Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

02/28/2006 01:30 PM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 380(FIN) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 380                                                                                                            
     An  Act  relating  to  the  powers  and  duties  of  the                                                                   
     commissioner of environmental  conservation; relating to                                                                   
     animals,  animal  products, agricultural  products,  and                                                                   
     the  transportation  of  animals  and  animal  products;                                                                   
     relating to  the employment, appointment,  and duties of                                                                   
     a   state   veterinarian    by   the   commissioner   of                                                                   
     environmental  conservation; relating  to the  powers of                                                                   
     the   commissioner   of  natural   resources   regarding                                                                   
     agricultural  products; and  providing for an  effective                                                                   
1:47:38 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Chenault MOVED  to ADOPT  work draft  #24-LS1469\Y,                                                                   
Bannister,  2/27/06, as the  version of  the bill before  the                                                                   
Committee.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                                           
1:48:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL   PAWLOWSKI,  STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE  KEVIN   MEYER,                                                                   
provided  an overview  of  HB 380.   The  bill  is a  product                                                                   
resulting from  an interim work group between  the Department                                                                   
of Environmental  Conservation,  the Department  of Fish  and                                                                   
Game, the  Department of Natural  Resources and  the Division                                                                   
of Agriculture.  HB 380 provides  a repeal and reenactment of                                                                   
the powers  of the Department  of Environmental  Conservation                                                                   
and  the  statutes that  authorize  the  State  veterinarian.                                                                   
Most of those powers were passed  in 1949, prior to statehood                                                                   
and  do  not  adequately  reflect   present  threats,  facing                                                                   
Alaskans and animals in the State.                                                                                              
Mr.  Pawlowski   said  the  primary   problem  is   that  the                                                                   
definition  of  an  "animal",  historically  was  limited  to                                                                   
"livestock"; that  made sense in  the 1940's and  1950's when                                                                   
all  animals were  considered  "livestock."   The  Department                                                                   
currently has no  authority to quarantine an animal  if it is                                                                   
a pet  and not livestock.   Mr. Pawlowski reiterated  that HB
380 reflects cooperative efforts  between the above-mentioned                                                                   
departments.   He highlighted  changes made in  the committee                                                                   
   · Page 2, Lines 28-31, speaks to when the Department                                                                         
     adopts  regulations,  which  grant powers  regulated  in                                                                   
     that section.  The commissioner  should give substantial                                                                   
     weight  to  the  State standards.    Issues  arose  with                                                                   
     granting  authority already  existing in  statute.   The                                                                   
     concern   would  be  that   the  issue  would   reopened                                                                   
     regulatory  powers.     Also,  there  is   concern  that                                                                   
     standard   regulatory   practices,   when   related   to                                                                   
     livestock, can  be "messy".  The State does  not want to                                                                   
     open-the-door  for unnecessary  shut  downs in  industry                                                                   
1:51:48 PM                                                                                                                    
   · The second change highlights the controversial portions                                                                    
     of  the bill  in Section  3, the granting  of powers  to                                                                   
     inspect a premise.  The Department  of Natural Resources                                                                   
     and the Department of Environmental  Conservation govern                                                                   
     that  section   jointly.    The  key  between   the  two                                                                   
     departments  is what  product is  being regulated.   The                                                                   
     Department   of  Environmental   Conservation  has   the                                                                   
     oversight   of   animals   and  animal   products;   the                                                                   
     Department of Natural Resources has the oversight of                                                                       
     agriculture products.                                                                                                      
In the original  bill, the House Resources  Committee allowed                                                                   
the  inspection of  the  premise anytime  day  or night;  the                                                                   
proposed  bill returns  the  language to  hours  of a  normal                                                                   
business  day  and  adds:  "Anytime   that  the  Commissioner                                                                   
determines that  there is an  immediate threat to  the health                                                                   
or safety of an animal or the general public."                                                                                  
1:53:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Pawlowski  said, those were the main  changes, indicating                                                                   
other  minor   changes  that   would  be  addressed   through                                                                   
testimony and the amendments.                                                                                                   
1:53:50 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice  Chair  Stoltze  referenced  Section 4,  and  asked  why                                                                   
language   was   specifically    included,   delegating   the                                                                   
commissioner's  powers.     Mr.  Pawlowski   understood  that                                                                   
language related to the State  veterinarian and the manner in                                                                   
