Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

02/09/2018 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 129(JUD) Out of Committee
        HB 129-FISH & GAME: OFFENSES;LICENSES;PENALTIES                                                                     
1:02:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  129, "An Act relating to  sport fishing, hunting,                                                               
or  trapping licenses,  tags, or  permits; relating  to penalties                                                               
for  certain   sport  fishing,  hunting,  and   trapping  license                                                               
violations;  relating to  restrictions on  the issuance  of sport                                                               
fishing, hunting, and trapping  licenses; creating violations and                                                               
amending  fines  and  restitution   for  certain  fish  and  game                                                               
offenses; creating  an exemption from payment  of restitution for                                                               
certain  unlawful  takings  of  big  game  animals;  relating  to                                                               
commercial  fishing violations;  allowing  lost federal  matching                                                               
funds from  the Pittman -  Robertson, Dingell -  Johnson/Wallop -                                                               
Breaux  programs  to be  included  in  an order  of  restitution;                                                               
adding a  definition of 'electronic  form'; and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  advised that subsequent  to the meeting  of 2/7/18,                                                               
the  Department  of  Administration (DOA)  submitted  an  updated                                                               
indeterminate fiscal note.                                                                                                      
1:03:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS   moved  to  adopt   Amendment  1,                                                               
Version 30-GH1687\D.1, Bullard, 1/30/18, which read as follows:                                                                 
     Page 5, line 14, following "subsection":                                                                                   
          Insert ", as adjusted for inflation as provided                                                                   
     in (d) of this section,"                                                                                               
     Page 5, line 27:                                                                                                           
          Delete "a new subsection"                                                                                             
          Insert "new subsections"                                                                                              
     Page 6, following line 3:                                                                                                  
          Insert a new subsection to read:                                                                                      
          "(d)  Beginning July 1, 2023, and every five                                                                          
     years thereafter, the  department shall recalculate and                                                                    
     update by  regulation the restitution  amounts provided                                                                    
     in (b) of  this section to adjust  for inflation, based                                                                    
     on a formula  provided by the Department of   Labor and                                                                    
     Workforce  Development, reflecting  the  change in  the                                                                    
     Consumer  Price Index  for  the Anchorage  metropolitan                                                                    
     area  compiled  by  the  Bureau  of  Labor  Statistics,                                                                    
     United  States  Department  of Labor,  rounded  to  the                                                                    
     nearest $50 increment."                                                                                                    
     Page 7, line 13:                                                                                                           
          Delete "2017"                                                                                                         
          Insert "2018"                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES objected.                                                                                                 
1:03:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS advised  that Amendment  1 adjusts                                                               
the  restitution amounts  within  CSHB 129,  which are  belatedly                                                               
adjusted for  inflation after  30-odd years,  to be  adjusted for                                                               
inflation every 5-years, out into  the future.  Thereby, he said,                                                               
the  amounts  will  keep  pace  with  economics  and  not  become                                                               
outdated as they have, which has  been part of the cause for "the                                                               
meat of this bill."                                                                                                             
1:04:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  noted   that  the  amendment  references                                                               
"based on a formula" and requested a description of the formula.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS opined  that the  formula is  that                                                               
which  the Department  of Labor  &  Workforce Development  (DLWD)                                                               
uses to calculates inflation every year.   While he does not know                                                               
the inputs to  the formula, he said  he does know that  this is a                                                               
metric  used  in  law  for many  of  the  state's  administrative                                                               
functions, and he described it as a "common CPI formula."                                                                       
1:05:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked  whether there is a cap  on how high                                                               
these fees could be raised based on the formula.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  responded that he did  not believe                                                               
there was a  cap because consumer price increase (CPI)  over a 5-                                                               
year  period  is  approximately   4.5  percent,  the  restitution                                                               
amounts would increase  4.5 percent.  He opined  that there would                                                               
not  be anything  that limits  the amount  the restitution  would                                                               
increase because it would be  tied to inflation, and if inflation                                                               
runs  away, the  corresponding increase  would also  be there  as                                                               
1:06:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked whether his reading  was correct in                                                               
that this formula  says, "$25 and a penny" and  that will bump it                                                               
up to a $50 increase.                                                                                                           
1:06:57 PM                                                                                                                    
NOAH  STARR, Staff,  Representative Kreiss-Tomkins,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  responded  that  it  would be  rounded  up  to  the                                                               
nearest $50 increment.                                                                                                          
1:07:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN commented  that his  initial thought  was                                                               
that this  deals with  some fairly large  figures here  and there                                                               
could  be  fines up  to  $25,000,  even  without an  increase  in                                                               
inflation.    He offered  concern  that  if these  formulas  work                                                               
automatically, the legislature might be  lax in its attention and                                                               
it may go  even longer than the 30-years.   Potentially, he said,                                                               
there could  be large  fees that  the legislature  should approve                                                               
before the fees go into effect.                                                                                                 
