Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

01/25/2018 08:00 AM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
08:11:04 AM Start
08:12:19 AM HB267
09:25:17 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 267 RELEASE HUNTING/FISHING RECORDS TO MUNI TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
         HB 267-RELEASE HUNTING/FISHING RECORDS TO MUNI                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:12:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FANSLER announced that the  only order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL  NO. 267, "An Act requiring the  release of certain                                                               
records relating  to big game  hunters, guided hunts,  and guided                                                               
sport fishing  activities to  municipalities for  verification of                                                               
taxes payable; and providing for an effective date."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:13:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM  CLARK,  Staff,  Representative Bryce  Edgmon,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  presented  HB  267   on  behalf  of  Representative                                                               
Edgmon,  prime sponsor.   He  paraphrased the  sponsor statement,                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     For  boroughs and  other municipalities  that bring  in                                                                    
     revenues through  levies on fish  and game  guiding, HB                                                                    
     267  will   provide  a  tool   to  help   confirm  that                                                                    
     activities  within   their  jurisdictions   subject  to                                                                    
     taxation  are being  accurately reported  to them.  The                                                                    
     bill  would  allow  municipalities  access  to  certain                                                                    
     records collected by the state  that relate to big game                                                                    
     hunters,  guided hunts,  and guided  sport fishing  for                                                                    
     the  purpose  of  verifying  taxes  payable.  All  such                                                                    
     information would remain confidential.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The  access  that  HB  267  permits  municipalities  is                                                                    
     modeled   after   long-existing    provisions   in   AS                                                                    
     16.05.815(a)(4) and  AS 43.75.133, both of  which allow                                                                    
     local governments  to review certain  records, reports,                                                                    
     and  returns  to  verify payment  of  local  commercial                                                                    
     fishing taxes.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     With  state-government  cutbacks resulting  in  greater                                                                    
     responsibilities  and   costs  being  borne   by  local                                                                    
     governments,  all necessary  resources  should be  made                                                                    
     available  to our  municipalities  to  ensure they  are                                                                    
     receiving the  revenues due to them  according to their                                                                    
     local ordinances.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:15:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked  how reductions  in  state  agency                                                               
budgets have  affected local  municipalities' ability  to collect                                                               
local taxes.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK answered,  "It's not so much that actions  by the state                                                               
have  impeded their  ability to  collect taxes;  it's more  that,                                                               
given the state's fiscal challenges,  there have been ... greater                                                               
costs shifted  to local governments."   By providing a  means for                                                               
municipalities  "to  track  down  and  collect  those  delinquent                                                               
taxes,"  the state  can help  municipalities "make  up for  other                                                               
areas  where revenues  that may  have flowed  from the  state now                                                               
don't flow."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked for clarification that  there is no                                                               
direct link between state reductions  having affected the ability                                                               
of  local governments  to perform,  but that  [HB 267]  addresses                                                               
situations wherein local municipalities  have not been collecting                                                               
local taxes  and are  looking "everywhere they  can for  money to                                                               
cushion, including collecting their own taxes."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK answered that's correct.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER opined, "That's reasonable."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:16:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  observed  that in  the  committee                                                               
packet  there  is a  document  from  the Lake  Peninsula  Borough                                                               
indicating  that the  borough would  benefit  under HB  267.   He                                                               
asked if there was a list  of all the local governments in Alaska                                                               
that  "have such  revenue measures"  and would  benefit under  HB                                                               
267.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK answered that is a work  in progress.  He said both the                                                               
Department of Commerce, Community  & Economic Development (DCCED)                                                               
and  the  Alaska Department  of  Fish  &  Game (ADF&G)  would  be                                                               
affected  by  HB 267.    He  noted that  Representative  Edgmon's                                                               
office  has  been  working toward  tracking  down  municipalities                                                               
[that  would benefit  under HB  267]  and, thus  far, the  office                                                               
thinks the  Borough of  Yakutat, the  Kodiak Island  Borough, the                                                               
Aleutians East  Borough, and  the Borough  of Sitka  may benefit.                                                               
He added that that information has not yet been substantiated.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:18:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked how much  money would be "picked up"                                                               
under HB 267.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK  answered that  upcoming testimony  from an  officer of                                                               
