Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

02/29/2016 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 170 DNR FEES FOR GEOLOGICAL SERVICES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 170(RES) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+= HB 137 HUNT/FISH/TRAP: FEES;LICENSES;EXEMPTIONS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 29, 2016                                                                                        
                           3:33 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Cathy Giessel, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Mia Costello, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Bill Stoltze                                                                                                            
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 170                                                                                                             
"An  Act   authorizing  the  Department  of   Natural  Resources,                                                               
division of  geological and geophysical surveys,  to collect fees                                                               
for facilities,  equipment, products,  and services;  relating to                                                               
accounting  for certain  program receipts;  and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 170(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 137(FIN) AM                                                                             
"An Act raising  certain fees related to  sport fishing, hunting,                                                               
and trapping; relating  to the fish and game  fund; providing for                                                               
the  repeal of  the  sport fishing  surcharge  and sport  fishing                                                               
facility revenue  bonds; replacing  the permanent  sport fishing,                                                               
hunting, or  trapping identification  card for  certain residents                                                               
with an  identification card valid  for three years;  relating to                                                               
hunting  and  fishing  by  proxy;   relating  to  fish  and  game                                                               
conservation decals; raising  the age of eligibility  for a sport                                                               
fishing,  hunting,  or  trapping   license  exemption  for  state                                                               
residents; raising the age at  which a state resident is required                                                               
to obtain a license for  sport fishing, hunting, or trapping; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 170                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: DNR FEES FOR GEOLOGICAL SERVICES                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) GIESSEL                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
02/05/16       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/05/16       (S)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
02/29/16       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 137                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: HUNT/FISH/TRAP: FEES;LICENSES;EXEMPTIONS                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TALERICO                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
03/06/15       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/06/15       (H)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
03/20/15       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/20/15       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/20/15       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/25/15       (H)       RES AT 6:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/25/15       (H)       Moved  CSHB 137(RES) Out of Committee                                                                  
03/25/15       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/27/15       (H)       RES RPT CS(RES) NT 2DP 3NR 2AM                                                                         
03/27/15       (H)       DP: OLSON, TALERICO                                                                                    
03/27/15       (H)       NR: HERRON, JOSEPHSON, JOHNSON                                                                         
03/27/15       (H)       AM: SEATON, TARR                                                                                       
04/07/15       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/07/15       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/07/15       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/10/15       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/10/15       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/10/15       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/13/15       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) NT 5DP 5NR                                                                             
04/13/15       (H)       DP: PRUITT, WILSON, GATTIS, MUNOZ,                                                                     
                         THOMPSON                                                                                               
04/13/15       (H)       NR: SADDLER, GARA, GUTTENBERG, EDGMON,                                                                 
                         NEUMAN                                                                                                 
04/13/15       (H)       FIN AT 9:00 AM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/13/15       (H)       Moved  CSHB 137(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                  
04/13/15       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/15/15       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/15/15       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 137(FIN) AM                                                                              
04/15/15       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/15/15       (S)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
04/16/15       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/16/15       (S)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
04/16/15       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/16/15       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/16/15       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
04/17/15       (S)       FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                      
04/17/15       (S)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
02/29/16       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
AKIS GIOLOPSOS, Staff to Senator Giessel and the Senate                                                                         
Resources Committee                                                                                                             
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Described SB 170.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
STEVE MASTERMAN, State Geologist and Director                                                                                   
Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys                                                                                  
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Expressed support for SB 170 and answered                                                                 
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MARY NANUWAK, representing herself                                                                                              
Bethel, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Expressed support for Native Alaskan                                                                      
subsistence rights and protecting traditional lands.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO, Sponsor                                                                                                