1:08:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP offered concern  for Amendment 1, noting that                                                               
for  any  type of  bail  schedule  or  fee schedule  printing  or                                                               
training, the more those issues  can be standardized and stay the                                                               
same is certainly  better from an enforcement  perspective or, in                                                               
this case,  a restitution  perspective.   Secondly, he  said, the                                                               
numbers  amended with  this bill  have  not been  amended for  at                                                               
least  two decades  or  longer, and  the  department offered  the                                                               
committee a number it believed  would be reflective, not just for                                                               
5-years,  but this  would be  "good  to go"  for some  time.   He                                                               
opined that  it would take  some of the  fluidity out of  the law                                                               
and make  it easier  to track  over time,  both from  a training,                                                               
printing,  and updating  method if  the legislation  was left  as                                                               
presented to the committee by the department.                                                                                   
1:10:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES removed her objection.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN objected.                                                                                                
1:10:32 PM                                                                                                                    
A  roll call  vote  was taken.   Representatives  Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                               
LeDoux,  Stutes, and  Claman voted  in favor  of the  adoption of                                                               
Amendment  1,  Version   30-GH1687\D.1.    Representatives  Kopp,                                                               
Millett, and  Eastman voted against  it.  Therefore,  Amendment 1                                                               
was adopted by a vote of 4-3.                                                                                                   
1:11:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX moved  to adopt  Amendment 2,  Version 30-                                                               
GH1687\D.5, Bullard, 2/8/18, which read as follows:                                                                             
     Page 2, line 31, through page 3, line 2:                                                                                   
          Delete "as provided in AS 12.55 [BY A FINE OF NOT                                                                 
     MORE THAN $1,000, OR BY IMPRISONMENT FOR NOT MORE THAN                                                                     
     SIX MONTHS, OR BY BOTH]"                                                                                                   
          Insert  "by  a  fine   of  not  more  than  $5,000                                                                
     [$1,000],  or by  imprisonment for  not  more than  six                                                                    
     months, or by both"                                                                                                        
     Page 4, lines 12 - 14:                                                                                                     
          Delete "punishable as provided  in AS 12.55 [, AND                                                                
     UPON CONVICTION  IS PUNISHABLE  BY A  FINE OF  NOT MORE                                                                    
     THAN $5,000, OR  BY IMPRISONMENT FOR NOT  MORE THAN ONE                                                                    
     YEAR, OR BY BOTH]"                                                                                                         
          Insert ",  and [UPON CONVICTION] is  punishable by                                                                    
     a  fine  of  not  more than  $10,000  [$5,000],  or  by                                                                
     imprisonment for not more than one year, or by both"                                                                       
     Page 6, lines 9 - 11:                                                                                                      
          Delete "[AND,  UPON CONVICTION, IS]  punishable as                                                                
     provided in AS 12.55  [BY A FINE OF NOT  LESS THAN $100                                                                
     NOR MORE THAN $500]"                                                                                                       
          Insert "and [, UPON  CONVICTION,] is punishable by                                                                    
     a  fine of  not less  than  $100 nor  more than  $1,000                                                                
     Page 6, lines 25 - 27:                                                                                                     
          Delete  "[AND   IS]  punishable  as   provided  in                                                                
     AS 12.55 [BY  IMPRISONMENT FOR NOT  MORE THAN  ONE YEAR                                                                
     OR BY A FINE OF NOT MORE THAN $5,000, OR BY BOTH]"                                                                         
          Insert "and is punishable  by imprisonment for not                                                                    
     more  than one  year  or by  a fine  of  not more  than                                                                    
     $10,000 [$5,000], or by both"                                                                                          
     Page 7, lines 2 - 5:                                                                                                       
          Delete "[,  AND UPON CONVICTION IS]  punishable as                                                                
     provided  in AS 12.55  [BY  IMPRISONMENT  FOR NOT  MORE                                                                
     THAN SIX MONTHS, OR BY A  FINE OF NOT MORE THAN $1,000,                                                                    
     OR BY BOTH]"                                                                                                               
          Insert ",  and [UPON CONVICTION] is  punishable by                                                                    
     imprisonment  for not  more than  six months,  or by  a                                                                    
     fine of not more than $5,000 [$1,000], or by both"                                                                     
1:11:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  advised  that   the  $25,000  figure  the                                                               
department changed  for misdemeanors,  appeared to  be a  bit too                                                               
high  for misdemeanors.   Particularly,  she offered,  when these                                                               
are  misdemeanors against  the people  that the  department would                                                               
probably be able to collect money, so she changed the amount.                                                                   
1:11:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked  what is the highest  fee that would                                                               
be assessed under Amendment 2.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX responded  that the  highest fee  assessed                                                               
under the amendment would be $10,000.                                                                                           
1:12:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  asked  whether  Representative  LeDoux  had                                                               
received  any  feedback  from the  Alaska  Wildlife  Troopers  or                                                               
anyone else regarding Amendment 2.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX answered  that she had not,  and added that                                                               
the administration,  when going  over this  bill with  her office                                                               
staff, did not mention the change  from ... "that there was going                                                               
to be a now $25,000 fine."                                                                                                      
1:13:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN   commented  that  he   understands  Representative                                                               
LeDoux's concern  in that  if there is  a potential  $25,000 fine                                                               
limit on a  class A misdemeanor, the folks charged  with fish and                                                               
wildlife violations  may be one of  the small number of  folks in                                                               
the state  being fined at that  higher level.  From  his personal                                                               
