Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/21/2006 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Meeting Postponed to 1:45 PM today--
<Bill Hearing Postponed>
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved HCS CSSB 200(FIN) Out of Committee
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled from 04/19/06>
Moved Out of Committee
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled from 04/19/06>
Moved HCS SB 304(TRA) Out of Committee
SENATE BILL NO. 55                                                                                                            
"An Act instructing the commissioner  of natural resources to                                                                   
issue a  patent for the  remaining interest in  certain state                                                                   
land to the owner of the agricultural rights to that land."                                                                     
AMY SETIZ, STAFF  TO SENATOR TOM WAGONER  testified regarding                                                                   
the bill.   She  noted that the  bill was  similar to  HB 57,                                                                   
giving  the   Commissioner  of  the  Department   of  Natural                                                                   
Resource the  authority to sell  remaining rights  to certain                                                                   
state-owned land.   The land must  be not more than  15 acres                                                                   
and  used for  agricultural purposes.   The  State must  have                                                                   
originally acquired it through  the National Forest under the                                                                   
Alaska Statehood  Act, and the  owner of the parcel  must pay                                                                   
the fair market value for the remaining rights.                                                                                 
Ms. Seitz explained  that the bill was introduced  to resolve                                                                   
an issue  involving  15 acres  in Hope, Alaska.   The  Miller                                                                   
family had  been given partial  agricultural rights  to these                                                                   
lands  after they  lost some  of  their own  property in  the                                                                   
earthquake of 1964. She noted  some controversy as to whether                                                                   
the family should  have been given full rights  at that time.                                                                   
She maintained  that the  language in the  bill was  the only                                                                   
option available to solve the issue.                                                                                            
2:15:08 PM                                                                                                                    
DICK MYLIUS,  DEPUTY DIRECTOR,  DIVISION  OF MINING LAND  AND                                                                   
WATER,  DEPARTMENT   OF  NATURAL   RESOURCES  testified   via                                                                   
teleconference  in support of  the bill.   He stated  that in                                                                   
most  instances State  land  was sold  in  a public  process.                                                                   
The exception  is with a  circumstance of preference  rights,                                                                   
allowing DNR  to only offer  a parcel  or an interest  to one                                                                   
specific  individual,  usually  someone who  already  legally                                                                   
occupied the land.   In this case the preference  rights were                                                                   
granted  to allow  the remaining  land to be  purchased  by a                                                                   
family  who already  retained  partial  rights  to the  land.                                                                   
Ross Miller  had obtained  a Forest  Service permit  in 1955.                                                                   
When the State  selected the land, the Millers  had a grazing                                                                   
permit and had made improvements  upon it.   Mr. Mylius noted                                                                   
that  the  Department   decided  to  only  sell   the  family                                                                   
agricultural  rights in  1978/9.   In order  to purchase  the                                                                   
property  at  this   time  it  required  the   parcel  to  be                                                                   
subdivided;  this is  not allowable under  current State  law                                                                   
because the parcel is too.                                                                                                      
Mr. Mylius  pointed out that  the bill was narrowly  focused,                                                                   
due to  concern that the bill  would apply to  other parcels.                                                                   
The  language only  applies to  land  in the  Chugiak/Tongass                                                                   
Forest of a certain size acquired  for agricultural purposes.                                                                   
2:18:22 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Stoltze   asked   whether,   other  than   the                                                                   
parcel desired  by the Miller  family, other parcels  existed                                                                   
that  would  benefit  from  this  legislation.    Mr.  Mylius                                                                   
replied that  there might be a  few parcels in  Gustavus that                                                                   
might qualify,  but reiterated  that it  would only  apply to                                                                   
the Chugak National Forest.                                                                                                     
2:19:45 PM                                                                                                                    
ERICA MILLER,  HOPE, ALASKA, testified via  teleconference in                                                                   
support of  the bill.   She stated her  belief that  the bill                                                                   
would provide good resolution to the land issue.                                                                                
2:20:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHUCK GRAHAM,  HOPE, ALASKA  testified via teleconference  in                                                                   
strong support of the bill.                                                                                                     
Co-Chair Meyer closed public testimony on the bill.                                                                             
2:21:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer asked  for clarification on  the indeterminate                                                                   
fiscal  note.  Mr.  Mylius noted  that the  State would  earn                                                                   
some  revenue from  the  sale  of the  land.   The  appraised                                                                   
market value of the land is currently unknown.                                                                                  
Representative Hawker    MOVED  to REPORT  CS SB55  (FIN) out                                                                   
of  Committee with  individual  recommendations and  attached                                                                   
fiscal  note.   Since  there  was  NO  OBJECTION, it  was  So                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects