Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/04/1994 08:30 AM FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 496 - SPORT FISH GUIDE LICENSING                                          
  CHAIRMAN CARL MOSES called the meeting to order at 8:43 a.m.                 
  Members in attendance were REPRESENTATIVES HARLEY OLBERG,                    
  496 was on the agenda.  The bill has previously been heard                   
  on teleconference and today there are several proposed                       
  amendments.  The first amendment is by the sponsor.  PETER                   
  discuss the amendment.                                                       
  Number 019                                                                   
  K. WILLIAMS, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 496, advised members that                   
  the first amendment clarifies the intent of the legislature                  
  to deposit the proceeds from the sale of the sport fish                      
  guide licenses and pay the Division of Sport Fish for the                    
  data collection and analysis.                                                
  Number 044                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE CLIFF DAVIDSON stated that intent language                    
  does not do well with this Administration and asked if Mr.                   
  Ecklund had spoken to the Administration about the issue.                    
  MR. ECKLUND said the issue had just come up recently and he                  
  had not spoken to the Administration.                                        
  Number 055                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HARLEY OLBERG asked if anyone knows how                       
  program receipts are designated.                                             
  PAUL KRASNOWSKI, Director, Division of Sport Fish, Alaska                    
  Department of Fish & Game, advised members that in the                       
  budgeting process, the department asks for authority to                      
  receive program receipts in the budget.  If the legislature                  
  approves the budget, it may or may not approve the authority                 
  for the department to accept program receipts.  It is an                     
  annual process.                                                              
  Number 085                                                                   
  amendment one.  CHAIRMAN MOSES MOVED amendment one.                          
  Number 110                                                                   
  AMENDMENT A-LS1665\A.3, (amendment two), dealing with                        
  PHILLIPS, advised members the amendment contains language                    
  that is already in statute.  It broadens that language to                    
  include the new provisions, and it is part of the sunset                     
  clause.  Because HB 496 sunsets, an additional clause is                     
  needed with broader language so there will still be                          
  something in statute that addresses raptors and other birds.                 
  MR. ECKLUND referred to this amendment as number two, and                    
  explained it is a sunset provision that will take effect on                  
  January 1, 1999, and if that date is not extended by the                     
  future legislature, the sport fish guide licenses will be                    
  omitted from statute.                                                        
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG asked why the sport fish guide license                 
  should be repealed on January 1, 1999.                                       
  MR. HEIMBUCH advised members that Representative Phillips                    
  was concerned that unless the program started to get                         
  direction and goals, it should sunset.  If the data is                       
  successfully collected in a few years, there should be no                    
  reason to keep the program going; therefore, it should                       
  sunset in 1999.                                                              
  CHAIRMAN MOSES stated that the information will probably be                  
  needed on a continual basis to keep the management of the                    
  resource up to date.                                                         
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG objected to amendment two.                             
  CHAIRMAN MOSES noted that Representative Phillips arrived at                 
  8:55 a.m.                                                                    
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS advised members that if the purpose                  
  of HB 496 is to study the effects of the charter boat                        
  industry in Alaska, then the study does not need to last for                 
  25 years.  It needs to come to a conclusion.  The Department                 
  of Fish & Game said four years would be adequate to develop                  
  the information, then a report can be presented and the                      
  legislature can take further action at that time.                            
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG stated again that the information will                 
  be needed forever to manage the resource.                                    
  Number 308                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS read a list of various licenses and                  
  fees that charter boat operators pay as an order of                          
  business.  If the intent is to study the industry, then                      
  there needs to be a definite time that the results of the                    
  study are due.                                                               
  Number 270                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN MOSES reiterated that from a management standpoint,                 
  continual information gathering will be necessary.                           
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON noted that the legislature should                    
  get yearly information back from the study, as the bill is                   
  currently written, because it will report annually to the                    
  Board of Fish.                                                               
  Number 361                                                                   
  MR. KRASNOWSKI conveyed that the department would anticipate                 
  using this data on an annual basis, to report to the Alaska                  
  Board of Fisheries.  For management purposes, the report                     
  could also be supplied to the legislature, as it continues                   
  to be interested in the results.                                             
  Number 387                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS exclaimed that "the sponsor should                   
  take out the pretense of HB 496 being a study, and be                        
  honest, and say we're assessing a fee on the charter boat                    
  operators;  period."                                                         
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG stated that the bill does both.  There                 
  is limited information about the fishery, and the gathering                  
  of the information should be paid for by the people who reap                 
  the benefits of the guiding.                                                 
  Number 399                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked why the information wasn't                     
  already available somewhere else.                                            
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG explained that the bill is not                         
  necessarily only assessing a fee for charter boat operators.                 