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented HB 137.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JOSHUA BANKS, Staff to Representative Talerico                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Described HB 137.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN BROOKS, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                               
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 137 and answered                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SAM COTTEN, Commissioner                                                                                                        
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)                                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Expressed strong support for HB 137 and                                                                   
answered questions.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE DALE, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Wildlife Conservation                                                                                               
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions related to HB 137.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES DERRICK, President                                                                                                      
Chitina Dipnetters Association (CDA)                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Proposed  a $15 fee to  obtain a personal-use                                                           
Chitina  dipnet permit  to  raise funds  for  road, garbage,  and                                                               
toilet maintenance.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
NANCY HILLSTRAND, representing herself                                                                                          
Kachemak Bay, Alaska                                                                                                            
POSITION   STATEMENT:  Proposed   souvenir-quality  permits   for                                                           
watching  or photographing  wildlife and  raising the  qualifying                                                               
age of resident lifetime hunting/fishing licenses to 65 years.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:33:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CATHY   GIESSEL  called  the  Senate   Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 3:33  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were Senators  Wielechowski, Costello,  Coghill, Micciche,                                                               
and Chair Giessel.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
            SB 170-DNR FEES FOR GEOLOGICAL SERVICES                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:34:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  announced consideration of  SB 170 and  noted that                                                               
the  bill is  designed to  make  the Division  of Geological  and                                                               
Geophysical Survey  (DGGS), in the  Department of  Revenue (DNR),                                                               
more self-sufficient,  so it will  rely less on general  funds. A                                                               
few  years ago  the  legislature authorized  DGGS  to purchase  a                                                               
Sam's  Club building  in  East  Anchorage. Geological  materials,                                                               
such as core  samples from oil and mineral  exploration, had been                                                               
stored  in  Conex  containers  in  Eagle  River,  and  they  were                                                               
leaking,  causing  sample  degeneration.   She  stated  that  the                                                               
material was a  library of information for  future explorers. The                                                               
DGGS is  not allowed to  charge people  to view the  cores, which                                                               
could help support the facility  and the staffing. She said other                                                               
states charge  for this  service, and SB  170 authorizes  DGGS to                                                               
receive payment from explorers who want to see the cores.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:35:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STOLTZE joined the committee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:36:28 PM                                                                                                                    
AKIS  GIALOPSOS,   Staff  to  Senator  Giessel   and  the  Senate                                                               
Resources  Committee, Alaska  State  Legislature, explained  that                                                               
Section 1  of SB  170 adds  DGGS to [AS  37.05.146(c), a  list of                                                               
program  receipts  to be  accounted  for  separately]. Section  2                                                               
changes the requirement  that DGGC fees and receipts  go into the                                                               
general fund,  he stated, and Section  3 is the heart  of SB 170,                                                               
allowing  the  DGGS to  institute  fee  structures for  services,                                                               
equipment, and the use of DGGS facilities.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:38:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  about Section  2, which  deletes the                                                               
requirement  that money  from selling  reports and  maps will  go                                                               
into the general fund.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GIALOPSOS said  that Section  3 will  allow the  division to                                                               
charge  for equipment  and  services  and "was  going  to be  now                                                               
accounted for  in Section  1 of  the bill,  which is  the receipt                                                               
authority." He added  that Section 2 would remove  the reason for                                                               
the fees being deposited into the general fund.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MICCICHE   asked  if  other  departments   have  similar                                                               
authorization to charge for services and keep the funds.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. GIALOPSOS answered that the  authorization in SB 170 would be                                                               
the "88th  version of receipt  authority being designated  in the                                                               
state's  ledger  book."  The  next   witness  can  clarify  which                                                               
divisions  of  DNR are  striving  for  self-sufficiency by  using                                                               
receipt authority, he suggested.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:40:15 PM                                                                                                                    
STEVE  MASTERMAN,  State  Geologist  and  Director,  Division  of                                                               
Geological  and   Geophysical  Surveys,  Department   of  Natural                                                               
Resources  (DNR), Fairbanks,  Alaska, said  that the  Division of                                                               
Mining,  Land,  and  Water  is  transitioning  from  unrestricted                                                               
general  funds to  designated general  funds. He  noted that  the                                                               
Division of  Parks and  Recreation is  making that  transition as                                                               
