Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 124

02/15/2006 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 300(O&G) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 324(RES) Out of Committee
Moved CSHJR 14(RES) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
HJR 14-URGE CONGRESS TO GRANT LAND TO UNIVERSITY                                                                              
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS  announced that next  order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 14,  Urging the United States Congress                                                               
to pass legislation to convey land to the University of Alaska.                                                                 
JIM VAN HORN, Staff to  Representative Jim Elkins, sponsor of HJR
14, said  the resolution  urges Congress  to pass  legislation to                                                               
convey  federal land  to the  University  of Alaska.   It  voices                                                               
support for a federal university  land bill introduced by Senator                                                               
Lisa  Murkowski.   As  the  largest landholder  in  Alaska it  is                                                               
important  that the  federal government  support  the land  grant                                                               
University  of Alaska  to make  it financially  independent.   He                                                               
referred  to   the  land  grant   passed  by  the   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature last  year.   This land grant  package will  give the                                                               
university as  much as 760,000  acres and  make them the  envy of                                                               
universities around  the globe,  he said.   He  said HJR  14 will                                                               
tell Congress how important the  United States Senate Bill 293 is                                                               
to Alaskans.   He referred to  the committee packet and  a report                                                               
by  Terrence  Cole called,  "A  Land  Grant College  without  the                                                               
Land," which stated that from 1917  to 1946, the total revenue to                                                               
the university from  land sales and rentals was  only $227.50 due                                                               
to  the lack  of adequate  surveys  of land  that was  originally                                                               
conveyed to the university, he said.                                                                                            
1:56:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS  said the most  valuable piece of  legislation in                                                               
2005 was  the university  land grant bill.   He  supports getting                                                               
land out  of the  hands of  the public and  getting money  to the                                                               
1:58:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR SAMUELS asked  about the resolve of line  11 that allows                                                               
for public  access to fishing  streams, and he  expressed concern                                                               
that land will be eliminated due to this resolve.                                                                               
MR.  VAN  HORN  said  that  was inserted  by  the  House  Special                                                               
Committee  on  Education.    He  said the  Senate  bill  is  very                                                               
specific as to the sideboards  in transferring the lands, but the                                                               
committee added it and the sponsor  had no objection.  He said he                                                               
has  no   knowledge  of   how  much   land  that   might  entail.                                                               
Traditional  access   should  be   maintained  for   fishing  and                                                               
recreation, he said.                                                                                                            
1:59:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS said he thought  there was a bill last year                                                               
that  the committee  passed that  required access  to fishing  on                                                               
state lands.                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR SAMUELS  said the  bill allowed the  state to  buy lands                                                               
for public access.   The fear he has is that,  "We want the land,                                                               
whether or  not there  is public  access or  not, and  then we're                                                               
going to  tell the  university not  to mess with  it.   You don't                                                               
want the feds to come in  here...try to find enough land and stay                                                               
50 feet  from every stream and  every river in Alaska,  and every                                                               
hunting,  dog mushing,  motorized  vehicle, mining,  recreational                                                               
trail and try  to find a quarter million acres  that don't have a                                                               
stream running  through them."   He  said he  would defer  to Joe                                                               
Beedle to see if he is reading too much into the wording.                                                                       
2:01:02 PM                                                                                                                    
JOE  BEEDLE, Vice  President of  Finance,  University of  Alaska,                                                               
thanked  the committee  for  state  land that  was  given to  the                                                               
university last  year.   He said the  university is  working with                                                               
the Alaska congressional delegation on Senate Bill 293.                                                                         
CO-CHAIR  SAMUELS said  he would  rather tell  the university  to                                                               
provide public  access and take  care of the streams  rather than                                                               
tell the "feds" that the state doesn't want those lands.                                                                        
MR.  BEEDLE said  the language  is  a "limiting  issue," and  the                                                               
university  agrees  with Co-Chair  Samuel's  assessment.   It  is                                                               
redundant with state  regulations, he added.   He recommends that                                                               
that section be removed and to address the issue in the future.                                                                 
2:04:20 PM                                                                                                                    
DICK  MYLIUS,  Acting  Director,  Division of  Mining,  Land  and                                                               
Water,  Department  of Natural  Resources  (DNR),  said when  the                                                               
state acquires land from the  federal government, it prefers that                                                               
the land  be unencumbered.   He said  the legislature  can impose                                                               
restrictions for public  access.  If Congress did  deal with such                                                               
language, he thinks the state  would advocate that it just allows                                                               
for certain  easements to  be reserved  to insure  public access,                                                               
but  "you wouldn't  want to  have some  provision where  Congress                                                               
could  actually  reject  parcels  because they  want  to  protect                                                               
public access.  That would not be a good thing to have."                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS said  there needs  to be  a covenant  that                                                               
guarantees  access   after  the   land  is  transferred   to  the                                                               
university,  and  he  is  not  sure  the  state  would  have  the                                                               
authority to require access after  the land is transferred to the                                                               
university without a covenant in the transfer.                                                                                  
2:06:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  how  the  legislature could  ensure                                                               
public access for land that is transferred to the university.                                                                   
MR. MYLIUS said he does not know.                                                                                               
MR. BEEDLE  said the  university is  subject to  the constitution                                                               
and  the  laws  of  the  state.   He  said  there  are  laws  for                                                               
anadromous streams that the university  would have to follow.  He                                                               
said the legislature can put on additional restraints.                                                                          
2:07:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS  asked if  the state  would be  required to                                                               
pay for the access.                                                                                                             
MR. BEEDLE  said it  depends.   If it is  a protected  right, the                                                               
university could  not charge  for it.   If  it was  an additional                                                               
right or a  special easement such as power  lines, the university                                                               
could charge for it.                                                                                                            
2:08:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR SAMUELS said the legislature could do as it sees fit.                                                                  
2:09:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR SAMUELS moved Amendment 1 as follows:                                                                                  
     Page 2, lines 11-14:                                                                                                       
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
Hearing no objections, Amendment 1 carried.                                                                                     
2:09:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS moved to report  HJR 14, as amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.   Hearing  no objections,  CSHJR 14(RES)  was moved                                                               
out of the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                  

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