Legislature(2003 - 2004)

2004-04-13 Senate Journal

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2004-04-13                     Senate Journal                      Page 2871
SB 387                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 387 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                   
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                               
          "An Act authorizing the making of certain                                                 
          commercial fishing loans to eligible community                                            
          quota entities for the purchase of certain fishing                                        
          quota shares; and providing for an effective date."                                       
was read the first time and referred to the Community and Regional                                  
Affairs and Labor and Commerce Committees.                                                          
The following fiscal information was published today:                                               
 Fiscal Note No. 1, zero, Department of Community and Economic                                      
 Fiscal Note No. 2, zero, Department of Fish and Game                                               
Governor's transmittal letter dated April 9:                                                        
Dear President Therriault:                                                                          
Under the authority of article III, section 18, of the Alaska                                       
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill to amend the lending authority of                            
the Department of Community and Economic Development                                                
(department) under the Commercial Fishing Loan Act; to authorize                                    

2004-04-13                     Senate Journal                      Page 2872
loans to federally designated community quota entities authorized by                                
federal regulation to purchase and hold certain fishing quota shares;                               
and to lease the resultant individual fishing quota shares to community                             
The federal government is currently proposing federal regulations that,                             
if adopted, would amend the federal individual fishing quota program.                               
The definition of an eligible quota shares holder would be revised to                               
allow specific communities in the Gulf of Alaska to purchase quota                                  
shares for halibut and sablefish fisheries. The community quota entity                              
may then hold the shares for lease to their community residents. Quota                              
shares, and loans for their purchase under the Commercial Fishing                                   
Loan Act, are presently limited to individuals.                                                     
The purpose of the amendment is to improve the economic viability of                                
these communities through local ownership of fishing privileges.                                    
Since the initial allocation of quota shares all but two of the 42 eligible                         
communities have experienced a significant decline in the number of                                 
quota shares held by residents. This amendment will provide a                                       
financing mechanism that can be used by these communities to help                                   
reverse this trend.                                                                                 
The bill's effective date provision for the loan statute changes would                              
ensure that if the proposed federal regulations do not take effect, the                             
bill's changes expanding the department's lending authority also would                              
not take effect.                                                                                    
The community quota entity program provides a unique opportunity to                                 
improve economic conditions in a number of Alaska's coastal                                         
communities. Local ownership of fishing privileges is vital to the                                  
financial health of these communities.                                                              
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                            
Sincerely yours,                                                                                    
Frank H. Murkowski