the Lake  and Peninsula  Borough would include  an estimate.   He                                                               
offered   his  understanding   that  $50,000-$100,000   might  be                                                               
"forgone revenue."   He added  that the access provided  under HB                                                               
267  would  not recover  all  of  that,  but hopefully  it  would                                                               
recover a significant portion.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:20:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  PARISH   moved  to  adopt  Amendment   1,  labeled  30-                                                               
LS0808\D.1, Bullard, 1/16/18, which read as follows:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, lines 5 - 13:                                                                                                      
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
        "*  Section  1.   AS 08.54.760(b)  is  repealed  and                                                                
     reenacted to read:                                                                                                         
          (b)  Except as otherwise provided in this                                                                             
     subsection,  hunt records  received under  this section                                                                    
     and  activity reports  received under  AS 08.54.650 are                                                                    
     confidential and  not subject to inspection  or copying                                                                    
     under   AS 40.25.110  -   40.25.125.  Aggregated   data                                                                    
     compiled from hunt records and  activity reports may be                                                                    
     included in  reports by the department.  The department                                                                    
     shall make hunt records  and activity reports available                                                                    
     (1)  if  requested,  to  state  agencies,  federal  law                                                                    
     enforcement   agencies,  and   other  law   enforcement                                                                    
     agencies; and (2)  to a municipality that  levies a tax                                                                    
     on those activities, if the municipality                                                                                   
               (A)  requests the records for the purpose of                                                                     
     verifying taxes payable; and                                                                                               
               (B)  agrees to maintain the confidentiality                                                                      
     of the records."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, line 1:                                                                                                            
          Delete "amended"                                                                                                      
     Insert "repealed and reenacted"                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:20:31 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:20:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK  spoke to Amendment 1.   He said it  would make changes                                                               
to Section 1  of HB 267 by providing  confidentiality for hunting                                                               
records in the  same manner as the state  agency itself maintains                                                               
that confidentiality.  In response  to Co-Chair Parish, Mr. Clark                                                               
spoke to  the fiscal impact of  Amendment 1.  He  said the fiscal                                                               
note from  DCCED is approximately  $88,000 in the first  year and                                                               
$76,000   in  outgoing   years,   annually.     He  offered   his                                                               
understanding  that   DCCED's  fiscal  note  was   based  on  the                                                               
assumption  that  confidentiality  would not  be  maintained,  in                                                               
which case the department would  have to "go through thousands of                                                               
redactions  of certain  portions  of reports  every year,"  which                                                               
would   be   time-consuming.       Amendment   1   would   ensure                                                               
confidentiality  would be  maintained "just  as their  own agency                                                               
maintains it"; therefore, costs should be significantly reduced.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:23:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS  asked   if  there   is  anything                                                               
analogous  in  state law  such  that  confidential or  privileged                                                               
state information is shared with agents of local governments.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLARK answered  that there  are long-standing  statutes that                                                               
provide municipalities  access to commercial fishing  records and                                                               
reports, and even  tax returns, for the purpose  of verifying tax                                                               
payable to a municipality.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  if  there has  ever been  a                                                               
problem with that information being leaked.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK answered not to his  knowledge, but deferred to the Tax                                                               
Division to  provide a  definitive answer.   He noted  that under                                                               
Title 11, two areas in  statute outline the legal consequences to                                                               
a  public   servant  who  breaches  confidentiality,   and  those                                                               
consequences  are serious;  it  is  a Class  A  Misdemeanor.   He                                                               
stated for  the record that  [the bill sponsor] feels  that local                                                               
municipal officials  should be afforded  "the same  assumption of                                                               
professionalism and integrity that state employees enjoy."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:25:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER referred  to  "state agencies",  "federal                                                               
law enforcement agencies", and  "other law enforcement agencies",                                                               
[as shown  on page  1, lines 7-8,  of HB 267],  and he  asked for                                                               
confirmation   that   "that   includes  state   law   enforcement                                                               
agencies."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK offered his understanding that is the case.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  remarked that  the term  "state agencies"                                                               
is a  broad one.   He  asked, "Can I  properly interpret  that to                                                               
