Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/05/2000 01:50 PM House FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 349                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to powers of the Board of Game, means                                                                          
of access for hunting, trapping, and fishing, the                                                                               
definition of 'means' and 'methods,' and hunting safety                                                                         
education and game conservation education programs;                                                                             
relating to the purposes of game refuges, fish and game                                                                         
critical habitat areas, and public use areas."                                                                                  
Co-Chair Therriault provided members with proposed committee                                                                    
substitute, work draft 1-LS1405\ Utermohle, 4/4/00 (copy on                                                                     
MIKE TIBBLES, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT observed that                                                                    
a proposed committee substitute was created to address                                                                          
concerns expressed during the 3/29/00 House Finance                                                                             
Committee meeting. He reviewed the committee substitute.                                                                        
Sections 1 and 2 deleted "enhancement" and inserted "and                                                                        
maintenance" in a number of places. The change addressed                                                                        
concern that the department may be expected to increase new                                                                     
populations whether than maintain healthy populations.                                                                          
Page 3, section 4 addressed concerns by the Department of                                                                       
Fish and Game that the definition of means and methods did                                                                      
not cover all current practices. Language was modified to                                                                       
add "substances" and the "use of" to allow the use of a tool                                                                    
or substance. The sponsor and the Board of Game's attorney                                                                      
worked on the amendment.                                                                                                        
Representative J. Davies questioned if it could be read to                                                                      
be redundant. He questioned if the language would address                                                                       
the manner in which the tools are used.                                                                                         
Mr. Tibbles stressed that the intention is to include means,                                                                    
tools, implements, devices and the use of substances. He                                                                        
observed that the use of a substance would include poison to                                                                    
trap or bait.                                                                                                                   
Language was added in line 31, page 3: "consistent with (1)                                                                     
of this section". The addition addresses the concern that                                                                       
the protection of traditional use of fish and game not be                                                                       
elevated to the same level protection, enhancement and                                                                          
preservation of the fish and game habitat. Subsection (1)                                                                       
would be the ultimate goal or the purpose of a state                                                                            
wildlife refuge. Subsection (2) would remain a purpose, but                                                                     
it must remain consistent with subsection (1).                                                                                  
Subsection (3): "perpetuate and enhance general public                                                                          
recreation in a quality environment" was deleted.                                                                               
Sections 7, 8, and 9 address the ability of the department                                                                      
to work with municipalities and private non-profits to                                                                          
develop hunting safety education and wildlife conservation                                                                      
education programs. Currently, private non-profits are                                                                          
required to establish programs for the primary purpose of                                                                       
preserving hunting, fishing and trapping. The department                                                                        
testified that they would read the wildlife conservation                                                                        
education programs broadly. The Potters Marsh viewing center                                                                    
was referenced. He observed that organizations engaged in                                                                       
wildlife conservation education programs might not be                                                                           
created for the primary purpose of preserving hunting,                                                                          
fishing and trapping. The intent is to not exclude these                                                                        
Sections 10 through 15 deal with public use areas. The word                                                                     
"preserve" was deleted and replaced with "maintain" in each                                                                     
of the sections. The change addressed the concern that                                                                          
public use areas would be more like refuges.                                                                                    
EDDIE GRASSER, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE MASEK provided                                                                             
information on the committee substitute. He explained that                                                                      
legal counsel for the Board of Game stated that the language                                                                    
would cover most of the contingencies that the Board would                                                                      
have to address under section 4. He stressed that the intent                                                                    
is that the use of tools would also be included.                                                                                
Representative J. Davies questioned if Mr. Grasser would                                                                        
object to the insertion of "manner of" in front of "use".                                                                       
Mr. Grasser stated that he would not object to the change.                                                                      
Co-Chair Mulder questioned why is the section of means and                                                                      
methods needed in the definition. Mr. Grasser stated that                                                                       
the section was inserted as the result of a regulation by                                                                       
the Board of Game requiring bones to be packed out of the                                                                       
field. He stressed that statutes clearly state that bones                                                                       
are not part of the edible portion of an animal that would                                                                      
need to be packed out.                                                                                                          
Co-Chair Mulder observed that they are working hard at a                                                                        
definition that may work and questioned if it would not be                                                                      
better to address the particular concern. Mr. Grasser noted                                                                     
that there is no definition of the terms and expressed                                                                          
concern that the Board of Game has used this as a loophole.                                                                     
