Legislature(2011 - 2012)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/15/2012 08:30 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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Moved CSHB 301(FIN) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 301                                                                                                            
     "An  Act  amending  the  termination  date  of  certain                                                                    
     statutes   relating   to   the  use,   operation,   and                                                                    
     regulation of  boats, a uniform state  waterway marking                                                                    
     system, and civil liability  for boat owners; providing                                                                    
     for an  effective date by  amending the  effective date                                                                    
     of secs. 3,  5, 7, 9, 11,  14, 16, 18, 20,  23, 26, and                                                                    
     27, ch. 28, SLA 2000,  as amended; and providing for an                                                                    
     effective date."                                                                                                           
8:55:29 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-chair  Fairclough  MOVED  to ADOPT  proposed  committee                                                                    
substitute  for  HB  301, Work  Draft  27-LS1152\M  (Martin,                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED for purpose of discussion.                                                                            
JOE  MICHEL, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE BILL  STOLTZE, explained                                                                    
the  changes in  the  CS.  There were  two  sections at  the                                                                    
beginning of  the bill that  had been inserted; and  he read                                                                    
the inserted  language in Sections  1 and 2. The  wording in                                                                    
Section  1  said,  "Nothing in  this  chapter  authorizes  a                                                                    
department  or  board to  enter  into  an agreement  with  a                                                                    
department or  agency of the  federal government  that cedes                                                                    
state authority for  the management of its  waterways to the                                                                    
federal  government."  He  furthered that  subsections  (b),                                                                    
(c), and  Section 2 inserts  the new wording, "other  than a                                                                    
person  employed by  the federal  government." He  explained                                                                    
that the wording currently existed in state statute.                                                                            
Co-Chair  Stoltze noted  that  the  language was  consistent                                                                    
with the state's rights and assertions.                                                                                         
Representative Guttenberg wondered  if there was cooperation                                                                    
between  a state  and federal  agencies  would preclude  the                                                                    
bill  from happening.  Mr. Michel  deferred the  question to                                                                    
the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).                                                                                      
Co-Chair  Stoltze  discussed  that  the  language  had  been                                                                    
vetted with the Attorney General,  to ensure that it did not                                                                    
contradict agreements with the  Coast Guard. The subject was                                                                    
a narrow issue pertaining to enforcement.                                                                                       
Representative Guttenberg  wondered if the  language applied                                                                    
specifically to the  program, or if it had a  broad range of                                                                    
application. Co-Chair Stoltze replied  hoped it would have a                                                                    
broad application.                                                                                                              
Representative Gara  referred to  an earlier version  of the                                                                    
bill  that included  regulation on  non-motorized boats.  He                                                                    
wondered  if  the work  draft  included  regulation on  non-                                                                    
motorized  boats.   Co-Chair  Stoltze  responded   that  the                                                                    
original  bill,  introduced  by former  Representative  Bill                                                                    
Hudson, had a  reference to boats that were  under a certain                                                                    
8:59:27 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara   restated  his  question   about  non-                                                                    
motorized boats                                                                                                                 
Mr. Michel deferred the question to DNR.                                                                                        
Co-Chair Stoltze stated  that Representative Gara's concerns                                                                    
would be addressed by the bill sponsor.                                                                                         
Co-Chair  Stoltze WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.  There being  NO                                                                    
further OBJECTION, Work Draft 27-LS1152\M was ADOPTED.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE   ALAN  AUSTERMAN,   SPONSOR,  informed   the                                                                    
committee  that the  original bill  had  been introduced  by                                                                    
former Representative  Bill Hudson. He believed  the program                                                                    
was helpful and saved lives.                                                                                                    
ASTRID  LIEVANO,   STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE   ALAN  AUSTERMAN,                                                                    
explained  that  HB 301  repeals  the  sunset dates  of  the                                                                    
Statewide  Boating  Safety  and Education  Program.  Through                                                                    
this program the State of  Alaska works in close cooperation                                                                    
with the U.S.  Coast Guard, U.S. Coast  Guard Auxiliary, and                                                                    
other partners  to provide  national award  winning programs                                                                    
such  as the  popular Kids  Don't Float  life jacket  loaner                                                                    
program,  nationally  approved boating  courses,  instructor                                                                    
training,  video production,  and numerous  publications and                                                                    