experience  in dealing  with  a few  fish  and wildlife  criminal                                                               
cases over the years, those cases  tend to be plea negotiated and                                                               
worked out  in advance, he advised.   In that regard,  he did not                                                               
see  much potential  in someone  would receiving  a $25,000  fine                                                               
that "they  didn't actually  decide was  their choice  to embrace                                                               
for a variety  of reasons."  He  added that he likes  the idea of                                                               
greater uniformity  in the statute  rather than  many exceptions.                                                               
While,  he understands  the concerns,  he  will be  a no-vote  on                                                               
Amendment 2 even though it is  an important issue and he was glad                                                               
it was before the committee, he commented.                                                                                      
1:14:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES removed  her  objection.   There being  no                                                               
objection, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                             
1:15:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  moved to  adopt Amendment 3,  Version 30-                                                               
GH1687\D.4, Bullard, 2/8/18, which read as follows:                                                                             
     Page 2, following line 26:                                                                                                 
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
        "* Sec. 4. AS 16.05.340(a)(6) is amended to read:                                                                   
               (6) Resident hunting, trapping, and sport                                                                        
     fishing license .................. 75;                                                                                     
               (A) however, the fee is $5 for an applicant                                                                      
     who has an annual                                                                                                          
     family or  household income equal  to or less  than the                                                                    
     most  recent poverty  guidelines for  the state  set by                                                                    
     the  United  States  Department  of  Health  and  Human                                                                    
     Services for the year preceding application;                                                                               
               (B) a person paying $5 for a resident                                                                            
     hunting,  trapping,  and  sport fishing  license  shall                                                                
     [MUST]   provide  proof   of  eligibility   under  this                                                                    
     paragraph  when purchasing  [REQUESTED BY]  the license                                                            
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES objected.                                                                                                 
1:16:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN referred to  the handout received from the                                                               
department   regarding   the   numbers   from   2017,   [document                                                               
unavailable],  depicting that  approximately [18,594]  low-income                                                               
licenses were sold  in Alaska.  The difference  between a regular                                                               
license and  a low-income license  is that  it moves from  $94 to                                                               
$5,  with  a $90  difference.    He  remarked  that a  number  of                                                               
concerns were raised over the  fact that there is no verification                                                               
for this $90 license discount,  where basically, a person goes to                                                               
a clerk at  Walmart and requests a low-income  hunting or fishing                                                               
license   wherein  the   person's   signature  represents   their                                                               
qualification,  and they  pay $5.   There  is no  verification to                                                               
that process resulting in a  of significant amount of revenue not                                                               
going  to  the state.    The  concerns  are  that much  of  those                                                               
discounts  are given  to people  who do  not qualify  and because                                                               
there  is no  verification at  the time  of purchase,  the Alaska                                                               
State Troopers  are required  to follow up  with questions  as to                                                               
how  they qualify,  which  puts a  burden on  the  troopers.   He                                                               
suggested that  if the  verification was  in place,  the troopers                                                               
would  not have  to follow  up  with questions.   This  amendment                                                               
encourages  the   department  to   ensure  that  there   is  some                                                               
verification  which   could  be   as  simple  as   showing  their                                                               
Supplemental Nutrition  Assistance Program  (SNAP) card  or proof                                                               
of SNAP eligibility  to the clerk when purchasing  a license, and                                                               
significantly reduce  the number  of licenses  sold fraudulently.                                                               
Currently, he said,  the revenue that was lost  if "we're talking                                                               
about people paying  the full price," was over  $1.6 million last                                                               
year.   Except, he advised, it  is actually a much  larger number                                                               
because for  every dollar spent  on hunting or  fishing licenses,                                                               
the  state  receives a  3-to-1  federal  match.   Therefore,  the                                                               
amount  of the  foregone  revenue  for the  state  last year  was                                                               
actually over $6.6  million if those licenses  had been purchased                                                               
at the  full price.   While, he  said, the legislature  does want                                                               
people to continue  to qualify for the low-income  $5 license, it                                                               
is important  they verify  that they  actually do  qualify rather                                                               
than simply being on the honor system.                                                                                          
1:19:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  referred   to  Representative  Eastman's                                                               
testimony that  verifying a  license was a  burden to  the Alaska                                                               
State  Troopers and  asked whether  he had  anything to  show the                                                               
committee with which the troopers report that it is a burden.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN advised  that his  office was  in contact                                                               
with some of the troopers and  the policy is that if the troopers                                                               
encounter  a  low-income  license,   they  are  required  to  ask                                                               
questions  and  determine  whether  the  person  qualifies.    He                                                               
acknowledged that it is not  an exhaustive investigation, but the                                                               
troopers are required to "probe a little bit."                                                                                  
1:20:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  referred   to  Representative  Eastman's                                                               
testimony that there  seems to be fraud and asked  whether he had                                                               
any evidence of fraud, and where he received that information.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  answered  that currently  there  are  no                                                               
verifications so there  is no way of demonstrating  the amount of                                                               
fraud that takes  place, "but we do hear from  a number of people                                                               
