people  that the                                                               
marketing aspect will  come into play if this  bill passes. There                                                               
being  no  one   else  wishing  to  testify,   he  closed  public                                                               
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:10 p.m.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN expressed concern that  SB 64 is an unfunded mandate                                                               
on private business.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said  he investigated that question  and found that                                                               
the credit reporting  agencies do not have any  problem with this                                                               
legislation because  they see  it as  a marketing  opportunity to                                                               
try to get people to purchase regular reporting services.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said  federal law requires free  credit reports to                                                               
people who have been unemployed for  a certain length of time, if                                                               
there has  been a denial of  credit or if other  specific actions                                                               
might arise to  question the status of one's  credit. Many states                                                               
have taken the  next step to mandate that consumers  be given one                                                               
free  check per  year, primarily  because of  the enormous  power                                                               
these  companies  have  over  people   in  the  realm  of  credit                                                               
granting.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS said  the influence  of  incorrect information  on                                                               
one's credit report can be very negative.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS  said  this  legislation   seems  like  a  win-win                                                               
situation for  everyone. If this  required Alaskan  businesses to                                                               
pay for  something to help  out consumers, he would  be concerned                                                               
about it being an unfunded mandate.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said he came to that same conclusion.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  said if the three  credit-reporting companies think                                                               
it is a great thing, he would like to hear from them.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said they are international  companies. Right now,                                                               
a person can get a credit report  on the Internet at no cost, but                                                               
those companies can then solicit  that person for other services.                                                               
This  bill  basically  codifies  something  those  companies  are                                                               
already doing on their own websites.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN asked if this  legislation allows those companies to                                                               
market Alaskan consumers.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said the Legislature  cannot stop them without more                                                               
legislation.  He said  he does  not like  to force  anyone to  do                                                               
something by  law unless there  is an overriding  public purpose.                                                               
He  is willing  to  give  this legislation  the  benefit of  that                                                               
doubt.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  moved  CSSB   64(JUD)  from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and the attached fiscal notes.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  announced  that  without  objection,  the  motion                                                               
carried. He then announced a brief at-ease.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                SB 155-PREDATOR CONTROL PROGRAMS                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS announced  a proposed  committee substitute  (CS),                                                               
version S, to be before the committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT moved to adopt version S (4/16/03) SB 155                                                                    
as the working document.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS objected  for the purpose of an  explanation of the                                                               
changes.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  said  the  changes in  version  S  are  primarily                                                               
semantic changes  for the  sake of  efficiency. One  paragraph is                                                               
added  that says  when the  Board of  Game authorizes  a predator                                                               
control   program   it   should  establish   predator   reduction                                                               
objectives and limits,  methods and means to be  employed, who is                                                               
authorized to  participate, and conditions for  participation. He                                                               
noted he is still working with  the Alaska Department of Fish and                                                               
Game (ADF&G)  on how to properly  delineate responsibilities. The                                                               
bill goes  to the Senate  Resources Committee so that  issue will                                                               
probably be resolved there.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS asked  if  the  intent of  Section  2  on page  2,                                                               
particularly the words "methods and  means to be employed," is to                                                               
allow the Governor's  ability to prohibit the  use of helicopters                                                               
to be overridden.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said  it is not; methods and  means are statutorily                                                               
assigned to  the Board of  Game. The language  in Section 2  is a                                                               
reiteration of a truism that  already exists in the statutes. The                                                               
Board of  Game could do that  now for private individuals  or for                                                               
permittees. It cannot compel ADF&G  to use helicopters, gun ships                                                               
and  gunners.  It  does  not change  that  separation  of  power.                                                               
Section (a)  of the original statute  says the Board of  Game can                                                               
do these  things; section (b) says  ADF&G can do these  things so                                                               
it does not touch any of the department's authority.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  asked if  the Governor had  the authority  to tell                                                               
the board that helicopters could not be used.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said, as he  understood the Governor's conversation                                                               
with the  board, the  Governor said no  state helicopters  and no                                                               
ADF&G  gunners could  be  used. He  asked  a representative  from                                                               
ADF&G to elaborate.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. MATT  ROBUS, Division of  Wildlife Conservation,  ADF&G, told                                                               
members  he  attended  the  March   Board  of  Game  meeting  and                                                               
participated in  the process as  the board came forward  with its                                                               
findings  and   request  to  the   commissioner.  He   asked  for                                                               
clarification of the chair's question.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked,   "Does  this,  in  any   way,  trump  the                                                               
Governor's statement that he is  not going to use helicopters and                                                               
gunners?"                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS said  his understanding, based on  discussions with the                                                               
Department  of  Law   (DOL)  and  the  committee,   is  that  the                                                               
