Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/02/1994 09:05 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE March 2, 1994 9:05 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Loren Leman, Chair Senator Mike Miller, Vice Chair Senator Robin Taylor Senator Jim Duncan Senator Johnny Ellis MEMBERS ABSENT All Members Present COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 36 Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska requiring that candidates for governor and candidates for lieutenant governor receive more than 50 percent of the votes cast to be elected and changing the term of office of the governor and the lieutenant governor. SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 263 "An Act relating to municipal property tax exemptions." HOUSE BILL NO. 280 "An Act adopting the Uniform Custodial Trust Act." SENATE BILL NO. 303 "An Act relating to voter eligibility, voter registration, and voter registration agencies; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 280 "An Act establishing the Afognak Island State Park." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SJR 36 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/17/94. HB 263 - No previous senate committee action. HB 280 - No previous senate committee action. SB 303 - No previous senate committee action. SB 280 - No previous senate committee action. WITNESS REGISTER Representative Mark Hanley State Capitol, Juneau, AK 99801-1182¶465-4939 POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of HB 263 Karen Brand, Aide House Rules Committee State Capitol, Juneau, AK 99801-1182¶465-4451 POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of HB 280 Art Peterson, Commissioner National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) 350 N. Franklin St., Juneau, AK 99801¶586-4000 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of HB 280 Laura A. Glaiser Office of the Lieutenant Governor P.O. Box 110015, Juneau, AK 99811-0015¶465-4084 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 303 Jeff Bush Alaska Civil Liberties Union 175 S. Franklin St., Suite 318, Juneau, AK 99801¶463-4150 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 303 Craig Tillery, Assistant Attorney General Department of Law 1031 W. 4th, Suite 200, Anchorage, AK 99501-1994¶269-5100 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 280 Neil Johannsen, Director Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation Department of Natural Resources P.O. Box 107001, Anchorage, AK 99510-7001¶762-2600 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 280 Senator Fred Zharoff State Capitol, Juneau, AK 99801-1182¶465-3473 POSITION STATEMENT: in favor of SB 280 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-12, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN LEMAN calls the Senate State Affairs Committee to order at 9:05 a.m. Number 010 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SJR 36 (GOV & LT GOV MUST RECEIVE MAJORITY VOTE) as the first order of business before the committee. The chairman notes that the committee substitute (cs) for SJR 36 changes the 50% requirement to 40%. Number 020 SENATOR MILLER moves the committee adopt the cs in lieu of the original bill. Number 021 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, states CSSJR 36(STA) has been adopted in lieu of the original bill. The chairman asks if there is any discussion on the resolution or if there is anyone who wishes to testify on it. Number 026 SENATOR TAYLOR makes a motion to release SJR 36 from the State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. Number 028 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, orders SJR 36 released from committee with individual recommendations. Number 031 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up HB 263 (TAX EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN PERSONAL PROP.) as the next order of business before the State Affairs Committee. The chairman calls the sponsor to testify. Number 035 REPRESENTATIVE MARK HANLEY, prime sponsor of HB 263 says the bill will give municipalities more flexibility in their tax laws. It does not require municipalities to do anything. Municipalities will still have to pass any changes by ordinance. What brought this situation to light in Anchorage is that while a 50,000 dollar motor home is taxed fifty dollars under the motor vehicle tax, a 50,000 dollar private airplane is taxed 1,000 dollars. Municipalities have no option of exempting or partially exempting aircraft. What the municipality of Anchorage would like do is set a straight fee of a 100 or 150 dollars for a single engine aircraft and 200 dollars for a twin engine aircraft. That way, the municipality would not have to go through the assessment every year, the appeals of the valuation, etcetera. The Municipality of Anchorage thinks it will actually save one and a half to three full time positions by doing this. HB 263 would also apply to undocumented boats and vessels, pick-up camper shells and canopies, and unlicensed atv's, snowmachines, and trail bikes. Right now, if the municipality wants to tax these items, it has to be at the mill rate, which means the municipality has to go through the valuation process, send out notices, instead of taxing these items at a flat rate. Number 069 REPRESENTATIVE HANLEY states it also gives municipalities the flexibility to craft tax credits or deferrals to encourage business development. HB 263 is a flexibility bill, and it doesn't cost the state anything. Number 079 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there are any questions for Representative Hanley. The chairman