well.  The  Division  of  Forestry  is  funding  a  certification                                                               
program with  industry receipts, and the  Division of Agriculture                                                               
has  increased  fees   by  20  percent  to   fund  operations  by                                                               
designated general funds. He said it  is a business model for DNR                                                               
to transition to revenues that  are designated by its activities,                                                               
and SB 170 would be an extension of that model.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GIESSEL  said spoke  of Texas  charging a  fee for  using a                                                               
geologic materials center,  which she toured, and  she asked what                                                               
other states do.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MASTERMAN said  there are 28 core depositories  in the United                                                               
States  and Canada,  and of  the  10 depositories  that are  over                                                               
25,000  square feet  in size,  seven charge  a fee.  Alaska's GMC                                                               
[geologic materials center] is 100,000  square feet, he added. Of                                                               
the smaller facilities, about half charge a fee.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:43:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL noted a chart  Mr. Masterman provided and asked how                                                               
fees are set.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MASTERMAN answered  that he  is looking  at fees  from other                                                               
facilities. He  noted that  Alaska's [proposed  fees] are  in the                                                               
middle  or  lower/middle of  the  range.  Industry has  expressed                                                               
concern, "and so  we are very cognizant of not  charging too much                                                               
for these  services." The facility  should be successful  but not                                                               
drive people away, he opined.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GIESSEL asked how industry uses the GMC.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MASTERMAN  explained  that   the  inventory  is  online  and                                                               
available. Every rock in the facility  has a barcode, and all are                                                               
geographically  referenced  and  can  be  searched  by  location,                                                               
prospect,  commodity type,  or borehole  name. He  said that  the                                                               
drill samples represent  over 48 million feet  of drilling. There                                                               
are  over  330,000  surface  samples   and  about  200,000  "thin                                                               
sections" that  have been  donated to the  state. To  gather that                                                               
information now would take tens of  billions of dollars, so it is                                                               
very valuable.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked about a  letter dated on  February 16                                                               
where Mr. Masterman said he would not charge for donations.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MASTERMAN  explained that there  is no charge if  people give                                                               
rocks to the division.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if school groups will be charged.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MASTERMAN said  no. The division received  money from Walmart                                                               
to  support educational  uses, and  the university  does use  the                                                               
facility for core workshops.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:48:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI suggested putting such language in statute.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MASTERMAN  said that would  be very appropriate. "We  love to                                                               
have the kids come out there."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STOLTZE  said he grew up  in the area and  his elementary                                                               
school  took him  there on  field trips,  "and I  think I'm  much                                                               
enriched as a result."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COSTELLO noted  that legislators  thought the  issue was                                                               
addressed last  session. She  had visited  the old  center, which                                                               
looked like something from Samson and  Sons. She took her boys on                                                               
a tour, and it is quite an educational opportunity, she stated.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE said he appreciates  DNR covering its costs, but                                                               
he referred to resistance from DNR on similar efforts.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:50:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MARY  NANUWAK, representing  herself,  Bethel,  Alaska, said  all                                                               
fees  should be  the  same for  everyone  except nonresidents  or                                                               
attorneys  who  will gain  from  it.  She  spoke of  hunting  and                                                               
fishing fees  for Native  Alaskans who  rely on  subsistence, and                                                               
then  was  reminded  that  the   current  discussion  related  to                                                               
geologic materials.  Ms. Nanuwak noted that  certain Native lands                                                               
are  not supposed  to be  occupied by  state agencies,  including                                                               
grave sites and subsistence areas.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GIESSEL,  finding  no   further  comments,  closed  public                                                               
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  suggested a  conceptual amendment  to allow                                                               
school groups to use the GMC without a fee.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GIESSEL suggested adding the language to Section 3.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COSTELLO suggested  it include children who  are not with                                                               
a formal school group, making it less preclusive.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MICCICHE  noted that  the  goal  is to  charge  industry                                                               
groups for access to the core samples.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. MASTERMAN agreed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STOLTZE suggested  giving  DNR the  discretion to  waive                                                               
fees  for  educational purposes,  in  order  that preschools  and                                                               
university programs, for example, have free access.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GIESSEL  proffered  language   such  that  DNR  promulgate                                                               