which  the   role  of   the  commissioner  and   veterinarian                                                                   
interact.   He referenced  Page 2,  Lines 23-26,  designating                                                                   
that authority  and requested  the Department answer  why the                                                                   
structure was placed into the bill.                                                                                             
1:55:35 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ROBERT GERLACK,  ALASKA STATE  VETERINARIAN,  ANCHORAGE,                                                                   
testified  that the bill  was introduced  to look at  disease                                                                   
problems existing  in Alaska.   He  spoke about diseases  now                                                                   
existing, which  are "crossing  the boundaries" between  pets                                                                   
and  livestock.    It  is known  that  the  diseases  can  be                                                                   
transmitted  not only  through the animals  but also  through                                                                   
the  animal  products.   Restricting  authority  to  specific                                                                   
categories  of   animals  would  leave  both   livestock  and                                                                   
wildlife  susceptible  to  health  threats.    He  emphasized                                                                   
certain diseases would have great impact on society.                                                                            
Dr.  Gerlack listed  diseases  that could  be transmitted  to                                                                   
products; the  avian influenza, African swine  fever and hoof                                                                   
and mouth.                                                                                                                      
1:58:28 PM                                                                                                                    
Dr. Gerlack explained that the  intent of the legislation was                                                                   
to expand  the authority  to protect  livestock industry  and                                                                   
animals on  farms new to the  industry as well  as addressing                                                                   
human public health concerns.                                                                                                   
2:01:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Gerlack offered to answer questions of the Committee.                                                                       
Vice Chair  Stoltze  noted Page  4, Section  4, and asked  if                                                                   
that reference  was to the  State veterinarian.   Mr. Gerlack                                                                   
advised the  language would allow  the State veterinarian  to                                                                   
be the  inspector but in situations,  in which an  area could                                                                   
not be attended, there would be  designating language for the                                                                   
appropriate authority to provide  the necessary investigation                                                                   
with trained personnel.                                                                                                         
2:02:58 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice  Chair Stoltze  supported someone  with the  appropriate                                                                   
expertise being given that authority  rather than a political                                                                   
2:03:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SABRINA FERNANDEZ, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE), ASSISTANT                                                                   
ATTORNEY  GENERAL,  DEPARTMENT  OF  LAW,  offered  to  answer                                                                   
questions of the Committee.                                                                                                     
STEVE  MULDER,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  ASSISTANT                                                                   
ATTORNEY GENERAL,  DEPARTMENT OF  LAW, ANCHORAGE,  noted that                                                                   
he was available for questions.                                                                                                 
LOUISA CASTRODALE,  (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE),  DIVISION                                                                   
OF PUBLIC  HEALTH, DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH  & SOCIAL  SERVICES,                                                                   
ANCHORAGE,  testified  on behalf  of Dr.  Richard  Mandsager,                                                                   
Director of  the Division of Public  Health.  She  noted that                                                                   
there offices was  in full support of the legislation.   They                                                                   
work closely  with the  State veterinarian;  it is  essential                                                                   
for those involved in the human  health field to be confident                                                                   
in animal quarantine and isolation authority.                                                                                   
2:05:50 PM                                                                                                                    
ROB  ARNO,  (TESTIFIED VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  ALASKA  OUTDOOR                                                                   
COUNCIL  (AOC),   MATSU,  mentioned   that  AOC's   statewide                                                                   
membership  depends on  a wild-food harvest  and members  are                                                                   
concerned  about the health  of that  harvest.  AOC  supports                                                                   
passage of HB 380.                                                                                                              
2:06:57 PM                                                                                                                    
LARRY  DEVILBISS, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  DIRECTOR,                                                                   
DIVISION  OF AGRICULTURE,  DEPARTMENT  OF NATURAL  RESOURCES,                                                                   
ANCHORAGE, testified in support  of the proposed legislation.                                                                   
He stated  that the committee  substitute was  an improvement                                                                   
as it clarifies the role of each department.                                                                                    
2:08:20 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice  Chair Stoltze  noted  that commercial  fishermen  often                                                                   
were included in proposals of  this nature and asked why they                                                                   
were not.                                                                                                                       
2:10:13 PM                                                                                                                    
KRISTIN  RYAN, DIRECTOR,  DIVISION  OF ENVIRONMENTAL  HEALTH,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT  OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION,  advised  that the                                                                   
Department of Environmental Conservation  did include fish in                                                                   
