Legislature(1999 - 2000)

01/27/1999 01:07 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HJR 3 - CONST. AM: WILDLIFE INITIATIVES                                                                                         
Number 029                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR OGAN announced the committee would hear House Joint                                                                    
Resolution No. 3, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of                                                                 
the State of Alaska relating to initiatives regarding natural                                                                   
resources belonging to the state.  Committee packets contained                                                                  
the resolution; a sponsor statement; a memorandum from George                                                                   
Utermohle dated January 18, 1999; and Alaska Supreme Court                                                                      
Opinion No. 5066, January 15, 1999, in the case of Brooks v.                                                                    
Wright, provided as an enclosure to Mr. Utermohle's memorandum.                                                                 
Number 033                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE, sponsor of HJR 3, came forward to                                                                     
present the resolution.  He told members the initiative process                                                                 
was initially designed to work against politicians, but recently                                                                
it has seemed to be a tool of special interest groups, with                                                                     
little grassroots participation.  He emphasized that resource                                                                   
allocation ought to be done through a scientific approach, by                                                                   
people with a great deal of experience in the field, rather than                                                                
by what he called emotional, momentary majorities.  Noting that                                                                 
unfortunately Alaskan elections sometimes draw less than 40                                                                     
percent of the potential voters, he suggested that 51 percent of                                                                
40 percent does not adequately determine public will.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE characterized the initiative process,                                                                      
particularly in California, as a burgeoning industry, with                                                                      
political consultants able to persuade people to vote for ideas                                                                 
that may not stand the test of good scientific management.  He                                                                  
noted that Alaska courts had recently decided that the                                                                          
legislature does not have the sole purview of deciding allocation                                                               
of Alaska's resources.  Instead, the public can weigh in, and                                                                   
Representative Bunde emphasized the need to ensure that they do                                                                 
so on a well-informed basis.  Noting that other states have tried                                                               
to make it more difficult to gather signatures by requiring                                                                     
identification, for example, he said that has been thrown out by                                                                
the courts as a limitation of free speech.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE concluded by saying the process established                                                                
by Alaska's constitutional convention has stood the test of time                                                                
but needs a small tweaking in the area of resource allocation.                                                                  
This would encourage participation but require a clear and                                                                      
convincing majority showing the will of the public.  He clarified                                                               
that this change would require that any allocation initiative                                                                   
must pass by a two-thirds' vote of the people in a general                                                                      
election, rather than by a simple majority.                                                                                     
Number 163                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES stated her understanding that in previous                                                                 
court cases, the court held that the people could not allocate                                                                  
resources such as fish that are in the purview of the                                                                           
legislature.  Alluding to Brooks v. Wright, relating to an                                                                      
initiative prohibiting use of snares to trap wolves, she asked                                                                  
George Utermohle whether this is the first case he knows of where                                                               
the courts have held that resources could be allocated or managed                                                               
through the initiative process.  She mentioned the Beirne                                                                       
Homestead Initiative, saying the courts had held that state                                                                     
resources couldn't be disposed of through the initiative process,                                                               
and she further recalled an initiative regarding the utilization                                                                
of fish that the courts threw out.  She asked how those cases                                                                   
relate to this wolf snaring initiative.                                                                                         
Number 187                                                                                                                      
GEORGE UTERMOHLE, Attorney, Legislative Legal and Research                                                                      
Services, Legislative Affairs Agency, replied that the cases                                                                    
relating to the Beirne Homestead Initiative and the F.I.S.H.                                                                    
[Fairness in Salmon Harvest] Initiative were both struck down in                                                                
the courts because they involved what the court viewed as an                                                                    
appropriation.  There is an express prohibition in the                                                                          
constitution about the people enacting an appropriation by                                                                      
initiative; the court has construed the term "appropriation" very                                                               
broadly to include not only the appropriation of money but also                                                                 
the allocation or granting of preference rights to natural                                                                      
resources.  He said that was particularly the issue in the                                                                      
F.I.S.H. Initiative case, Pullen v. Ulmer, in which one judge                                                                   
brought up the issue that perhaps it was entirely beyond the                                                                    
power of the people to adopt an initiative relating to management                                                               
of fish and game, because a provision of Article VIII says the                                                                  
legislature shall provide for the conservation, development and                                                                 
utilization of natural resources of the state.                                                                                  
MR. UTERMOHLE told members he believes that view was a major                                                                    
issue in the most recent case heard by the court, Brooks v.                                                                     
Wright, which came down ten days ago.  In that case, one issue                                                                  
was whether the constitution bars use of the initiative process                                                                 
for the management of fish and game; the court said that no, the                                                                
initiative is available to the people, and they may use that for                                                                
purposes of management of fish and game.  However, the court                                                                    
didn't touch the issue of whether or not the particular wolf                                                                    
snaring initiative constituted an appropriation and therefore                                                                   
might be invalid on those grounds.                                                                                              
Number 226                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES asked whether Mr. Utermohle agrees that                                                                   
because the constitution bars anyone other than the legislature                                                                 
from managing fish and wildlife, any court decision that says the                                                               
initiative process has the right to manage fish and game should                                                                 
be appealed to a higher court.                                                                                                  
MR. UTERMOHLE said that was indeed the case, and it was decided                                                                 
as such by the supreme court.  There is not much opportunity for                                                                
further review of a state constitutional issue by a higher court,                                                               
although there is an opportunity, a brief period after the                                                                      
decision comes down, for review or reconsideration of the                                                                       
opinion.  He  restated that specifically in the Brooks decision,                                                                
the court decided that the people could, by initiative, address                                                                 
management of fish and game.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES asked whether, in Mr. Utermohle's opinion,                                                                
that decision flies in the face of the constitution.                                                                            
Number 246                                                                                                                      
MR. UTERMOHLE replied that he doesn't see the direct opposition                                                                 