that those licenses are oftentimes being abused."                                                                               
1:20:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP asked Representative  Eastman to describe the                                                               
sufficient  proof of  eligibility  when  purchasing a  low-income                                                               
license at Fred Meyer, and other entities.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN replied that  currently, the Department of                                                               
Health and Social  Services (DHSS) ensures that  people match the                                                               
income eligibility for  various state programs.   In that regard,                                                               
he said,  if a person  qualifies under  one of those  programs it                                                               
would match the requirement for verification.                                                                                   
1:21:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  referred to a  person eligible for  a SNAP                                                               
card, and  asked whether their income  must be equal to,  or less                                                               
than, the  most recent  poverty guidelines,  or whether  they are                                                               
eligible if they are over the poverty guidelines.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  answered that  the limits on  poverty are                                                               
established  federally, and  usually the  state establishes  some                                                               
percentage based on those federal  poverty guidelines that change                                                               
from time to time.  In the  event a person qualifies for the SNAP                                                               
program, he opined  that the person is "pretty  close to whatever                                                               
income requirements  you're signing off on  from the department."                                                               
He  commented that  this is  a good  question and,  following the                                                               
passage of Amendment 3, he would  like to see the department give                                                               
some attention  that issue to  verify the information  is current                                                               
and that it actually matches.                                                                                                   
CHAIR  CLAMAN listed  the  individuals on  line  from the  Alaska                                                               
Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) available to testify.                                                                         
1:23:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked what sort  of burden this  might put                                                               
on  the  vendors because  it  sounds  like  a  good idea.    When                                                               
purchasing a  license, there should  be some requirement  to show                                                               
the  applicant is  low-income, and  she does  not want  to overly                                                               
burden the vendors, she said.                                                                                                   
CHAIR CLAMAN advised  that the folks from the  Department of Fish                                                               
& Game (ADF&G) could respond.                                                                                                   
1:24:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN  asked whether  18,594  licenses  were received  in                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN answered in the affirmative.                                                                             
CHAIR CLAMAN  (audio difficulties) person paying  $5 must provide                                                               
proof of eligibility  under this paragraph when  requested by the                                                               
department.   He  asked  whether it  was the  ADF&G  and not  the                                                               
person at the Walmart counter.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN answered in the affirmative.                                                                             
1:25:10 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE   DALE,  Director,   Division  of   Wildlife  Conservation,                                                               
Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G),  said he could speak to part                                                               
of Representative LeDoux's question,  but Major Chastain would be                                                               
a  better person  to respond.    In terms  of the  burden on  the                                                               
vendor,  currently  they  have  to sign  that  "they  accept  the                                                               
license"  (audio  difficulties.)     He  explained  that  showing                                                               
verification would  not be a  great burden on the  vendor because                                                               
it  would  be  similar  to  the  hunter  showing  their  driver's                                                               
license.   The suitable  piece of verification  would have  to be                                                               
clear  and standardized  so  there was  no  mistaking the  proper                                                               
verifications and the improper verifications,  he stressed.  Many                                                               
people purchase  through e-vendors online and  those people would                                                               
have to  click a certification box  or they would not  be able to                                                               
purchase online.   He  then deferred  to Major  Bernard Chastain,                                                               
Department of Public Safety (DPS).                                                                                              
1:27:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX asked  whether there  would be  any online                                                               
purchase  verifications  that  the applicant  actually  did  fall                                                               
under  the poverty  line, other  than a  mere certification  box.                                                               
She further asked whether a SNAP  card has a number on it wherein                                                               
each person could input their SNAP number.                                                                                      
MR. DALE  said was not  familiar with what  is on the  SNAP card,                                                               
and  that  the  ADF&G  would  need  to  modify  its  programs  to                                                               
accommodate that entry  of verification.  He  explained that when                                                               
the  applicant buys  their license,  they sign  and certify  that                                                               
they do meet the criteria for the $5 license.                                                                                   
1:29:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX recalled a Senate  election a few years ago                                                               
wherein  one  of  the  candidates, who  had  graduated  from  law                                                               
school, had one of these licenses.   She opined that there is the                                                               
possibility of fraud  when a person does not have  to provide any                                                               
proof of eligibility  when purchasing the license,  and it leaves                                                               
a big loop hole.   She asked how much it would  cost the ADF&G to                                                               
change its program if Amendment 3 were adopted.                                                                                 
MR. DALE advised  that he could not answer that  question at this                                                               
CHAIR  CLAMAN asked  Major Bernard  Chastain  whether, under  the                                                               
state's current statutory  scheme, in the event  he was qualified                                                               
for  the low-income  license he  would have  the three  following                                                               
choices:  show  proof of  eligibility  at  a Division  of  Alaska                                                               
Wildlife Troopers office; go online and  check a box that said he                                                               
was  eligible for  this discounted  license; or  go to  an entity                                                               
that  sold licenses  and  simply  check the  box  stating he  was                                                               