comments it seems to be straightforward and a reasonable approach. The chairman asks if anyone in the audience wishes to testify. Number 087 SENATOR TAYLOR makes a motion to release HB 263 from the State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. Number 089 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objections, orders HB 263 released from committee with individual recommendations. Number 094 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up HB 280 (UNIFORM CUSTODIAL TRUST ACT) as the next order of business before the State Affairs Committee. The chairman calls Karen Brand to testify. Number 100 KAREN BRAND, Aide to Representative Moses states a trust is defined as the care and management of property. Ms. Brand says there are four important aspects of HB 280. They are, one, the trust will be inexpensive to create; two, they are simple to create; three, under the HB 280, the control of the property remains with the owner until the time the owner dies or becomes incapacitated; four, they are comprehensive. Number 147 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if the present version of the UCTA (Uniform Custodial Trust Act) is the same as the version in the last legislature. MS. BRAND replies it is slightly different from the version that passed the house in the last legislature and was amended in Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. The chairman calls Art Peterson to testify. Number 166 ART PETERSON, Uniform Law Commissioner, National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws states the version currently before the legislature is the same as the version that passed the house, before it was amended by the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. This bill is supported by the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). A custodial trust allows the person establishing the trust to retain a control that they wouldn't otherwise have under normal trust creation. The great advantage of this type of trust is its' flexibility. A trustee cannot be forced to accept a trust. There are also several rules set out for proper management of trusts by trustees. SENATOR TAYLOR makes a motion to release HB 280 from the State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objections, orders HB 280 released from committee with individual recommendations. Number 235 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SB 303 (UNIFORM VOTER REGISTRATION SYSTEM) as the next order of business before the State Affairs Committee. The chairman calls Laura Glaiser of the Division of Elections to testify. Number 240 LAURA GLAISER, Office of the Lieutenant Governor states SB 303 came about after the president signed the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. While there was some thought that perhaps Alaska would be exempt, it is not. Ms. Glaiser and the Director of the Division of Elections met with representatives from the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission, and were assured that Alaska was not exempt. Even though the State of Alaska sends out voter registration applications with the permanent fund dividend applications, we were told that was not enough to exempt Alaska from the voter registration act. The Department of Justice and the Federal Elections Commission would not give the Division of Elections clear direction as to what they wanted from the division, but assured us that they would sue us if we did not comply. SB 303 was drafted in order for the State of Alaska to comply with the spirit of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 without hurting the state. We are increasing voter registration, as was the intent of the federal act, and we are doing it in the least costly way possible. In SB 303, designated voter registration agencies are the Division of Motor Vehicles and those agencies within the Department of Health & Social Services that administer food stamp programs, medicaid, WIC (Women with Infants & Children), and AFDC(Aid to Families with Dependent Children). The Division of Elections believes that since the state does distribute voter registration applications with the permanent fund dividend applications, the state will be able to pass muster by also providing voter registration applications through the previously mentioned programs. Ms. Glaiser states the Division of Elections has also added the Division of Municipal & Regional Assistance within the Department of Community & Regional Affairs to the list of agencies required to provide voter registration services. The Division of Elections believes this is a good agency to have offering voter registration services because its' employees go out into rural communities; they are bilingual, and so can assist those voters. Number 270 MS. GLAISER says other provisions in SB 303 bring the state into compliance with federal voting rights act. The federal act no longer requires witnessing or notarization of a voter registration applications, so the state has taken that out of its' requirements. SB 303 also provides for basic cleaning up of state laws to comply with the federal act. Also required in the federal act is "noticing". That is, the state can no longer purge a person from the list of registered voters simply for not voting. There have to be several notices sent out to a person when that person does not vote. The Division of Elections has little "clicks" in its' system. If a person signs a petition, the division will consider that a "click", which will draw the person's name to the forefront of voter registration lists. So that person will not be in danger of having their name purged from