Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

04/16/2018 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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Moved CSHCR 23(RES) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHJR 29(FIN) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHB 197(FIN) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved HB 354 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 16, 2018                                                                                         
                           3:32 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Cathy Giessel, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Kevin Meyer                                                                                                             
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Natasha von Imhof                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 197(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An Act  relating to  the duties of  the commissioner  of natural                                                               
resources;   relating    to   agriculture;   relating    to   the                                                               
noncommercial transfer  of seed;  and relating to  community seed                                                               
     - MOVED CSHB 197(FIN) FROM COMMITTEE                                                                                       
CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 29(FIN)                                                                                       
Urging  the  United States  Congress  to  reauthorize the  Secure                                                               
Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000.                                                                     
     - MOVED CSHJR 29(FIN) FROM COMMITTEE                                                                                       
HOUSE BILL NO. 354                                                                                                              
"An   Act  relating   to  dive   fishery  management   assessment                                                               
     - MOVED HB 354 FROM COMMITTEE                                                                                              
CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 23(RES)                                                                                  
Supporting  enhanced efforts  to  protect  wildlife and  domestic                                                               
animals   in  the   state  from   infectious  diseases,   foreign                                                               
pathogens, and nonendemic parasites.                                                                                            
     - MOVED CSHCR 23(RES) FROM COMMITTEE                                                                                       
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 197                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: COMMUNITY SEED LIBRARIES; AGRICULTURE                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JOHNSTON                                                                                          
03/24/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/24/17       (H)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
04/10/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/10/17       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
04/12/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/12/17       (H)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
04/13/17       (H)       RES AT 5:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/13/17       (H)       -- Continued from 4/12/17 --                                                                           
04/17/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/17/17       (H)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
04/19/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/19/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/19/17       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
04/26/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/26/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/26/17       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
04/28/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/28/17       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
05/01/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
05/01/17       (H)       Moved CSHB 197(RES) Out of Committee                                                                   
05/01/17       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
05/03/17       (H)       RES RPT CS(RES) NT 6DP 3NR                                                                             
05/03/17       (H)       DP: BIRCH, TALERICO, WESTLAKE, JOHNSON,                                                                
                         RAUSCHER, TARR                                                                                         
05/03/17       (H)       NR: PARISH, DRUMMOND, JOSEPHSON                                                                        
02/19/18       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
02/19/18       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/19/18       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/03/18       (H)       FIN AT 10:00 AM ADAMS ROOM 519                                                                         
04/03/18       (H)       Moved CSHB 197(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/03/18       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/04/18       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) NT 8DP 2NR 1AM                                                                         
04/04/18       (H)       DP: GARA, WILSON, GUTTENBERG, GRENN,                                                                   
                         ORTIZ, THOMPSON, SEATON, FOSTER                                                                        
04/04/18       (H)       NR: PRUITT, TILTON                                                                                     
04/04/18       (H)       AM: KAWASAKI                                                                                           
04/09/18       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/09/18       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 197(FIN)                                                                                 
04/10/18       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/10/18       (S)       RES                                                                                                    
04/16/18       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: HJR 29                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: REAUTHORIZE SECURE RURAL SCHOOLS ACT                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) RAUSCHER                                                                                          
01/19/18       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/19/18       (H)       STA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
01/30/18       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
01/30/18       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/30/18       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/01/18       (H)       STA AT 3:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
02/01/18       (H)       Moved CSHJR 29(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/01/18       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/02/18       (H)       STA RPT CS(STA) 7DP                                                                                    
02/02/18       (H)       DP: TUCK, BIRCH, JOHNSON, WOOL, LEDOUX,                                                                
                         KNOPP, KREISS-TOMKINS                                                                                  
03/09/18       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
03/09/18       (H)       Moved CSHJR 29(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/09/18       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/12/18       (H)       JUD RPT CS(STA) 4DP                                                                                    
03/12/18       (H)       DP: KREISS-TOMKINS, STUTES, LEDOUX,                                                                    
03/20/18       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM ADAMS ROOM 519                                                                          
03/20/18       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/28/18       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM ADAMS ROOM 519                                                                          
03/28/18       (H)       Moved CSHJR 29(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/28/18       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/29/18       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) 9DP                                                                                    
03/29/18       (H)       DP: GARA, WILSON, KAWASAKI, ORTIZ,                                                                     
                         THOMPSON, GUTTENBERG, TILTON, SEATON,                                                                  
03/29/18       (H)       FOSTER                                                                                                 
04/11/18       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/11/18       (H)       VERSION: CSHJR 29(FIN)                                                                                 
04/12/18       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/12/18       (S)       RES                                                                                                    
04/16/18       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: HB 354                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: DIVE FISHERY ASSESSMENTS                                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) ORTIZ                                                                                             
02/16/18       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/16/18       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
03/08/18       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM GRUENBERG 120                                                                          
03/08/18       (H)       Moved HB 354 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/08/18       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/09/18       (H)       FSH RPT 3DP 1NR                                                                                        
03/09/18       (H)       DP: TARR, KREISS-TOMKINS, STUTES                                                                       
03/09/18       (H)       NR: NEUMAN                                                                                             
03/21/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/21/18       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/21/18       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/23/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/23/18       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/26/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/26/18       (H)       -- Meeting Postponed to 3/27/18 at 6:30                                                                
03/27/18       (H)       RES AT 6:30 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/27/18       (H)       Moved HB 354 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/27/18       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/28/18       (H)       RES RPT 5DP 2NR                                                                                        
03/28/18       (H)       DP:    LINCOLN,     PARISH,    TALERICO,                                                               
                         DRUMMOND, TARR                                                                                         
03/28/18       (H)       NR: BIRCH, RAUSCHER                                                                                    
04/06/18       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/06/18       (H)       VERSION: HB 354                                                                                        
04/09/18       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/09/18       (S)       RES                                                                                                    
04/16/18       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: HCR 23                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PROTECT WILDLIFE FROM FOREIGN PATHOGENS                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) JOSEPHSON                                                                                         
02/21/18       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/21/18       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
03/02/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/02/18       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/16/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/16/18       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/16/18       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/21/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/21/18       (H)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
03/23/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/23/18       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
03/26/18       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/26/18       (H)       -- Meeting Postponed to 3/27/18 at 6:30                                                                
03/27/18       (H)       RES AT 6:30 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/27/18       (H)       Moved CSHCR 23(RES) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/27/18       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/29/18       (H)       RES RPT CS(RES) 3DP 2NR 4AM                                                                            
03/29/18       (H)       DP: LINCOLN, DRUMMOND, TARR                                                                            
