Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 124
02/15/2006 01:00 PM RESOURCES
Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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 university. 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.