the list of registered voters. The division believes this will help keep district lists cleaner. The state had some concerns that if it did exactly what the federal act mandated, the district lists would be very clouded and heavy. What the state will do, is roll the district lists back into the master register, which won't affect the districts, and also will not disenfranchise a voter. Number 292 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Ms. Glaiser and states that having another federal mandate placed on the state, when in his opinion, the state already has a system that is as good, perhaps better than what is required, offends him. Another thing that bothers the chairman is several years ago when a candidate submitted a change of address form, it was not witnessed by someone at the time the candidate submitted it. The chairman thinks that not requiring the witnessing of voter registration applications opens the door up for fraud. The last point he has, is if you cannot purge the voter registration list, the percentage of voter turn-out will decrease in relation to the total number of registered voters. Number 330 MS. GLAISER states the federal government is not interested in voter turn-out, only what states are doing to encourage voter registration, not voter participation. It is true that this legislation will throw off what voter turn-out looks like. But that is something every state will suffer from. Number 343 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks what happens if the state does not pass and implement SB 303. MS. GLAISER replies the state has been threatened with a lawsuit from the Department of Justice. The state's concern is, because Alaska is a voting rights act state, everything the state does in regards to voting has to be cleared through the Department of Justice. That threat is valid enough for the administration to put this piece of legislation together. Number 355 SENATOR MILLER says it appears the Federal Voting Rights Act has much worse consequences for the State of Alaska than for the State of New York because Alaska is a voters' rights state under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which New York is not. Senator Miller faults Governor Sheffield's administration for not withdrawing Alaska from the jurisdiction of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it had the chance. As a result, the State of Alaska has to have everything cleared by the Justice Department. Senator Miller realizes that passing SB 303 is something the legislature must do, however, it is his feeling that the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1993 is unprovoked good from Washington, DC which will have a lot of serious consequences for the State of Alaska and other states. Number 368 SENATOR TAYLOR comments he has bills pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee for federal mandates relating to child support enforcement, federal highway funding, and motor voter legislation. Federal mandates are what we deserve when we put people like the Clintons in Washington, DC. The state will continue to roll over and act like a territory. Whatever state rights we had have long since been lost. The next bill on the committee's agenda (SB 280) is just one more piece of federal mandated crap to be stuffed down our throats. We ought to just ask congress to control our legislature for us, because they're controlling literally every aspect of certain provisions within our laws. The Alaska State Legislature is nothing more than a rubber stamp for Congress. We are overseers on federal domain. We might as well be honest enough to go out and tell the public that, instead of knee-jerking around and trying to convince them that they're actually human beings within the United States of America with the same civil rights, the same opportunities, that people have in other states. We are nothing but a territory. We never will be anything more than that. This is simply another prime example of that. Commenting on his speech, Senator Taylor says, "One more speech, a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing." Number 386 SENATOR MILLER asks when the state will again have the opportunity to get off the Civil Rights Act of 1964. MS. GLAISER answers she believes it is fifteen years from the last opportunity, but she will check on that. SENATOR MILLER thinks it is 1996 or 1997, but he fears this legislation would remove the state's opportunity to get off the Civil Rights Act by lowering the percentage of eligible voters participating in elections. Number 395 SENATOR TAYLOR expresses concern that negative comments made today in the committee hearing not be taken as umbrage by the Division of Elections or the Lieutenant Governor's Office. Senator Taylor thanks the Division of Elections and the Lieutenant Governor's Office for their work on SB 303. He supports the bill at this point, and thinks it is the best thing to have come out of the Lieutenant Governor's Office since the Lieutenant Governor took office. Number 405 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Ms. Glaiser for her testimony and calls the next witness. Number 406 JEFF BUSH, Attorney for the Alaska Civil Liberties Union thanks the committee for scheduling SB 303 because it isn't often he gets to testify in favor of something these days. The American Civil Liberties Union, of which the Alaska Civil Liberties Union is a branch, places national priority on this type of legislation. The committee may have hit the nail on the head in regarding that this legislation may have impacts on a national basis that are very good in terms of voter registration, but