03/29/18       (H)       NR: BIRCH, TALERICO                                                                                    
03/29/18       (H)       AM:    JOHNSON,     RAUSCHER,    PARISH,                                                               
04/12/18       (H)       NOT TAKEN UP 4/12 - ON 4/13 CALENDAR                                                                   
04/13/18       (H)       BEFORE HOUSE IN SECOND READING                                                                         
04/13/18       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/13/18       (H)       VERSION: CSHCR 23(RES)                                                                                 
04/14/18       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/14/18       (S)       RES                                                                                                    
04/16/18       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER JOHNSTON                                                                                                
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 197.                                                                                        
ELIZABETH REXFORD, staff to Representative Johnston                                                                             
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 197 for the sponsor.                                                                      
AMY SEITZ, Executive Director                                                                                                   
Alaska Farm Bureau                                                                                                              
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 197 and HCR 23.                                                                              
ROB CARTER                                                                                                                      
Alaska Plant Material Center                                                                                                    
Division of Agriculture                                                                                                         
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 197.                                                                             
DARRELL BREESE, staff to Representative Rauscher                                                                                
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HJR 29 for the sponsor.                                                                      
ALAN SORUM, Clerk                                                                                                               
Valdez School Board                                                                                                             
Valdez, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HJR 29.                                                                                         
RUTHIE KNIGHT, Mayor                                                                                                            
City of Valdez                                                                                                                  
Valdez, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported CSHJR 29(FIN).                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE DAN ORTIZ                                                                                                        
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 354.                                                                                        
LIZ HARPOLD, staff to Representative Ortiz                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 354 for the sponsor.                                                                      
SCOTT KELLEY, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Commercial Fisheries                                                                                                
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 354.                                                                                      
KEN ALPER, Director                                                                                                             
Tax Division                                                                                                                    
Department of Revenue (DOR)                                                                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 354.                                                                                      
PHIL DOHERTY, Executive Director                                                                                                
Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association (SARDFA)                                                                   
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 354.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE ANDY JOSEPHSON                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HCR 23.                                                                                        
ROBERT GERLACH, State Veterinarian                                                                                              
Office of the State Veterinarian                                                                                                
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HCR 23.                                                                                      
TIANA THOMAS                                                                                                                    
Mutual Aide Network of Livestock Producers and Consumers                                                                        
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HCR 23.                                                                                      
THOR STACEY, lobbyist                                                                                                           
Alaska Wild Sheep Foundation                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HCR 23.                                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:32:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CATHY   GIESSEL  called  the  Senate   Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 3:32  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators Stedman, Coghill, Wielechowski, and Giessel.                                                                
CHAIR  GIESSEL recognized  and thanked  the recording  secretary,                                                               
Ann Krekelberg,  who is  also the  Supervisor of  Senate Records,                                                               
for her  work and long  service with the Alaska  Legislature. She                                                               
said the public counts on  the recordings to see what legislators                                                               
have  done and  sometimes legal  cases  refer to  the record  for                                                               
      CSHB 197(FIN)-COMMUNITY SEED LIBRARIES; AGRICULTURE                                                                   
3:33:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  announced consideration of HB  197 [CSHB 197(FIN),                                                               
version 30-LS0493\L, was before the committee].                                                                                 
3:33:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JENNIFER  JOHNSTON,   Alaska  State  Legislature,                                                               
Juneau, Alaska,  sponsor of HB  197, said this measure  came from                                                               
members of  her community as a  way to legalize the  sharing of a                                                               
small amount of seeds. Currently,  a seed cannot be sold, shared,                                                               
or exchanged without going through  costly testing and labelling.                                                               
Seed  sharing   in  libraries  has  a   potential  to  contribute                                                               
significant  value  to  the  health   and  heritage  in  Alaska's                                                               
communities  by providing  a place  to  share regionally  adapted                                                               
heirloom seeds as an  alternative to outside genetically-modified                                                               
seeds  and help  increase bio-diversity  and plant  resilience in                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
She said  seed libraries are  sprouting up throughout  Alaska and                                                               
this bill will  allow them to operate  legally without burdensome                                                               
and unnecessary  government regulation. This bill  will help grow                                                               
an organic sense of community and increase Alaska food security.                                                                
3:34:53 PM                                                                                                                    
ELIZABETH  REXFORD,  staff  to  Representative  Johnston,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska,  explained  that the  newest                                                               
version of HB  197 reduces labelling and  testing regulations for                                                               
the exchange of small batches  of non-commercial seeds. This bill                                                               
will  permit   Alaska  gardening  and  farming   communities  the                                                               
opportunity to  continue expanding seed sharing  without breaking                                                               
the law.                                                                                                                        
She said  that Alaska currently  has very onerous  seed labelling                                                               
requirements; currently,  any seed that  is used at  any capacity                                                               
within  the state  has to  go through  the commercial  process of                                                               
extensive testing, germinating percentages, and labelling.                                                                      
The new  requirements would  be limited to  only a  few sections:                                                               
the seeds'  common name,  name and address  of the  seed library,                                                               
and  if  treated  with  a toxic  substance  the  labelling  would                                                               
require  the  statement:  "treated  seed  not  for  consumption."                                                               
Signage in the  library to state: "not  authorized for commercial                                                               
use  in not  classified, graded,  or  inspected by  the State  of                                                               
MS. REXFORD  said the  new fee requirement  for labelling  is far                                                               
less  than  the two  pages  of  current requirements.  As  stated                                                               
before,  Alaska  has been  experiencing  a  severe food  security                                                               
challenge  where residents  spend  close to  $2 billion  annually                                                               
buying food produced  from outside of our state.  By passing this                                                               
bill,  Alaska's   community  seed  libraries  will   be  able  to                                                               
confidently exist and grow into the future.                                                                                     
3:36:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI said  this  is  a good  idea  and asked  if                                                               
genetically modified  seeds have any special  requirements and if                                                               
there are concerns about that.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  answered that  in taking  testimony from                                                               
the seed libraries, he found  that some operate through donations                                                               
and  they didn't  want their  donated  seeds to  be too  severely                                                               
3:37:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP joined the committee.                                                                                            
SENATOR MEYER joined the committee.                                                                                             
SENATOR  STEDMAN  said he  was  curious  about how  this  measure                                                               
interacts with the commercial issue.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  replied she  purposely left that  out of                                                               
the seed bill, because it's taken care of with other statutes.                                                                  
SENATOR STEDMAN  said so, it's  excluded from the  community seed                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON answered, "yes."                                                                                        
3:38:50 PM                                                                                                                    
AMY  SEITZ, Executive  Director,  Alaska  Farm Bureau,  Soldotna,                                                               
Alaska, supported HB  197. She said interest in  food security is                                                               