of the two provisions in the constitution.  Although he could                                                                   
certainly see where the court could have come down differently,                                                                 
he  saw nothing in the constitution that dictated a particular                                                                  
Number 257                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked whether the term "initiative" only                                                                   
refers to the petition process, rather than to action by the                                                                    
MR. UTERMOHLE clarified that the term "initiative" refers to a                                                                  
process initiated by the people through procedures established in                                                               
the constitution and by statute.                                                                                                
Number 281                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE told members he doesn't view this as having                                                                
any impact on the subsistence question that comes before the                                                                    
CO-CHAIR OGAN said that would be true unless there was an                                                                       
initiative from the people about a statute change regarding                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE concurred.                                                                                                 
Number 292                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR OGAN asked what initiative process models other states                                                                 
have used regarding fish and wildlife.  He mentioned the idea of                                                                
requiring the same amount of signatures and same kind of vote,                                                                  
but for fish and wildlife issues also requiring that those                                                                      
signatures be obtained in all the voting precincts of the state,                                                                
for example.  He asked Mr. Utermohle what Alaska's requirement                                                                  
MR. UTERMOHLE said he didn't have those provisions with him.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE noted that it is in the constitution,                                                                      
Article XI, Section 3.                                                                                                          
Number 315                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said one state has required a percentage of                                                                
every precinct.  He believes  that Colorado tried to make entry                                                                 
into the process more difficult by requiring people gathering                                                                   
signatures to provide notification that they were paid to do so,                                                                
and by requiring them to wear various identification; that was                                                                  
struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, to his understanding.                                                                    
Utah had passed a resolution similar to HJR 3 that was limited                                                                  
strictly to fish and game.  Representative Bunde suggested that                                                                 
will probably be challenged in the courts, a four- or five-year                                                                 
process, and he said he would be surprised if it didn't                                                                         
eventually go to the U.S. Supreme Court.  He said he would rather                                                               
proceed now, instead of waiting to see what happens in Utah.  He                                                                
also pointed out that HJR 3 considers all natural resources,                                                                    
which he believes is more appropriate for a resource-dependent                                                                  
Number 334                                                                                                                      
MR. UTERMOHLE, returning to Co-Chair Ogan's question about                                                                      
signature requirements, paraphrased from Article XI [Initiative,                                                                
Referendum, and Recall], Section 3 [Petition], which says in                                                                    
part:  "If signed by qualified voters, equal in number to ten per                                                               
cent of those who voted in the preceding general election and                                                                   
resident in at least two-thirds of the election districts of the                                                                
State, it may be filed with the lieutenant governor."                                                                           
Number 352                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE, suggesting something that appears too                                                                     
limiting to the public process wouldn't be supported by the                                                                     
public, reminded listeners that HJR 3 is a proposal for a                                                                       
constitutional amendment, which must achieve a majority vote.                                                                   
CO-CHAIR OGAN asked if there were further questions, then                                                                       
announced his intention this session of hearing from the Alaska                                                                 
public before taking testimony from department representatives.                                                                 
Number 399                                                                                                                      
ROD ARNO, President, Alaska Outdoor Council (AOC), testified via                                                                
teleconference from the Mat-Su Legislative Information Office                                                                   
(LIO), noting that the AOC has more than 12,000 members                                                                         
statewide.  He agreed that HJR 3 is timely and that the                                                                         
legislature does not have exclusive lawmaking powers over                                                                       
wildlife under Article VIII of the constitution.  Mr. Arno said a                                                               
draft of the statewide comprehensive outdoor recreation plan,                                                                   
compiled by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) this last                                                                 
year, shows that the number one outdoor activity in Alaska is                                                                   
fishing, while second is walking for fitness, and third is                                                                      
hunting.  Mr. Arno told members this issue of fish and wildlife                                                                 
use and management is extremely important to Alaska residents; he                                                               
emphasized that the AOC, other special interest groups, and the                                                                 
public all want to be involved in decisions of management and                                                                   
use.  He said current state law provides a system entailing                                                                     
boards and an advisory system; the AOC has supported this from                                                                  
the beginning and continues to support it as a legitimate process                                                               
for making laws dealing with fish and wildlife use and                                                                          
management.  He mentioned that recently the AOC has participated                                                                
in the initiative process.                                                                                                      
MR. ARNO stated, "We blindly went into the same-day airborne                                                                    
initiative process, believing that the factual information would                                                                
suffice to win that, and were defeated at the polls.  And we came                                                               
back in the snare initiative with a new understanding of how                                                                    
'spin doctors' and money on media works, and were able to                                                                       
successfully defeat the snare initiative at the ballot, my point                                                                
being that the Outdoor Council would just as soon participate in                                                                
one system - that of boards and advisories - as opposed to having                                                               
to participate in the two systems, and the initiative process                                                                   
being quite expensive and never in the best interest of                                                                         
conservation.  So, we would encourage taking the effort to try to                                                               
achieve the goal, realizing that other special interests would be                                                               
under the same constraints, and possibly providing the                                                                          
legislature with the sole rule making powers through an                                                                         
initiative would be a better way to go."                                                                                        
Number 449                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR OGAN asked if Mr. Arno could cite examples of                                                                          
initiatives passed by other states, mentioning "no trapping" in                                                                 
Colorado, limiting hunting of cougars using dogs, and limits on                                                                 
bear hunting.                                                                                                                   
MR. ARNO said that hit the high spots, adding, "And each year                                                                   
we're seeing more and more hunter dollars going into opposing new                                                               
initiatives.  And the outdoor community was quite successful, and                                                               
Alaska being one of those this last year, at defeating these                                                                    
initiatives on a national basis.  But, again, it took quite its                                                                 
