Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

03/09/2006 08:30 AM JUDICIARY


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08:36:05 AM Start
08:36:58 AM Confirmation: William A. Granger - Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar
08:59:34 AM HB318
10:15:54 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar: TELECONFERENCED
William A. Granger
= HB 318 LIMITATION ON EMINENT DOMAIN
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 9, 2006                                                                                          
                           8:36 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
Confirmation: William A. Granger, Board of Governors of the                                                                     
Alaska Bar                                                                                                                      
     CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 318(FIN) am                                                                                               
"An Act limiting the exercise of eminent domain."                                                                               
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 318                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LIMITATION ON EMINENT DOMAIN                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) MCGUIRE, HOLM, HAWKER                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
01/09/06       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 12/30/05                                                                              
01/09/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/09/06       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
01/11/06       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
01/11/06       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/11/06       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
01/25/06       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
01/25/06       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/25/06       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/01/06       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/01/06       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
02/03/06       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/03/06       (H)       Moved CSHB 318(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/03/06       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/06/06       (H)       JUD RPT CS(JUD) NT 3DP 1NR 2AM                                                                         
02/06/06       (H)       DP: WILSON, ANDERSON, MCGUIRE;                                                                         
02/06/06       (H)       NR: GRUENBERG;                                                                                       
02/06/06       (H)       AM: GARA, KOTT                                                                                         
02/09/06       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
02/09/06       (H)       Moved CSHB 318(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/09/06       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
02/10/06       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) NT 2DP 3NR 3AM                                                                         
02/10/06       (H)       DP: HAWKER, MEYER;                                                                                     
02/10/06       (H)       NR: KERTTULA, JOULE, WEYHRAUCH;                                                                        
02/10/06       (H)       AM: STOLTZE, HOLM, FOSTER                                                                              
02/21/06       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
02/21/06       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 318(FIN) AM                                                                              
02/22/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/06       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
03/02/06       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/02/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/02/06       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/09/06       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
William A. Granger, Senior Vice President                                                                                       
Wells Fargo Bank                                                                                                                
301 West Northern Lights Blvd                                                                                                   
Anchorage, AK 99503                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Confirmation Candidate                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Craig Johnson, Legislative Aide                                                                                                 
Staff to Representative Lesil McGuire                                                                                           
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding HB 318                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
Peter Putzier, Senior Assistant Attorney General                                                                                
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding HB 318                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Wyn Menefee, Chief of Operations                                                                                                
Department of Natural Resources                                                                                                 
400 Willoughby Ave.                                                                                                             
Juneau, AK  99801-1724                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding HB 318                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
Ruth Blackwell                                                                                                                  
Alaska Association of Realtors                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 318                                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
Ed Earnhart                                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 318                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Kevin Richey                                                                                                                    
Alaska Municipal League                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 318                                                                                      
                                                                                                                              
Hope Shermell                                                                                                                   
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 318                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at  8:36:05 AM.  Present were Senators                                                             
Hollis French,  Charlie Huggins, Gretchen Guess,  and Chair Ralph                                                               
Seekins.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
^Confirmation: William  A. Granger  - Board  of Governors  of the                                                           
Alaska Bar                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:36:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR RALPH SEEKINS  asked Mr. Granger to describe  the reason he                                                               
is seeking reappointment to the Board of Governors.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM  A. GRANGER,  Senior Vice  President,  Wells Fargo  Bank,                                                               
responded  that he  has found  the work  to be  important to  the                                                               
Alaska Bar  and to the  Alaska community. The Board  of Governors                                                               
fills an  important role in  maintaining quality in  the judicial                                                               
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HOLLIS FRENCH  asked Mr.  Granger whether  the Board  of                                                               
Governors sets the dues for the Alaska Bar.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRANGER indicated that they do.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked where the Alaska Bar dues rank nationally.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRANGER said they are at the high end.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked  whether the idea of a  two-tiered system to                                                               
