Legislature(1995 - 1996)
01/27/1995 03:30 PM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE January 27, 1995 3:30 P.M. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Loren Leman, Chairman Senator Drue Pearce, Vice Chairman Senator Lyman Hoffman COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Steve Frank Senator Rick Halford Senator Robin Taylor Senator Georgianna Lincoln COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 3 "An Act relating to an antitrust exemption for persons engaged in the fishing industry." SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 3 Opposing the ban on the export of Alaska North Slope crude oil; endorsing federal legislation to remove restraints on the export of Alaska North Slope oil; requesting the Congress of the United States to pass legislation to permit the export of Alaska North Slope crude oil; and urging the President of the United States to support the legislation to lift the ban on the export of Alaska North Slope crude oil. PREVIOUS ACTION SB 3 - See Resources minutes dated 1/25/95 and 1/27/95. SJR 3- See Resources minutes dated 1/25/95 and 1/27/95. WITNESS REGISTER Senator Duncan State Capitol Juneau, Ak. 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 3. Ed Crane Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank (CFAB) 2550 Denali Anchorage, AK 99502 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 3. Dorne Hawxhurst Cordova District Fishermen United Cordova, Ak. 99574 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 3. Rick Lauber Pacific Seafood Processors Association 321 Highland Dr. Juneau, Ak. 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 3. Dean Paddock Bristol Bay Driftnetters Association P.O. Box 20312 Juneau, Ak. 99802 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 3. Jerry McCune United Fishermen of Alaska 212 4th Street, Suite 112 Juneau, Ak. 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 3. Donna Parker Fisheries Specialist Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110804 Juneau, Ak. 99811-0804 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 3. Senator Ellis State Capitol Juneau, Ak. 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SJR 3. Chuck Logsdon, Economist Department of Revenue 550 W 7th Ave., Suite 570 Anchorage, Ak. 99501-3557 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 3. Commissioner Hensley Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110800 Juneau, Ak. 99811-0800 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 3. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-2, SIDE A SRES - 1/27/95 SB 3 ANTITRUST EXEMPTION FOR FISHERMEN Number 001 CHAIRMAN LEMAN called the Senate Resources Committee meeting to order at 3:30 p.m. and announced SB 3 to be up for consideration. SENATOR DUNCAN, sponsor, said the bill will allow fishermen to form associations to collectively negotiate raw or processed fish prices with processors. It does not authorize processors to agree among themselves on the prices they will pay fishermen. Senator Duncan explained that once the State Legislature has approved this legislation the state fishermen and processors would be in a position to request a federal exemption and said that the attitude in Congress is favorable now that the Alaska delegation is in the majority. Number 102 ED CRANE, Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank, said he didn't see any immediate interest for CFAB with this legislation. He has personal views based on his considerable experience with producers and marketers of agriculture commodities of all kinds. He said that a producer of commodities is greatly disadvantaged by his or her isolated status within what may be a huge conflagration of economic forces. They are further made vulnerable by the limited life nature of most commodities. There has probably been no more positive statutory force affecting commodities producers than the limited antitrust exemptions in federal and most state statutes. These are the cornerstones of the stability which is critical to any food production and distribution system. Mr. Crane reiterated that SB 3 establishes and clarifies this important exemption for harvesters, producers, and marketers of Alaska seafoods' great resources. Number 154 DORNE HAWXHURST, Cordova District Fishermen United, supported SB 3 because it clarifies ambiguities in existing law, it might remove inconsistencies between state and federal laws, and it might remove negative obstacles to negotiating a higher price per pound for producers of consistently good quality fish. Number 201 RICK LAUBER, Pacific Seafood Processors Association, said the members of his association have had significant difficulties in dealing with fishermen who wish to discuss matters with them and the state of Alaska who would like to bring together fishermen and processors to help in price negotiations where there have been price disputes. Because of the state and federal antitrust laws, it has been very difficult to do this. Currently, Mr. Lauber said, the federal sentencing guidelines for antitrust violations have a minimum sentence of 18 months in a federal penitentiary. So this is obviously treated as a very serious matter. This bill is very clear that it would not allow processors to get together outside of fishermen being present and discuss prices or any kind of price fixing, he said. It would allow fishermen and processors to be in the same room when price is discussed. He thought it more likely if we changed the state law that we would get some relief from the federal law. Number 284 DEAN PADDOCK, Bristol Bay Driftnetters Association, strongly supported SB 3 as a constructive piece of legislation. Fishermen need more tools like this. He supported Mr. Lauber's remarks. Number 297 JERRY MCCUNE, United Fishermen of Alaska, supported SB 3. He said it is impossible to have a discussion on price with any processors present. He used the example of the Exxon Valdez oil spill where fishermen had many discussions with the processors about the perception of the seafood and effect on price, but on the mention of the word "price" the room clears out. Number 317 DONNA PARKER, Fisheries Specialist, Department of Commerce and Economic Development, strongly supported this bill. She said a couple of years ago Governor Hickel appointed a Salmon Strategy Task Force which was specifically designed to look at the price declines of salmon. She said the Department of Law recommended this legislation as a possible way to better position ourselves in the marketplace. The market strategy was to expand marketing efforts, increase product options to consumers, improve consistency of quality, and reduce the cost of production, Ms. Parker said. This legislation addresses the component of increasing the value of our salmon by increasing the options we provide to consumers with products they want, specifically frozen convenience style foods - a market which requires a stable price, a stable supply, and quality. The DCED undertook a study of a comparison of Canadian and Alaskan salmon prices to find out why Canadian producers were getting more money for their salmon. There were several reasons, but one of them was that they negotiate 3-year price agreements. Ms. Parker said the DCED offers an 11-minute video describing the salmon strategy that was developed and how the legislature and other agencies might facilitate that. SENATOR LEMAN thanked everyone for the testimony and said the Committee would take SB 3 up at the next meeting. SRES - 1/27/95 SJR 3 EXPORT OF ALASKA OIL Number 407 SENATOR LEMAN announced SJR 3 to be up for consideration. SENATOR ELLIS, sponsor, said it is important to renew support of SJR 3 with our delegation in Congress at this time because they are now in the majority. He said some of the numbers in the resolution need to be amended to contain the very best information available to send to Congress. Senator Ellis noted that ARCO had just changed its stance to one of support for SJR 3. He noted there was a position paper from the Department of Commerce in strong support of SJR 3. Number 443 CHUCK LOGSDON, Economist, Department of Revenue, supported SJR 3. This would not only increase state oil revenues, but would make further investment in our oil fields more attractive. He said the window of opportunity provided with lifting the export ban is closing as production continues to go down. There are approximately 18 months after which the export ban will not necessarily increase our revenues. Number 509 COMMISSIONER HENSLEY, Department of Commerce and Economic Development, said Alaska's oil will become increasingly important as production in the lower 48 declines. He supported passage of SJR 3. He said the ban precludes the North Slope oil from being sold into the highest value markets, particularly in Japan and Korea. He said he was in Washington when this ban was proposed which was in another age and another time. SENATOR LEMAN thanked everyone for their testimony and said he would take this legislation up again at the next meeting. He then adjourned the meeting at 4:15 p.m.