toll in resources.  Definitely the trend is going that way.                                                                     
Colorado you mentioned, not only on trapping but spring bear                                                                    
hunting, and also, then, trapping in Arizona, and the mountain                                                                  
lion restrictions still going on in California are examples."                                                                   
Number 528                                                                                                                      
WARREN OLSON testified next via teleconference from Anchorage.                                                                  
He said looking at HJR 3, he sees a big problem looming.  He                                                                    
stated, "I don't think two-thirds of any voting public can                                                                      
dominate on trust property concepts, and it also includes                                                                       
individual rights.  Nor can a simple majority have bearing on                                                                   
individual rights."  He agreed with Mr. Arno that a lot of money,                                                               
time and energy would be wasted, which should instead go to                                                                     
enhance resources for users all over Alaska.  He said                                                                           
Representative Barnes had brought up an excellent point in that                                                                 
he believes the "Wright versus Alaska case" somewhat put a casual                                                               
spin on this whole affair.  He suggested that elsewhere in the                                                                  
country these types of cases have been taken to the U.S. Supreme                                                                
Court, but that it must be done by the legislators.  He said the                                                                
citizenry cannot represent the legislators in their                                                                             
responsibility of looking out for the welfare or the benefit of                                                                 
the state.                                                                                                                      
MR. OLSON pointed out that in looking back at the constitutional                                                                
convention, fish and game areas were discussed more than any                                                                    
other portion of the constitution.  He stated, "Evidently,                                                                      
according to the supreme court of Alaska, because the resource                                                                  
committee ... did not make the same commitment as the judicial                                                                  
committee during that constitutional makeup in 1956, therefore                                                                  
the fish and game arena is subject to initiative action.  I think                                                               
we have to be very specific, and in that regard -- and I think                                                                  
you have other possibilities that have been submitted to you,                                                                   
that the committee should consider, and especially in amending                                                                  
Article XI, that states specifically the process of initiatives                                                                 
in regards to fish and game and wildlife."                                                                                      
Number 546                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR OGAN asked Mr. Olson's opinion about one state's                                                                       
possible requirement of obtaining signatures from all election                                                                  
MR. OLSON agreed that this is big business and people are making                                                                
money on it.  He said in California, and perhaps across America,                                                                
it is a major industry.  He concluded, "You're talking about                                                                    
mechanics.  I think we have to talk about substance.  And the                                                                   
fact is, the issue is not on the table.  I don't think it can be                                                                
brought to the table if legislators take strong action on this to                                                               
remove it from the table, to make it very clear that they are the                                                               
trustees, that they are looking out for the benefit of the                                                                      
beneficiaries.  And there is a ... very unique but special                                                                      
relationship here.  And I think you folks have to guard that."                                                                  
Number 576                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR OGAN responded that he understood what Mr. Olson was                                                                   
saying, but that the ruling by the Alaska Supreme Court cannot be                                                               
appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on that particular issue.  He                                                                
asked for suggestions.                                                                                                          
MR. OLSON told members that in Illinois v. Illinois Railroad, a                                                                 
case that developed over approximately 70 years, Illinois                                                                       
legislators finally took back control of the resource, saying                                                                   
they were the trustees.  That case went before the U.S. Supreme                                                                 
Court, and according to Mr. Olson it has been looked at                                                                         
historically as the major case in the nation regarding the Public                                                               
Trust Doctrine.  He said this is "serious business."  He                                                                        
cautioned that there would be multiple initiatives at the ballot                                                                
regarding management of fish and wildlife in Alaska.                                                                            
Number 597                                                                                                                      
PATRICK WRIGHT testified next via teleconference from Anchorage,                                                                
specifying that he is the "Wright" in Brooks v. Wright.                                                                         
President of Scientific Management of Alaska's Resource Treasures                                                               
(SMART) and a 50-year resident of Alaska, he told members he has                                                                
had lifelong intimate involvement with fish and wildlife.  Formed                                                               
in 1996 because of the initiative process being used to manage                                                                  
fish and wildlife, SMART is dedicated to the wise use of Alaska's                                                               
fish and wildlife trust resources.  Mr. Wright said Alaska's                                                                    
constitution requires that the legislature shall provide for the                                                                
utilization and development of the fish and wildlife resources.                                                                 
In 1959 the legislature established a very good public system,                                                                  
which includes the Board of Game, the Board of Fisheries, and                                                                   
local fish and game advisory committees around Alaska to bring in                                                               
local knowledge.  He believes Alaska has one of the nation's best                                                               
management systems to provide for deliberation and discussion of                                                                
natural resources, but that the initiative process makes a sham                                                                 
of this wonderful system.                                                                                                       
MR. WRIGHT told members he was glad they were looking at the                                                                    
opinion on Brooks v. Wright.  He stated, "Some of the things in                                                                 
that opinion are the things that the court omitted.  They didn't                                                                
talk about this system that we have in place to assess and make                                                                 
good fish and wildlife management procedures."  He said in this                                                                 
particular case, he would hate to see special outside interest                                                                  
groups dictate, by popularity, how Alaskans manage their                                                                        
resources.  He explained, "The reason I say this is because these                                                               
groups, although [they] may be based in Alaska, they have their                                                                 
heads that have only been here a short period of time, and their                                                                
moneys, as evident through the Alaska Public Offices Commission,                                                                
have been generated through outside sources in Connecticut,                                                                     
Washington, California and New York.  So, I'd recommend that you                                                                
take a look at providing a change to the initiative process                                                                     
prohibiting the use of fish and wildlife management as an                                                                       
initiative tool in ... Article XI, Section 7, of our                                                                            
TAPE 99-1, SIDE B                                                                                                               
Number 001                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR OGAN referred to the supreme court opinion in the                                                                      
packets and asked how State of Alaska v. Wright, Supreme Court                                                                  
No. S-8685, relates to Brooks v. Wright.                                                                                        
MR. WRIGHT indicated the supreme court case was a combination of                                                                
two superior court cases, one regarding the same-day airborne                                                                   