mean  just  agencies related  to  hunting,  fishing, and  guiding                                                               
activities?"                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK  deferred to  DCCED.   He added, "From  what I  do know                                                               
about  it, it's  often used  to  inform the  annual reports  that                                                               
people in  one division or  another might be compiling,  in which                                                               
case  what  would  be  divulged   from  the  information  they've                                                               
provided  would be  in  a  more general  content,  as opposed  to                                                               
specific."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:27:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND indicated  she  is  from a  municipality                                                               
where the  following records  are open  for anyone  to see:   the                                                               
property owner;  the location of  the property; how much  is owed                                                               
on the  property in taxes;  whether those taxes have  been payed;                                                               
and  "who  doesn't  have  hunting  or  fishing  fees  within  the                                                               
municipality."   She stated her  understanding that  according to                                                               
the municipal code from the  Lake and Peninsula Borough [included                                                               
in  the committee  packet], bed  taxes are  being collected  "per                                                               
guest" of  each [hunting and fishing]  guide.  She said  she does                                                               
not   understand  why   that  information   needs   to  be   kept                                                               
confidential.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLARK responded  that within  the  aforementioned code,  the                                                               
borough has a permit fee in addition  to the bed tax.  The permit                                                               
fee applies to  the activity of hunting and fishing.   He stated,                                                               
"The  reason  bed  taxes  appear   there  is  because  there's  a                                                               
differentiation between  how a guiding outfit  would be charged."                                                               
He  explained that  a lodge  is  considered more  analogous to  a                                                               
hotel, because  the amenities offered  are similar.   Conversely,                                                               
when  guests  stay in  tents  or  more primitive  accommodations,                                                               
"they" are not liable for bed  taxes; "so, they have their charge                                                               
- the  hunting and  fishing guiding  tax -  at a  slightly higher                                                               
level."   He offered his understanding  that the bed tax  for the                                                               
first scenario is  "one dollar per person per  day"; whereas, the                                                               
[tax on the guiding  fee] is $3 per day when there  is no bed tax                                                               
involved.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLARK noted  that the  financial officer  from the  Lake and                                                               
Peninsula Borough  was available for testimony  and could clarify                                                               
information for Representative Drummond.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FANSLER  asked  Representative   Drummond  if  she  was                                                               
maintaining  an   objection  [to   Amendment  1]   until  further                                                               
information was provided.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND answered in the affirmative.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:32:03 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  PARISH offered  his understanding  that one  reason for                                                               
keeping  people's hunting  and  fishing  records confidential  is                                                               
because the  locations for hunting  and fishing can be  "a little                                                               
bit of a trade secret."   Further, he maintained, "It's useful to                                                               
maintain confidentiality  where ...  possible, just for  the sake                                                               
of  safeguarding people's  privacy."   He added,  "It is  in line                                                               
with currently existing law."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND responded,  "If  that's  the case,  then                                                               
I'll remove my objection."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:33:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 8:33 a.m. to 8:34 a.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:34:47 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR PARISH said  under current law the records  must be kept                                                               
confidential by  the department, which requires  additional staff                                                               
"to redact approximately  4,000 records per year."   He explained                                                               
that   Amendment  1   would  shift   the   onus  of   maintaining                                                               
confidentiality to  the municipalities and make  the agreement to                                                               
protect  that confidentiality  a  prerequisite  to receiving  the                                                               
records.   He echoed the previous  comment by Mr. Clark  that the                                                               
state should  afford municipalities every confidence  it does its                                                               
state  officials.     He  added,  "I  believe   that  people  all                                                               
throughout the state are serving  in government because they feel                                                               
like it's the right thing to do."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:36:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER said he would  like to know what penalties                                                               
would  be  applied  to  a local  municipal  official,  who  might                                                               
violate confidentiality  provisions, in order to  ensure the same                                                               
safeguards and protections are in place.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK  said legal counsel has  assured him that would  be the                                                               
case.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:38:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALPHEUS  BULLARD, Legislative  Legal  Counsel, Legislative  Legal                                                               
and Research  Services, Alaska State Legislature,  cited relevant                                                               