eligible.     He  asked  whether,   under  this   amendment,  all                                                               
applicants would have to show proof of eligibility.                                                                             
1:30:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  BERNARD  CHASTAIN,  Deputy Director,  Division  of  Alaska                                                               
Wildlife Troopers,  Department of Public Safety  (DPS), responded                                                               
that currently, there  is an affidavit on the back  of the vendor                                                               
copy  of the  license requiring  the applicant  to sign  claiming                                                               
they qualify  for the  reasons set  in statute.   The  passage of                                                               
"the fish  and game bill last  year" removed a portion  out of AS                                                               
16.05.340  and  it  read  that  someone  would  qualify  if  they                                                               
received something "to  aid indigent."  He  referred to Amendment                                                               
3,  [Version D.4,  AS  16.05.340(a)(6), page  1,  lines 4-8]  and                                                               
advised  that the  person must  at  least meet  below the  recent                                                               
poverty guidelines set by the  United States Department of Health                                                               
and  Human Services  and, he  opined, it  is a  poverty guideline                                                               
based  upon income.    He explained  that as  far  as the  actual                                                               
enforcement  of   the  statute,  when  an   applicant  signs  the                                                               
affidavit on the  back of the license claiming  they qualify, the                                                               
actual crime  is false  statement on a  license application.   He                                                               
pointed out that showing proof  of qualification would require an                                                               
applicant  to show  proof  that  they qualified  at  the time  of                                                               
purchase to  whomever is  the vendor,  which would  include Chair                                                               
Claman's  examples, as  well as  checking a  box online  claiming                                                               
they qualify.   Although, he  remarked, there would  be potential                                                               
problems with the  online purchases of licenses  in that scenario                                                               
because the  applicant would  not actually  be showing  proof and                                                               
would simply check  a box and sign the license  when they receive                                                               
it.  There  would be some question about what  the proof would be                                                               
when someone came  in to purchase the license,  and what document                                                               
they  would have  to  have to  show that  they  actually met  the                                                               
poverty guidelines, he said.                                                                                                    
1:33:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  commented that she  did not know  how many                                                               
years this program had been in  existence and asked the number of                                                               
people   that  had   been  prosecuted   when  offering   improper                                                               
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  responded  that  he  does  not  have  the  exact                                                               
numbers, but the division successfully  prosecutes people who are                                                               
not honest  on these types  of licenses each year.   It is  not a                                                               
burden  for the  Alaska  Wildlife Troopers  because they  already                                                               
check licenses  in the field  for this situation, and  for people                                                               
who claim  false residency.   While  he does  not have  the exact                                                               
number of people cited and  prosecuted each year, it does include                                                               
an investigation into whether the person qualifies.                                                                             
1:34:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  asked the  sort  of  questions an  Alaska                                                               
Wildlife Troopers may  ask someone when suspicious,  how does the                                                               
trooper determine whether someone met  that standard, or at least                                                               
met that standard when purchasing the license.                                                                                  
MAJOR CHASTAIN  answered that  the troopers  ask a  few questions                                                               
when  suspicious to  determine  whether they  need  to conduct  a                                                               
further investigation  into a  potential crime.   For  example, a                                                               
trooper may  ask, "How do you  qualify for this license,"  and if                                                               
the person says they qualify  because they fall below the federal                                                               
poverty guidelines, "we're  done."  In the event  the person does                                                               
not know  how they  qualify for  that license,  there might  be a                                                               
further investigation.                                                                                                          
1:35:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked for  clarification that  even though                                                               
the person is outfitted in expensive  gear, if a trooper asks how                                                               
they  qualify for  a  license and  they say  they  are under  the                                                               
federal poverty guideline, "that's it?"                                                                                         
MAJOR CHASTAIN replied  that it depends upon the  totality of the                                                               
situation, if  the troopers are  suspicious of the answer  in any                                                               
manner,  there  may  be  a  further  investigation  to  determine                                                               
whether they qualify.   He offered that one way  to determine the                                                               
person's qualification  is how much  income they make in  a year,                                                               
which  requires   more  investigation   because  it   includes  a                                                               
household income.  In this  situation, there may be other factors                                                               
to  consider, such  as  a  spouse or  other  people  living in  a                                                               
household  that  would  meet  that  qualification  to  meet  this                                                               
statute, he said.                                                                                                               
1:37:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX opined that  she thought Major Chastain had                                                               
testified  that they  ask the  person  how they  qualify for  the                                                               
reduce  rate  and if  they  say  they  meet the  federal  poverty                                                               
guidelines  "that's it."   She  asked  whether she  misunderstood                                                               
Major Chastain  statement because  now it  appears he  is talking                                                               
about  the totality  of the  circumstances  which seems  somewhat                                                               
different than if the person  says they met the income standards,                                                               
they are finished.                                                                                                              
MAJOR CHASTAIN acknowledged that he  did say that because this is                                                               
a  sensitive issue  when it  comes to  asking people  about their                                                               
household income.   In these  situations, the troopers  have been                                                               
directed  to use  their law  enforcement experience  to determine                                                               
