Legislature(2009 - 2010)
04/17/2009 04:54 PM FIN
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CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 177(FIN) "An Act relating to an exception for professional fishing guide services in the Kenai River Special Management Area; relating to the licensing and regulation of sport fishing operators and sport fishing guides and licensing and registration of sport fishing vessels; and providing for an effective date." 7:15:07 PM SENATOR KEVIN MEYER, SPONSOR, stated that the bill would continue the licensing and regulation of sport fishing operators and guides through the next five years. He said that in order to protect the guides and the clients, minimum standards were needed. The program began in 2004, and provided information pertaining to the number of guides in the field, what kind of fish were being caught, and what kind of activity was occurring in the guided industry. It also provided basic standards for guides in the areas of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid, and liability insurance. He shared that the program has increased the level of professionalism, which has helped to raise the standards in the industry throughout the state. The bill was modified to include a waiver for in-season replacement of guides on the Kenai River. This would allow the quick replacement of a guide should one be lost mid- season. The replacement guide would be required to meet the minimum requirements of licensing, first aid, and drug testing. 7:16:25 PM Senator Meyer relayed that the replacement would be required to attend the Kenai River Guide Academy should they wish to continue guiding the following season. He felt that the program has benefited the sport fishing industry throughout the state. Representative Foster asked if there were any extenuating subsistence issues. Senator Meyer replied no. Co-Chair Stoltze asked Senator Meyer if he supported the legislation encompassed in the proposed CS. Senator Meyer responded that the change in the CS would change the effective date of the bill. Co-Chair Hawker MOVED to adopt the CSSB 177 (FIN), Version 26LS0832\ S. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. ANDY SZCZESNY, OWNER, ALASKA FISH AND FLOAT, KENAI, testified in support of the bill. 7:20:07 PM MONTE ROBERTS, KENAI RIVER PROFESSIONAL GUIDE ASSOCIATION, SOLDOTNA, testified via teleconference. He testified in support of the bill. He believed that the CS would keep members of the industry, in emergency situations, from going out of business. 7:21:34 PM ROBER L. JAYNES, SELF, VALDEZ, testified via teleconference. He testified that he had some problems with the bill in its current form. He expressed concern for untrained guides operating on the Kenai, at any time. He shared that he was not opposed to the licensing per se, but felt that fee involved was too high. He stated that the data collection system posed problems. He related that his licensing fees pay for the data collection, but that the data currently collected was from charter operators only. 7:24:58 PM Representative Foster questioned the fiscal note. He wondered what the cost would be to the state. Co-Chair Stoltze closed public testimony. 7:25:54 PM CHARLES SWANTON, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF SPORT FISH, DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME, replied that the division of funds was 50/50, between the fees collected from the guides and the operators, versus licensed anglers. He clarified that $256,000 was collected by the fee program, and $200,000 was from fishing licenses. Vice-Chair Thomas commented that there was a surplus of $3 million put into the Fish and Game budget and could that be considered a contribution toward the sport fish management. Co-Chair Hawker stated that the only change in the new CS from the previous version and the version to which the fiscal note was written was that the time period until the statutes would be repealed has been shortened, from January 1, 2015 until January 1, 2011. He wondered if that would necessitate a new fiscal note. 7:27:30 PM Mr. Swanton replied that a new fiscal note would not be needed. 7:28:37 PM Co-Chair Hawker exhibited surprise and requested clarification. JENNIFER YUHAS, LEGISLATIVE LIAISON, DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME, offered to provide a new fiscal note, showing no subsidy for the following years, should the Committee adopt the new CS. 7:29:05 PM Representative Foster MOVED to report CSSB 177 (FIN) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with a new fiscal note. HCS CSSB 177 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with a new fiscal note by the Department of Fish and Game. 7:30:32 PM RECESSED: 7:31:18 PM RECONVENED: 9:02 PM ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 9:02 PM.