may in fact be irrelevant in Alaska. Mr. Bush says he is testifying only to say that this legislation may be good, if only to avoid litigation and additional expense. As Senator Taylor stated, SB 303 is probably the best for which we can probably hope. As a result, Mr. Bush encourages the legislature to pass SB 303. He thinks it is a good piece of legislation in terms of what is being required of the state, irrespective of the pluses and minuses of how the national legislation affects Alaska. Number 428 SENATOR TAYLOR asks that SB 303 be moved from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. Number 429 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, orders SB 303 released from committee with individual recommendations. Number 431 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SB 280 (ESTABLISH AFOGNAK ISLAND STATE PARK) as the final order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee today. The chairman calls representatives from the Department of Law (LAW) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to testify. Number 439 CRAIG TILLERY, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law states SB 280 was introduced at the request of the governor and is supported by the governor. SB 280 is also supported by the Borough of Kodiak, the City of Kodiak, the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, the Kodiak Visitors' Association, most of the commercial fishing operations and organizations, tour operators, and all the citizens of the Kodiak area that he has been in communication with. The reason SB 280 is before the legislature is the land that is outlined in yellow on the map that has been submitted to the committee was acquired through the Exxon Valdez Trustee Council with restoration funds. It was acquired as part of the Trustee Council's imminent threat process. Which means it was land that had to be acquired quickly or something was going to happen that would possibly make the land not available for sale at a later date. Of the imminent threat process, there were only two parcels of land that stood out as highly valuable for restoration purposes: those were Kachemak Bay inholdings, and the Seal Bay portion of Afognak Island. As you know, Kachemak Bay has been purchased and is now part of Kachemak Bay State Park. The Trustee Council then moved on this portion and acquired this section down here (Mr. Tillery points to map). Mr. Tillery states that this was originally proposed by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI); they wished to acquire this land for the DOI to connect to refuge properties on another area of Afognak Island. That was unacceptable to the State of Alaska and the State Trustees; they did not want more federal land in that area. The state was able to prevail on that point with the help of the Attorney General's Office and the Department of Law. The United States then agreed to allow the state to have first shot at acquiring this land. The agreement is if the state purchases the land and puts it into a state park designation within one year, the state will acquire title to the land. If that does not happen, then the land will be conveyed to the United States Government. The acquisition of this land by the state occurred on November 23, 1993, so the state has one year from that date to designate that land a state park. If it does not do so, that land will pass to the United States Government. Number 470 MR. TILLERY states SB 280 provides for this land to be a park. Mr. Tillery refers to the map to explain which land will be included in the park. Marmot Island will not be included in the boundaries of the park. Number 483 MR. TILLERY states the trustees insisted that the existing uses of the island be allowed. Hunting, fishing, trapping, and limited commercial use is required to be permitted. However, limited commercial use must be consistent with restoration purposes. What is intended by "limited commercial use" is guiding operations and those kinds of activities. We want outfitters to be able to go in there, we want hunting guides to be able to go in there, to the extent it is permitted by the state boards of fisheries and game. If this becomes state land, then those activities will be permitted. Mr. Tillery says it is supported by some citizens of Kodiak because they like parks, while other citizens support it because they do not want any more federal management of land in Alaska. It has, however, had pretty much unanimous support from citizens of Kodiak. We believe SB 280 will be good for the environment, good for the business community of Kodiak and the southern Kenai Peninsula, and it will be good for the State of Alaska. Number 495 SENATOR TAYLOR asks what valuation was placed on the timberlands. MR. TILLERY responds that information can be found behind tab 12 in the report submitted to the committee. The chart on page 5 of tab 12 indicates that the timber value of the Seal Bay unit was appraised at about 36.5 million dollars. Another portion of the proposed Afognak Island State Park has virtually no timber value. Another portion of the proposed state park has already been clear- cut. There are some roads through the land. Some of those roads may be necessary to get to timber operations outside park lands. The state is part of an existing road use agreement. We are working with Afognak Joint Ventures to insure that roads necessary to their operations are kept available to them. Otherwise, the sellers will be required to comply with the Forest Practices Act and put roads to bed that aren't needed for other purposes. Number 514 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks about a phrase on page 5, Section 41.21.187, subsection (b) which states, "Lawful use of a weapon in the Afognak Island State Park shall be allowed except in areas that may be closed for purposes of public safety by regulation by the commissioner of natural resources." The chairman asks what instances Mr. Tillery can think of where an area might be closed to lawful use of a weapon for purposes of public safety. MR. TILLERY says he would prefer to defer to the Department of Natural Resources for that question. He cannot think of many options where that would be needed, unless it was in an area where shooting simply wouldn't be safe. Number 522 SENATOR TAYLOR says the only use that is intended to be stopped is the use for which the land was selected in the first place. MR. TILLERY responds that when he spoke with the sellers of the land they said the land was not traditional land and was not traditionally used by the natives, but was selected for business purposes. SENATOR TAYLOR comments business purposes means timber harvesting purposes. Number 524 MR. TILLERY says the native corporation told the state business purposes. The native corporation's view is that with this sale, they will have accomplished their business purpose. There is a statement in the report to the committee from the native corporation stating the use for which the corporation intends to use the money, which is sustained, local economic development, rather than spending the money on essentially a lot of out-of-state loggers to come and cut our land, put in round logs, and export them to the far east. SENATOR TAYLOR says the native corporation could have easily built mills on their own land; no one ever required them to sell all the raw lumber to the far east. MR. TILLERY responds it's true it was not required, but that is what was happening. SENATOR TAYLOR asks why that was. MR. TILLERY responds he does not know. SENATOR TAYLOR says he does not know either, and most of the logging operations in Southeast went broke selling lumber to Japan. MR. TILLERY states, in this instance, the native corporation has acquired a substantial sum of money with which they hope to be able to go through sustained development of lodges and other types of similar activities. SENATOR TAYLOR asks what damage was done to this land by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. MR. TILLERY replies the shorelines were oiled and there were a number of marbled murrelets, black oyster-catchers, and other animals that were killed. Number 538 SENATOR TAYLOR asks how creating this park would restore this land. Number 539 MR. TILLERY responds the scientists who have been advising the state indicate that protecting the habitat, particularly of the marbled murrelets and bald eagles, would allow those species to regenerate their populations. They nest in trees in the area. In addition, protecting this area puts less stress on sub-tidal and inter-tidal biota. There is an analysis under tab 8 that indicates the potential for benefit is high for bald eagles and marbled murrelets, moderate for anadromous fish, black oyster-catchers, harbor seals, harlequin ducks, and inter-tidal and sub-tidal biota. SENATOR TAYLOR says that doesn't have a thing to do with the oil spill. Number 547 MR. TILLERY states those species listed in the analysis under tab 8 are the species that experts analyzing the oil spill indicated suffered injury. Most of them suffered significant population level injuries. Number 549 SENATOR TAYLOR asks why the state is paying a price for this land based upon logged values for an area that the people of Alaska will never be able to utilize for logging. Number 552 MR. TILLERY responds the state is paying a price based on log values because that is what the seller is willing to sell for. The seller would prefer to sell the land to the state, leave the trees standing, they still make the money, and the animals are still restored. We believe everyone wins in this case except Bruce Babbitt (Secretary of the Interior); he loses, he doesn't get the land. Number 559 SENATOR TAYLOR asks why Bruce Babbitt cares. The land will be locked up exactly the same by us as it will be by Bruce, doing Bruce's work for him. He will lock up the land exactly the same way as the state. Number 560 MR. TILLERY replies that is not the case, and suggests the committee let Mr. Johannsen of DNR answer that question. Mr. Johannsen can tell you how DNR intends to manage this, probably in a way substantially different from the way Bruce Babbitt would manage it. Number 561 SENATOR TAYLOR notes that on page four of the report the appraiser states, "It is my opinion that the Kachemak Bay Timber was over- valued." MR. TILLERY states that comment is from the review appraiser from DNR, not the appraiser of the land. DNR's appraiser believed that the timber had been over-valued. What happened with the sale price, was the state paid 38.7 million dollars. The total property was appraised at 41 million dollars. In addition to the Kachemak Bay land, the state received Tonki Cape, essentially as a donation, from the Seal Bay Timber Company, which was valued at about 11 or 12 million dollars. So the total value of these lands is in excess of the purchase price. Number 585 SENATOR TAYLOR says he doesn't have further questions but he finds it disappointing that native peoples of Alaska, who fought to accomplish a lands settlement, are selling their property. Their goal within that lands settlement was to acquire title to real property, so that they could become self-sufficient. Senator Taylor says he would really love to see what number of shareholders, who own