Representative J. Davies agreed that it would be simpler to                                                                     
state that bones were not included in items that would be                                                                       
packed out.                                                                                                                     
Mr. Grasser referred to deletion of section 6, subsection                                                                       
(3). The language was removed to avoid confusion.                                                                               
Mr. Tibbles noted that the department would not be able to                                                                      
preclude kayaks from nesting grounds if the language were                                                                       
Representative J. Davies pointed out that the problem was                                                                       
addressed with the inclusion of "consistent with", which                                                                        
modified subsection (3).                                                                                                        
Mr. Grasser stated that they would not object to its                                                                            
WAYNE REGELIN, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION,                                                                     
DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME provided information on the                                                                         
committee substitute. He noted that the proposed committee                                                                      
substitute resolved concerns with one exception. Section 3                                                                      
gives local advisory committees veto authority over actions                                                                     
of the Board of Game. He pointed out that they are advisory                                                                     
committees. There are over 80 advisory committees. They                                                                         
sometimes share jurisdiction. He noted that the Board of                                                                        
Game has a though process and rarely closes down access.                                                                        
Representative J. Davies stated that he also had concerns on                                                                    
the issue.                                                                                                                      
Vice Chair Bunde questioned how the change from "enhance" to                                                                    
"maintain" relates to sustained yield. Mr. Regelin did not                                                                      
think the change would have an effect.                                                                                          
Vice Chair Bunde asked for more information on the language                                                                     
on page 3, line 26. Mr. Regelin explained that the language                                                                     
would not cause problems for the Board or department.                                                                           
Vice Chair Bunde referred to page 4, line 18 "with other                                                                        
organizations". Mr. Regelin stressed that the department                                                                        
attempts to cooperate with all private groups to have joint                                                                     
programs, but didn't want to have a mandate. Mr. Grasser                                                                        
explained that 4H organizations would be able to participate                                                                    
if the legislature chose to do a pass through grant and the                                                                     
department chose to assist them. The language is permissive,                                                                    
not mandatory. The grants are subject to legislative                                                                            
appropriation. Municipalities and private non-profits that                                                                      
are setup to preserve hunting, fishing and trapping would                                                                       
only be allowed to participate in wildlife conservation                                                                         
education programs; they would not be allowed to participate                                                                    
in hunter training programs.                                                                                                    
(TAPE CHANGE, HFC 00  - 103, SIDE 1)                                                                                            
Mr. Grasser expressed trust that the legislature would not                                                                      
allow money to be funneled to anti-hunting groups to attack                                                                     
hunting and conservation education programs. The legislature                                                                    
can appropriate to individual pass through grants. Mr.                                                                          
Regelin stated that the language would provide that the                                                                         
primary purpose must be to preserve hunting, fishing and                                                                        
trapping. Vice Chair Bunde emphasized that there are no                                                                         
"side boards" on other organizations.                                                                                           
Co-Chair Therriault noted that the legislation states:                                                                          
hunting safety education not hunting, safety, education.                                                                        
Vice Chair Bunde pointed out that education could be in                                                                         
favor of or against hunting.                                                                                                    
Representative J. Davies noted that there are wildlife                                                                          
conservation programs that would not be pro or anti-hunting.                                                                    
Mr. Regelin observed that 4H doesn't have as its primary                                                                        
purpose hunting, trapping or fishing, but that they have a                                                                      
strong program that the department would like to support.                                                                       
Mr. Grasser did not think that the legislature had                                                                              
appropriated funding for any of the programs in the recent                                                                      
years. The legislation provides a mechanism to work with                                                                        
organizations, but the organizations would need to work with                                                                    
the department and the legislature.                                                                                             
NANCY WELCH, LAND MANAGER, DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES                                                                      
expressed concerns with language being deleted on page 5,                                                                       
line 31. She felt that the reordering would tip the multiple                                                                    
use scales toward the Department of Fish and Game. She noted                                                                    
that the Susitna Area Plan is deleted from the provision.                                                                       
The Susitna Area Plan is the basis the department uses for                                                                      
decision making. She stressed that the Susitna Area Plan                                                                        
contains provisions for its modification.                                                                                       
Representative J. Davies MOVED Amendment 1: delete language                                                                     
on page 3, lines 7 - 9; insert "specifically authorized by a                                                                    
regulation adopted by the Board of Fisheries of the Board of                                                                    
Game, provided that the local fish and game advisory                                                                            
committee with jurisdiction over the area where the                                                                             
regulation would apply has been notified in writing of the                                                                      