increasing  in Alaska,  and it  is an  issue that  has been  very                                                               
important to the Alaska Farm Bureau for several years.                                                                          
She  said  increasing  our  food security  can  be  done  through                                                               
expanding  agriculture  with our  farmers,  but  it can  also  be                                                               
achieved through encouraging members of  the public to grow their                                                               
own food.  HB 197 would allow  personal growth of food  by easing                                                               
restrictions  on labelling  requirements  for the  non-commercial                                                               
seed exchanges.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR GIESSEL  said the "purple  vetch" on road  perimeters ended                                                               
up in  Alaska because  it was  mixed in with  the seeds  that the                                                               
Department  of  Transportation   and  Public  Facilities  (DOTPF)                                                               
seeded the rights-of-way with. It  is an invasive species that is                                                               
now  choking off  our  native plants.  She asked  how  it can  be                                                               
ensured that  no weeds are in  the seeds that are  being put into                                                               
these seed libraries.                                                                                                           
ROB   CARTER,  Alaska   Plant   Material   Center,  Division   of                                                               
Agriculture,  Department  of  Natural  Resources  (DNR),  Palmer,                                                               
Alaska,  answered that  the seed  that  is collected,  harvested,                                                               
maintained  or shared  non-commercially  is  in relatively  small                                                               
quantities  and  in this  legislation  is  defined as  under  100                                                               
pounds. A lot  of the seed that has been  shared from gardener to                                                               
gardener has been tested and  meets the commercially standardized                                                               
labelling laws and  testing requirements. The seed  that is grown                                                               
and collected on  a farm or within a community,  remote or on the                                                               
road system, is done by hand  in a non-mechanized fashion, and in                                                               
very small  quantities and so,  the genetics of  seed individuals                                                               
have been maintained  for years, or even decades.  The chances of                                                               
collecting an  invasive or non-native species  would actually not                                                               
be very  probable since seeds  are mostly vegetable,  flower, and                                                               
garden  seeds that  are unlike  commercial scale  seeds that  are                                                               
collected by  machines harvesting hundreds or  thousands of acres                                                               
at a  time where the  chance of  catching those invasive  or non-                                                               
native species is very likely.                                                                                                  
CHAIR GIESSEL thanked him and  finding nor further questions, she                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
SENATOR COGHILL  moved to report  HB 197 [CSHB  197(FIN), version                                                               
\L,] from committee with  individual recommendations and attached                                                               
fiscal note. There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                    
       CSHJR 29(FIN)-REAUTHORIZE SECURE RURAL SCHOOLS ACT                                                                   
3:43:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  announced consideration of HJR  29. [CSHJR 29(FIN)                                                               
was before the committee.]                                                                                                      
3:44:35 PM                                                                                                                    
DARRELL BREESE,  staff to  Representative Rauscher,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, introduced HJR 29  for the sponsor.                                                               
He said  this resolution simply  calls for the U.S.  Congress and                                                               
the   Administration  to   enact  a   permanent  resolution   and                                                               
authorization   for   the   Secure  Rural   Schools   and   Self-                                                               
Determination Act of 2000.                                                                                                      
He explained  that the  Secure Rural Schools  Act was  started in                                                               
the early  1900s and  provided a portion  of the  timber receipts                                                               
from national  forests to  communities neighboring,  adjacent to,                                                               
or   inside  the   national  forests   throughout  the   country.                                                               
Nationwide, this bill affects over  700 communities; in Alaska it                                                               
provides funding for 33 communities  and 33 school districts. The                                                               
funding expired in 2017, but  the recently passed federal omnibus                                                               
spending  package  extended  this  program  for  two-years.  This                                                               
resolution  simply  calls  for  a  permanent  extension  to  this                                                               
program, which helps schools throughout the State of Alaska.                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN said this resolution is  a good idea and asked if                                                               
the  committee should  have  a conversation  about  this form  of                                                               
revenue  sharing  off of  federal  land  and  the need  for  more                                                               
economic  development in  those  areas like  an increased  timber                                                               
supply. What  is the use  of asking  for revenue when  some folks                                                               
want to shut down all  the commercial access, which generates the                                                               
revenue, he exclaimed.                                                                                                          
MR.  BREESE replied  the sponsor  thought of  proposing that  but                                                               
thought the first  step should be reauthorization  of the funding                                                               
first.   Once  that   is   established,   having  something   for                                                               
development of  forest resources  could happen  at a  later date.                                                               
Forestry is an important part  of development and economic growth                                                               
in several  communities and  it's a shame  that it  doesn't exist                                                               
like it used to.                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEDMAN  said they might  get a little different  list of                                                               
interested parties  if on  one hand you  can have  no development                                                               
and  get  a  check and  on  the  other  hand,  you have  to  have                                                               
development to get  some revenue sharing. These  western lands in                                                               
the United States should be  producing more revenue, particularly                                                               
in the Tongass.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR  GIESSEL listed  the  letters of  support  from schools  in                                                               
Sitka, Yakutat, and Angoon.                                                                                                     
3:49:25 PM                                                                                                                    
ALAN  SORUM,   Clerk,  Valdez   School  Board,   Valdez,  Alaska,                                                               
supported  HJR 29.  He  is  also on  the  Board  of the  Forested                                                               
Counties  and Schools  Coalition and  has been  working with  the                                                               
sponsors  of  this  resolution  for a  while.  The  Secure  Rural                                                               
Schools Program (SRS)  within the Tongass and  Chugach forests is                                                               
a  real  important   program  and  they  have   often  spoken  of                                                               
timber/forest  reorganization.  The  fear  is  that  this  is  an                                                               
ongoing effort and  the schools will suffer in the  eight or nine                                                               
years it will take to do any kind of forest reform.                                                                             
He explained  that the timber  receipts program operated  on auto                                                               
pilot for  many years, because they  came in every year  and were                                                               
distributed  to the  schools. The  SRS  program came  out of  the                                                               
federal  government's   decision  to  pull  back   from  resource                                                               
development.  So,  whatever  resource  development  effort  takes                                                               
place, it  will take a lot  longer than the schools  have. He has                                                               
talked personally  with the federal  delegation and they  are all                                                               
co-sponsors of legislation to reauthorize and fund this program.                                                                
The omnibus  bill passed a little  while ago, but that  is only a                                                               
stop  gap; it  doesn't  address the  long-term  viability of  the                                                               
program. He thanked them for support of this resolution.                                                                        
3:52:34 PM                                                                                                                    
RUTHIE KNIGHT,  Mayor, City of Valdez,  Valdez, Alaska, supported                                                               
HJR 29.  She said in  the 29 years she  has lived in  Alaska, she                                                               
has lived in  both the Tongass and the  Chugach National Forests.                                                               
She  was on  the Wrangell  City Council  and is  now the  sitting                                                               
mayor of Valdez. When you see  the funds come through the "timber                                                               
receipts"  funding into  the city  budgets, it  really does  help                                                               
them figure  out ways to  fund the  schools with what  they need.                                                               
Every little bit helps, she said.                                                                                               
CHAIR GIESSEL thanked  Ms. Knight for her  testimony and remarked                                                               
that hopefully the kids are  aware that some school revenue comes                                                               
from timber  development. She commented  that the state  needs to                                                               
keep "gardening"  and "harvesting"  the forest,  because it  is a                                                               
renewable  resource.  Finding  no further  comments,  she  closed                                                               
public testimony on CSHJR 29(FIN).                                                                                              
3:55:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN commented  that 20-some years ago  when the state                                                               
was facing  the termination of  the two 50-year  timber contracts                                                               