commissioner  still retains  the authority  to decide  what ADF&G                                                               
will or will not implement.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said  he understands the Governor to  mean that his                                                               
desire is  that the methods  and means employed by  public people                                                               
to be at the authorization of the Board of Game, not ADF&G.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  asked if by  "public people," Chair  Seekins means                                                               
members of the public.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  said he  means  private  individuals, not  public                                                               
officials. If someone  was going to carry out  an aerial shooting                                                               
in a predator control program,  the Board of Game would authorize                                                               
those private individuals  to do so, but it could  not compel the                                                               
state to do so.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS asked  why Section  2 is  necessary if  it doesn't                                                               
change the status quo.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said it is  a reiteration of the existing statutes.                                                               
It is  somewhat unnecessary,  but is meant  to clarify.  He asked                                                               
Mr. Robus if he agrees.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS  said he only had  a few minutes to  review the working                                                               
document. He appreciates the change  at the beginning of the bill                                                               
because that is a better way  to state the committee's intent. He                                                               
said he  also appreciates the  re-inclusion of  wolverine because                                                               
of their vulnerability to same-day airborne hunting.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
In  Section 2,  he expressed  concern that  it still  potentially                                                               
sets up  a confrontational situation  in that ADF&G  believes the                                                               
board  already  has  those  powers.   If  the  board  develops  a                                                               
particularly  narrow program,  it would  give the  administration                                                               
very  little  flexibility  in   determining  whether  ADF&G  will                                                               
participate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said his intent is  to work with the  chair of the                                                               
Senate  Resources  Committee and  members  of  the department  to                                                               
define that  there is no way  the board can force  the department                                                               
to participate. At the same time,  there should be no way for the                                                               
department to make  it more difficult for the board  to carry out                                                               
its program.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN commented,  "This is kind of like  the secretary who                                                               
will  disavow  any of  your  actions  if  you're caught  kind  of                                                               
thing."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said it is  not the intent  of this bill  to force                                                               
the  board  to  do  anything.  If  ADF&G  does  not  do  it,  the                                                               
Legislature can  address the department's budget.  However, there                                                               
is a  separation of  powers in the  Administrative Code.  He does                                                               
not want to cross  that line. At the same time,  he wants to make                                                               
sure the administration  does not have the ability  to negate the                                                               
efforts of the Board of Game to carry out its program.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  pointed out that  with regard to the  separation of                                                               
powers issue,  the Board of  Game is  almost an extension  of the                                                               
legislative   branch  because   the  Legislature   delegates  its                                                               
authority to the board.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS maintained that the  Legislature, as trustee of the                                                               
resource, has delegated  certain authority to the  Board of Game.                                                               
The  board  should  be  working  cooperatively  with  ADF&G.  The                                                               
Legislature  might anticipate  that  ADF&G would  assist to  some                                                               
degree and  provide administrative support  if the Board  of Game                                                               
authorized  an airborne  hunting  program.  He expressed  concern                                                               
that the  board should not  be able to  issue an order  that says                                                               
that those who are authorized  to participate in this program are                                                               
members of ADF&G and they must use helicopters.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS agreed that reflects one of ADF&G's major concerns.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said, in effect,  the board will still  be allowed                                                               
to make  that decision but ADF&G  would not be forced  to be part                                                               
of the program except for administrative participation.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OGAN asked  Mr. Robus  if he  envisions that  ADF&G will                                                               
give biological  advice to the  board, but ADF&G  employees would                                                               
not fly in planes and shoot.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROBUS  said   version  S  requires  ADF&G   to  present  the                                                               
information upon which  this program is based, so  ADF&G would be                                                               
involved there. As  the board recognized in the  finding for Unit                                                               
19D  in March,  predator management  issues can  be addressed  in                                                               
different ways. Some involve  department participation while some                                                               
do not.  Version S seems  to allow the board  to come out  with a                                                               
very narrow program,  in terms of saying exactly how  it could be                                                               
done,  and  there may  be  times  when  that conflicts  with  the                                                               
administration's desires.  That's the  conversation he  had [with                                                               
the chair] about  where the board's authority to  direct ADF&G or                                                               
recommend to ADF&G intersects with  the department's authority to                                                               
participate or not participate.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS added:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     And  the  accompanying   concern  that  the  department                                                                    
     doesn't say, well, you have to  get a permit to be able                                                                    
     to do this  and the permits are in Barrow  and the hunt                                                                    
     is  in  McGrath.  There's some  responsibility  on  all                                                                    
     parts there to be cooperative  but yet not to cross the                                                                    
     lines of individual powers.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  asked if anything  in current state law  prevents a                                                               
predator  control program  that  involves use  of helicopters  to                                                               