statute  that   applies  to  public  servants:     AS  11.56.850,                                                               
regarding  official  misconduct;   and  AS  11.56.860,  regarding                                                               
misuse of  confidential information.   He said  "public servants"                                                               
include employees of local government.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:38:32 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER asked  if the intent of  the committee is                                                               
to "pass or fail ... Amendment [1] today."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  FANSLER  said  the  intention  is  to  take  action  on                                                               
Amendment  1 today  to be  able to  take up  other amendments  on                                                               
Saturday.  He  noted that Amendment 1 was proffered  by the prime                                                               
sponsor in  order "to clean up  the fiscal note" and  address any                                                               
concerns regarding confidentiality.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  remarked on the quantity  of information                                                               
in the committee  packet and asked, "Do we need  all this just to                                                               
figure  out  whether  it's  a  dollar  or  three  dollars?"    He                                                               
suggested  that if  the answer  is no,  then everything  could be                                                               
included in "one column."  He  said, "It seems like it would cost                                                               
a fortune to deliver this kind of paperwork to a municipality."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:40:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK  answered that in  fact, the opposite  is true:   It is                                                               
much  less  a  burden  for  the  state  agency  to  deliver  that                                                               
digitized data  than it would  be for  the agency to  be required                                                               
"to  manually redact  a  great  amount of  data  included in  the                                                               
report."  He stated, "The  assurance of confidentiality backed up                                                               
by law ...  is a significant cost savings factor."   He said "we"                                                               
have  every   confidence  that   municipalities  will   act  with                                                               
"professionalism and integrity and within the law."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:44:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM  BROOKOVER,   Director,  Division   of  Sport   Fish,  Alaska                                                               
Department of Fish & Game  (ADF&G), in response to Representative                                                               
Rauscher's  restated   concern,  related  that   currently  sport                                                               
fishing business owners and guides  are required by regulation to                                                               
register with  the department before conducting  sport fishing or                                                               
guide services.  Guides are  required by regulation to complete a                                                               
log book,  currently available in  paper form and  soon available                                                               
electronically.   He  said the  required information  in the  log                                                               
book   includes:     Division   of  Motor   Vehicle  (DMV)   boat                                                               
registration or  United States  Coast Guard  (USCG) documentation                                                               
numbers for  vessels used to  provide guides  services; locations                                                               
where the  guide services where provided;  fishing effort, catch,                                                               
and harvest by clients; license  numbers of each client; names of                                                               
clients  that saltwater  fish; and  other information,  primarily                                                               
catch and harvest of fish species  by client.  Mr. Brookover said                                                               
the  paper forms  are  scanned,  so all  information  ends up  in                                                               
electronic form in a database.   He stated his assumption that it                                                               
would be  most efficient to  provide the entire database  for the                                                               
records  requested by  municipalities; however,  he said  he also                                                               
thinks there  could be reports  generated that would  "filter the                                                               
data,  so   to  speak,  to   the  information   the  municipality                                                               
requires."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. BROOKOVER, in response  to Representative Rauscher, clarified                                                               
that  he  is  certain  the division  could  develop  a  reporting                                                               
feature  to   accommodate  a  municipality  that   requested  the                                                               
information in one  column.  In response  to follow-up questions,                                                               
he said  ADF&G has  provided a  fiscal note.   He said  there was                                                               
speculation as  to the number  of municipalities that  might make                                                               
such a  request; the  fiscal note was  determined based  on three                                                               
known  municipalities,  the  total   one-time  start-up  cost  of                                                               
approximately 9.1  thousand dollars, and a  recurring annual cost                                                               
of approximately $2,000.   The latter costs,  he explained, would                                                               
cover  "less than  a few  days of  work to  compile the  records"                                                               
requested   by  the   [municipalities].     If   the  number   of                                                               
municipalities increased from three to  six, then the fiscal note                                                               
would double.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:50:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND noted  she had gleaned from  the Lake and                                                               
Peninsula  Borough  municipal  code   that  the  borough  already                                                               
provides confidentiality in  terms of "any records  that it takes                                                               
to comply  with the requirements  of the ordinance  in collecting                                                               
tax data."   She directed  attention to  page 4 of  the borough's                                                               
information   and   read,   "The  information   shall   be   kept                                                               
confidential, except when its production  is required in official                                                               