allow for lawyers  who work in the public service  arena to pay a                                                               
lower fee has been explored.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRANGER  said bar dues  are one  of the more  hotly discussed                                                               
topics before the  Board of Governors and the  Bar has negotiated                                                               
lower dues for people who offer large amounts of pro bono work.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  voiced a preference  for incorporation of  a two-                                                               
tiered system.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS  asked Mr. Granger to speak  about how the                                                               
Board handles disciplinary action.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRANGER   responded  the  current  number   of  cases  being                                                               
investigated  is currently  less than  it has  historically been.                                                               
The  Board of  Governors has  been  very active  in managing  the                                                               
cases. The  nature of the  case generally determines how  long it                                                               
takes to resolve. Due to the  amount of procedure involved it can                                                               
sometimes take years to resolve.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:46:13 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR CHARLIE HUGGINS  asked Mr. Granger the length  of time he                                                               
has served on the Board.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRANGER responded he has served for six years.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS asked him to  speak about the improvements he has                                                               
seen in his time with the Board.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRANGER  responded that the  Board goes through  many changes                                                               
depending on the  people who serve and  their personal interests.                                                               
He described the Board as a "very well managed machine."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS asked  him the kind of value that  he adds to the                                                               
Board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRANGER  described  his   involvement  as  "common,  street-                                                               
commercial sense to  what is going on." He said  he tries to keep                                                               
everyone on  point and  to keep  the ball  moving in  a practical                                                               
manner.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS asked  him to name three tasks  that are critical                                                               
to perform as a Board.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.   GRANGER  replied   discipline,  oversight   of  Association                                                               
management, and liaison between the public and the Alaska Bar.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:50:08 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  the number  of  members in  the Alaska  Bar                                                               
Association.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRANGER  indicated there were  a couple thousand but  not all                                                               
were active.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked  the  amount  of  gross  revenue  that  the                                                               
Association pulls in.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRANGER  speculated it  was over $1  million dollars  in dues                                                               
and continuing education fees.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked what the Association does with the dues.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRANGER explained  dues money  is  spent on  administration,                                                               
discipline investigation, continuing  education and administering                                                               
the admittance.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked how often the Board of Governors meets.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRANGER  responded every other  month. Meetings are  two days                                                               
long and are generally held in Anchorage.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  whether  there  was pay  for  being on  the                                                               
Board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRANGER said no.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:53:01 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  noted  that  continuing  education  classes  are                                                               
offered for  a fee.  He asked whether  they were  also subsidized                                                               
through the dues.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRANGER advised the committee  that some are under funded and                                                               
some  are  over funded.  It  depends  on  many factors,  such  as                                                               
attendance.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:55:32 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  moved  to  forward Mr.  Granger's  name  to  the                                                               
President of the Senate for  consideration. This does not reflect                                                               
intent  by  any  of  the  members to  vote  for  or  against  the                                                               
individual  during any  further session.  Hearing no  objections,                                                               
the motion carried.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS announced a brief recess at 8:55:54 AM.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
              HB 318-LIMITATION ON EMINENT DOMAIN                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:59:34 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR CHARLIE  HUGGINS informed  the  committee that  Chair                                                               
Seekins was  in another meeting and  then announced HB 318  to be                                                               
up for consideration.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PETER PUTZIER,  Senior Assistant Attorney General,  Department of                                                               
Law (DOL), offered to answer questions.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ED  EARNHART   identified  himself   as  an  activist   in  local                                                               
government and politics. He testified  against HB 318 and said it                                                               
usurps  the authority  of local  governments  by preventing  them                                                               
from  using eminent  domain related  to economic  and quality  of                                                               
life   developments.   He   noted   eminent   domain   has   been                                                               
inappropriately  and illegally  applied but  the abuses  of power                                                               
have been  exaggerated and yet  have positively  served countless                                                               
communities. The  people in New London,  Connecticut whose houses                                                               
were taken  were not  poor, he claimed.  Scare tactics  are being                                                               
used to push this type of legislation all over the nation.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:03:22 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  EARNHART  continued the  State  of  Connecticut allowed  the                                                               