proposed regulation". The amendment would address concerns                                                                      
of the advisory committee. This would remove the absolute                                                                       
veto power of the advisory committee.                                                                                           
Mr. Grasser observed that there would not be a need for the                                                                     
subsection as amended. The advisory committees are already                                                                      
notified. He maintained that subsection 2 only places a                                                                         
higher standard on the Board for actions reducing public                                                                        
access. He gave examples of previous Board actions.                                                                             
Co-Chair Mulder asked about circumstances where a local                                                                         
advisory committee tends to be dominated by commercial                                                                          
fishermen.  He observed that such a Board could attempt to                                                                      
maintain their level of take at the expense of non-resident                                                                     
sport fishermen. He asked how the regulation would apply to                                                                     
such a situation.  Mr. Grasser replied that the Board could                                                                     
act regardless of subsection (2). He noted that the                                                                             
recommendations of one advisory committee would not be                                                                          
enacted if there were a conflict with another advisory                                                                          
Representative Grussendorf observed that Board of Fish                                                                          
members are under a lot of scrutiny and pressure to make the                                                                    
best decisions. He pointed out that people in local areas                                                                       
(advisory committees) have a lot of self-interests in mind.                                                                     
That interest may not be in the best idea of management and                                                                     
cause problems with sustained yield. He stressed that the                                                                       
Advisory Committees cannot be allowed to make the final                                                                         
Co-Chair Therriault stated that subsections 3, 4, 5 & 6                                                                         
would stand by themselves. He did not think that subsection                                                                     
2 would provide veto over actions that the Board (of Fish)                                                                      
has taken under the other provisions.  Representative J.                                                                        
Davies disagreed.  Vice Chair Bunde asked how many advisory                                                                     
committees are in the state.  Mr. Grasser replied that there                                                                    
are 84 advisory committees.  Vice Chair Bunde suggested that                                                                    
the subsection would give power to the advisory committees                                                                      
and in affect create multiple game boards in the State. He                                                                      
expressed concern that the local advisory committees would                                                                      
not have a statewide perspective.                                                                                               
Mr. Tibbles noted that he spoke with the drafter of the                                                                         
bill.  He explained that subsection 2 would only apply in                                                                       
the absence of any of the other provisions. The subsection                                                                      
would encourage the Board to use the other provisions and                                                                       
justify why they are restricting access.                                                                                        
Representative Phillips felt uncomfortable with the                                                                             
inclusion of subsection 2. She pointed out that the advisory                                                                    
committees do not have legislative oversight.                                                                                   
Mr. Grasser argued that allowing advisory committees to have                                                                    
veto power is not a new concept. He maintained that each                                                                        
advisory committee would have an opportunity to object to                                                                       
provisions of the Board of Game affecting their unit.                                                                           
Representative J. Davies pointed out that there are many                                                                        
people that hunt and fish outside of their own areas.  Mr.                                                                      
Grasser explained how the process works.  The Board of Fish                                                                     
or Game would have to create a special use area with access                                                                     
restrictions. Regulations are promulgated and they are                                                                          
published for public review before the meeting takes place.                                                                     
Then the Board makes the decision.  Then the Advisory                                                                           
Committee can take action.                                                                                                      
Representative J. Davies stressed that then the advisory                                                                        
committee would have a veto.  Co-Chair Mulder stated that                                                                       
the access would not be restricted.                                                                                             
Representative Grussendorf could not imagine the Board of                                                                       
Fish and Game making a decision without a rational reason                                                                       
for the decision.  He maintained that action of the Board of                                                                    
Game would be supported with data and biological studies.                                                                       
He argued it would not be a good idea to give veto power to                                                                     
the advisory committees.                                                                                                        
Vice Chair Bunde observed that the Board of Game could                                                                          
decide to eliminate a controlled use area and let more                                                                          
people in; the local advisory committee could decide to                                                                         
retain restrictions.  Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that                                                                      
the traditional means of access may not be restricted.  Vice                                                                    
Chair Bunde clarified that once an area has been restricted                                                                     
that the provision would not apply.                                                                                             
Mr. Regelin agreed with Vice Chair Bunde's conclusion.  He                                                                      
stated that he has not seen a board of game close an area                                                                       
without a good reason.  He spoke against providing veto                                                                         
power to advisory committees.                                                                                                   
Representative J. Davies asked how many advisory committees                                                                     
have jurisdiction in an area.  Mr. Regelin replied usually                                                                      
one, in some areas it is five or six and is determined                                                                          