borough, state,  federal investigation  law enforcement  acts and                                                               
in  court  proceedings.    All   associated  data  obtained  from                                                               
professional  guides  are confidential  and  shall  be kept  from                                                               
inspection of all persons except  officers, agents, and employees                                                               
of  the  borough."    She offered  her  understanding  that  [the                                                               
borough's  municipal code]  "provides the  privacy needed."   She                                                               
noted  that the  borough may  also publish  statistics concerning                                                               
"the  information contained"  if  the publication  is  done in  a                                                               
manner    where   the    information   cannot    be   identified.                                                               
Representative  Drummond stated  she is  confident that  Lake and                                                               
Peninsula  Borough already  has the  confidentiality measures  in                                                               
place, and  she said  she does  not think "the  date needs  to be                                                               
redacted as has been discussed here."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND stated her support  of the amendment as a                                                               
means to protect tax payers  "in any borough or municipality that                                                               
may not have a similar confidentiality agreement."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:52:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER removed  his objection  to the  motion to                                                               
adopt Amendment 1.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:52:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   FANSLER  announced   that  there   being  no   further                                                               
objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:52:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NATHAN  HILL, Manager,  Lake and  Peninsula Borough,  stated that                                                               
the borough  supports HB 267.   He relayed that both  hunting and                                                               
fishing  professional guides  are required  to register  with the                                                               
borough and  pay a fee  per [client]  per day for  guiding within                                                               
borough boundaries.   Further, the borough imposes  tax for "this                                                               
and  other  commercial  activities";  the  tax  applies  "on  all                                                               
lands."   He  stated  that  without access  to  the reports,  the                                                               
borough has no way to  independently verify that the activity has                                                               
been  reported correctly.    He asked  the  committee to  support                                                               
passage of HB 267.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:54:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  Mr. Hill  for an  estimate of  the                                                               
total fees typically brought in by  the borough in a year and how                                                               
HB 267 might change that number.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. HILL deferred to the borough's finance officer.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:55:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN EDWARDS, Finance Officer,  Lake and Peninsula Borough, said                                                               
currently the  borough collects approximately  $60,000 a  year in                                                               
guide taxes, and  she estimated that with access  to the database                                                               
[proposed under HB 267], the  borough's revenue would increase by                                                               
about  $50,000 to  $100,000.   She  added, "That's  based on  ...                                                               
statistical analysis  of current guides' tax  returns and reports                                                               
by guides  themselves of activity  in the borough that  they know                                                               
is not being reported to us."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked if  the  borough  would incur  any                                                               
additional costs  in maintaining  the confidentiality  of records                                                               
or "to do any redaction."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. HILL responded no.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  EDWARDS interjected  that  the borough  has  worked hard  to                                                               
develop relationships  with all the professional  guides it knows                                                               
are  operating in  the borough.   She  said, "We  understand that                                                               
these  records are  viewed by  them as  proprietary information."                                                               
She  stated that  since the  reporting from  guides has,  to this                                                               
point, been  voluntary, it is  vital that the borough  can assure                                                               
the   guides   that   the  information   will   remain   strictly                                                               
confidential [under the proposed legislation].                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE    SADDLER   asked,    "Does   maintaining    that                                                               
confidentiality cost you anything?"                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. EDWARDS  answered no.  She  noted that the borough  is small;                                                               
the entire  department consists of  two employees;  everything is                                                               
"kept behind  lock and key."   She stated,  "We are bound  by the                                                               
strictures of borough  code, and certainly the  amendment to this                                                               
bill, so confidentiality  on our part is not going  to add to our                                                               
costs, and it's  something ... we ... very much  want to maintain                                                               
and to assure our tax payers."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER explained he  was concerned that the state                                                               
may be  pushing the cost to  the municipality, and he  said he is                                                               
glad to hear that would not be the case.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:59:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FANSLER opened public testimony on HB 267.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
8:59:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JON ERICKSON,  Manager, City and  Borough of Yakutat,  noted that                                                               
Yakutat has the  smallest population of any borough  but is 6,000                                                               