instructor    tools.    Alaska's   non-commercial    boating                                                                    
fatalities  have dropped  more than  20 percent  since state                                                                    
efforts began,  and at least  19 Alaskan children  are alive                                                                    
today thanks to a Kids  Don't Float life jacket. The program                                                                    
has  been repeatedly  recognized  for excellence,  including                                                                    
the  U.S. Coast  Guard's Meritorious  Public Service  Award.                                                                    
Between 1987  and 2000 Alaska  was the only state  without a                                                                    
comprehensive  recreational  boating  safety  program,  even                                                                    
though Alaska had  one of the highest fatality  rates in the                                                                    
nation. During the same time,  Alaska's share of the federal                                                                    
funding available to the states  for boating safety programs                                                                    
was  being distributed  to the  others states.  Following 11                                                                    
attempts  at passage,  in May  of 2000,  HB 108,  the Alaska                                                                    
Boating Safety Act (AS 05.25)  was signed into law. When the                                                                    
program  was established,  the  21st Legislature  originally                                                                    
added two  'sunset' provisions to repeal  the Alaska Boating                                                                    
Safety  Act in  the  event  the state  did  not receive  the                                                                    
anticipated  federal  funds.  The first  sunset  would  take                                                                    
effect  and the  Boating Safety  program would  terminate if                                                                    
federal  funds  were  not appropriated.  The  second  sunset                                                                    
terminated the program by date,  currently July 1, 2013. The                                                                    
boating safety program had been  in effect for twelve years,                                                                    
and recreational  boaters were  safer, better  educated, and                                                                    
recreational boating  fatalities were  on a  downward trend.                                                                    
In comparing the  number of fatalities during  the first and                                                                    
second half  of the last  ten years, fatalities  had dropped                                                                    
22.1 percent. At  least 22 Alaska children  survived a water                                                                    
emergency  thanks to  a "Kids  Don't Float"  lifejacket. The                                                                    
United States Coast  Guard wear rate studies  also show that                                                                    
there are increases in lifejacket use.                                                                                          
9:03:40 AM                                                                                                                    
Representative Guttenberg looked at  Section 3, and wondered                                                                    
if there were  no federal funds; and  if Legislative Council                                                                    
was  given   authority  to  fill  the   gap.  Representative                                                                    
Austerman replied in the affirmative.                                                                                           
Representative  Gara   wondered  whether  the   sponsor  was                                                                    
working  with  the  Coast  Guard on  the  Kids  Don't  Float                                                                    
program.  Representative  Austerman   replied  that  he  was                                                                    
working with the Coast Guard as it relates to HB 301.                                                                           
Representative Gara  believed that some of  the current life                                                                    
jackets were  good for lakes  and calm bodies of  water, but                                                                    
would not prevent kids from  drowning in white water rivers.                                                                    
He wondered  if he needed to  work on that issue,  or if the                                                                    
bill  sponsor could  look  into  that issue.  Representative                                                                    
Austerman  replied that  the issue  should  be addressed  by                                                                    
Representative Gara  remarked that  the "good"  life jackets                                                                    
were often easily stolen.                                                                                                       
BEN  ELLIS,   DIRECTOR,  DIVISION   OF  PARKS   AND  OUTDOOR                                                                    
RECREATION,   DEPARTMENT    OF   NATURAL    RESOURCES   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  expressed   support  for  the   bill.  The                                                                    
language should  not impact the  ability to  receive federal                                                                    
boating   safety  grants   and   funds.   The  concerns   of                                                                    
Representative Gara would be addressed and evaluated.                                                                           
JEFF JOHNSON,  BOATING LAW ADMINISTRATOR, OFFICE  OF BOATING                                                                    
SAFETY,   DIVISION   OF   PARKS  AND   OUTDOOR   RECREATION,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, introduced himself.                                                                            
Co-Chair Stoltze  confirmed that Mr. Johnson  had also heard                                                                    
Representative Gara's concerns. Mr. Johnson agreed.                                                                             
Representative Edgmon  pointed to a  couple of parks  in the                                                                    
Bristol Bay  area and the  Togiak National  Wildlife Refuge.                                                                    
He  wondered whether  the  bill would  make  any changes  to                                                                    
those  parks.  Mr.  Johnson replied  that  no  change  would                                                                    
Representative Wilson  asked if  a state park  would qualify                                                                    
for  the program  if it  was under  passive management.  Mr.                                                                    
Johnson  replied  that  within the  definition  of  "passive                                                                    
management",  DNR would  determine  whether  the park  would                                                                    
qualify  for  the program,  but  state  resources would  not                                                                    
continue to be used for the public.                                                                                             