initiative and the other regarding the wolf snare initiative.                                                                   
CO-CHAIR OGAN suggested that the Office of the Governor, then,                                                                  
basically weighed in on the same-day airborne case.                                                                             
MR. WRIGHT said yes, adding that they were the defendants in the                                                                
wolf snare ban initiative case, Wright v. State of Alaska, also.                                                                
Number 036                                                                                                                      
PAUL JOSLIN, Executive Director, Alaska Wildlife Alliance,                                                                      
testified next via teleconference from Anchorage.  He told                                                                      
members his organization's interests are in the protection of                                                                   
wildlife in the state, particularly from the perspective of the                                                                 
nonconsumptive interests.  In 1996 a survey in Alaska found that                                                                
the majority of Alaskans are nonconsumptive users of wildlife;                                                                  
that is, they are "watchable wildlife folk."  He emphasized that                                                                
these people are not intolerant of hunting, but that their                                                                      
primary interest is watchable wildlife, which represents by far                                                                 
the larger share of the economy.  Mr. Joslin stated that in the                                                                 
past three years, there had been a 40 percent increase in                                                                       
tourism; the Governor had announced towards the end of last year                                                                
that it amounted to a billion dollars into the economy.                                                                         
MR. JOSLIN said as part of the elaborate system of political                                                                    
checks and balances built into Alaska's constitution, the ballot                                                                
initiative and referendum process serves as an important                                                                        
safeguard to the public interest, acting as a check on the power                                                                
of the legislature and allowing the public to take affirmative                                                                  
actions that the legislature might not have taken on its own.                                                                   
Referring members to Articles XI and XII of the constitution, he                                                                
said the initiative referendum process is a central part of the                                                                 
political dialogue between the citizens of Alaska and their                                                                     
elected representatives.  He told members, "It's interesting to                                                                 
note that at the time of the framing of the constitution, there                                                                 
came up the issue of fish traps.  And that was made part of the                                                                 
initiative process by the framers of the constitution."                                                                         
MR. JOSLIN read from page 12 of the abbreviated faxed version of                                                                
the Brooks v. Wright supreme court opinion, provided that day:                                                                  
"Additionally, safeguards exist in the process, allowing the                                                                    
legislature to repeal initiated legislation after two years and                                                                 
to amend such legislation at any time.  Concerned parties can                                                                   
also bring a post-election substantive challenge to what they may                                                               
believe is an ill-advised law."  He said Alaska is much ahead of                                                                
most other states when it comes to the initiative process, with                                                                 
many checks and balances.  The first of two past wildlife                                                                       
initiatives, which prohibited same-day airborne shooting of                                                                     
wolves and predators, was overwhelmingly adopted from the public                                                                
perspective, whereas the snaring initiative was not.  He                                                                        
indicated the need to put some trust in the public, saying that                                                                 
requiring an overwhelming majority of the public for adoption                                                                   
would be very unfair.                                                                                                           
Number 099                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES directed Mr. Joslin to Article XI, Section                                                                
7, of the constitution, which says, "The initiative shall not be                                                                
used to dedicate revenues, make or repeal appropriations, create                                                                
courts, define the jurisdiction of courts or prescribe their                                                                    
rules, or enact local or special legislation.  The referendum                                                                   
shall not be applied to dedications of revenue, to                                                                              
appropriations, to local or special legislation, or to laws                                                                     
necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace,                                                                   
health, or safety."                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES noted that the restrictions on the                                                                        
initiative referendum process were placed there by the founding                                                                 
fathers.  She suggested that saying a billion dollars a year is                                                                 
being spent on wildlife viewing is misreading the tourism                                                                       
statistics, as few tourists go into the wilds to see the                                                                        
wildlife.  She offered her belief that the supreme court opinion                                                                
in Brooks v. Wright is a bad one that "flies in the face of                                                                     
pieces of court rulings that we have had in the past."  She                                                                     
stated, "I believe further that we cannot have this section of                                                                  
our constitution without the restrictions being looked at by our                                                                
supreme court, and it certainly looks like that that's what they                                                                
did when they passed ... this particular finding of the supreme                                                                 
court affirming a lower court decision.  So, with that, I would                                                                 
just like to say to you, while you say that you can change a                                                                    
referendum in two years, you can amend it at any time, it cannot                                                                
be substantially amended; and a referendum that relates to fish                                                                 
and wildlife could wreak havoc on that resource within a two-year                                                               
time frame."                                                                                                                    
Number 136                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR OGAN suggested that if we allow managers to manage                                                                     
wildlife, rather than allowing wildlife to be managed by public                                                                 
initiative, there will actually be more wildlife for people to                                                                  
see.  If there is a healthy population, there will be enough to                                                                 
hunt; as the hunters are only in the field for 30 days or so per                                                                
year, depending on the species, for the rest of the year they are                                                               
running around for the tourists to see.  He asked whether Mr.                                                                   
Joslin believes some wildlife is more watchable than others.                                                                    
MR. JOSLIN said yes, then told members about the Toklat wolves, a                                                               
family of wolves in Denali National Park and Preserve.  The first                                                               
group of wolves in the world ever investigated, it has been                                                                     
studied for more than 60 years.  More people have seen that group                                                               
and more photographs have been taken of that group of wolves than                                                               
any other in the world; it is of enormous economic interest from                                                                
that perspective.  However, the wolves sometimes move onto state                                                                
land, and the group has crashed from a dozen animals down to two                                                                
adults with four pups.  He stated, "We don't know if that'll                                                                    
survive now.  This is a group that is very, very habituated to                                                                  
people.  And the illustration I'm trying to make here is that you                                                               
have an enormous resource here, from an nonconsumptive approach.                                                                
And when the people speak out on some of these things, it may be                                                                
to get that sense across.  We have a few trappers, for example,                                                                 
with the Toklat wolves, who can determine their fate, even though                                                               
there are 350,000 people that go to Denali National Park                                                                        
MR. JOSLIN emphasized the need for balance between nonconsumptive                                                               