square miles in size.  Yakutat's  sales tax is 5 percent, and its                                                               
bed tax is  8 percent.  He  said the City and  Borough of Yakutat                                                               
must  guard against  missing out  on revenue  because of  "people                                                               
coming  into the  borough and  not reporting  the activity."   He                                                               
reported  that last  year the  City  and Borough  of Yakutat  got                                                               
approximately $37,000  in bed  tax; it  defines a  bed as  a stay                                                               
overnight, so it does  not have to be a fixed  location.  He said                                                               
the borough  runs 200 miles  north and  150 miles south;  much of                                                               
the area in the north can  be accessed by plane without officials                                                               
ever knowing anyone is there.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERICKSON  said he  keeps many  confidential records,  such as                                                               
personnel   records   and   Health  Insurance   Portability   and                                                               
Accountability Act (HIPA) information, and  he views the issue of                                                               
confidentiality  seriously.   He  indicated  the  only reason  he                                                               
would look at confidential records  is if there is activity going                                                               
on in the  borough that someone has not reported.   In that case,                                                               
Mr. Erickson  explained, he would try  to find out why  there was                                                               
no report.   He  added, "But I'm  not going to  give this  out to                                                               
people and say, 'He's got this great, hot fishing spot.'"                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERICKSON  related that the  City and Borough of  Yakutat lost                                                               
its  Fish &  Wildlife trooper  and wrote  out 150  fish and  game                                                               
tickets, but  all the revenue  from those tickets goes  to ADF&G.                                                               
He stated, "I  am scrambling, as a borough manager,  to do what I                                                               
can  to  try and  make  ends  meet, and  this  would  be a  great                                                               
opportunity for me."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:03:27 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERICKSON, in response to  Co-Chair Fansler, explained that he                                                               
sends his  police force of four  to enforce [fish and  game] laws                                                               
for the sake of the citizens of the City and Borough of Yakutat.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:04:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER   noted  that   Mr.  Erickson   had  said                                                               
reductions within ADF&G  had resulted in there  being no wildlife                                                               
trooper in  the City and  Borough of  Yakutat, but that  issue is                                                               
independent of whether  the City and Borough  of Yakutat collects                                                               
local taxes.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERICKSON answered yes - "kind of."  He explained:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I've  been  contacted  ...  by   ...  Fish  &  Wildlife                                                                    
     troopers in  Cordova, and they said,  "John, you've got                                                                    
     something going  on 150  miles north  of you,  and they                                                                    
     aren't registered."   ... So, they're  telling me this,                                                                    
     but they're  not officially telling  me this ....   So,                                                                    
     would I be able to enforce  the law and raise that $36-                                                                    
     $37,000 to [$76,000] - I'm hoping.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  responded, "Yeah, if 'John  Law' is known                                                               
to be  in the area,  people will  A) probably follow  the fishing                                                               
regulations,  and B)  probably report  ... their  revenues.   So,                                                               
there's an indirect connection."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERICKSON indicated some "fishing  losses" have "gone way down                                                               
since we've done  that."  In response  to Representative Saddler,                                                               
he confirmed he  thinks the bill would result in  an increase [in                                                               
tax  revenue] to  $76,000.    He said  the  City  and Borough  of                                                               
Yakutat has the highest bed tax  in the state and, with its sales                                                               
tax, it currently makes $13 for every $100.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  summarized that  Mr. Erickson  was saying                                                               
that  the increase  to $76,000  would be  on the  bed tax;  there                                                               
would be "an indeterminate amount of increase" in the sales tax.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERICKSON answered, "That's my hope."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:06:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND suggested the use of drones.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERICKSON expressed concern regarding privacy.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:06:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SARA  CHAMBERS,  Operations  Manager, Division  of  Corporations,                                                               
Business,  and  Professional  Licensing  (DCBPL),  Department  of                                                               
Commerce, Community  & Economic Development (DCCED),  stated that                                                               
the division submitted  a fiscal note, and she  specified that it                                                               
is  DCBPL,  not   ADF&G,  that  manages  the   hunt  records  and                                                               
transporter  activity   reports  she  said  were   circulated  by                                                               
Representative Rauscher.  She continued as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     I wanted to be able to  inform the committee - since we                                                                    
     raised  the confidentiality  issue -  that the  records                                                                    
     that  were circulated  earlier do  ... contain  quite a                                                                    
     bit  of commercial,  proprietary information.   And  we                                                                    
     also,  for  many  years, have  maintained  those  in  a                                                                    