identify dens  or areas  where predators center.  He said  he has                                                               
spoken  with a  professional predator  regulator for  the federal                                                               
government who suggested using helicopters for such a purpose.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS said the general answer  is no and unless the person is                                                               
carrying a collection  permit or some sort  of authorization, the                                                               
person  can not  harass or  even disturb  an animal  because that                                                               
would fit the  definition of "taking." An ADF&G  employee doing a                                                               
survey with  a permit is  legal. If  a private person  does that,                                                               
the person could cross the  line from observation to disturbance,                                                               
which becomes a legal problem.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN asked if anything  prevents ADF&G staff from getting                                                               
permits,  locating  dens,  and then  using  helicopters  to  drop                                                               
people  off to  hunt the  next  day. He  said he  is looking  for                                                               
alternatives.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROBUS said  if hunting  is involved,  helicopters cannot  be                                                               
used to transport hunters or their  gear or game. If the activity                                                               
is something  other than hunting, possibly  an approved predation                                                               
control program, something like that could occur.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT   asked  if   under  the   existing  statute,                                                               
individual  Alaskans  could  participate in  a  predator  control                                                               
program that includes same-day airborne or shooting from planes.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS said that is  correct according to his discussions with                                                               
the Department of Law.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said version S  says the  board can use  more than                                                               
just the  prey population objective  to be  able to do  that. The                                                               
board can also  use harvest or population objectives  for prey or                                                               
predator  in an  area determined  to be  an intensive  management                                                               
area.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT said the bill  now contains language that says                                                               
the board  will assert control  over how that  is to be  done. He                                                               
maintains  that  this  legislation   will  not  undo  the  public                                                               
initiative.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  agreed and said it  clarifies how it can  be used.                                                               
He  noted that,  hopefully,  Section 2  brings  some portions  of                                                               
existing  statute into  focus  so that  the  state isn't  turning                                                               
everybody with a Super Cub and a shotgun lose to kill wolves.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked about the term "free ranging wolf."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said  that free ranging means it is  not trapped or                                                               
confined somehow.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS acknowledged that is correct.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  asked Mr.  Robus if he  supports the  inclusion of                                                               
wolves and wolverines  on the list and whether  they are included                                                               
because those two species are killing moose calves.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROBUS said  he does  not want  to give  the impression  that                                                               
bears  are not  involved in  some areas.  He commented  favorably                                                               
about  including  wolverines  in  version  S  because  they  were                                                               
removed  from the  previous committee  substitute. Staff  pointed                                                               
out  to  him  that  wolverine,   being  solitary,  having  a  low                                                               
reproductive  rate   and  using  open  country,   could  be  very                                                               
vulnerable  to  same  day  airborne  land  and  shoot  practices.                                                               
Because the first  sentence of this statute  says certain species                                                               
may not be  hunted, it makes sense to include  wolverine. He said                                                               
the fact that  wolves are included is due to  the initiative that                                                               
originally established  the statute. However, everything  else in                                                               
the bill  says in  a predation control  situation, wolves  may be                                                               
taken in  specific ways. He pointed  out that lynx are  not often                                                               
found  in country  where they  would be  susceptible to  same day                                                               
airborne shooting and fox have a higher reproductive rate.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  said  he  would  be  hard  pressed  to  find  any                                                               
advantage in  using same  day airborne  hunting to  get a  fox or                                                               
lynx.  However, wolverines could be more susceptible.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked, "And what's your take on the bears?"                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said they are covered under different statutes.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked if he intends to address that statute.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said he intends to look  at it at some point and is                                                               
currently  talking  to  members  of  the  trapping,  hunting  and                                                               
guiding industries and ADF&G about how to control bears.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked if bears are on the list.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS said  he thinks  they should  be, but  not in  all                                                               
areas.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH said  most  of his  constituents  think that  any                                                               
airborne wolf hunting  is banned. The tenor of  their comments is                                                               
that they want this to be  as tightly regulated as possible. They                                                               
do not want one  inch of leeway to make it  easier to do predator                                                               
control from  the air or using  same day land and  shoot. He said                                                               
from a  political perspective, he  sees the Governor  saying that                                                               
he will  not allow  department staff  to participate  in predator                                                               
control using helicopters,  but what he sees coming  is the least                                                               
attractive alternative to his constituents.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 03-25, SIDE A                                                                                                            
2:43 p.m.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said  Senator French's comment shows  a widening of                                                               
the  rural-urban  split.  He  said   that  people  from  downtown                                                               
Anchorage and  those from a  rural community  will be at  odds on                                                               
this issue.  If Senator French's  constituents want to  widen the                                                               
rural-urban split, this  issue provides an opportunity  to do so.                                                               
He said that members of  Senator French's party are supportive of                                                               