  It can also be applied to someone with an airplane or a                      
  canoe, who guides.                                                           
  Number 411                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS again asked why this information is                  
  not currently available.                                                     
  MR. KRASNOWSKI stated that the information gathered by the                   
  department for the current level of resource management                      
  categorizes the harvest by group.  Homer's salmon harvests                   
  for instance, can be tracked from the statewide mail-in                      
  survey.  The information that the commissioner would be                      
  empowered to require that be reported under this                             
  legislation, would be individual harvest information, which                  
  the department currently does not have.  This information                    
  has become important since the potential for the legislature                 
  regulating the industry through limited entry or vessel                      
  moratorium has become an issue.                                              
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS quickly stated the information is                    
  available, and the department could simply contact the Kenai                 
  Peninsula Borough and ask for the sales tax reports from                     
  those businesses.  The business sales tax is based on the                    
  number of clients that are taken out.  The fees are all set,                 
  and clients can only catch two halibut per day.                              
  MR. KRASNOWSKI once again stated that in the position paper,                 
  it was clear that for present resource management, the                       
  information available is adequate.  It's a question of where                 
  the state is going over the next few years.  More specific                   
  information is needed to determine the potential for limited                 
  entry for charter boat fishing.  Information is needed not                   
  only to see economic dependence on the resource, but the                     
  harvest records will link the charter boat operator to the                   
  specific numbers of fish taken.                                              
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG said that some of his constituents are                 
  in the unorganized borough, where there are no tax records.                  
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS argued that in all the identifiable,                 
  big halibut charter boat areas, there are records.                           
  MR. ECKLUND clarified that the department has spotty                         
  information from different areas of the state, and the                       
  intent of the bill was to get information from across the                    
  whole state.  The sport fish guide license establishes a                     
  participatory record for sport guide license operators so if                 
  there is a limitation or moratorium in the future, the                       
  department has a record to show who has been involved in the                 
  CHAIRMAN MOSES asked if there were further comments on                       
  amendment two.                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS moved amendment two be adopted.                      
  REPRESENTATIVE OLBERG objected.  A roll call vote was taken.                 
  DAVIDSON AND MOSES voted NAY.  So amendment number two                       
  CHAIRMAN MOSES noted that amendment three by Representative                  
  Phillips was in the packet.                                                  
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS MOVED amendment number three be                      
  adopted.  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON objected.  REPRESENTATIVE                  
  PHILLIPS explained that in the financing of the program, the                 
  cost of the program is about $258,000.  The amount that will                 
  be collected is about twice the amount needed.  She noted                    
  that it is irresponsible to collect a larger amount than is                  
  needed. The amendment will change the resident fee to $100,                  
  and the nonresident fee to $250.                                             
  CHAIRMAN MOSES noted an inconsistency, as the vessel license                 
  fees for commercial fishing have increased considerably.                     
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON noted that any excess funds will                     
  assist the department in other ways, as this resource is                     
  very valuable compared to the amount of fees collected.                      
  Therefore, the resident fee should be $150, and nonresident                  
  fees should remain at $600.                                                  
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS OBJECTED to the change, and noted                    
  that to be honest in this bill, charter operators will be                    
  charged double what is necessary to run the program.                         
  CHAIRMAN MOSES noted that the bill currently is consistent                   
  with license fees.                                                           
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON withdrew his amendment to amend                      
  amendment three.  A roll call vote was then taken on                         
  amendment three.  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS voted YEAH.                        
  amendment three failed.                                                      
  Number 576                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS MOVED amendment four.  CHAIRMAN                      
  MOSES objected.  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS explained that                      
  amendment four would tighten the definition of sport fish                    
  guiding.  The language speaks more specifically about the                    
  behavior of an individual on a boat or vessel.                               
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON asked about guides "directly aiding                  
  the person in taking sport fish" as people arrive in Kodiak                  
  and simply get pointed in the direction of the river, but                    
  really don't use a guide while fishing along the riverbank.                  
  MR. KRASNOWSKI explained that the additional language would                  
  clarify the behavior of sport fish guides.  It also helps                    
  define a tour guide that may only say that a particular spot                 
  is a good place.                                                             
  TAPE 94-12, Side B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  MR. ECKLUND noted that on page two, line 11 the language                     
  allows the department to adopt regulations allocating                        
  responsibility for completing reports between one or more                    
  persons on a boat.                                                           
  MR. KRASNOWSKI said that the Board of Fish would have to                     
  examine who was receiving compensation for assisting                         
  individuals who fish.  On a large vessel, the driver of the                  
  boat falls into a gray area.                                                 
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON asked if the department would use                    
  regulations to address the different cases, as in the case                   
  of riverbank fishing.                                                        
  MR. KRASNOWSKI noted there are a large number of people who                  
  were unsuccessful in harvesting any resource.  The potential                 
  for the Board of Fisheries to regulate this business could                   
  become very sensitive, very quickly.                                         
  CHAIRMAN MOSES asked if there was further discussion on                      
  amendment number four.  Hearing none, amendment four was                     
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS MOVED to pass CSHB 496 FROM                          
  COMMITTEE.  IT WAS SO ORDERED.                                               
  CHAIRMAN MOSES adjourned the meeting at 9:38 a.m.                            

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