exercise of  eminent domain to  improve its economy  with planned                                                               
development.  He summarized  by saying  HB 318  is misguided  and                                                               
claimed that the legislation was unnecessary.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:06:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS  asked for  clarification whether  he did  not want                                                               
limits on eminent domain.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. EARNHART clarified his opposition  was to the limits that the                                                               
bill sets up.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HOLLIS  FRENCH asked Mr.  Earnhart whether  his objection                                                               
was  more   toward  prohibiting   the  taking  of   property  for                                                               
recreational use or toward private-to-private transfer.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. EARNHART  said both, and  that he  would prefer the  bill use                                                               
the  words "quality  of life"  instead of  "recreation." Much  of                                                               
what is  in the bill  constitutes more than sheer  recreation, he                                                               
said.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:08:45 AM                                                                                                                    
HOPE SHERMELL, Fairbanks, testified in  opposition to HB 318. She                                                               
said each city  and municipality should have their  own rules and                                                               
regulations regarding  eminent domain  and that the  state should                                                               
never enter into affairs of eminent domain.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS  asked Ms.  Shermell whether  there was  a specific                                                               
provision in the bill that she objected to.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHERMELL asserted  it should  be  the city,  municipalities,                                                               
and/or  boroughs to  handle  such  matters. It  is  a power  that                                                               
should be limited to local government.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:10:55 AM                                                                                                                    
RUTH BLACKWELL, representing the  Alaska Association of Realtors,                                                               
said the realtors  were about 95 percent happy with  the bill. HB                                                               
318  would correct  the Kelo  versus  New London  case and  would                                                               
ensure that people are more  secure in their personal residences.                                                               
The Association would prefer to see  a "no net loss" provision in                                                               
the bill.  One percent of  the landmass  in Alaska is  in private                                                               
ownership and taxed  and they would like to  see the recreational                                                               
land provision taken out.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:12:53 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GUESS  asked  Ms. Blackwell  whether  she  thought  that                                                               
anytime the  state or municipality  takes property off  tax rolls                                                               
there should be a "no net loss" provision.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. BLACKWELL  said that would  be great  but it is  not reality.                                                               
The  Association's main  focus is  on  personal residences,  home                                                               
ownership,  and  businesses.  That   is  the  foundation  of  the                                                               
industry and people should be secure in their homes.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:15:30 AM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN  RICHEY, Alaska  Municipal  League,  advised the  committee                                                               
that the  League does not have  a stance on eminent  domain. They                                                               
promote  the  betterment of  communities.  Three  of the  largest                                                               
communities in Alaska have already  adopted ordinances similar to                                                               
HB  318.  He  said  there  is no  need  under  the  Alaska  State                                                               
Constitution to  include municipalities  in the bill  because the                                                               
bill  states that  the "Legislature  intends by  this Act  not to                                                               
provide an absolute bar on  transfer of lands to private entities                                                               
but to place restrictions on  such transfers when they occur." He                                                               
said adding municipalities would not  be fulfilling the intent of                                                               
the bill. He  offered to work with the sponsor  to strengthen the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS  asked Mr.  Richey whether he  was saying  the bill                                                               
does not need Sections 4 and 5.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. RICHEY said yes.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS  asked Mr. Richey  whether he had  anything further                                                               
to add.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  RICHEY  advised  the committee  that  the  Alaska  Municipal                                                               
League meets  once a year. Revenue  sharing and PERS are  two top                                                               
issues   but   local   control   is   very   important   to   all                                                               
municipalities.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:23:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CRAIG  JOHNSON, Staff  to Representative  Lesil McGuire,  said he                                                               
does not  disagree with  any of the  previous testimony  but that                                                               
the bill  is an  ongoing process  and will  most likely  see some                                                               
modifications.  As  long  as  the  basic  premise  of  protecting                                                               
people's homes remains, Representative  McGuire will not have any                                                               
problem with strengthening the bill.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS  asked  whether it  was  Representative  McGuire's                                                               
contention  that the  Legislature should  decide whether  eminent                                                               
domain is a state or a municipality issue.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON said  both. Certain issues should be  made locally in                                                               
a  zoning  manner yet  the  private-to-private  transfer and  the                                                               
protecting of people's homes should be a policy of the state.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS noted the state could  decide whether or not it was                                                               
a local issue.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON agreed.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS  asked Mr.  Johnson to explain  how the  250 linear                                                               
feet was determined.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON  explained the original  draft of the bill  had 1,000                                                               