for the  pulp mill, there  was a lot  of debate, and  support was                                                               
pretty  clear in  different regions.  Obviously, the  politics of                                                               
the time dictated the results.                                                                                                  
He observed that most of the  communities on the list are sitting                                                               
in  his district,  and assured  them that  the Ketchikan  Gateway                                                               
Borough  supports  jobs  in  the  timber  industry  and  supports                                                               
extension of  this program. Tourism  jobs pale in  comparison. He                                                               
pointed out  that you need an  industry to create the  economy to                                                               
write the checks.                                                                                                               
SENATOR BISHOP emphasized that key word is "renewable" resource.                                                                
3:59:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL moved  to report  CSHJR  29(FIN) from  committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal  note(s).                                                               
There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                 
                HB 354-DIVE FISHERY ASSESSMENTS                                                                             
4:00:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL announced  consideration  of HB  354 [version  30-                                                               
LS1368\D, was before the committee].                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  DAN  ORTIZ,  sponsor  of  HB  354,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, said  this measure streamlines the  process in which                                                               
the   Southeast  Alaska   Regional  Dive   Fisheries  Association                                                               
(SARDFA)  can  amend  an  assessment.   SARDFA  is  a  non-profit                                                               
association that  represents all  dive fishery permit  holders in                                                               
the  Southeast commercial  fishing region.  It is  the only  dive                                                               
fishery   association   in   the   state   regulated   under   AS                                                      , and current statutes  require a majority of permit                                                               
holders to participate in an election to modify an assessment.                                                                  
He  explained  that due  to  the  Southeast Alaska  dive  fishery                                                               
becoming  a limited  entry  fishery  in the  1990s,  many of  the                                                               
permits are  non-transferrable and  are no longer  actively being                                                               
fished.  The   proposed  legislation  allows  for   a  change  in                                                               
assessment to be initiated by  a three-fourths vote of the SARDFA                                                               
board and passed with a  majority of permit holders participating                                                               
in an election.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ  explained  that   this  bill  changes  the                                                               
existing  way  SARDFA  conducts assessments  on  their  different                                                               
fisheries.   Their  fishermen   are  assessed   to  fund   Alaska                                                               
Department of  Fish and Game  (ADF&G) activities to  manage those                                                               
fisheries.  The  problems  is  that  originally,  the  assessment                                                               
required  a  majority of  permit  holders  to participate  in  an                                                               
election  and  there  is less  and  less  participation,  because                                                               
people are aging out of the fisheries.                                                                                          
CHAIR GIESSEL asked staff to go through the bill.                                                                               
LIZ  HARPOLD,   staff  to  Representative  Ortiz,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  explained  that  HB  354  essentially  changes  the                                                               
threshold for initiating  a change and also  electing that change                                                               
in an assessment.                                                                                                               
Section 1 adds language to  clarify which sections the assessment                                                               
is levied, amended, and terminated.                                                                                             
Page  1, lines  7-10,  clarify  that it's  a  majority of  permit                                                               
holders  versus  participating  in   an  election  instead  of  a                                                               
majority of all permit holders total.                                                                                           
Page  1,  lines 11-12  create  the  minimum threshold  of  permit                                                               
holders being required to participate at 25 percent.                                                                            
Section 2  on page 2,  line 4, is conforming  language reflecting                                                               
the changes made in section 1.                                                                                                  
She pointed out  that AS 43.76. sections (a)-(d) have  to do with                                                               
the  notice  for  election,  the  election  procedures,  and  the                                                               
certification of  results. Adding subsection (b)  reiterates that                                                               
levying, amending, or terminating an  assessment must pass with a                                                               
majority of  permit holders participating  in an election  with a                                                               
minimum of 25 percent participation.                                                                                            
Sections  3  and  4  change  how the  amendment  of  (3)  or  the                                                               
termination of (4) an assessment  is initiated. So, instead of it                                                               
being brought  forward to the  commissioner of the  Department of                                                               
Revenue (DOR) by 25 percent  of the fishermen who participated in                                                               
the   previous  election,   the  initiation   of  changing   this                                                               
assessment will be brought forward  by the three-quarters vote of                                                               
the board of directors.                                                                                                         
4:05:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked  what   a  dive  fishery  management                                                               
assessment is.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  answered it  is a  tax that  is put  on the                                                               
value of, for example, the sale  of geoduck that goes directly to                                                               
the Department of  Revenue (DOR) that disburses it  to the Alaska                                                               
Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)  so it can continue to manage                                                               
that particular  fishery, in this  instance the  geoduck fishery.                                                               
No general funds are used; it's all their own money.                                                                            
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked  if industry is setting  its own rates                                                               
of taxation.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ replied  yes,  but like  any other  fishing                                                               
industry, they  want to  see preservation of  the stocks  for the                                                               
future, so they  can continue being part of the  economy. The tax                                                               
is based on what ADF&G sees itself needing to manage the stocks.                                                                
4:07:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked what the money is used for.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ replied  that the money is used  by ADF&G to                                                               
assess the stocks through a variety of ways.                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  what  if  ADF&G says  it  needs a  5                                                               
percent tax and  people say no, it should be  4 percent. Can they                                                               
set a lower rate?                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   ORTIZ  replied   yes,   theoretically;  but   if                                                               
fishermen want their  stocks to be managed, they have  to pay for                                                               
SENATOR  BISHOP  commented that  at  end  of  the day,  the  dive                                                               
fishery funds the department to  assess whether it has an opening                                                               
or not.                                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ replied yes.                                                                                               
SENATOR  STEDMAN  said this  tax  is  in  addition to  the  state                                                               
fisheries tax, but this is  the direction they want industries to                                                               
go: to be  self-supporting and not rely on the  general fund. The                                                               
challenge is if they hit the  score a little high and the revenue                                                               
needs adjusting.                                                                                                                
4:10:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER  asked if the  industry in Southeast is  healthy in                                                               
general. Should we maintain it or make it stronger?                                                                             
4:11:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT KELLEY, Director, Division  of Commercial Fisheries, Alaska                                                               
Department  of Fish  and Game  (ADF&G), answered  that the  three                                                               
fisheries - sea  urchins, cucumbers, and geoduck clams  - are all                                                               
healthy. Those fisheries have generated $8.5-12.5 million in ex-                                                                
vessel value.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked if the department  supports this bill                                                               
and how  the amount of  funding has worked  so far. What  is done                                                               
with the excess funds?                                                                                                          
MR. KELLEY  replied that the assessment  goes to the DOR  and the                                                               
ADF&G gets  just a small piece  of that through what  is called a                                                               
"cooperative  agreement."  Their  piece   of  the  assessment  is                                                               
relatively small and the most of  it goes to the dive fishery for                                                               
water testing, and staffing. He  added that these fisheries can't                                                               
happen by  regulation unless the  stocks are assessed.  He brings                                                               
that  up because  that motivates  the association  to fund  ADF&G                                                               
operations. The department is currently adequately funded.                                                                      
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked how  much is  collected and  how much                                                               
goes to each department.                                                                                                        
MR.  KELLEY replied  that the  Division  of Commercial  Fisheries                                                               
receives  about   $104,000  per   year  from  the   dive  fishery                                                               