this land, are who are currently on welfare. How many of them actually have real year-round jobs? He would like to find out what the economy is really like out there. How can anyone in their right mind in this legislature justify taking land away from private owners so that we can lock it up so no one can earn a living on that land. Excepting a few backpackers guiding someone. The native corporations selected this land for a purpose. That purpose had something to do with their native rights. Now we're allowing them to sell the land back to the government. The government is buying them off of their land. He says he agrees with Mr. Tillery: it is just a win-win situation. The native corporation is going to get all this money. Senator Taylor wonders if the natives in the area will end up like the natives in Kake, where there is the highest suicide rate of any place in the U.S. for two years. He says the state will end up with more land that can't be used, one more park. So the question is, do we run it, or do the feds? MR. TILLERY says that is the question. Number 585 SENATOR TAYLOR asks why he should spend taxpayer's dollars to continue to participate in this... TAPE 94-12, SIDE B Number 593 ...waste of a resource that was selected so that human beings could make a living. If someone wants to waste resources, why don't we let the federal government waste their resources on it. Senator Taylor says he doesn't think Mr. Johannsen has enough money in his budget at DNR to even do a good job of emptying the garbage cans on the Kenai Peninsula. But Senator Taylor is supposed to believe that somehow in the future his budget is going to be big enough to take care of additional responsibilities? Senator Taylor states he is not just sitting and looking at these pieces of paper; he has hunted and walked the land and driven the logging roads. What Mr. Tillery is suggesting is a travesty. Our people on that committee (the trustees council?) should be removed for even considering purchasing real property to lock it up because some eco-looney is concerned about the oiled beaches. How do oiled beaches have anything to do with the right of the native americans who own that land to earn a living on it? Senator Taylor says it is a pay-off to tie up Alaskan land. Number 574 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there are any more questions of Mr. Tillery. Hearing none, he asks Mr. Johannsen if he would like to take the hot-seat. Number 568 NEIL JOHANNSEN, Director, Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation, Department of Natural Resources says he appreciates Mr. Tillery warming up the committee before his opportunity to testify (laughter all around). Mr. Johannsen states the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) came late into the process of setting up a state park on Afognak Island. In his conversations with Mr. Tillery and then Attorney General Charlie Cole, Mr. Johannsen simply offered to accept the land if it was the legislature's desire that the land become part of a state park, because the option to do so seemed more desirable than turning the land over to the federal government. Mr. Johannsen says DNR came to the conclusion, after some discussions on the subject last summer, that they would support SB 280. Number 556 MR. JOHANNSEN says DNR envisions managing the land passively. DNR is not in a position to actively manage the area. It would be a park with a small "p". However, contrary to what one sees in much of the federal Interior Department conservation units, state managed parks are open to any number of uses. It would not be open to timber harvests, but hunting, fishing, trapping, and some limited commercial activities would be permitted. Mr. Johannsen points out that the nearby Shuyak State Park, created in 1984, has been a pretty successful unit. DNR was able to build five public use cabins in the park. The cabins are full all summer and get a lot of use in the fall and early winter by deer hunters. Number 542 MR. JOHANNSEN says that, in answer to Chairman Leman's earlier question about the control of firearms for public safety purposes, refers to areas such as Totem Bight State Park, Harding Lake Recreation Area, and near public use cabins. Public use cabins have a quarter-mile radius around them in which discharge of firearms is prohibited for public safety purposes. That is the intent of the language on page 5, Section 41.21.187, subsection (b) of SB 280. Mr. Johannsen says he does not have much testimony to add to what Mr. Tillery said, however, Mr. Johannsen hopes that at some point DNR will be able to provide some basic recreation facilities in the park. Number 525 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Mr. Johannsen to clarify that the area is used for deer hunters. MR. JOHANNSEN answers the Shuyak State Park has heavy use by deer hunters, however, he does not know the wildlife situation on Afognak Island very well. He does believe that there are quite a few deer, elk, and bear in the Afognak area though. SENATOR TAYLOR asks Mr. Johannsen if he knows that deer and elk are alien species to that island. MR. JOHANNSEN replies he knows that fact. SENATOR DUNCAN asks if the state transplanted those species to that area. SENATOR TAYLOR responds the federal government transplanted those species to that area long before the state had a fish & game department in the state that whined about that sort of crap. Number 520 SENATOR TAYLOR asks what the state will do when the state finds a large bug infestation in that area. MR JOHANNSEN says he does not expect there would ever be much of a beetle infestation problem in that