     searchable database that is given  access only to those                                                                    
     who have  been enumerated in  the statute.  So,  if ...                                                                    
     every  municipality  might  request  this  information,                                                                    
     given the amendment, it reduces  our concerns about our                                                                    
     need  to maintain  that confidentiality,  and we  would                                                                    
     likely   provide  access   to  that   database  to   an                                                                    
     authorized employee  of the municipality in  question -                                                                    
     the requesting  municipality -  which would  then place                                                                    
     the  responsibility on  them to  mine  the database  of                                                                    
     those thousands  of records to identify  which ... ones                                                                    
     pertain to  them.   They would need  to know  the guide                                                                    
     use  areas that  are  in their  municipality and  could                                                                    
     look  for  it  that  way  or,  if  they  knew  specific                                                                    
     individuals, they could look for  it that way, as well.                                                                    
     That would  be [an]  extremely low-cost  alternative to                                                                    
     the  state  but potentially  have  an  impact on  their                                                                    
     staffing in doing that research.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CHAMBERS,   regarding  Representative  Rauscher's   idea  of                                                               
creating a  report upon demand  by any municipality, said  such a                                                               
task would tax the division's  workload and staffing levels.  She                                                               
emphasized that any cost that would  be borne by her office would                                                               
be  paid  for  by  professional guides  and  transporters  -  the                                                               
division receives  no general  fund.  She  said this  program has                                                               
already been  battling a significant  deficit in the  last couple                                                               
years.  She  said the current deficit is half  a million dollars,                                                               
and she reiterated that the cost  would not be borne by the state                                                               
but "by the constituents who are license through this board."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:10:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER   asked  Ms.  Chambers  if   adoption  of                                                               
Amendment  1,  which  he  said  had a  fiscal  note  of  $88,400,                                                               
nullifies that cost to DCCED.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CHAMBERS  answered,  "It  does  take care  of  much  of  our                                                               
concern, ...  with the assumption that  we would hand off  a user                                                               
name and  password to  the municipalities and  say, 'Go  find the                                                               
information  in  the  database'  and  ...  [there  would  be]  no                                                               
reporting impact on our staff."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:11:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  indicated that he was  planning to offer                                                               
an  amendment  that  would make  municipalities  cover  the  cost                                                               
rather than hunters  so that the onus would be  on "those who are                                                               
trying  to profit  from  it"  rather than  "those  that are  just                                                               
trying to  hunt out there in  the wild."  He  said he appreciates                                                               
Ms. Chambers  having brought  up the  idea that  there is  a cost                                                               
involved  and  the  state  should   recover  the  cost  from  the                                                               
municipality.  He reiterated his desire to simplify the data.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:12:38 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LYLE   BECKER,   Board   Member,  Alaska   Professional   Hunters                                                               
Association (APHA), related  that he has a  small hunting outfit,                                                               
and he indicated that the  proposed legislation would affect him.                                                               
He  said   he  thinks  [APHA]  understands   the  problem  [being                                                               
addressed  through HB  267],  and  that is  that  there are  some                                                               
guides that  are not paying  their borough  taxes.  He  said APHA                                                               
affirms that guides need to be  paying their taxes.  He indicated                                                               
that  part  of  the  problem  may  be  "being  overlooked."    He                                                               
explained that currently  there are a lot of  guides that operate                                                               
on  state land  that don't  necessarily have  any requirement  to                                                               
report back to  their land manager.  Further,  there is currently                                                               
no  limit to  the  number of  guides that  can  operate in  those                                                               
areas, which he  surmised may be adding to  the general confusion                                                               
and "borough chaos."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BECKER  expressed concern  that  [HB  267] would  add  undue                                                               
financial burden to  the Big Game Commercial  Services Board, and                                                               
the guides  would ultimately  have to shoulder  that burden.   He                                                               
said there  have been significant  fee increases in the  last few                                                               
years; "additional  fees have been  added to  individual guides."                                                               
He said there is a payoff  structure that is supposed to "go down                                                               
in time," but indicated that  in the meantime there is additional                                                               
staff time that is adding to the burden.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. BECKER highlighted another concern  is regarding privacy.  He                                                               
stated, "We don't want folks  within the borough knowing specific                                                               