assessments and he didn't know how that broke down.                                                                             
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked if he  supported this measure  and if                                                               
the department  has sufficient  funds to  continue doing  what he                                                               
wants to do.                                                                                                                    
MR. KELLEY  replied that the  department supports this  bill, but                                                               
in  a way,  it is  an internal  matter for  the association.  The                                                               
ADF&G commissioner  is only charged with  certifying the election                                                               
and making sure the statutory voting requirements are followed.                                                                 
4:15:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEDMAN commented  that legislators  had worked  on this                                                               
dive fishery  for years. It's nice  to see that it  is successful                                                               
and that outside of the sea otter predation problem, it is self-                                                                
CHAIR GIESSEL  remarked that  geoducks are  highly sought  in the                                                               
MR. KELLEY replied that is  true and that sometimes live geoducks                                                               
go for $11.50 a pound; processed  ones are worth about 65 cents a                                                               
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked if he  could have his  question about                                                               
the assessments answered.                                                                                                       
KEN ALPER,  Director, Tax Division, Department  of Revenue (DOR),                                                               
replied that the  value of the assessment is a  percentage of the                                                               
value and  it varies from year  to year. Part of  the reason this                                                               
is an  issue is that the  sea cucumbers are having  somewhat of a                                                               
boom and have contributed more  money through the assessment than                                                               
is  needed  and   are  struggling  to  reduce   the  rate.  Total                                                               
collections  in recent  years from  the three  dive fisheries  is                                                               
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said he thought  he heard ADF&G testify that                                                               
they need about $104,000 and that they are getting much more.                                                                   
MR. ALPER  replied that  the Tax  Division's role  is mechanical;                                                               
they are  collecting the  assessment alongside  all of  the other                                                               
fish   taxes.  It   is  designated   general   fund  subject   to                                                               
appropriation. Put  into context, it  is similar to  the hatchery                                                               
and  Alaska Seafood  Marketing Institute  (ASMI) assessments.  He                                                               
understands that  SARDFA is accumulating something  of a "reserve                                                               
account" that  they are  funding their  own operations  to manage                                                               
their fishery from their end, but  it's in a pot where they can't                                                               
just use it, and  they have more than they need.  That is part of                                                               
why they want to reduce the assessment.                                                                                         
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  said  he  knows  some  fishery  funds  are                                                               
dedicated and  asked if  the excess money  goes into  the general                                                               
fund, and if he sees it diminish there.                                                                                         
MR. ALPER  answered these three  fisheries' funds  are designated                                                               
general fund and are intended  to be within the state's dedicated                                                               
funds   restrictions,   meaning   they  are   approved   by   the                                                               
legislature, and  to a certain  extent, the assessment has  to be                                                               
approved by  the user group  in a  vote. He understands  that has                                                               
been  upheld so  long as  the money,  itself, remains  subject to                                                               
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked if  that is  an appropriation  to the                                                               
general fund, because he said it was "dedicated."                                                                               
MR. ALPER replied if he said that  word, it was in the context of                                                               
avoiding  any linkage  to a  dedicated fund.  This is  considered                                                               
designated  general  fund (DGF)  within  the  revenue system.  It                                                               
comes in with  the expectation that it's going to  a purpose that                                                               
is subject to appropriation annually.                                                                                           
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked  what  is  happening  to  the  other                                                               
MR.  ALPER replied  that his  understanding  is that  it goes  to                                                               
SARDFA,  which  is  a  non-profit,  and  sits  in  their  reserve                                                               
account. That  is why they want  to reduce the assessments  for a                                                               
couple of years while they spend it down.                                                                                       
SENATOR MEYER asked him to  explain the indeterminate fiscal note                                                               
that says additional revenue may come to the state.                                                                             
MR. ALPER replied that he didn't  have the fiscal note before him                                                               
but  there   had  been  several  versions.   Originally,  it  was                                                               
indeterminate and  then was  changed to zero.  The reason  it was                                                               
indeterminate  is that  this bill  might make  it easier  for the                                                               
fishermen user group to reduce  their rate, and therefore, reduce                                                               
the  direct  flow of  cash  to  the  state. However,  dollar  for                                                               
dollar, whatever comes in reduces  the amount that passes through                                                               
to the  user group, and  the net  effect regardless of  that rate                                                               
will be zero in regard to budgeting the state's revenue.                                                                        
SENATOR MEYER  said it  seems that as  this industry  grows, they                                                               
might generate a lot of funds  that the state could use for other                                                               
fisheries, but that was a discussion for another time.                                                                          
MR.  ALPER responded  that the  self-assessment for  dive fishery                                                               
management is in  addition to the traditional  fisheries tax that                                                               
all  Alaska's  commercial fishermen  pay,  which  is all  general                                                               
fund-shared  with  the  municipality.  This was  added  at  their                                                               
request to support  their own operations, and to  the extent that                                                               
their fishery  grows, ADF&G's costs  are going to  increase, too.                                                               
He believes that compared to salmon  in a creek, it costs more to                                                               
assess  these fisheries.  It is  more capital  intensive, because                                                               
divers  have to  be sent  down to  figure out  the health  of the                                                               
fishery and what sort of openers they can have.                                                                                 
SENATOR MEYER  remarked they  have to deal  with the  sea otters,                                                               
MR. ALPER declined to touch that.                                                                                               
4:23:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL,  finding  no  further  questions,  opened  public                                                               
PHIL DOHERTY, Executive Director,  Southeast Alaska Regional Dive                                                               
Fisheries Association  (SARDFA), Ketchikan, Alaska,  supported HB                                                               
354. The  association, working with the  sponsors, generated this                                                               
legislation through  the board of  directors, their  two reactive                                                               
fisheries  committees  - the  geoduck  clam  and the  sea  urchin                                                               
fisheries - and the sea  cucumber committee. Through all of those                                                               
steps, they  did not have a  negative vote. SARDFA wants  this to                                                               
He explained that the three  fisheries have a mandatory tax above                                                               
and  beyond  the   3  percent  state  fisheries   tax.  They  tax                                                               
themselves 5 percent  of the sea cucumber and red  sea urchin ex-                                                               
vessel value and  7 percent of the geoduck  clam ex-vessel value.                                                               
They enter, under  regulation, an annual operating  plan with the                                                               
ADF&G. Then sit  down at the table with them  and discuss what is                                                               
needed  for  the  upcoming  year for  assessments  of  the  three                                                               
species  and agree  on that.  Then SARDFA,  through these  taxes,                                                               
pays  the  ADF&G  to  manage  and  do  the  assessment  work  and                                                               
necessary research  on the three  species.  This is  done through                                                               
the regulatory  process on any  given year.  If they do  not give                                                               
ADF&G  the   necessary  funds  for  them   to  conduct  research,                                                               
management,   and  assessment,   they  don't   have  a   fishery.                                                               
Obviously, they want fisheries.                                                                                                 
MR.  DOHERTY explained  that the  excess money  above and  beyond                                                               
what  is given  to the  department goes  into the  three separate                                                               
reserve funds and those funds  can't be intermingled. Whatever is                                                               
done for each of the three  fisheries is paid for by that fishery                                                               
with the department is paid off the top.                                                                                        
Sea cucumber enhancement has been  ongoing for the last 20 years,                                                               
but that  might not be  possible for  wild stocks because  of sea                                                               
otter predation. The Alutiiq Pride  Shellfish Hatchery (APSH) has                                                               
spent over  $300,000 to  get that industry  off the  ground; they                                                               
have an association  and the excess money goes  into running that                                                               