regulations to waive fees for educational opportunities.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI moved  conceptual amendment  [1], requiring                                                               
the department  to waive GMC fees  for educational opportunities.                                                               
There were no objections, and it was so ordered.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:58:08 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COSTELLO  moved  to  report SB  170,  as  amended,  from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
notes. There  being no  objection, CSSB  170(RES) moved  from the                                                               
Senate Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
        HB 137-HUNT/FISH/TRAP: FEES;LICENSES;EXEMPTIONS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:59:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  announced consideration of HB  137. [CSHB 137(FIN)                                                               
am, version 29-LS0625\S.A, was before the committee.]                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO,  Alaska State Legislature,  described HB
137. He said the bill  raises license fees for fishing, trapping,                                                               
and combination  licenses "to  help deal  with the  deficiency we                                                               
currently  have." It  provides for  a small  increase in  fees to                                                               
residents  and a  more significant  increase to  nonresidents. HB
137  also  changes  the  qualifying   threshold  for  low  income                                                               
licenses  to meet  the most  recent  federal poverty  guidelines.                                                               
Currently, low income is set at a level of under $8,200 a year.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  stated  that  the  bill  allows  for  a                                                               
voluntary fish  and game conservation  decal for those  who don't                                                               
hunt or fish. He noted that  the current surcharge on the fishing                                                               
license would continue  after the hatchery bonds  have been paid,                                                               
and that  money would  be available to  the Alaska  Department of                                                               
Fish and Game (ADF&G). The  bill also changes the eligibility age                                                               
for [free  lifetime licenses] from 60  to 62 years, and  it would                                                               
need to  be renewed every three  years to ensure that  only those                                                               
who remain in  the state qualify for  that license. Additionally,                                                               
he said,  HB 137  changes the  age for  a license  from 16  to 18                                                               
years, and  it allows residents  to hunt or  fish on behalf  of a                                                               
person with  a disability.  He noted  that it  has been  17 years                                                               
since nonresident  fees have  been raised and  over 24  years for                                                               
resident fees.  This bill is to  continue providing opportunities                                                               
for Alaskans  by giving  the Department of  Fish and  Game enough                                                               
money, he stated.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:03:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO  said  he  has been  paying  $48  for  a                                                               
combination  license for  many years.  At  current inflation,  it                                                               
should be  valued at $124, but  he does not suggest  that the fee                                                               
follows inflation.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:04:35 PM                                                                                                                    
JOSHUA  BANKS, Staff  to  Representative  Talerico, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, said  Section 1 of  HB 137 repeals the  authority to                                                               
use  the fish  and game  fund for  fish hatchery  bonds once  the                                                               
bonds  are paid  off. Section  2 amends  the qualifying  ages for                                                               
special  fishery openings.  Section 3  raises the  resident sport                                                               
fishing fee from $15 to $20  and the fee for blind residents from                                                               
$0.25  to  $0.50.  Section  4  eliminates  the  $9  surcharge  on                                                               
resident fishing license fees once fish hatchery bonds are paid.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:06:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked when hatchery bonds will be paid off.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANKS said  he did not know. Section 9  and 11 accomplish the                                                               
same thing  as Section 3  for the resident  combination licenses,                                                               
as do Sections 13 and 15  for nonresident licenses. He noted that                                                               
Section 5  raises the resident  hunting license from $25  to $30,                                                               
and  Section   6  raises  the   resident  hunting   and  trapping                                                               
combination license.  The resident trapping license  is raised in                                                               
Section 7, and Section 8  raises the resident hunting and fishing                                                               
combination license from $39 to $45.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:08:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BANKS said  that  Section 10  raises  the resident  hunting,                                                               
trapping,  and fishing  license fee  and changes  eligibility for                                                               
low income  purchasers. The bill  eliminates language  that allow                                                               
residents who receive state or  federal welfare to purchase a low                                                               
income  license  unless  they [are  below]  the  federal  poverty                                                               
level.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GIESEL asked for the current poverty guidelines.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANKS  said it depends family  size. He said Sections  11 and                                                               
13 add  the $9  surcharge to certain  licenses. Sections  14, 16,                                                               
and   17  raises   nonresident   licenses.   Section  18   raises                                                               
nonresident big game tags.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:11:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BANKS  explained  that  Section   19  raises  the  waterfowl                                                               
conservation tag from  $5 to $10 and  makes conforming amendments                                                               
regarding age eligibility. He said  Section 20 raises nonresident                                                               
small game  hunting fees,  Sections 21  and 22  raise nonresident                                                               