their definition of animal products;  however, the Department                                                                   
of  Fish  and  Game  regulates  wild fish;  no  one  has  the                                                                   
authority  to regulate  "domestic" fish.   The definition  of                                                                   
agricultural products does not include fish.                                                                                    
Vice Chair Stoltze voiced his frustration.                                                                                      
2:11:30 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kelly  asked  about  available  responses  to                                                                   
threats from  the avian flu.   Mr. Pawlowski  understood that                                                                   
the proposed legislation could  address the gaps in authority                                                                   
where  there is  no oversight  or  testing, letting  diseases                                                                   
"slip through the cracks".                                                                                                      
Dr. Gerlach  added that the intent  of HB 380 is  to identify                                                                   
other diseases  besides the avian  influenza, such  as monkey                                                                   
pokes coming into  this country with the import  of rats from                                                                   
Africa.   Some rats were intermixed  at a pet store  and from                                                                   
that, infection spread to a number  of people in the Midwest.                                                                   
The  legislation  provides  a  first  step  in  dealing  with                                                                   
situations  that  may be  problematic.   He  emphasized  that                                                                   
Alaska cannot always rely on voluntary cooperation.                                                                             
2:15:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice Chair  Stoltze asked  if there  was any circumstance  in                                                                   
which  rodents  could  be  regulated at  State  fairs.    Dr.                                                                   
Gerlach replied they would be  if they carried a disease that                                                                   
could impact people.                                                                                                            
2:15:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer  MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment #1,  24-LS1469\Y.1,                                                                   
Bannister, 2/28/06,  which would delete all  material on Page                                                                   
2, Lines 21-22 and would insert:                                                                                                
     "(1)  Adopt a schedule  of fees  or charges, and  credit                                                                   
     provisions, for  services related to animals  and animal                                                                   
     products rendered  by state veterinarian to  farmers and                                                                   
     others at their  request, and all the receipts  from the                                                                   
     fees   and  charges   shall   be   transmitted  to   the                                                                   
     commissioner for deposit in the state treasury:".                                                                          
Vice Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                                    
Mr. Pawlowski explained that Amendment  #1 addresses concerns                                                                   
voiced by  Representative Holm.   The concern was to  Page 2,                                                                   
Lines 21  & 22, determining  that the  fee authority  was too                                                                   
broad.   The  proposed  language goes  back  to the  original                                                                   
statute and  keeps the fees  charged for services  related to                                                                   
animals and  animal products,  to the  farmers and  others at                                                                   
their requests.   The State lab does a lot of  testing at the                                                                   
request of  individuals and farmers  and needs  the authority                                                                   
to  charge  a  fee  for  services.     He  advised  that  the                                                                   
Department supported the correction.                                                                                            
Vice Chair  Stoltze WITHDREW his  OBJECTION.  There  being NO                                                                   
further OBJECTION, Amendment #1 was adopted.                                                                                    
2:17:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer  MOVED to ADOPT Amendment  #2, #24-LS1469\Y.2,                                                                   
Bannister, 2/28/06.  Vice Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                               
Mr.  Pawlowski  recommended  that   language  be  deleted  on                                                                   
Amendment  #2, Lines 7  & 8,  as it  was no longer  necessary                                                                   
with passage of Amendment #1.   Co-Chair Meyer MOVED to AMEND                                                                   
#2 as recommended.                                                                                                              
2:19:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Pawlowski explained  that  the amendment  addresses  the                                                                   
distinction and  jurisdiction on  animal and animal  products                                                                   
versus  agricultural   products.     Amendment  #2   provides                                                                   
clarifying  language,  which  Representative  Holm  commented                                                                   
that  it   would  "tighten  it   up".    The   Department  of                                                                   
Environmental Conservation supports the amendment.                                                                              
2:19:36 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice Chair  Stoltze WITHDREW his  OBJECTION.  There  being NO                                                                   
further OBJECTION, Amendment #2 was adopted.                                                                                    
2:19:58 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Foster MOVED to  REPORT CS HB 380 (FIN) out of                                                                   
Committee with individual recommendations  and with zero note                                                                   
#1 by  the Department of Natural  Resources.  There  being NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was so moved.                                                                                                     
CS HB  380 (FIN)  was reported  out of  Committee with  a "no                                                                   
recommendation" and  with zero note  #1 by the  Department of                                                                   
Natural Resources.                                                                                                              
2:21:00 PM                                                                                                                    

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