whether  someone was  being truthful,  and many  factors go  into                                                               
that decision.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR CLAMAN commented  that one would hope if a  person drove up                                                               
in a  fancy new boat  with a brand-new  engine and had  a poverty                                                               
license, the trooper would be skeptical.                                                                                        
1:38:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  asked  whether   this  is  a  significant                                                               
problem for the Department of Public Safety (DPS).                                                                              
MAJOR CHASTAIN answered that the DPS  does not have many of these                                                               
problems per year,  although he does not have  the exact numbers.                                                               
He added that  the troopers deal far  more with residency-related                                                               
cases than in low-income licenses.                                                                                              
1:39:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES   referred  to   Representative  Eastman's                                                               
statement  that he  had "several  complaints" and  asked who  had                                                               
offered  these  complaints  because  Representative  Eastman  had                                                               
arbitrarily said  that this is a  problem.  She pointed  out that                                                               
this  issue  did not  sound  like  it  really was  a  significant                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN advised that it  is a difficult problem to                                                               
measure because  when measuring prosecutions there  are not many.                                                               
The problem becomes, how to get  to the level of prosecution when                                                               
the state is basically taking  someone's honor that they qualify.                                                               
He advised that the concerns brought  to him from some members of                                                               
the department "anecdotally saying that  they do believe this is,                                                               
in fact, a significant problem, and others as well."                                                                            
1:40:25 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   STUTES  asked   to  which   department  he   was                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  responded, "I was  specifically referring                                                               
to conversations I've had, in some cases, Public Safety.                                                                        
1:40:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT asked  Major  Chastain  how difficult  it                                                               
would be  to change the  application because currently,  there is                                                               
an affidavit  to sign  and attest  to the  truth of  "what you're                                                               
applying for"  as far  as residency, and  she assumed  that would                                                               
work for income verification levels.   She asked what type of re-                                                               
tooling would be necessary for the department to make this work.                                                                
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  deferred  to  the  Department  of  Fish  &  Game                                                               
MR. DALE deferred to Natalie Weber.                                                                                             
1:42:20 PM                                                                                                                    
NATALIE  WEBER,  Regulations  Program  Coordinator,  Division  of                                                               
Wildlife  Conservation,  Department  of   Fish  &  Game  (ADF&G),                                                               
responded  that  there  are  a couple  of  different  options  if                                                               
modifying its software to implement  this change, as follows: the                                                               
first  change would  be dependent  upon access  to an  electronic                                                               
database of  annual gross  income amounts  - possibly  a database                                                               
managed by another  department - under that  scenario the license                                                               
would be issued electronically by  "our electronic" vendor system                                                               
or  the  internet, and  it  would  basically  be used  to  verify                                                               
eligibility, and  the issuance of a  license would be based  on a                                                               
positive  match  with  the  database; and  absent  access  to  an                                                               
electronic  database, actual  staff  would be  required to  match                                                               
whatever information the customer provided  with one of the other                                                               
agencies responsible  for maintaining  that list.   She commented                                                               
that there would  definitely be issues to  work through; however,                                                               
it could be accomplished.                                                                                                       
1:43:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  referred   to  Representative  Eastman's                                                               
testimony that for  those falsely claiming to  be low-income, the                                                               
state  was  losing matching  fund  dollars.   She  requested  the                                                               
actual formula for fishing licenses, and how that works.                                                                        
MS. WEBER  advised that  the license dollars  are eligible  for a                                                               
federal match  and if this money  does not go to  the department,                                                               
ADF&G loses out on the federal match dollars as a result.                                                                       
1:44:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked that in the  event Amendment                                                               
3 was adopted, what was the  likelihood this bill would receive a                                                               
fiscal  note  in  order  to implement  the  online  component  of                                                               
Amendment 3, within the various scenarios she had described.                                                                    
MS.  WEBER said  that she  could not  answer that  question right                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  whether  costs  or  fiscal                                                               
impacts  would  be involved  in  the  database matching  she  had                                                               
MS. WEBER deferred to Mr. Dale.                                                                                                 
1:45:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. DALE answered that there would  be a small fiscal note but he                                                               
was  unsure  whether the  small  cost  would actually  require  a                                                               
fiscal note  because the department  is in the process  of making                                                               
some of  those software  changes and this  would be  another task                                                               
added to  those efforts.  The  other factors in terms  of cost to                                                               
consider is,  if the burden  of proof  that was required  was not                                                               
clear  enough,  or  it  was  varied in  its  manner,  that  would                                                               
probably be a burden to the purchaser.                                                                                          
It  might   also  preclude  the   folks  at  the   stores  (audio                                                               
difficulties)  vendors,  and if  these  licenses  cannot be  sold                                                               
through  vendors,  the  people  would probably  opt  out  of  the                                                               
system.  He  offered that the department has  always preferred to                                                               
make the  licenses as assessible  as possible so people  could be                                                               