alien license fees  and tags, and Section 23  raises the resident                                                               
king salmon tag, as well as making conforming amendments.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:13:31 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BANKS said  Section 24  raises the  nonresident king  salmon                                                               
tags,  and Section  25  creates the  fish  and game  conservation                                                               
decal.  Section  26 increases  the  age  at  which a  license  is                                                               
required, from 16  years to 18 years, and requires  a resident to                                                               
be 62 years  or older before qualifying for  a permanent license,                                                               
and requires  renewal every three  years. Sections 27  through 31                                                               
are conforming amendments.  He added that Section  32 repeals all                                                               
sections  related  fish  hatchery  bonds and  the  sport  fishing                                                               
surcharge,  and Section  33 allows  residents  who are  currently                                                               
eligible and receiving the permanent  license to remain eligible.                                                               
Section  34  created codified  language  conforming  to the  full                                                               
repayment  of the  hatchery bonds.  Section  35 is  applicability                                                               
language  related to  the commissioner  of  Alaska Department  of                                                               
Fish and Game  and the Revisor of Statutes.   Section 37 contains                                                               
the applicable effective dates for the prior sections.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:17:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked about changing the effective date.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANKS suggested  changing it from January 1,  2016 to January                                                               
1, 2017.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STOLTZE asked  if paying  off the  debt service  will be                                                               
irrelevant  to a  person paying  for  the license.  He asked  for                                                               
confirmation  if  the  language  will  effectively  keep  the  $9                                                               
hatchery bond surcharge even after the bond has been fully paid.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO said yes.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STOLTZE   noted  that  it   is  only  relevant   to  the                                                               
department, which  can use the  surcharge elsewhere. He  asked if                                                               
"blind" is the correct terminology, and how it is defined.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANKS said he did not know.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GIESSEL noted that this  is existing language and suggested                                                               
asking the department.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STOLTZE surmised the term may be "visually-impaired."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:19:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  if there  are benefits  to a  person                                                               
buying a conservation decal.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  said the benefit is  supporting wildlife                                                               
conservation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STOLTZE asked  about the  Carlson  decision [Carlson  v.                                                               
State] and its ramifications.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANKS said he provided a  legal opinion to the members (tab 9                                                               
in the  binder). He explained  that the Carlson cases  dealt with                                                               
unequal fees  charged for  commercial fishing  [on nonresidents],                                                               
raising  the  issue  of license  fee  inequality  among  American                                                               
citizens  who  are  residents  of  different  states.  The  legal                                                               
opinion points  to a case in  Montana where the US  Supreme Court                                                               
allowed nonresident sport hunters and  fishers to be charged over                                                               
25 times more than residents.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STOLTZE  said he does  not know the parameters,  "so we'd                                                               
be into some new ground."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GIESSEL  opined  that  legislative  attorneys  often  give                                                               
uncertain answers to legal questions.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STOLTZE said  that they  tell legislators  to figure  it                                                               
out.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  said  he  appreciates  getting  the  legal                                                               
opinion,  which does  state that  the U.S.  Supreme Court  upheld                                                               
sport hunting fees  for elk that were more than  25 times the fee                                                               
for a  resident. Additionally, the  opinion explains  that states                                                               
can charge  nonresidents so high  as to discourage them  from the                                                               
activity. He noted that his  constituents are concerned about the                                                               
incredible  nonresident  pressure  on the  fishing  resources  in                                                               
Kenai and  "up north" to the  Matanuska Valley, and he  has heard                                                               
mention of a $10 tag for nonresidents.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO said  he has been approached by  a lot of                                                               
constituents  saying that,  at the  very least,  nonresidents are                                                               
not  contributing  enough.  There  are others  who  believe  that                                                               
nonresidents should  not even  "be allowed to  wet a  line." Then                                                               
there  is the  business  community that  recognizes the  economic                                                               
impact of nonresidents and striking a balance.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:24:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STOLTZE stated that he  thought fees on black bears could                                                               
be lowered or  waived, because he sees the  bears as infestations                                                               
in some areas.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO said  he  does not  live  in black  bear                                                               
country, but he would be  open to suggestions from the Department                                                               
of Fish and Game.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:26:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL invited witnesses to speak.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:27:09 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN BROOKS, Deputy Commissioner,  Alaska Department of Fish and                                                               