Representative  Wilson surmised  that  no  life jackets  had                                                                    
been provided  for the Chatanika River.  Mr. Johnson replied                                                                    
that he was not sure  where state-provided life jackets were                                                                    
available on the Chatanika River.                                                                                               
9:10:49 AM                                                                                                                    
JANE   SCHULTZ,  COORDINATOR,   KENAI  PENINSULA   EMERGENCY                                                                    
SERVICES (via  teleconference), stated  that the  Kids Don't                                                                    
Float  program  was  a  collaborative  program  between  the                                                                    
Department of  Health and Social  Services (DHSS),  the U.S.                                                                    
Coast  Guard, Alaska  Safe Kids,  and local  sponsors. There                                                                    
were currently 617 active life  jacket board stations in 249                                                                    
communities.  The  Alaska  Boating Safety  program  was  the                                                                    
primary supplier of life jackets  throughout the state, with                                                                    
34,722 lifejackets  provided to  date. The Kids  Don't Float                                                                    
school program provided boating  safety education for Alaska                                                                    
students. Attendance  for the program totaled  84,000. There                                                                    
were 2,129  boaters that had  completed the  training course                                                                    
related  to   boater  safety.   There  were   currently  126                                                                    
instructors  on  the  water  wise  education  registry.  She                                                                    
relayed that  it was  heartening to  see families  using the                                                                    
lifejackets available at public boating areas.                                                                                  
9:14:51 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stoltze CLOSED public  testimony. He pointed to the                                                                    
fiscal impact note from Department of Natural Resources.                                                                        
Representative   Wilson   expressed    concern   about   the                                                                    
availability  of lifejackets  in parks  that were  currently                                                                    
under passive management. She wanted  to increase safety for                                                                    
all children.  Representative Austerman replied that  he had                                                                    
not  had the  passive  management  conversation, and  stated                                                                    
that he would  have to look into the  issue with Legislative                                                                    
Legal and DNR.                                                                                                                  
Co-Chair    Stoltze   asked    Mr.   Johnson    to   contact                                                                    
Representative Wilson's office on  the question. Mr. Johnson                                                                    
responded  in the  affirmative, and  agreed to  provide that                                                                    
Representative  Gara appreciated  the responsiveness  of the                                                                    
department related to the Kids Don't Float program.                                                                             
Vice-chair Fairclough discussed the  fiscal impact note that                                                                    
authorized  the receipt  of federal  and boat  receipts. She                                                                    
asked whether  the note was authorizing  four new positions.                                                                    
Ms. Lievano replied  that it was her  understanding the note                                                                    
reauthorized  funding for  the  current  staff. Mr.  Johnson                                                                    
Vice-chair  Fairclough   discussed  another  four   and  two                                                                    
positions  on the  fiscal note.  Mr. Johnson  clarified that                                                                    
the stated positions were for the current employees.                                                                            
Representative Gara asked  whether it was feasible  to add a                                                                    
$5,000  general  fund amount  to  the  fiscal note  for  the                                                                    
lifejackets on whitewater rivers.                                                                                               
Co-Chair  Stoltze  deferred  to  Co-Chair  Thomas.  Co-Chair                                                                    
Thomas noted the amount was a capital budget item.                                                                              
Co-Chair  Stoltze  stated that  the  inquiry  was meant  for                                                                    
"another vehicle."                                                                                                              
9:19:40 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-chair  Fairclough   asked  if  an  analysis   could  be                                                                    
conducted about the number of  whitewater areas to determine                                                                    
an cost amount  that would be necessary  for additional life                                                                    
Co-Chair Thomas  believed that  some fisherman  donated life                                                                    
jackets to the program when their children outgrew them.                                                                        
Co-Chair Stoltze noted that the  conversation would occur at                                                                    
a later date.                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Thomas  MOVED  to  report  CSHB  301(FIN)  out  of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal  note. There being NO  OBJECTION, it was                                                                    
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
CSHB  301(FIN) was  REPORTED  out of  committee  with a  "do                                                                    
pass"  recommendation and  with previously  published fiscal                                                                    
impact note: FN1 (DNR).                                                                                                         
9:22:15 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:26:19 AM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 245 Support Letters.pdf HFIN 3/15/2012 8:30:00 AM
HB 245
HB 245 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 3/15/2012 8:30:00 AM
HB 245
HB 245 Sectional Letterhead.pdf HFIN 3/15/2012 8:30:00 AM
HB 245
HB 245 Background Info.pdf HFIN 3/15/2012 8:30:00 AM
HB 245
HB 245 FVCS House Finance Testimony.pdf HFIN 3/15/2012 8:30:00 AM
HB 245
HB 301 CS WORKDRAFT FIN-3.14.12.pdf HFIN 3/15/2012 8:30:00 AM
HB 301
HB301 Restrictions.pdf HFIN 3/15/2012 8:30:00 AM
HB 301
HB179 Law Chart.pdf HFIN 3/15/2012 8:30:00 AM
HB 179
HB179 Letter Support.pdf HFIN 3/15/2012 8:30:00 AM
HB 179