MR. DOHERTY said the sea  urchin and geoduck clam fisheries don't                                                               
have a  lot of money to  put in the bank  at the end of  the day.                                                               
Fortunately,  the sea  cucumber  fishery has  been  able to  bank                                                               
enough  money that  the fishermen  feel  they can  lower their  5                                                               
percent tax down to either 3  percent or 1 percent and still meet                                                               
their financial requirements  for the State of  Alaska. That will                                                               
enable  these  fishermen,  by reducing  their  tax,  to  actually                                                               
realize real money into their pockets at the end of the season.                                                                 
Unfortunately, the  initial legislation  that was formed  over 20                                                               
years  ago says  that a  majority of  all the  permit holders  is                                                               
needed to  change the tax, and  now a number of  those are latent                                                               
permits that are still bought on  an annual basis, but they don't                                                               
get fished. But  if you have a permit card,  even though you have                                                               
not made  a landing,  you are  part of  the association  and your                                                               
vote counts.                                                                                                                    
MR. DOHERTY  said three years  ago they  tried to change  the sea                                                               
cucumber tax from  5 percent to 3 percent, but  couldn't meet the                                                               
hurdle of getting  a majority of the sea  cucumber permit holders                                                               
to vote. This  legislation is 100 percent agreed  upon within the                                                               
association; they are just trying to  lower the bar to be able to                                                               
have a  vote that will  help fishermen  who are still  fishing to                                                               
lower the assessment. He added  that if the financial commitments                                                               
to the  State of Alaska are  not met, they won't  fish, and every                                                               
permit holder understands that.                                                                                                 
CHAIR GIESSEL thanked him for that explanation.                                                                                 
4:30:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked how many  permit holders there are and                                                               
how many of them live in Alaska.                                                                                                
MR. DOHERTY replied  that individuals in all  the three fisheries                                                               
get a limited  entry permit. So, one permit doesn't  let you dive                                                               
in all  three fisheries. There are  a little over 300  permits in                                                               
the fisheries that  has dropped from about 350.  Some permits are                                                               
non-renewable so the  number of permits is dropping  on an annual                                                               
basis.  About  65  percent  of   the  permits  are  from  Alaskan                                                               
4:32:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked if there is  an annual fee to  hold a                                                               
MR. DOHERTY answered  yes: the geoduck permit is  about $225, the                                                               
sea cucumber fishery is $75, and  the same for the red sea urchin                                                               
fishery. He added that of the  310 permit holders there are about                                                               
210 active divers.  Unfortunately, when they need to  vote on the                                                               
annual  tax, they  couldn't get  enough fishermen  to return  the                                                               
ballots  to lower  the  tax.  It frustrated  many  of the  active                                                               
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said he would like  to see some ideas on how                                                               
to get the  35 percent who don't live in  Alaska transferred into                                                               
Alaskans' hands.                                                                                                                
4:33:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL,  finding  no  further  questions,  closed  public                                                               
SENATOR  COGHILL  moved  to  report   HB  354,  version  D,  from                                                               
committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached  zero                                                               
fiscal note. There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                    
     CSHCR 23(RES)-PROTECT WILDLIFE FROM FOREIGN PATHOGENS                                                                  
4:34:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  announced consideration of HCR  23. [CSHCR 23(RES)                                                               
was before the committee.]                                                                                                      
4:34:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ANDY JOSEPHSON,  Alaska State Legislature, Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, sponsor  of HCR 23,  explained that the impetus  for this                                                               
resolution came  from concerns with the  Micoplasma Ovipneumoniae                                                               
(M.Ovi) bacteria,  which has  been identified  in the  last 30-40                                                               
days, principally in  Unit 15 on the Kenai Peninsula  and Unit 13                                                               
in the  MatSu area, as  having infected  goats and sheep.  It has                                                               
also been identified  elsewhere. There are many  strains of M.OVI                                                               
and the department is doing  the technical and laboratory work to                                                               
find out which strain this is.                                                                                                  
He  explained that  the  response  to the  M.Ovi  issue has  been                                                               
"pretty   dramatic."  This   resolution  has   received  in   the                                                               
neighborhood  of 100-plus  letters of  support and  a handful  in                                                               
opposition. The concern stems from  a catastrophic die-off of big                                                               
game  sheep  in the  Rocky  Mountains,  and naturally,  big  game                                                               
guides  and hunters  and others  don't  want to  see that  happen                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON said this  resolution was caught up with                                                               
issues about  domestic husbandry and domestic  animals. The Board                                                               
of Game heard a couple of  proposals and concluded it didn't have                                                               
jurisdiction  over the  matter.  The State  Veterinarian is  very                                                               
involved and does not oppose the  resolution as it is written and                                                               
wants  the state  to  be vigilant  and to  keep  working on  this                                                               
issue. Some may believe that this  has to be an either-or kind of                                                               
thing, because  of alarm over  a possible effort to  intervene in                                                               
the putative  source of the M.Ovi  virus. We don't want  to see a                                                               
die-off of wild game.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  said language  in the second  and fifth                                                               
whereas  clauses of  the  resolution were  changed  in the  House                                                               
Resources Committee and  uses the term "livestock" in  a way that                                                               
he didn't agree  with. But when it was argued  on the House Floor                                                               
it was  viewed as  balanced. Some of  the words,  particularly on                                                               
lines 6  and 13 talking about  science-based livestock management                                                               
attributing billions  of dollars of economic  value to livestock,                                                               
are not quite accurate.                                                                                                         
CHAIR GIESSEL thanked him for taking  on this issue. She said the                                                               
State   Veterinarian  with   the   Department  of   Environmental                                                               
Conservation (DEC) was  on-line and clarified that  the state has                                                               
lots  of state  veterinarians.  ADF&G has  one  and the  upcoming                                                               
fiscal year  budget contains funding  for the incorporation  of a                                                               
new   position  of   veterinarian  in   the  DNR's   Division  of                                                               
4:39:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL asked for state veterinarian questions.                                                                           
SENATOR STEDMAN asked  his opinion of the new finding  of some of                                                               
these diseased animals.                                                                                                         
4:40:21 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  GERLACH,   State  Veterinarian,   Office  of   the  State                                                               
Veterinarian,  Department  of Environmental  Conservation  (DEC),                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska,  answered that he  began a study one  year ago                                                               
when the  question of mycoplasma  pneumonia was brought  up. They                                                               
started  testing  livestock, both  sheep  and  goats, across  the                                                               
state to  determine the prevalence  of this pathogen  in domestic                                                               
livestock. Right  now, there  is a prevalence  rate of  about 4-5                                                               
percent in  domestic livestock. In  that same time  period, ADF&G                                                               
also  began  testing  samples  for  mycoplasma  ovipneumoniae  in                                                               
different wildlife  species and populations across  the state and                                                               
have been doing surveillance for  mycoplasma bacteria in wildlife                                                               
for a  number of years  and just  now instituted a  stronger push                                                               
toward a different testing method  for it. Several press releases                                                               
on the  findings on  the wild  sheep and  goats across  the state                                                               
have been  put out.  It has  been found  wild populations  in the                                                               
Kenai Peninsula and up northeast of the Brooks Range.                                                                           
SENATOR COGHILL  thanked him for  his answers. He asked  what new                                                               
things would happen if this resolution passes.                                                                                  
MR. GERLACH  answered the surveillance  and understanding  of the                                                               
presence  of this  pathogen  in both  domestic  and wild  species                                                               
across the  state would continue.  But what they don't  know, and                                                               
ADF&G is  taking a big  step in doing,  is not just  testing wild                                                               