Game  (ADF&G), said  that ADF&G  would benefit  from HB  137. The                                                               
department appreciates  the sponsor for introducing  the bill. It                                                               
has been about  25 years since fees have been  increased, and the                                                               
department has programs where the money could be used.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:28:50 PM                                                                                                                    
SAM  COTTEN, Commissioner,  Alaska Department  of Fish  and Game,                                                               
expressed strong  support for HB 137.  Meeting constitutional and                                                               
statutory obligations will be greatly  enhanced with its passage,                                                               
he  stated. The  Division of  Wildlife  will be  able to  support                                                               
intensive management programs,  because capital improvement funds                                                               
will  be  exhausted  at  some  point.  There  are  gaps  in  game                                                               
management  survey and  inventory  efforts, including  population                                                               
estimates  for moose,  bears, wolves,  caribou, and  others. Many                                                               
areas and many  species lack in surveys, and HB  137 will enhance                                                               
those efforts.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:31:42 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  COTTEN said  state  management  authority has  been                                                               
eroded  by the  National Park  Service and  US Fish  and Wildlife                                                               
Service. Money  will help ADF&G  work with the Department  of Law                                                               
[to address  those issues]. Another  area of underfunding  is the                                                               
84  advisory committees,  which  is the  primary opportunity  for                                                               
public participation  in the management system.  General funds of                                                               
$8 million are always at risk,  although he does not want to just                                                               
replace  the general  funds with  fish and  game funds.  He noted                                                               
that  there  are  a lot  of  federal  dollars,  Pittman-Robertson                                                               
funds,  which may  go unclaimed  if the  department cannot  match                                                               
them.  He spoke  of a  need for  funds for  fish assessments  and                                                               
enhancements. Invasive  species, such  as the northern  pike, are                                                               
wreaking havoc  on native species,  especially salmon  stocks, so                                                               
funding those  programs will be  very important, as  will funding                                                               
for stream habitat rehabilitation.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:35:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STOLTZE asked  if the  department would  waive fees  for                                                               
hunting  black  bears   in  some  areas  where   the  species  is                                                               
overpopulated.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  COTTEN  thanked Senator  Stoltze  for  his vote  of                                                               
confidence on the bear management  issues, and said it is logical                                                               
and more  cost efficient  and effective  method to  waive hunting                                                               
fees where there are efforts to get rid of predators.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:36:17 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE DALE,  Director, Division of Wildlife  Conservation, Alaska                                                               
Department  of  Fish  and  Game,  said  the  Board  of  Game  has                                                               
authority to  waive bear tag fees  and in fact does  that when it                                                               
wants to increase bear hunting.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STOLTZE  asked the cost  of relocating a black  bear from                                                               
Government Hill to "where they're now wandering around."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER COTTEN said there was one  bear that got away but is                                                               
unlikely to be alive. He said he does not know the cost.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROOKS referred  to some earlier questions and  said that the                                                               
state bond  manager would say  [the fish hatchery bonds]  will be                                                               
paid off  in 2023. They have  been paid at an  advanced rate, and                                                               
"we've done  some early payoff of  the debt," so the  bonds might                                                               
be  paid by  2021, he  added. Every  year, the  department issues                                                               
about 19,000  poverty-level licenses for  $5, he noted.  A person                                                               
who  earns less  than $8,200  or anyone  who has  received public                                                               
assistance of any  kind is eligible, and most people  who get the                                                               
license  qualify  based  on   receiving  public  assistance.  The                                                               
current federal  poverty level for  a family of four  is $30,000.                                                               
There is  no process  to require  verification. As  a comparison,                                                               
there currently are  1,000 license vendors around  the state, and                                                               
the agency does  not check tax returns "or anything."  He said he                                                               
will check on the use of the term "blind."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:39:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE asked  why  resident game  tags  are not  being                                                               
increased.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROOKS  said the department  was not involved in  setting new                                                               
fees. Several sporting groups gave input, he noted.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GIESSEL  asked if there are  licenses in the bill  that are                                                               
no longer issued.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROOKS said he can provide  a table of licenses sold. He told                                                               
the committee that  the Carlson court case,  and the differential                                                               
between  resident and  nonresident usage,  dealt with  interstate                                                               