in the system, the department  could manage the resources better,                                                               
and that they rely on the Alaska State Troopers for enforcement.                                                                
1:47:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS  described   that   one  of   the                                                               
scenarios  would  be  cross-referencing the  databases  of  gross                                                               
income  in  order to  determine  whether  people were  below  the                                                               
poverty  line.   He  asked  whether  such  a database  exists  in                                                               
MR. DALE  replied that  he was  certain that  "neither of  us can                                                               
answer that."                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked whether he was  aware of the                                                               
existence of such a database.                                                                                                   
MR. DALE answered that he was not aware of such a database.                                                                     
1:48:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  referred to the  18,594 low-income                                                               
licenses  sold  and  asked the  total  number  of  non-low-income                                                               
licenses sold in calendar year 2017 for resident licenses.                                                                      
MR. DALE  offered that he  did not  know the number  off-hand and                                                               
opined that there were 140,000 total licenses.                                                                                  
MS.  WEBER responded  that  she  did not  have  the 2017  license                                                               
information with her; however, the  department website cites that                                                               
for  resident  hunting licenses  there  were  upwards of  300,000                                                               
issued in 2016.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  commented  that  "a  spreadsheet"                                                               
[handed  to  Representative  Kreiss-Tomkins  from  the  committee                                                               
aide]  indicated  that  the  number   was  just  shy  of  200,000                                                               
residential licenses.                                                                                                           
1:50:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   MILLETT  referred   to  the   18,594  low-income                                                               
licenses figure  and asked whether  it was Mr. Dale's  view there                                                               
is  widespread abuse  on  this program  because  it sounded  like                                                               
there could be  some money the Department of Fish  & Game (ADF&G)                                                               
could use.                                                                                                                      
MR. DALE  answered that he  does not believe there  is widespread                                                               
abuse due  to his personal experiences  and distributing (indisc)                                                               
licenses in  rural Alaska and occasionally  in Fairbanks, "awhile                                                               
back."  He  offered that he does not believe  most people want to                                                               
cheat and  they certainly do  not want to necessarily  brag about                                                               
their low-income, but there are no statistics.                                                                                  
1:51:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN  pointed   out  that  the  maker   of  Amendment  3                                                               
testified, without naming  names, that he was told  by the Alaska                                                               
Wildlife Troopers this is a  problem.  Chair Claman asked whether                                                               
it was  the department's perspective  that abuse is a  problem in                                                               
terms  of  people taking  advantage  of  the low-income  hunting,                                                               
fishing, and trapping license option.                                                                                           
MR. DALE  responded that he is  only able to present  his opinion                                                               
because he  did not  ask for  the statistics  and stated  that he                                                               
does  not believe  abuse  is widespread,  as  Major Chastain  had                                                               
testified to  earlier, and  that falsifying  residency is  a much                                                               
larger problem.                                                                                                                 
1:52:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  commented that Amendment 3  is reasonable                                                               
because low-income folks do  have verification readily available,                                                               
whether it  is low income  certificates, SNAP card, WIC  card, or                                                               
reduced grocery  certificates.  She asked  whether this amendment                                                               
is broad  enough that the  department could write  the regulation                                                               
and  give it  the  authority  to accept  various  forms of  those                                                               
significant verifications.                                                                                                      
1:54:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX commented  that, while  she would  like to                                                               
believe most people  are honest, she believes it  helps people to                                                               
be  honest when  they  have to  provide  verification with  their                                                               
statements.   She  said that  she suspects  people probably  take                                                               
advantage of the program whether  or not the abuse is widespread,                                                               
and to write  a regulation wherein the vendors  simply review the                                                               
verification.   She  commented that  in the  event someone  is to                                                               
receive a benefit,  there should be some proof  they are eligible                                                               
for that benefit.                                                                                                               
1:55:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES commented  that she  has a  difficult time                                                               
with  Amendment  3  because  she does  believe  most  people  are                                                               
honest, and that this is another  layer of bureaucracy.  She then                                                               
compared it to  the some of the programs that  support people who                                                               
are clearly  able to work  and are  not working.   She reiterated                                                               
that she  has a  hard time  supporting Amendment  3, particularly                                                               
when the department believes it is not really a problem.                                                                        
1:56:29 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  commented that he was  unsure this                                                               
is a  problem that  requires a  solution.   He commented  that he                                                               
will speak  with some  of the  clerks around  his hometown  as to                                                               
their  impression whether  there is  a perception  of abuse.   He                                                               
acknowledged  that  he  was   unaware  that  low-income  licenses                                                               
existed in Alaska  which shows that "I live in  a hole" or people                                                               
are not  bragging about it  if they are  abusing the system.   He                                                               
pointed out  that he could  not see how  this could work  with an                                                               
online component,  and that  the online  eligibility verification                                                               
and  that non-existing  database needs  to be  flushed out  a bit                                                               