sheep  or goats  but testing  other species  to see  if they  are                                                               
affected by it or if they could be carriers and transmitters.                                                                   
SENATOR  COGHILL  said  he  appreciates that  and  asked  if  the                                                               
resolution speeds them along in the right direction.                                                                            
MR. GERLACH  answered what DEC  and ADF&G have  been coordinating                                                               
work on  it and on a  number of different diseases,  as well like                                                               
chronic  wasting  disease  surveillance, influenza,  rabies,  and                                                               
others, in the same manner.                                                                                                     
4:45:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  noted that  language on page  2, lines  1-2, says,                                                               
"Whereas  wildlife   of  the  state   is  under   continuous  and                                                               
increasing  threat from  foreign pathogens,  infectious diseases,                                                               
and non-endemic  parasites..." and asked  if he as the  DEC State                                                               
Veterinarian considered M.Ovi pathogen a threat.                                                                                
MR. GERLACH  replied from what they  know at this time,  they see                                                               
no  negative   impact  of  mycoplasma  ovipneumoniae   in  either                                                               
domestic  or wildlife  species.  So, the  identification of  this                                                               
pathogen needs to  be further evaluated. The Lower  48 states and                                                               
Southern British Columbia have  totally different situations with                                                               
respect  to the  habitat  they  have for  their  wild sheep,  the                                                               
amounts  of  interaction  they   have,  the  stressors  on  those                                                               
populations, and  the overall density  of our  domestic livestock                                                               
in comparison to what these  other areas have. The two situations                                                               
are totally different and just because  we have the presence of a                                                               
pathogen  doesn't  necessarily  mean   we  have  the  disease  or                                                               
pathology that  results from  it. He explained  that if  you went                                                               
out  and  picked up  some  dirt  from  the  ground, a  number  of                                                               
different pathogens  could get  on your  hands, but  just because                                                               
they are there doesn't mean you  are going to be sick, especially                                                               
if you  take certain precautions  and management  procedures such                                                               
as washing hands and other things to prevent it.                                                                                
In this  case they have been  provided a time period  to go ahead                                                               
and  look at  the situation,  work to  understand what  the risks                                                               
are, and  then help to  institute management changes if  they are                                                               
needed   to  prevent   risk  to   either  domestic   or  wildlife                                                               
populations  in  Alaska. This  is  a  concern for  many  emerging                                                               
diseases in the state, not just mycoplasma ovipneumoniae.                                                                       
CHAIR  GIESSEL said  she appreciated  his balanced  response. She                                                               
said Alaska  has 25 percent  of the  wild sheep in  North America                                                               
and it could have a substantial  impact on Alaska if the pathogen                                                               
proves to be deadly.  She appreciated the ongoing investigation.                                                                
4:48:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL,  finding  no  further  questions,  opened  public                                                               
testimony on HCR 23.                                                                                                            
AMY  SEITZ, Executive  Director,  Alaska  Farm Bureau,  Soldotna,                                                               
Alaska, supported HCR 23. She  said the Alaska Farm Bureau agrees                                                               
with  the  idea  of  encouraging  Alaska's  agencies  to  protect                                                               
wildlife  and domestic  animals  and  appreciates the  amendments                                                               
added  in   the  House  Resources  Committee   stating  that  the                                                               
information  needs to  be gathered  in order  to make  a science-                                                               
based  decision and  adding references  to  domestic animals  and                                                               
livestock to correlate with the title that references both.                                                                     
If this  resolution passes, she said  it is important to  know if                                                               
the   support  is   for  encouraging   agencies  to   gather  the                                                               
information  and  make  science-based management  decisions  with                                                               
necessary  and  prudent  measures  or if  this  is  a  revolution                                                               
pushing for action. There can  be significant differences between                                                               
these two  possible ways of  looking at it. Especially  since the                                                               
current  M.Ovi issue  spurred this  resolution  on, they  believe                                                               
agencies  are  taking  necessary  and  prudent  steps  to  gather                                                               
Alaska-specific information in order  to make appropriate actions                                                               
to minimize the risk of a disease outbreak.                                                                                     
MS. SEITZ said  that enhancing efforts and  taking actions before                                                               
getting the information  to prevent this spread  of pathogens can                                                               
be extreme  and not necessarily  the right approach.  Had actions                                                               
been taken when  this issue first came to Alaska  before they had                                                               
any  information, they  probably  wouldn't  have discovered  that                                                               
M.Ovi was already  in our wildlife or that it's  up in the Brooks                                                               
Range  where it  most likely  didn't come  from a  direct contact                                                               
with  domestic  animal. So,  it's  really  important to  get  the                                                               
information before taking action.                                                                                               
She said one of  the points that has been brought  up is that the                                                               
requestors want to go M.Ovi-free in  the state, and at this point                                                               
they don't  know enough  about this  pathogen to  know how  to go                                                               
M.Ovi-free  or if  it is  even  possible. Trying  to eradicate  a                                                               
pathogen  would be  extremely costly  to the  state and  domestic                                                               
owners.  We  don't   know  if  M.Ovi  is  endemic   in  our  wild                                                               
populations,  and   there  have   been  indications   that  other                                                               
ungulates can  be carriers  of M.Ovi,  so it  would be  unwise to                                                               
encourage  agencies to  take  actions  before understanding  what                                                               
appropriate action would  be. If the sole focus  is on regulating                                                               
domestic sheep and goats, we  may end up missing something really                                                               
important when trying to solve this problem.                                                                                    
MS.  SEITZ  said  several  other countries  that  have  wild  and                                                               
domestic animals  don't seem to  be having the same  problem that                                                               
Big Horn  Sheep have had. It  would be important to  find out why                                                               
and  why Alaska  has  M.OVI in  its wild  herds,  but they  still                                                               
appear  to be  healthy, and  how  long it  has been  in our  wild                                                               
She  said  the agencies  mentioned  in  this resolution  do  take                                                               
necessary and  prudent steps  to gather  information in  order to                                                               
make a  science-based decision whether  it's M.Ovi,  winter tics,                                                               
or  numerous  other diseases  they  monitor.  If this  resolution                                                               
passes, they hope  it's with the intent to  encourage and support                                                               
the agencies  in gathering the  facts and science to  justify any                                                               
actions and  not as  a way  of pushing  them into  action without                                                               
4:53:09 PM                                                                                                                    
TIANA  THOMAS, Mutual  Aide Network  of  Livestock Producers  and                                                               
Consumers,  Wasilla, Alaska,  said  their  network receives  feed                                                               
from Delta, sells meats through  the Farmers Market, and eggs and                                                               
milk  through Shares.  She advised  them  to be  cautious of  two                                                               
words in the resolution: "enhanced"  and "catastrophic." In other                                                               
states,  "enhanced" measures  include extirpation  of any  flocks                                                               
that has a single positive member.  In the 2017 Fall issue of the                                                               
Wild Sheep Foundation Magazine she  read an article by Dr. Besser                                                               
D.V.M.  that  he is  no  longer  recommending extirpating  entire                                                               
herds. Rather  they look  to see which  animals cannot  clear the                                                               
mycoplasma and  it seems that  only 10  percent of the  Big Horns                                                               
cannot do  that; the rest of  them are developing the  ability to                                                               
clear the mycoplasma and becoming disease resistant.                                                                            
She said that  domestic animals have had a  longer encounter with                                                               
M.OVI and have  much better clearance rates. In fact,  out of all                                                               
the testing  that was  voluntary on domestics  in the  state only                                                               
one  animal tested  positive on  all  three nasal  swabs and  the                                                               
antibody serum  detection. The  rest of  them had  detections but                                                               
did  not have  the infection,  and they  definitely did  not have                                                               
concurrent  positive swabs.  They are  looking at  having greater                                                               
cooperation  with the  State Veterinarian  to develop  M.OVI-free                                                               
source  herds  for pack  goats  that  would  go into  Dall  Sheep                                                               