commerce and does  not apply to recreational  licenses. Already a                                                               
nonresident  pays $100  for a  license and  a resident  only pays                                                               
$15,  and  nonresidents  pay  for  tags to  take  big  game,  and                                                               
residents generally pay nothing.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:41:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STOLTZE asked how many wolverines are taken annually.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DALE said  he does  not have  the number,  but he  will find                                                               
them. Buying tags is different  than actually taking a wolverine.                                                               
Many nonresidents buy tags and would like that rare opportunity.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked how Alaska's  fees compare to those in                                                               
other states.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BROOKS  said  Alaska  licenses are  low  compared  to  other                                                               
western  states.  "It's  a  pretty  darn good  deal."  He  has  a                                                               
comparison chart that he can provide to the committee.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STOLTZE asked if there  was an "analysis of opportunity."                                                               
He said  deer are  practically infestations in  a lot  of places,                                                               
and has heard that  a million and a half deer  hunters show up on                                                               
opening day  in rural Pennsylvania.  "Your chances for a  deer in                                                               
the lower-48 is certainly higher  than the average person has for                                                               
a moose or a  brown bear or a Dall sheep." He  added that the big                                                               
trophy value is  subjective, but the average person  does not get                                                               
the big trophy.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:44:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BROOKS  said  he  has listened  to  different  sport  hunter                                                               
groups, and they have analyzed tag fees versus opportunities.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. DALE explained that comparisons  are made with western states                                                               
and  Canada  with similar  species.  But  regarding species  like                                                               
deer, many  nonresidents do not see  them as just deer,  but they                                                               
see them as  Sitka black-tailed deer, and they come  to Alaska to                                                               
hunt them. He stated that the fees appear to be reasonable.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STOLTZE said  Mr. Dale's response was  subjective, and he                                                               
does  not  think  there  is  much  evidence  that  the  fees  are                                                               
reasonable.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE asked about the  legality of sockeye salmon tags                                                               
for nonresidents only.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BROOKS stated  that there  are fees  for big  game tags  for                                                               
nonresidents but not residents, but  he can ask the Department of                                                               
Law.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:47:50 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE pointed out the  document from Legislative Legal                                                               
stating  in the  Kemp case  that North  Dakota could  exclude all                                                               
nonresident hunters of migratory  waterfowl when it was necessary                                                               
to protect  waterfowl from  over hunting.  He surmised  that fish                                                               
and  game can  be managed  by not  allowing nonresident  users in                                                               
some cases.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STOLTZE  said economic studies  show that there  is value                                                               
in  king salmon.  He suggested  charging a  conservation fee  for                                                               
accidentally gillnetted  King salmon that  could go to  the Sport                                                               
Fish Division.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:49:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BROOKS  said there have  been discussions on  taxing bycatch,                                                               
but king salmon are caught legally by commercial fisheries.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER   COTTEN  said   bycatch  includes   unintended  and                                                               
sometimes  prohibited species,  but  a king  salmon  caught in  a                                                               
gillnet intended for  other salmon is legal. To  charge for those                                                               
fish  would involve  the  Board  of Fish  and  would  be a  legal                                                               
question. Management tries to keep  the number of gill-net caught                                                               
king salmon very low.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STOLTZE said  some people try to do their  best, but some                                                               
consider  [catching  king salmon]  as  part  of their  plan.  The                                                               
economic  value  of  the  king   salmon  entering  the  river  is                                                               
"thousands of dollars" more, he stated.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  COTTEN  said the  current  management  plan on  the                                                               
Kenai  is  very strict  on  ensuring  a projected  return  before                                                               
additional  effort  is  allowed  by the  set  net  fisheries.  He                                                               
believes that Senator Stoltze is  asking a legal question that he                                                               
is uncomfortable answering.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STOLTZE noted that he would never ask a moral question.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MICCICHE  said he is  very interested in  taxing bycatch.                                                               
This bill  may not  be the  place for  it, but  he would  like to                                                               
create   disincentives   for    catching   nontargeted   species,                                                               
particularly in offshore fisheries, which impacts all of us.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:53:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHARLES  DERRICK,   President,  Chitina   Dipnetters  Association                                                               
(CDA),  Fairbanks, Alaska,  said the  CDA proposes  a $15  fee to                                                               
obtain a  personal-use Chitina dipnet  permit to raise  funds for                                                               
road, garbage,  and toilet maintenance. About  10,000 permits are                                                               
issued  each year  for the  fishery,  which is  managed by  ADF&G                                                               
separate from  other personal-use  fisheries. The  association is                                                               
not advocating  for a fee  on all personal-use fisheries,  but it                                                               
has been seeking  state funds to clear landslides  on sections of                                                               
the  state-owned   Copper  River  highway   right-of-way  between                                                               
O'Brien Creek  and Hailey Creek.  This is the main  ground access                                                               
to  the  fishery, and  it  is  limited to  all-terrain  vehicles.                                                               
Several  vehicles have  tumbled into  the river  [because of  the                                                               
landslide   debris].   Prior   to   2002,   the   Department   of                                                               
Transportation  and  Public  Facilities (DOT)  routinely  cleared                                                               
these hazards,  and with  funding, the  department is  willing to                                                               
continue,  he explained.  He added  that DOT  has also  borne the                                                               
expense  of contracting  garbage  and toilet  maintenance in  the                                                               
area. Considering  Alaska's financial difficulties, he  said, the                                                               
association  is  trying  to be  proactive  in  ensuring  adequate                                                               
facilities and maintenance by requesting the $15 fee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GIESSEL lauded  the idea and said her husband  is a Chitina                                                               
dipnetter.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:57:04 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY  HILLSTRAND, representing  herself,  Kachemak Bay,  Alaska,                                                               
said  she supports  "the emblem  idea,"  and she  suggested a  $5                                                               
entry-level license for wildlife  observers. People will get used                                                               
to the idea that if they  come to watch wildlife, they should pay                                                               
for it. She suggested a  $20 license for commercial photographers                                                               
and  guides,  because  they benefit  economically  from  Alaska's                                                               
wildlife.  There are  900,000 cruise  ship passengers  that visit                                                               
Alaska each  year, and with a  $5 fee for each  person, "we could                                                               
make close  to $5 million."  Local artists are willing  to donate                                                               
their  art for  the  license,  and it  will  be  a souvenir.  The                                                               
license would be  purchased online and printed  by purchasers, so                                                               
there would  be no  cost to  ADF&G. She  added that  she supports                                                               
raising  prices  for  hunters,  and she  believes  that  the  fee                                                               
exemption should start  at 65 years of age, not  62. These people                                                               
have  the money,  and most  would want  to contribute  to ADF&G's                                                               
efforts, she opined.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GIESSEL  asked Ms.  Hillstrand to  send her  suggestions in                                                               
writing. She  noted the  time and apologized  to 11  other people                                                               
who signed  up to testify and  told them that the  committee will                                                               
hear the bill again in about two weeks.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
[HB 137 was held in committee.]                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
5:00:46 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Giessel adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB0170-Sponsor Statement-Version A.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB0170-Version A.PDF SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB170-Sectional Analysis-Version A.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
SB170-Supporting Document-Letter-DNR-DGGS.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
HB0137-Version S.A.PDF SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN)am - Section Analysis.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
CSHB 137(FIN) - Summary of Changes (Ver. H to S).pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Sponsor Statement.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Letter of Support - Delta F&G Advisory Committee.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Letter of Support - Anchorage F&G Advisory Committee.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Leg. Finance Sport Fish and Wildlife DJ and PR Apportionment History.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Leg. Finance LFD FG Fund Analysis 2 14 15.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Leg. Finance FY14 Fish and Game Fund Analysis from FG 12 22 14.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Leg. Finance 1024 FG Funds FY1981-FY2016.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - DF&G Big Game Tag Increase Scenarios.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - DF&G Hunting Fishing License Increase Scenarios.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - DF&G Hunting License Increase Scenarios.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - DF&G King Salmon Stamp Increase Scenarios.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - DF&G Sport Fishing License Increase Scenarios.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Supporting Document - AK BHA Proposal 12-16-08.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Supporting Document - Fee Increase Effects.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Supporting Document - Governor Transition Team.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Supporting Document - License and Stamp Fee Revenue Increase.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Supporting Document - License and Tag Fee Increase Comparison.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Supporting Document - License and Tag Sales (1981-2014).pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Supporting Document - Outdoor Caucus Advisory Council Letter.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Supporting Document - Tag Fee Revenue Increase.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Letter of Support - Rebecca Schwanke.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Letter of Support - Kenai River Sportfishing Association - 3-20-15.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Letter of Support - Keith Woodworth.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Letter of Support - Dan Dunaway.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Letter of Support - BOG Chairman Spraker - 3-19-15.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Letter of Support - Alaska Backcountry Hunters & Anglers - 3-15-15.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Legal Analysis - State v. Carlson.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(FIN) - Consolidated Letters of Support - 3-24-15.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
SB170-Fiscal Note-DNR.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
SB 170
HB137-Fiscal Note-ADFG.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
SB170-Supporting Document-FAQs from DNR-DGGS.pdf SRES 2/29/2016 3:30:00 PM
SB 170