places  where  we   harvest  animals."    He   relayed  that  the                                                               
information submitted  to the Big Game  Commercial Services Board                                                               
is intended to  help wildlife managers manage  the game resource,                                                               
and "we're a little concerned  about clerks getting ahold of that                                                               
- especially people  who live ... in the area,"  because that may                                                               
compromise trade secrets.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BECKER  stated a third  concern is regarding  jurisdiction of                                                               
the borough as it relates to  hunting records.  He explained that                                                               
hunting  records state  that [guides]  have  operated in  certain                                                               
areas;  however, in  many of  the  areas, half  falls within  the                                                               
borough and  half does  not.  He  offered his  understanding that                                                               
[under HB 267],  hunt records from 20 years ago  could be pulled,                                                               
and confusion could ensue when  trying to determine how much time                                                               
was  actually spent  in  the  borough and  how  much outside  the                                                               
borough.   He concluded,  "So, just in  some way,  we're thinking                                                               
this might  not be the most  workable or best proposal  to arrive                                                               
at with  the goal we'd like,  which is collecting ...  taxes from                                                               
those  guides that  need to  be paying  them; and  we think  that                                                               
something  related  to  something  that addresses  the  issue  of                                                               
unlimited guides on state land would be better suited."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:20:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FANSLER, after  ascertaining that there was  no one else                                                               
who wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 267.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:20:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER,  speaking to Mr. Becker's  concern, asked                                                               
if there  is a better way  to scope activities of  guides so they                                                               
are  subject  to and  pay  the  taxes  while operating  within  a                                                               
municipality  but  do  not  have  to be  subject  to  taxes  when                                                               
operating outside of municipal boundaries.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CLARK said  a borough  could contact  the guiding  outfit to                                                               
find  out if  the  hunting  activity was  within  or without  the                                                               
borough, thus  relying on "the  honesty of the guide  and nothing                                                               
more."   He offered his  understanding that borough  officials do                                                               
not rely  on more  than that  for their  information.   He added,                                                               
"So, there would  not be a situation where an  outfitter would be                                                               
charged a tax outside the  jurisdiction of the municipality."  In                                                               
terms of Mr. Becker's remarks, he  said he thinks the adoption of                                                               
Amendment  1 should  "all but  eliminate any  costs to  the DCCED                                                               
and,  in turn,  eliminate any  costs to  the Big  Game Commercial                                                               
Services Board."   Regarding Mr. Becker's  concerns about privacy                                                               
and confidentiality,  he said, "I  think we've discussed  that at                                                               
great  length  today,  and  I   believe  the  integrity  and  the                                                               
professionalism  of  the  borough officials,  combined  with  the                                                               
force of  law, is  something ...  I would  encourage him  to have                                                               
greater confidence in."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:23:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FANSLER offered his understanding  that Ms. Chambers had                                                               
said that [municipal officials] would  be given a password to log                                                               
in "with the confidentiality aspects in there."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. CLARK responded, "Certainly that  would be the most efficient                                                               
and cost-effective way."   He indicated that  the prime sponsor's                                                               
intent  is  for  "the  legwork  and the  man  hours"  to  be  the                                                               
responsibility of the municipalities rather than the state.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR FANSLER said, "I share that  concern."  He added that he                                                               
appreciates  that  the  adopted  Amendment  1  would,  hopefully,                                                               
alleviate "that  undue burden  upon the board  that is  trying to                                                               
get its head above water."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[HB 267 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 267 Sponsor Statement--Release of Hunting and Fishing Records to Municipalities 1.12.2018.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HB 267
HB 267 Supporting Document--Lake and Peninsula Borough Municipal Code Title 6--1.12.2018.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HRES 2/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 267
HB 267 Sectional Summary--Release of Hunting and Fishing Records to Municipalities 1.12.2018.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HRES 2/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 267
HB 267 Version D.PDF HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HRES 2/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 267
HB 267 Amendment D.1--Offered in House C&RA.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HB 267
HB 267 Fiscal Note CED.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HB 267
HB 267 Fiscal Note DFG 1.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HB 267
HB 267 Fiscal Note DFG 2.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HB 267
HB 267 Supporting Document--Legal Consequences for Violating Confidentiality 1.24.2018.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HB 267
HB 267 Commerce Big Game Services Board Transporter Activity Report--1.25.2018.PDF HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HB 267
HB 267 V.J.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HB 267
HB 267 Amendment J.1.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HB 267
HB 267 Amendment J.2.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HB 267
HB 267 Supporting Document-- Letter from BBEDC 1.26.2018.pdf HCRA 1/25/2018 8:00:00 AM
HB 267