4:55:44 PM                                                                                                                    
However, she  encouraged members to  respect the Alaska  and U.S.                                                               
Constitution  and not  ask private  property  citizens what  they                                                               
would  never ask  of  a  gun owner,  because  those the  enhanced                                                               
measures   are    universal   registration,    mandatory   tests,                                                               
confiscation  and  destruction  of  those  that  fail  the  test.                                                               
Hunters would never  be asked that. These  are strong-arm tactics                                                               
that would  obstruct and discourage  open cooperation  going into                                                               
the future with the State Veterinarian.                                                                                         
Further, Ms.  Thomas said  it would be  financially hard  for the                                                               
state to  administer and  definitely be  a hardship  for farmers.                                                               
Mandatory  testing on  all private  properties  would double  the                                                               
cost  of  animals.  She  supports  M.OVI-free  source  herds  for                                                               
animals that will go out into public lands.                                                                                     
4:57:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  THOMAS said  the state's  food security  and access  is very                                                               
important and  people currently  outnumber caribou.  While trophy                                                               
hunting is a big part of  conservation, it takes the pressure off                                                               
of  the  young  tender  tasty breeding  age  animals.  Without  a                                                               
substitution  from the  domestic sector  for those  animals as  a                                                               
poaching source,  subsistence users  could quite easily  lose all                                                               
of their native animals and subsistence sources.                                                                                
She understands  that it's hard  on guides to follow  the natural                                                               
fluctuating cycles of the Big Horns  in the state, but it is also                                                               
hard on the animals to  artificially sustain an elevated density.                                                               
Drastic crashes and drastic peaks can  be smoothed out, but it is                                                               
not  wise to  follow enhanced  measures to  keep an  artificially                                                               
elevated population  - although  the Big  Horn numbers  have been                                                               
increasing wonderfully of the past couple of decades.                                                                           
MS. THOMAS pointed  out that pack horses have  been exempted from                                                               
any  scrutiny  for  disease   transfer  even  though  confinement                                                               
studies found  that horses  and goats have  very nearly  the same                                                               
rates  of  disease  transfer.  She  asked  that  all  animals  be                                                               
included in  the resolution, because  domestics and  wildlife are                                                               
equally valuable  to the  residents of the  State of  Alaska, but                                                               
those  are  being managed  for  the  residents  and not  for  the                                                               
resource itself.                                                                                                                
CHAIR GIESSEL thanked  Ms. Thomas for her testimony  and said she                                                               
appreciated her  passion on  this subject.  She pointed  out that                                                               
the  words "domestic  animals and  wildlife"  appear balanced  in                                                               
this resolution and appear with equal frequency.                                                                                
4:59:47 PM                                                                                                                    
THOR  STACEY, lobbyist,  Alaska  Wild  Sheep Foundation,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, supported  HCR 23. This  is a matter of  conservation. It                                                               
has to do with constitutional  mandates for sustained yield. Dall                                                               
sheep,  mountain  goats,  and  musk ox  are  clearly  covered  in                                                               
section 8 of the Constitution.                                                                                                  
He said the Wild Sheep  Foundation is mostly composed of hunters,                                                               
although as with other types  of conservation organizations it is                                                               
aligned in  its mission to preserve  wildlife for non-consumptive                                                               
users.  However,  from  a hunter's  perspective,  this  makes  an                                                               
important statement of policy: if  there is a disease outbreak in                                                               
the  state, the  full  cost of  that measure  would  be borne  by                                                               
hunters. Wildlife  is clearly supported  by hunting  licenses and                                                               
the fees  that go to  the Division  of Wildlife. No  general fund                                                               
monies  are  used. There  is  no  responsibility  at all  on  the                                                               
domestic  side if  an outbreak  occurs. This  is unlike  a forest                                                               
fire: once  the originating party  in a fire is  identified, that                                                               
party  has the  responsibility to  indemnify the  public for  the                                                               
loss of the forest and to  indemnify owners of cabins or property                                                               
that gets destroyed by this event.                                                                                              
In the  case of a disease  outbreak, Mr. Stacey said  there is no                                                               
responsibility  on the  person from  which  the disease  outbreak                                                               
originates. So, they  appreciate the effort they put  into a pro-                                                               
active policy that  hopefully works to minimize  the burden: loss                                                               
of  the resource  and the  costs ultimately  that go  to the  end                                                               
5:02:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. STACEY said  secondly, this resolution brings  policy in line                                                               
with the  policies the legislature  has put forward  on fisheries                                                               
management  to  prevent  disease transmission  from  aquaculture,                                                               
fish  farming, ranches,  and all  series of  projects to  enhance                                                               
fisheries. The wild fish are obviously a priority in the state.                                                                 
He said hopefully  those changes - adding "livestock"  on page 1,                                                               
lines 6 and 13, where it's  not very intuitive how livestock fits                                                               
in  -  that are  supported  by  the  Farm  Bureau and  the  House                                                               
represent a  collaborative commitment  for the  agricultural side                                                               
and the wildlife side to work together on what approach to take.                                                                
CHAIR GIESSEL, finding  no questions, thanked Mr.  Stacey for his                                                               
testimony, and  closed public testimony.  She commented  that Mr.                                                               
Stacey used the term "collaborative  commitment" and that is what                                                               
she  is  also hoping  for.  The  discussion has  centered  around                                                               
M.OVI, but  this is  a broad statement  about measures  to detect                                                               
the  presence  of  infectious  diseases  and  foreign  pathogens.                                                               
Canada  has barred  the entry  of  cows into  their country  when                                                               
there was  a mad cow  outbreak and multiple pathogens  exist that                                                               
could affect our wild stocks. She  was pleased that at this point                                                               
the  Division  of Agriculture  will  have  its own  veterinarians                                                               
coming on board.                                                                                                                
5:05:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL  commented  that   he  didn't  expect  that  the                                                               
enhanced efforts  would be as  draconian as portrayed,  but those                                                               
efforts  deal with  both wildlife  and domestic  animals, and  if                                                               
anything,  drastic  was  happening, the  legislature  would  hear                                                               
about it.                                                                                                                       
He  moved  to report  CSHCR  23(RES),  version 30-LS1434\D,  from                                                               
committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached  zero                                                               
fiscal note(s). There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                 
5:07:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  adjourned the Senate Resources  Standing Committee                                                               
meeting at 5:07 p.m.                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Senate Resources - Hearing Agenda - 4 - 16 - 18.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB197 ver L.PDF SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Sponsor Statement.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Summary of Changes ver A to ver L.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Sectional Analysis.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Fiscal Note-DNR-PMC-02-16-18.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Supporting Document - Letter 4.2.2018.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Supporting Document – Letter 4.9.2018.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Supporting Document - Letter 4.28.2017.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Supporting Document - Article Seed Bill 12.16.2014.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 197
HJR 29 CS (FIN).PDF SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 Explanation of Changes.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 Sponsor Statement.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 Fiscal Note Leg Affairs.PDF SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 Support Sitka Schools.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 Supporting emails.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HJR 29
HJR 29 Supporting Documents SRS FFY 16 and FFY 17 Grants.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HJR 29
HB 354 ver D.PDF SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 354
HB 354 Sponsor Statement.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 354
HB 354 Fiscal Note HB354-3-3-18.PDF SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 354
HB 354 Fiscal Note HB354-3-29-18.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 354
HB 354 Supporting Document - SEAFA Letter.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 354
HB 354 Supporting Document - SARDFA Letter.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 354
HB 354 Supporting Document - Carruth Letter.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 354
HB 354 Supporting Document - Leighton Letter.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HB 354
HCR23 - Version D.PDF SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR23- Fiscal Note.PDF SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HCR 23
HCR23 - Comments - AK Farm Bureau to SRES.pdf SRES 4/16/2018 3:30:00 PM
HCR 23