use and hunting.  He suggested it was a reflection of the people                                                                
when they said, "We don't want you out there shooting wolves                                                                    
airborne-wise, or other predators."  He further suggested that                                                                  
legislators would agree the public had made a wise decision.  He                                                                
asked that legislators recognize the growing nonconsumptive                                                                     
interest within Alaska, quite apart from the tourism.  He                                                                       
clarified that he wasn't saying it is a billion dollars from all                                                                
of the tourists for watchable wildlife, stating, "What I said is                                                                
the majority of those who come and spend those moneys here come                                                                 
with a watchable wildlife perspective.  They come to enjoy your                                                                 
parks and preserves and so on."                                                                                                 
Number 190                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR OGAN talked about how misleading the ads from the Alaska                                                               
Wildlife Alliance had been, because of the impression that wolves                                                               
would be shot from the air, which was already illegal.                                                                          
MR. JOSLIN emphasized the need to deal with the present, saying                                                                 
he wasn't here several years ago when that went through.  He said                                                               
he could speak for the snaring initiative, however, and the                                                                     
Alaska Wildlife Alliance in no way provided misinformation in ads                                                               
pertaining to that.  He said they recognize it is a gray area,                                                                  
rather different from same-day airborne hunting.                                                                                
CO-CHAIR OGAN suggested that HJR 3 is trying to get at the fact                                                                 
that these issues aren't always accurately portrayed by the                                                                     
different sides.                                                                                                                
Number 229                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked how many attempts had been made                                                                      
through the Board of Game to deal with the issue before a                                                                       
petition was driven to try to deal with it.                                                                                     
MR. JOSLIN replied that the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, as well as                                                                
other organizations, had brought several initiatives before the                                                                 
Board of Game.  He explained, "Even the enforcement division                                                                    
said, with reference to the trappers, 'Couldn't we at least have                                                                
accountability?  Couldn't we at least have a tag on all of the                                                                  
snares and traps that are put out there, with a number on them?'                                                                
We'd license everything else just to have accountability in                                                                     
society, but we don't do it with snares and traps, so that an                                                                   
individual, if they want, can put out thousands of snares, if                                                                   
they so wish to, that it lends itself to a lot of indiscretion."                                                                
MR. JOSLIN told members that when the government had used snares                                                                
for catching wolves, more than 40 percent of the animals taken                                                                  
were caribou, moose and other species; that was using the best                                                                  
wolf trappers in existence for homing in on wolves.  The Alaska                                                                 
Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) had put forward a proposal so                                                               
that if a trapper caught an untargeted species, it was illegal to                                                               
use that animal as bait; however, that was thrown out.  Mr.                                                                     
Joslin said there was a lot of effort to bring about change in                                                                  
the way this is operated.  He characterized it as a disgrace and                                                                
suggested members should see for themselves.  He suggested that                                                                 
if it is not through a ballot initiative, some law should be                                                                    
brought into existence that makes this industry accountable like                                                                
any other industry.                                                                                                             
Number 269                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE said that having served on a local fish and                                                                
game advisory committee for a dozen or so years, they were in a                                                                 
situation in northern Alaska where people wanted to use a .22                                                                   
rifle to hunt caribou crossing the Kobuk River; over a period of                                                                
10 to 15 years the Board of Game rejected that.  Representative                                                                 
Joule told fellow members, "Not once did the thought of using a                                                                 
statewide initiative cross our mind, because it was a pretty                                                                    
local area that we were talking about.  We did get that through.                                                                
The board did finally adopt it, and it is now a model case.  And                                                                
sometimes I think the process, as frustrating as it may be --                                                                   
persistence -- if your facts are straight, you've got your data                                                                 
together, and you're focused in on the given area that you want                                                                 
to make and effect change to, after a while will take root.  But                                                                
to have the rest of the state exposed, to try to make decisions                                                                 
for a particular corridor or an area, it's my belief can best be                                                                
handled at the board of game or the board of fish level."                                                                       
Number 296                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR OGAN asked what percentage of the Alaska Wildlife                                                                      
Alliance's funding is in-state, what percentage is from out-of-                                                                 
state, and what organizations contribute to the alliance.                                                                       
MR. JOSLIN replied that they receive a fair percentage from the                                                                 
approximately 1,500 members, as well as from a variety of                                                                       
foundations and grant-giving organizations; he believes the split                                                               
is about 50/50.  He cited the "Turner Foundation" as a major                                                                    
contributor.  He then told of a meeting in Barrow over the snare                                                                
initiative where a representative had said the National Rifle                                                                   
Association (NRA) opposed the fact that wildlife initiatives                                                                    
tended to be passing around the country, and that they and others                                                               
planned to raise $800,000 to fight these; the first was the wolf                                                                
snaring initiative, upon which they had wanted to spend $350,000,                                                               
although the totals raised perhaps had not been that high.                                                                      
MR. JOSLIN emphasized that interests on all sides, both inside                                                                  
and outside the state, worked to bring information forward.  He                                                                 
said those involved in the snaring initiative had been appalled                                                                 
to see the level of misinformation.  Mr. Joslin concluded that it                                                               
comes down to the will of the people, who have the right to make                                                                
good decisions.  He suggested legislators should be proud that                                                                  
the public had overwhelmingly opposed same-day airborne hunting,                                                                
whereas the wolf snare ban had been rejected.  He emphasized the                                                                
need to trust Alaskans, and he pointed out that most initiatives                                                                
fail nationwide.                                                                                                                
Number 331                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE MORGAN stated that this wolf issue is very                                                                       
sensitive in his own district, and it comes up in almost every                                                                  
village that he represents.  He asked when the legislature should                                                               
step in, as well as whether they should completely deplete one                                                                  
species to save another species.                                                                                                
MR. JOSLIN emphasized the need for balance.  He again brought up                                                                
the world-famous Toklat wolves, as well as the Denali caribou                                                                   