this legislation  because they are  unable to put moose  on their                                                               
tables because of  predators. If people in  downtown Anchorage do                                                               
not believe that  is a real problem, they should  talk to some of                                                               
those folks in the rural areas.  He said the rural populations of                                                               
moose have declined and, because  of ineffective predator control                                                               
in  some areas  close  to urban  populations,  urban hunters  are                                                               
hunting  in  the rural  areas.  He  pointed  out that  the  moose                                                               
population  in Unit  13  has  dropped from  27,000  to less  than                                                               
8,000. The wolf  populations are huge in that area.  As a result,                                                               
urban hunters who  used to hunt in  Unit 13 are now  going to the                                                               
rural areas. That  is exacerbating the urban  rural tension. They                                                               
would  not  travel  to  rural  areas if  they  had  a  reasonable                                                               
opportunity to harvest close to  home. The Governor said he wants                                                               
the local  people to  take care of  predator control  rather than                                                               
ADF&G  employees. This  bill will  authorize local  people to  do                                                               
what  the Governor  wants to  have done;  it does  not set  up an                                                               
adverse position to  the Governor's. It allows the  Board of Game                                                               
to  make that  decision in  concert with  the Governor's  desired                                                               
methods.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  told Senator  French this bill  is a  step in                                                               
the  direction  that his  constituents  want  to go.  They  think                                                               
airborne hunting is absolutely outlawed:  it is not. They believe                                                               
this legislation undoes the initiative:  it does not. Legislators                                                               
have to educate them. He  directed the woman he corresponded with                                                               
to the  sections of statute to  show her that this  will put some                                                               
controls on a  process she says she does not  like. He questioned                                                               
whether she would  rather have no controls.  Constituents need to                                                               
understand this is a step in the right direction.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH said  it strikes  him that  if the  issue is  the                                                               
declining  moose  population  criteria   already  exists  in  the                                                               
current statute.  The first go  around on this issue  centered on                                                               
increasing the  number of variables  the board  could contemplate                                                               
when  considering airborne  predator  control. He  said the  real                                                               
issue  is that  the  Board of  Game did  not  set the  population                                                               
figures   appropriately.  It   was  suggested   that  the   moose                                                               
population could  be maintained  at a low  level but,  because of                                                               
the rise in  the predator population, it would crash.  He said he                                                               
was  not  convinced   of  that  because  he   believes  the  game                                                               
population  must  be set  with  a  large  enough buffer  to  take                                                               
predation into account. He questioned  how this bill would change                                                               
that.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS replied:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     ...you may have a  population objective in a particular                                                                    
     area and  you're maintaining that  population objective                                                                    
     but,  because   of  predation,  you  have   no  harvest                                                                    
     objective  that  you can  look  for  in being  able  to                                                                    
     maintain that  population objective. So  you're cutting                                                                    
     back on  the size  that can  be taken.  You're removing                                                                    
     non-resident  hunters from  the equation.  You're doing                                                                    
     other things that can help  you maintain the population                                                                    
     objective but  you now are  not able to meet  a harvest                                                                    
     objective. So  this would give  you the  opportunity to                                                                    
     eliminate the competition to be  able to meet a harvest                                                                    
     objective. Am I correct there?                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBUS said  another way to say it is  that, under the current                                                               
system, the board  has only one trip wire that  enables it to set                                                               
up  a  predation  control  program  -  that  is  if  an  ungulate                                                               
population identified  for intensive management  descends through                                                               
its population objective. If an  ungulate population is above its                                                               
population objective,  but for various  reasons is in  a downward                                                               
trajectory, this  flexibility to  choose several  objectives from                                                               
which  to work  should allow  the board  to take  some corrective                                                               
measure to try  to recover the population to the  lower limit. He                                                               
said  it  is  important  that  this is  only  tied  to  intensive                                                               
management populations of ungulates  that have been identified as                                                               
very important  for high levels of  human use. He said  the March                                                               
meeting of  the board demonstrated  that, when decisions  must be                                                               
based  on  a  single  objective, wildlife  management  gets  very                                                               
complicated.  Giving  the  board  flexibility to  look  at  other                                                               
objectives  makes  sense  because   other  factors  affect  those                                                               
ungulate populations.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  commented that  he hunted  moose in  Unit 13  for a                                                               
number of  years, but he  quit 10 years  ago because the  herd he                                                               
was hunting  had 20 to  30 cows and not  one calf. He  could tell                                                               
back then that the population was in trouble.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  moved  CSSB  155(JUD)  from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS objected.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  called for a  roll call  vote. The motion  to move                                                               
the  bill from  committee passed  with Senators  Therriault, Ogan                                                               
and  Seekins  voting in  favor,  and  Senators French  and  Ellis                                                               
opposed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Seekins adjourned the meeting at 2:58 p.m.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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