more  than  this  20  minutes   of  committee  discussion.    His                                                               
impression, he  offered, is  "maybe catching  ADF&G a  little bit                                                               
flat footed."   He related that  the policy mechanics need  to be                                                               
worked out, particularly  with the online side of  things, and he                                                               
would be a no-vote on Amendment 3.                                                                                              
1:58:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  commented  that  he  supports  Amendment  3                                                               
because it is reasonable.                                                                                                       
1:58:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN commented  that  he  echoes Representative  Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkins  comments because  he  has real  concerns  as to  whether                                                               
abuse is a problem, and that  Amendment 3 is a solution in search                                                               
of a problem  that does not exist.  He  reminded the committee of                                                               
the  testimonies  from  the Alaska  Wildlife  Troopers  and  that                                                               
prosecutions   for  false   residency  takes   place  with   some                                                               
frequency.   He  noted  that  he is  troubled  by this  amendment                                                               
because it  puts the burden  on the people issuing  the licenses,                                                               
whether it is Walmart, Alaska  Mill and Feed, or different stores                                                               
specializing more in hunting and  fishing.  He noted that certain                                                               
vendors  have   expressed  unhappiness   with  the   new  federal                                                               
government requirements  put on folks selling  firearms, and "how                                                               
unhappy they  are feeling  like they are  policing this  deal for                                                               
purchasing firearms."   He said  that he  does not like  the idea                                                               
without having had  a more detailed vetting with  more input from                                                               
vendors  and the  department.   The department  itself says  that                                                               
this is  not a problem,  and the  director of the  department who                                                               
was actually involved in selling  hunting and fishing licenses in                                                               
Fairbanks  and the  rural communities,  does  not see  this as  a                                                               
problem.   For all those  reasons he cannot support  Amendment 3,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
2:00:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN pointed  out  that the  price of  hunting                                                               
licenses increased to  $94, and opined that  when considering the                                                               
federal match,  even one person fraudulently  procuring a license                                                               
would cost  the state $356 in  revenue.  He described  that it is                                                               
an  uncomfortable situation  when a  trooper has  to ask  someone                                                               
about  their income,  and  by  requiring verification  alleviates                                                               
that discomfort in  not asking that question at  all.  Currently,                                                               
he  advised, military  veterans  must  provide verification  when                                                               
buying  a discount  license, albeit  it  for more  than just  one                                                               
year,  but it  is appropriate  that other  proof be  provided for                                                               
non-veterans as well.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES maintained her objection.                                                                                 
2:01:17 PM                                                                                                                    
A  roll call  vote  was taken.    Representatives Eastman,  Kopp,                                                               
LeDoux,  and  Millett  (alternate  for  Representative  Reinbold)                                                               
voted in favor  of the adoption of Amendment  3.  Representatives                                                               
Stutes (alternate  for Representative Fansler) voted  against it.                                                               
Therefore, Amendment 3 was adopted by a vote of 4-3.                                                                            
2:02:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP commended  Alaska  Wildlife Troopers,  Major                                                               
Chastain,  and the  other  staff that  brought  CSHB 129  forward                                                               
because  moving a  number of  these offenses  into the  violation                                                               
section,   not  only   deals  with   the  court's   resources  in                                                               
prosecuting  misdemeanors, but  it also  puts forward  meaningful                                                               
dollar  fines  and  reminders  that the  law  must  enforced  and                                                               
respected.   This legislation  will streamline  their operations,                                                               
save court  resources, keep accountability  at a higher  level in                                                               
the law,  and in the  case of  commercial fishing, it  will allow                                                               
the fishermen to get right back to fishing, he advised.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS said  he would  like to  associate                                                               
himself with Representative Kopp's comments.                                                                                    
2:03:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN reminded  that  the  committee that  many                                                               
portions  in the  legislation deal  with  violations or  offenses                                                               
that do not involve any culpable  mental state, whether it was an                                                               
accident  or  on purpose,  it  makes  no  difference in  the  law                                                               
because the person  is still guilty of that offense.   He offered                                                               
concern especially when  dealing with fines of up  to $10,000 for                                                               
those folks who are not intentionally  doing wrong as maybe it is                                                               
their  first  visit to  Alaska  or  their first-time  hunting  or                                                               
fishing.   While  he thinks  the legislature  wants to  encourage                                                               
people to  do right and that  penalties are good, he  pointed out                                                               
that there  are so  many different portions  in this  bill "where                                                               
there  is   no  requirement  for  anyone,   law  enforcement,  or                                                               
otherwise" to demonstrate that it was intentional.                                                                              
2:05:01 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  moved  to report  CSHB  129(RES),                                                               
Version 30-GH1687,  as amended, out of  committee with individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being                                                               
no  objection,  CSHB  129(JUD) moved  from  the  House  Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee                                                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB129 ver D 1.29.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Updated Fiscal Note DOA-SSOA 2.9.18.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Amendments #1-3 2.9.18.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Amendments #1-3 HJUD Final Votes 2.9.18.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB315 ver A 2.9.18.PDF HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB315 Transmittal Letter 2.9.18.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB315 Supporting Document-Public Comment.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB315 PowerPoint Presentation 2.9.18.pdf HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB315 Fiscal Note DEC-EHL 2.9.18.PDF HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315