herd, which had numbered 1,000 in 1976, at which time it became                                                                 
protected both inside and outside of Denali National Park and                                                                   
Preserve; he said that herd is up to 2,500 animals, and he said                                                                 
that is a consumptive interest.  On the nonconsumptive side, the                                                                
Toklat wolf group is down to two adults and four pups; he                                                                       
questioned why that group cannot be protected.                                                                                  
Number 360                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES recalled that during the interim, there had                                                               
been debate over the Toklat wolves.  She said she had read an                                                                   
article that refuted those numbers and what happened to the                                                                     
wolves; she asked that someone from the ADF&G find a copy of                                                                    
Number 378                                                                                                                      
BOB CHURCHILL testified briefly via teleconference from                                                                         
Anchorage, speaking in favor of HJR 3.  He said too often these                                                                 
issues get caught up with emotions, and he believes the two-                                                                    
thirds' majority requirement on natural resources initiatives                                                                   
would be a good one, in the best interests of both consumptive                                                                  
and nonconsumptive users.  In reply to a question, Mr. Churchill                                                                
said he is a member of the Board of Game, had spent seven or                                                                    
eight years with the Anchorage advisory committee, has hunted and                                                               
fished essentially his entire life, and is active in quite a few                                                                
organizations relating to natural resources.                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR OGAN asked if anyone else from the public wished to                                                                    
testify, then called upon Jim Baldwin.                                                                                          
Number 410                                                                                                                      
JAMES BALDWIN, Assistant Attorney General, Governmental Affairs                                                                 
Section, Civil Division (Juneau), Department of Law, came                                                                       
forward, advising members that his office had been counsel for                                                                  
the state on the Wright case.  He noted that the attorney                                                                       
involved was not available that day, but she would be available                                                                 
if HJR 3 was taken up another day.  Mr. Baldwin explained that                                                                  
the department had approached that case as an election law case,                                                                
with the role of defending the Lieutenant Governor's decision to                                                                
certify the initiative.  He explained, "Once that decision is                                                                   
made, then we're tasked with the responsibility of defending                                                                    
that.  The courts have said that we are to give the benefit of                                                                  
the doubt to petitioners for initiatives, and that was done in                                                                  
this case.  And then, from then on, we defend it in the courts to                                                               
its natural conclusion, and that's what basically happened in                                                                   
this case."                                                                                                                     
MR. BALDWIN stated his main purpose that day:  ensuring that some                                                               
history of the initiative process was on record before any action                                                               
to amend a very important part of the constitutional framework.                                                                 
He told members that when the constitution was debated by the                                                                   
framers, the constitutional convention became nearly deadlocked                                                                 
over whether to have the initiative.  Some of the considerations                                                                
discussed at the current meeting were debated hotly back and                                                                    
forth at the convention.  On one hand was a desire to preserve                                                                  
for the people the ability to pass legislation that may not                                                                     
receive favorable consideration by the legislature; it was viewed                                                               
as part of the checks and balances.  On the other hand was a                                                                    
great concern about  the process being misused by special                                                                       
interests that were not necessarily representative of the public.                                                               
MR. BALDWIN told members the convention had taken the question up                                                               
in an extraordinary process known as a committee of the whole,                                                                  
where it was debated and adjustments were made, to try to provide                                                               
some protections and balance.  And yet, the initiative was                                                                      
retained in the constitution by a vote of somewhere in the                                                                      
neighborhood of 40 to 8.  Some of the adjustments involved areas                                                                
discussed at the current meeting.  Mr. Baldwin offered to go into                                                               
those in more detail; he said that basically the protection of                                                                  
allowing the legislature to amend at any time after enactment of                                                                
an initiative was instituted, as well as the ability to repeal it                                                               
after two years.  He said there had been some debate on that                                                                    
latter provision.  An earlier provision had said an amendment                                                                   
could not be repealed for three years; that was scaled back to                                                                  
two years, as part of the plan to make the provision more                                                                       
acceptable to all of the delegates.                                                                                             
MR. BALDWIN told members there were other safeguards, also                                                                      
discussed at the current meeting, including the threshold to                                                                    
determine whether there is enough popular support for an                                                                        
initiative.  The original provision had been a requirement that                                                                 
only 8 percent of the registered voters need to sign the                                                                        
petition; that was raised to 15 percent, and the 10 percent level                                                               
was a compromise.  Mr. Baldwin re-emphasized that these issues                                                                  
had been debated and then ultimately compromised about.  He said                                                                
it is important to keep the entire article in mind when                                                                         
considering amendments, even though the committee is only                                                                       
addressing one part.                                                                                                            
Number 471                                                                                                                      
MR. BALDWIN advised members that one legal point, in counterpoint                                                               
to a statement by Representative Barnes, regards case law.  The                                                                 
one case in Alaska, which he believes may be Warren v. Boucher,                                                                 
held that the power to amend an initiative is very broad, not                                                                   
limited, so that the legislature's power to come in and                                                                         
ameliorate a perhaps objectionable initiative provision is very                                                                 
broad; that has been upheld by the supreme court.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES recalled the campaign finance reform                                                                      
debate, which involved writing a law to overcome an initiative.                                                                 
She said it was stated several times then that the legislature                                                                  
had to be very cautious about amending an initiative during the                                                                 
two-year period, although it can be repealed after the two-year                                                                 
period.  She disagreed that there is a very broad power to amend.                                                               
Number 493                                                                                                                      
MR. BALDWIN said there are two concepts in the constitution to                                                                  
keep in mind.  First, the legislature may take an initiative off                                                                
the ballot by enacting something substantially similar; in that                                                                 
area, the department has urged caution; the legislature has been                                                                
very conservative in approaching the problem, generally to the                                                                  
point of putting almost exactly the same bill in to make sure it                                                                
does meet the legal standard of being substantially similar.  The                                                               