area. Although he is the park director at DNR, all his degrees, including his master's degree, are in forestry. Afognak Island is mostly sitka spruce country and a rainforest area. Mr. Johannsen says he has quite a bit of forest entomology in his past and does not expect that area to ever have the infestation problem one sees on the Kenai Peninsula. SENATOR TAYLOR asks if we should worry about allowing the same people that are wandering around in Kachemak Bay State Park to wander around in Afognak Island State Park, because they might bring the bugs with them. He is concerned that there is no indication SB 280 would allow proper silvicultural management in that area. So that if an infestation were to occur, DNR is precluded from using commercial timber harvesting or thinning as an option to do stewardship on this park, which probably should be mandated. Number 506 MR. JOHANNSEN says, with all due respect, that he disagrees. DNR has been actively cutting a lot of trees this winter on the Kenai Peninsula in agreement with commercial logging operations for silvacultural purposes, so the previous statement isn't necessarily true. Mr. Johannsen says his biggest concern is that DNR wouldn't be in a financial position to actively pursue silvacultural practices. Mr. Johannsen reiterates that DNR would only be restricted from silvacultural practices in the Afognak Island area for financial reasons, and not because of legal reasons. Unless perhaps DNR entered into an agreement with a logging operation to handle silvacultural operations on the island. SENATOR TAYLOR states it is his understanding that in the agreement signed relating to Afognak Island State Park, that would not be allowed. MR. JOHANNSEN says he would have to defer ultimate judgement on that question to Mr. Tillery. Number 491 SENATOR TAYLOR says that is his concern, that if the state is to take over this area for management purposes, it should be able to properly manage this land. MR. JOHANNSEN states he came into the process at a fairly late point, and is not entirely up on the conditions of the purchase agreement. SENATOR TAYLOR says he is offended it is a given that timber harvesting is determined to be an adverse, negative thing to be doing as concerns the other species. Number 476 MR. TILLERY states the trustees council made a specific finding in their resolution stating that existing laws and regulations are intended under normal circumstances to protect resources from serious adverse affects. However, restoration as a result of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, in the view of the experts on the advisory council, constitute a unique situation. The advisory council feels that, in this instance, it is appropriate to have a prohibition against commercial timber operations. Everyone on that council believed that, under normal circumstances, logging operations can occur, and can be of benefit to the land in some instances. Number 466 SENATOR TAYLOR comments the only reason the state is spending money for this land is to keep it from being logged. How does one then not draw the implication that logging is somehow an evil that we must spend money to prevent. Senator Taylor expresses concern over Senator Zharoff representing Prince of Wales Island. Logging enhanced the deer population of Prince of Wales Island. Number 445 CHAIRMAN LEMAN says he shares some of Senator Taylor's concerns about logging. The chairman does not equate logging to be an evil exacted upon the land. If done properly, we can have logging that is compatible with the natural state and the animals. The chairman thinks SB 280 eliminates the possibility of generating some new wealth and being short sighted in not allowing timber harvest on the island. That is the chairman's main concern. Senator Leman states he would like to have the capability to enjoy the land, while also being able to extract riches from it. Number 418 SENATOR ELLIS asks who was involved in SB 280. MR. JOHANNSEN responds the persons involved were Commissioners Sandor and Rosier and Attorney General Cole. The current trustees are Commissioners Sandor and Rosier and Attorney General Botelho. Number 408 SENATOR TAYLOR asks what happens to subsurface mineral rights. CHAIRMAN LEMAN says that is the subject of an amendment Senator Zharoff would like to offer. Number 404 MR. TILLERY states the subsurface rights are currently owned by the Koniag Native Corporation. Koniag wishes to sell the subsurface rights to the trustees. The trustees are interested in acquiring those rights. There do not appear to be any commercially valuable subsurface resources. For land management purposes the trustees would like to consolidate the subsurface and surface estate into one fee. That is the subject of ongoing discussions with Koniag at this moment. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. Tillery if there is any ideas as to what the value of the subsurface rights would be. MR. TILLERY replies there was an appraisal, and Koniag has made the trustees an offer in the neighborhood of 2 million dollars. The offer made was 56 dollars an acre. If the subsurface rights are acquired, it would be done with trustee council funds. Number 382 SENATOR TAYLOR says the trustees will pay 2 million dollars, and then guarantee the federal government that we will prevent anyone from utilizing the subsurface rights for any purpose. We will make sure that no evil mining operation will take place, because that might upset some little eagle. Senator Taylor is also concerned with the amount of state funds that may be used in the future to support Afognak Island State Park. Do we really need another 41,000 acres of passive parkland to manage? Number 365 MR. JOHANNSEN says the state probably has about 40 units that are passively managed. That's not to say they do not get a fair amount of use. Distasteful as it might be to some people, Mr. Johannsen says, SB 280 is really a state's rights issue. Maybe, in terms of long-term financial impact to the state, maybe the land should go to the feds. But the state does manage park areas differently than the feds. The state's management approach is more permissive, from the standpoint of commercial operations and hunting and subsistence activities. Mr. Johannsen says it is superior to have DNR manage the area rather than the U.S. Interior Department. Number 350 SENATOR TAYLOR asks what the state is spending on Shuyak State Park at this time. MR. JOHANNSEN says the money the state makes from renting public use cabins in Shuyak State Park pays for the management of the park. Mr. Johannsen thinks the state spends about 20,000 dollars per year to manage Shuyak State Park. SENATOR TAYLOR asks if DNR is planning to build public use cabins in Afognak Island State Park. MR. JOHANNSEN answers he would like to do that. Public use cabins would be a good use in that park. SENATOR TAYLOR asks if that wouldn't be the only use of the park. MR. JOHANNSEN replies he does not know, but the Seal Bay Area would be an excellent place to have public use cabins. Public use cabins are certainly of benefit to the local economy. He thinks Uyak Air in Kodiak will tell anyone the five cabins in Shuyak State Park have been great for their business. Number 336 CHAIRMAN LEMAN announces there is an amendment that has been distributed to the committee. The chairman asks Senator Zharoff, who suggested the amendment, to discuss the amendment. Number 334 SENATOR ZHAROFF says he has recently become aware of the negotiations to set up Afognak Island State Park. The question now is whether the legislature wants this land under state management or federal management. Senator Zharoff thinks a number of legislators who have both management systems in their district could recognize the difference in management styles. Before redistricting, Katmai National Refuge was in Senator Zharoff's district and he received numerous complaints regarding the management there, particularly with the traditional users of the area. Federal rangers were callous to the needs of the local people which caused a tremendous amount of problems with hunting, berry picking, and travelling through the refuge. If the land must be under either state or federal management, Senator Zharoff would rather see it under state management. Senator Zharoff states a question did come up over the subsurface mineral rights. The parties involved want to clarify that the subsurface rights are part of the park system. This amendment would clarify that Koniag is giving up rights to subsurface as well as surface area. Number 297 CHAIRMAN LEMAN states he does not have a problem with the amendment, if that is all it does. However, the chairman is concerned it creates a commitment by the state or the trustees to pay for subsurface rights. Chairman Leman wants someone to clarify that this amendment will not commit the state or the trustees to pay Koniag for subsurface rights in the area being considered for Afognak Island State Park. The chairman asks Mr. Tillery if this amendment would create an obligation. Number 290 MR. TILLERY says it is certainly not the intent of the amendment to cause that obligation. It would only clarify what is in SB 280 now, which is: if the state acquires the subsurface rights to that area, then it is merged with the surface and is part of the park. This amendment does not commit the state to pay Koniag for subsurface rights. Mr. Tillery cannot conceive of the state paying for subsurface rights. The trustee council, however, may possibly pay for it. He cannot imagine the state appropriating money to purchase the subsurface rights. CHAIRMAN LEMAN restates his question: that passing this amendment would not create an obligation, on anyone's part, to purchase the subsurface rights. MR. TILLERY responds that is correct. Number 281 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Senator Zharoff how many of his constituents were employed and actively working at logging on these lands when the Exxon Valdez Settlement Trustee's Council passed the resolution shutting down logging in the area. SENATOR ZHAROFF replies he does not know. There were people working there though. SENATOR TAYLOR wants to know how many people have been put out of work and had to go on welfare, unemployment, and food stamps in order to protect the poor little marbled murrelet. Number 262 SENATOR DUNCAN asks to move the amendment for discussion. Number 259 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there is any discussion. Hearing none, the chairman asks if there is any objection to adopting the amendment. Hearing none, the chairman notes the amendment has been adopted. The chairman asks if there is any further discussion and what the pleasure of the committee might be regarding SB 280. Number 251 SENATOR DUNCAN makes a motion to release SB 280 from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. Number 232 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there is objection to the motion. Hearing objection, he asks the secretary to call the roll. Voting in favor of the motion are Senators Leman, Duncan, and Ellis. Voting in opposition to the motion are Senators Miller and Taylor. The motion passes three yeas, two nays. CHAIRMAN LEMAN adjourns the Senate State Affairs Committee meeting at 10:29 a.m.