through the regulatory process.                                                                                                 
Representative Grussendorf reiterated that a Board would not                                                                    
make a decision without supporting documentation. He pointed                                                                    
out that advisory committees would overlap in regards to the                                                                    
Board of Fish.                                                                                                                  
Mr. Grasser acknowledged concerns. He referred to issues in                                                                     
Noatak. He pointed out that there are some access                                                                               
restrictions that were not implemented for public safety or                                                                     
conservation issues. He maintained that there are very few                                                                      
places left where people can use different forms of access.                                                                     
The intent is to protect areas like the Nelchina Basin.                                                                         
Vice Chair Bunde noted that he served on an advisory                                                                            
committee and observed that they can be politicized.                                                                            
A roll call vote was taken on the motion to adopt Amendment                                                                     
IN FAVOR: Davies, Grussendorf, Phillips, Bunde                                                                                  
OPPOSED: Davis, Therriault, Mulder                                                                                              
Representatives Foster, Moses, Williams, Austerman were                                                                         
absent from the vote.                                                                                                           
The MOTION FAILED (4-3).                                                                                                        
Representative Grussendorf MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 2:                                                                          
delete section 2. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so                                                                           
Representative J. Davies MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 3: insert                                                                     
"manner of" before "use" on page 3 line 25. There being NO                                                                      
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
Representative J. Davies MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 4: delete                                                                     
subsection (f) beginning on page 5, line 31, [PERPETUATE AND                                                                    
ENHANCE ADDITIONAL PUBLIC USES DESCRIBED IN THE SUSITNA AREA                                                                    
Mr. Grasser argued against the amendment.                                                                                       
Representative G. Davis observed that the area plans are                                                                        
required under the designation of the land use in the area.                                                                     
He expressed concern with the deletion of the Susitna Area                                                                      
Mr. Grasser pointed out that the Susitna Area Plan also has                                                                     
within its confines suggestions of uses such as parks. He                                                                       
maintained that the Recreation River Plan reduced any need                                                                      
for the Susitna Area Plan.                                                                                                      
Representative J. Davies spoke in support of the amendment.                                                                     
CAROL CARROLL, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF SUPPORT SERVICES,                                                                          
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES observed that deletion of                                                                       
the Susitna Area Plan would take away something that the                                                                        
department uses to settle contradictory uses.                                                                                   
(TAPE CHANGE, HFC 00 - 103, SIDE 2)                                                                                             
Ms. Carroll explained that the nature of the public use area                                                                    
is not changed. The guidance is removed.                                                                                        
Representative Phillips pointed out that the plan would                                                                         
remain and that the department can still go to it for                                                                           
Representative J. Davies stressed that the language provides                                                                    
a link.                                                                                                                         
A roll call vote was taken on the motion to adopt Amendment                                                                     
IN FAVOR: Davis, Grussendorf, Phillips, Davies                                                                                  
OPPOSED: Foster, Bunde, Mulder, Therriault                                                                                      
Representatives Moses, Austerman and Davis were absent from                                                                     
the vote.                                                                                                                       
The MOTION FAILED (4-4).                                                                                                        
Representative J. Davies MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 5 delete                                                                      
sections 15 - 19. These sections address the Goldstream                                                                         
Public Use Area. The deletion would leave the existing                                                                          
statutory language in place. He stressed that the multi-use                                                                     
trail has been protected by the existing plan. He added that                                                                    
the first purpose is to enhance recreation. There is a large                                                                    
area that encompasses mining. He noted that fish and                                                                            
wildlife protection is the second priority. He expressed                                                                        
concern that the legislation would impact existing mining.                                                                      
He emphasized that there is not a problem.                                                                                      
Co-Chair Mulder agreed with comments by Representative J.                                                                       
Davies. He stressed that the change does not include or                                                                         
exclude anything. He concluded that the Goldstream Public                                                                       
Use Area was only included for consistency with other public                                                                    
use areas.                                                                                                                      
Co-Chair Therriault stated that without a compelling reason                                                                     
to maintain the language that he would support the                                                                              
There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 5 was adopted.                                                                              
Co-Chair Therriault noted that there is a zero fiscal note.                                                                     
Co-Chair Mulder MOVED to report CSHB 349 (FIN) out of                                                                           
Committee with the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO                                                                     
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
CSHB 349 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with "no                                                                           
recommendation" and with a zero fiscal note by the                                                                              
Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                                

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