other part of the equation is what an amendment is, and how far                                                                 
it can go.  There is only one case in that area, in which there                                                                 
was a change in the way penalties were calculated under an                                                                      
initiative that was put forward; Mr. Baldwin said he believed it                                                                
may have been an earlier campaign finance reform initiative.  He                                                                
told members in that case the court found that the legislature                                                                  
did have the power, and that its power would be liberally                                                                       
construed in that context.  He added, "I'm sure it's one that you                                                               
are properly advised to deal with caution, but I think that                                                                     
there's some leeway granted there by the courts."                                                                               
Number 506                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR OGAN requested confirmation that once the initiative has                                                               
gathered enough signatures, the language cannot be amended by the                                                               
MR. BALDWIN said it has to do with the point in time.  When                                                                     
discussing the power of the legislature to amend an initiative,                                                                 
that is after enactment; it would have been voted on, receiving a                                                               
51 percent affirmative vote, and it would have been enacted into                                                                
law.  The other situation, the power to take an initiative off                                                                  
the ballot, is when the application has been approved and                                                                       
certified, and it is ready to go on the ballot.  A legislative                                                                  
session must convene and adjourn before that election can take                                                                  
place, so that the legislature has the ability to preempt it; the                                                               
legislature is held to a standard, however, that the legislation                                                                
enacted to preempt the initiative must be substantially similar.                                                                
CO-CHAIR OGAN stated his understanding that there is a different                                                                
standard for amending the initiative when it has been certified                                                                 
and the legislature is trying to take it off the ballot, as                                                                     
opposed to when it has already been enacted.                                                                                    
MR. BALDWIN replied, "It could well be, yes.  We've only had one                                                                
court case, Mr. Chairman.  And as I said, the one court case                                                                    
seemed to regard the legislature's power in that regard as being                                                                
very liberal, and as being a safeguard against ill-advised or                                                                   
ill-conceived initiatives."                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR OGAN asked whether there had been two court cases, with                                                                
one about amending an initiative to take it off the ballot, and                                                                 
another court case amending an initiative after passage.  He                                                                    
further asked whether there is a comparison there.                                                                              
MR. BALDWIN replied that he believes there is a case involving                                                                  
the issue of "substantially similar," and that he believes there                                                                
is only one case in that area, as well, although he could be                                                                    
wrong on that.  He offered to advise the committee in writing                                                                   
about the cases in this area, saying he couldn't recall the                                                                     
number of cases.                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR OGAN said he would appreciate that.                                                                                    
Number 541                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES asked, "Is it not true that through the                                                                   
amendment process that you could desecrate a law?"                                                                              
MR. BALDWIN agreed, saying he believes there is a point that can                                                                
be reached where a court would say it is, in effect, a repeal.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES said the point holds, then, that they can                                                                 
only go so far in the amendment process.                                                                                        
MR. BALDWIN said he thinks that is right, then clarified that he                                                                
didn't quite accept Representative Barnes' statement that it                                                                    
seems the power to amend is limited.                                                                                            
Number 562                                                                                                                      
WAYNE REGELIN, Director, Division of Wildlife Conservation,                                                                     
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), came forward to                                                                     
testify.  He told members that many states are struggling with a                                                                
proliferation of ballot initiatives relating to hunting and                                                                     
fishing, and the ADF&G is working on it a lot with the                                                                          
International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to figure                                                               
out how to deal with this.  He said it is a problem because it                                                                  
provides for the potential to base fish and wildlife management                                                                 
decisions on what he called "fact-free emotion," rather than on                                                                 
solid science and long-established management approaches.  He                                                                   
said it seems as if the deepest pockets and the best television                                                                 
commercials win in many states.                                                                                                 
MR. REGELIN provided some examples.  About four years ago,                                                                      
Massachusetts banned all trapping, even with live traps; soon the                                                               
beaver population exploded, and extensive flooding occurred in a                                                                
subdivision, wiping out several roads and shutting down the                                                                     
United Parcel Service (UPS) terminal for several weeks.  He said                                                                
the fish and game department there couldn't do anything about it.                                                               
And in California all hunting and trapping of cougars was                                                                       
prohibited several years ago; now the population has increased                                                                  
and they are becoming a safety problem.  For example, last year a                                                               
person was killed, but the fish and game department there cannot                                                                
do anything about it.  Mr. Regelin told members these are some                                                                  
reasons that states are looking at approaches to limiting ballot                                                                
initiatives related to hunting and fishing.                                                                                     
TAPE 99-2, SIDE A                                                                                                               
Number 001                                                                                                                      
[Begins mid-speech because of tape change]                                                                                      
MR. REGELIN indicated no lawsuit has been filed on the issue of                                                                 
whether it is appropriate to require a higher percentage of votes                                                               
to approve a ballot initiative on one subject versus another                                                                    
subject.  He discussed other states.  For example, so that Las                                                                  
Vegas cannot dominate, Nevada requires that 10 percent of the                                                                   
voters in every legislative district must sign ballot                                                                           
initiatives.  Other states are looking at increasing the                                                                        
percentage of signatures required.  Mr. Regelin said nobody has                                                                 
an answer yet, then added, "But I think all of the states are                                                                   
similar to Alaska, that they have a public process already in                                                                   
place that they think is good, and I think the one we have in                                                                   
Alaska is very good -- has a very good public process of setting                                                                
our fish and game regulations.  It's probably the most open of                                                                  
any of the states.  We have just over 80 fish and game advisory                                                                 
committees that go and make recommendations to the board of fish                                                                
or the board of game.  Beyond that, any group or any individual                                                                 
can make a proposal to either board, and it's published, and it                                                                 
must be considered by the board of fish or the board of game.                                                                   