feet.  After much  research they  realized that  area was  bigger                                                               
than most  city lots and so  they tailored the area  down so that                                                               
it would not block projects yet  would be able to protect a rural                                                               
lifestyle.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:28:49 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GUESS  asked him  to  respond  to the  Alaska  Municipal                                                               
League's  concern that  Sections 4  and 5  do not  belong in  the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON responded  it is from the policy  that eminent domain                                                               
is the responsibility of the state.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:30:53 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  posed a  hypothetical  example  of two  property                                                               
owners, one  that has an  area of  land taken for  eminent domain                                                               
purposes to  create a  trail and  the other  who has  no property                                                               
taken. He  asked Mr.  Johnson whether  the latter  property owner                                                               
would have any claim for complaint.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON indicated he would not.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked whether the  bill takes into account the lay                                                               
of the  land around the property.  For example, he asked,  if the                                                               
latter  property owner's  view would  be dampened  by the  trail,                                                               
would he have any claim to complain.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:33:59 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. JOHNSON said  he believes everything has  been considered but                                                               
on a practical matter they don't  want to "sacrifice the good for                                                               
the perfect."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH referred  to page 5, lines 7-10 and  said he would                                                               
be irritated  if the state were  to take part of  his backyard to                                                               
develop  a bike  trail. He  said  small boat  harbors and  sports                                                               
facilities don't seem  to fit in with the list  of others in that                                                               
section  and expressed  concern  that the  bill  would prevent  a                                                               
hockey rink  or something  of the  like to be  built in  an urban                                                               
area.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:37:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. JOHNSON agreed  that was a future concern and  the reason for                                                               
paragraph (7).  However, a  project such as  that should  take an                                                               
extraordinary  effort  and have  to  go  through the  extenuating                                                               
process.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked whether something  like that would require a                                                               
piece of legislation.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON said yes and that was the intent.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS asked Mr. Johnson  whether the process of expanding                                                               
a  small boat  harbor would  had  been clearly  discussed on  the                                                               
record.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSON  noted  there  were  not  many  small  boat  harbors                                                               
adjacent to  homes and  that people  who build a  home next  to a                                                               
small boat  harbor should  be aware  of the  possible development                                                               
expansion.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:39:52 AM                                                                                                                    
PETER PUTZIER,  Senior Assistant Attorney General,  Department of                                                               
Law  (DOL), testified  that the  primary purpose  of building  or                                                               
expanding  the small  boat  harbor would  have  to be  recreation                                                               
before it  would be  barred. Secondly,  it would  have to  be for                                                               
public use. He  agreed with Mr. Johnson's  observation that there                                                               
were not  a lot of  homes adjacent to  any small boat  harbors in                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS  asked Mr.  Putzier  the  statutory definition  of                                                               
"recreational."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. PUTZIER said there isn't one.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS  suggested Auke  Bay  Harbor  [Statter Harbor]  in                                                               
Juneau where people live on  their boats and store their pleasure                                                               
boats could be classified as a small, recreational boat harbor.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSON  countered  that  Statter  Harbor  is  a  commercial                                                               
harbor.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:43:19 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GUESS noted  that line  8 references  a playground.  She                                                               
asked  whether a  playground associated  with a  school would  be                                                               
excluded.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON said there would  be nothing precluding the taking of                                                               
a private home to a build a playground for a school.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS referred  to lines  14 and  15 and  asked for  the                                                               
statutory definition of "school program."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON  responded that was  part of a federal  law requiring                                                               
safe trails to and from school.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. PUTZIER agreed  that there is a federal program  in place and                                                               
that language was intended to track that program.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  asked for an  explanation of the  statutes listed                                                               
on Page 5, lines 26-28.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PUTZIER   explained  they  are  in   association  with  road                                                               
projects, landscaping,  scenic enhancement adjacent  to highways,                                                               
abandoned   mine  reclamation,   public   works,  and   historic,                                                               
prehistoric and archeological sites.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked  Mr. Putzier for an explanation  of lines 29                                                               
and 30.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. PUTZIER  advised that  they refer to  the parks  function and                                                               
are intended to create consistency with Title 41.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:47:16 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  for clarification  whether  he was  saying                                                               
