Legislature(2009 - 2010)

04/17/2009 04:54 PM FIN


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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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.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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