And that person, or anybody else, can come and testify on any                                                                   
proposal before the board of game.  So, we think that's ... the                                                                 
best way to set hunting and fishing regulations.  And as a                                                                      
professional, ... we don't want laws based on emotion rather than                                                               
Number 051                                                                                                                      
MR. REGELIN concluded by saying many people consider the                                                                        
initiative process to be part of the public process, and many                                                                   
consider it a fundamental right.  He stated, "The                                                                               
Administration's position is that the ballot initiatives could                                                                  
continue to be a part of the public process to regulate natural                                                                 
resource management, and it's not appropriate to do the 66                                                                      
percent requirement."                                                                                                           
Number 061                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES asked Mr. Regelin to provide her with the                                                                 
biological data on the Toklat wolves at some point.  She then                                                                   
asked about the fate of one particular female wolf that was                                                                     
MR. REGELIN offered to call a couple of biologists to fulfill the                                                               
first request.  He then told about the female wolf [Number 94]                                                                  
that was relocated to the Kenai Peninsula and then moved back up                                                                
in a short period of time.  She was wearing a radio collar, and                                                                 
she had found a good home in Unit 13 but was caught by a local                                                                  
trapper about two weeks ago.                                                                                                    
Number 096                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked Mr. Regelin about his statement that                                                                 
the Administration doesn't support the two-thirds' vote.  He                                                                    
asked whether there is an alternative solution that the                                                                         
Administration would support regarding initiatives relating to                                                                  
natural resources.                                                                                                              
MR. REGELIN said he didn't know, although he believes there is                                                                  
willingness to look at other approaches.  He indicated that                                                                     
nothing proposed has been decided upon.                                                                                         
Number 120                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR OGAN told Mr. Regelin one problem he has with the ballot                                                               
initiative process is that the legislature cannot change the                                                                    
language.  Therefore, it may be fairly easy to sell an idea                                                                     
because of a misrepresentation, and it may result in a poor law                                                                 
being put into the statutes.  He discussed the same-day airborne                                                                
initiative as an example.  He asked whether Mr. Regelin agrees                                                                  
that sometimes things are misrepresented, resulting in poor                                                                     
policy being passed.                                                                                                            
MR. REGELIN responded that it is usually not so much a problem of                                                               
the language but of how it is perceived by the public.  He                                                                      
discussed erroneous television advertising, saying the same-day                                                                 
airborne issue was very confusing to the public, who he said                                                                    
believed they were voting against shooting wolves out of                                                                        
airplanes, which had been illegal since 1976.                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR OGAN told members he intended to hold HJR 3 over for                                                                   
further discussion.  He asked that the Department of Law provide                                                                
minutes of the constitutional convention relating to the                                                                        
initiative process.                                                                                                             
Number 194                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE asked if the committee could have someone                                                                  
address the issue of the petition process in the constitution,                                                                  
including discussion about the possibility of requiring the                                                                     
constitutionally required percentage of signatures to be obtained                                                               
in all districts in the state.  He said he isn't sure he supports                                                               
the two-thirds' vote if there is another way to get there that                                                                  
shows involvement from all areas of the state.  "And at that                                                                    
point, I'm not sure that I would just limit it to natural                                                                       
resources in terms of ballot initiatives," he added.  He                                                                        
suggested this would give a fair representation from around the                                                                 
state, that if something is important enough, there will be                                                                     
outreach and support for that concept statewide.                                                                                
CO-CHAIR OGAN agreed with the need to have those discussions,                                                                   
suggesting it might build some bridges to the rural communities.                                                                
He noted that one other state had required a certain percentage                                                                 
of voters in all the precincts, suggesting that way, the high                                                                   
population centers wouldn't drive an issue.                                                                                     
Number 238                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES said the constitution is clear that "only                                                                 
the legislature has the right to appropriate the people's                                                                       
resources, and only the legislature has the right to manage the                                                                 
resources of the people of the state."  She said she believes                                                                   
this court decision goes to the very heart of the management of                                                                 
Alaska's wildlife resources, and that she doesn't believe it is a                                                               
good decision.  She suggested that decision might cause grave                                                                   
harm to the state's resources in the future.                                                                                    
Number 255                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE mentioned the term "nonconsumptive user of                                                                 
our resources."  He pointed out that the greatest impact on our                                                                 
wildlife resources has been loss of habitat.  "If you exist on                                                                  
this earth, you have an impact and are, in fact, a consumptive                                                                  
user of resources," he added.  "And to put on a holier-than-thou                                                                
attitude that because you don't directly kill an animal you're a                                                                
nonconsumptive user drives me a little bit crazy."                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE BARNES concurred.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE cautioned that if there must be a certain                                                                  
percentage from every precinct, it would preclude rural residents                                                               
from coming to Anchorage to obtain signatures, for example; there                                                               
might be negative as well as positive impacts.  As far as                                                                       
eliminating the initiative process at all, he reminded members                                                                  
that people in the sport fishing community might want access to                                                                 
it, for example.  He said they are talking about amending the                                                                   
constitution, with long-range impacts, and people who would                                                                     
support the process of the Board of Game at this point might be                                                                 
very frustrated with the legislature and need some access.  He                                                                  
added, "So I don't want to close the door completely."                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE reminded members that this is a resource                                                                   
allocation issue.  Naming a number of issues, he concluded,                                                                     
"Remember that if we don't stand up and ask for good, solid                                                                     
scientific management of all these issues, when it comes to our                                                                 
issue there might not be anybody left to stand up."                                                                             
[HJR 3 was held over.]                                                                                                          

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