that  anything Title  41 leaves  open that  the bill  also leaves                                                               
open.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. PUTZIER  said that is correct.  There is an open  question as                                                               
to what  authority does  exist under  those circumstances  but to                                                               
his knowledge the state has never exercised eminent domain.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH   announced  that  he  would   confirm  with  the                                                               
Legislative Legal department.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
[Senator Seekins  rejoined the meeting  and resumed  as committee                                                               
chair.]                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS asked  Mr. Johnson to advise  the committee about                                                               
previous   discussions   concerning  eminent   domain   regarding                                                               
establishing traditional trails.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON said existing trails  would not be subject to eminent                                                               
domain so  there has not been  any discussion to date.  They have                                                               
protected  access  to  and  from state-owned  right  of  ways  to                                                               
hunting and fishing.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:52:04 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GUESS asked Mr. Johnson whether Section 1 was necessary.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON  said the House  Finance Committee left  the findings                                                               
in  to   establish  clear  guidelines  because   the  issue  will                                                               
definitely end up  in court. The sponsors do not  want the courts                                                               
to have to speculate about the intent.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked  for  an   example  of  "the  taking  of  a                                                               
landowner's personal  residence to  develop an indoor  or outdoor                                                               
recreational facility or project."                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON pointed  to the Anchorage Coastal Trail.  He said the                                                               
original coastal  trail took some  property and some  people were                                                               
not happy about it.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:55:56 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH said  he was unaware of anyone's  home being taken                                                               
for the Anchorage Coastal Trail.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON conceded that was not a good example.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:59:52 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  JOHNSON  added   that  the  250  feet  line   was  open  for                                                               
discussion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS   posed  a  hypothetical   situation  of   a  lake                                                               
surrounded by  houses. He said  nobody would  be able to  build a                                                               
bike path around the lake unless  all of the houses were at least                                                               
250 feet back from the surface of the lake.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON agreed.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS noted access to  navigable streams would be allowed                                                               
even if  it were  purely for  recreational purposes.  He asserted                                                               
that it was a right of the people  of the State of Alaska to have                                                               
access to  every navigable water  and fishing stream and  yet the                                                               
bill does not necessarily allow for a boat ramp.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:03:21 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. JOHNSON said he conceded  that past administrations have made                                                               
mistakes  in  selling state  land  along  navigable waterways  to                                                               
private owners. He suggested in  the future Alaska must look hard                                                               
at any land transferred to private individuals.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  explained, as he understands  current Alaska State                                                               
law,  when the  state disposes  of state  land they  must provide                                                               
easement for access but he questioned the distance in feet.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON did not know and deferred to Mr. Putzier.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. PUTZIER deferred to the Department of Natural Resources.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WYN  MENEFEE,   Chief  of   Operations,  Department   of  Natural                                                               
Resources  (DNR), said  when the  state does  sell or  dispose of                                                               
land adjacent  to a body of  water they look at  navigable access                                                               
and put a 50-foot access easement along the water body.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:07:23 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether a  person could assume there would be                                                               
at least one access method to a lake.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MENEFEE said  yes. He advised that there  were past instances                                                               
where the  state disposed  of land  without the  50-foot easement                                                               
established.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS noted  if there were a lake or  stream that did not                                                               
have a reserved  easement, the riparian landowner  might not have                                                               
an existing easement.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MENEFEE said correct.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  whether the  50-foot easement  specified in                                                               
current  statute  was  sufficient   for  providing  access  to  a                                                               
navigable waterway.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. MENEFEE said  yes although it would not allow  for a two-lane                                                               
road.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:11:02 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR   SEEKINS  expressed   concern  over   the  definition   of                                                               
"recreation."  He asserted  it  was a  fundamental  right of  the                                                               
people to have reasonable access to their property.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON reiterated the goal of  the sponsor was not to affect                                                               
private-to-private transfer  and was to  promote protection  of a                                                               
person's home.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether trust property had been discussed.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON  said the short answer  is that it is  not protected.                                                               
Control is one of the things given up in a trust situation.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS held the bill  in committee. There being no further                                                               
business to come  before the committee, he  adjourned the meeting                                                               
at 10:15:54 AM.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects