Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

04/03/2017 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
01:03:28 PM Start
01:04:34 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):
01:21:11 PM HB129
01:59:17 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearing: TELECONFERENCED
AK Board of Game
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
        HB 129-FISH & GAME: OFFENSES;LICENSES;PENALTIES                                                                     
1:21:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON announced  that the  final order  of business                                                               
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 129, "An Act relating  to sport fishing,                                                               
hunting,  or trapping  licenses,  tags, or  permits; relating  to                                                               
penalties  for  certain  sport  fishing,  hunting,  and  trapping                                                               
license violations;  relating to restrictions on  the issuance of                                                               
sport   fishing,  hunting,   and   trapping  licenses;   creating                                                               
violations and  amending fines and  restitution for  certain fish                                                               
and  game  offenses;  creating   an  exemption  from  payment  of                                                               
restitution  for certain  unlawful takings  of big  game animals;                                                               
relating to commercial fishing  violations; allowing lost federal                                                               
matching  funds   from  the  Pittman   -  Robertson,   Dingell  -                                                               
Johnson/Wallop -  Breaux programs to  be included in an  order of                                                               
restitution;  adding  a  definition  of  'electronic  form';  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
1:21:23 PM                                                                                                                    
BERNARD  CHASTAIN,  Major   and  Deputy  Director,  Headquarters,                                                               
Division of Alaska Wildlife Troopers  (AWT), Department of Public                                                               
Safety (DPS),  said two substantive  changes from House  Bill 286                                                               
[proposed in the  29th Alaska State Legislature] found  in HB 129                                                               
are:   1.   Some  restitution amounts  for big  game animals  are                                                               
changed in section 17; 2.  Section  18 was added to direct that a                                                               
person who self-reports may not be ordered to pay restitution.                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  relayed that  the  Department  of Law  (DOL)                                                               
advised self-reported  unlawful takings  in 2014 totaled  111, in                                                               
2015  totaled  115,  and  in   2016  totaled  114,  numbers  that                                                               
represent approximately 33  percent of big game  cases handled by                                                               
AWT each  year statewide.   He remarked  on the number  of people                                                               
who  have tried  to mitigate  harm and  questioned whether  self-                                                               
reported cases  will rise - in  a disingenuous way -  in response                                                               
to the legislation.                                                                                                             
MAJOR CHASTAIN stated  AWT and ADFG have in the  last five to ten                                                               
years encouraged  self-reporting.   He expressed his  belief that                                                               
the legislation  will not  lead to  an increase  in self-reported                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  asked  for   an  estimate  of  unreported                                                               
violations, and whether there is any data in this regard.                                                                       
MAJOR  CHASTAIN said  the number  is hard  to know;  missions and                                                               
measures for  his division seek  a 95-96 percent  compliance rate                                                               
based on the  number of violations that are  discovered, which is                                                               
consistent  year-around;  for  example, for  one  hundred  people                                                               
contacted,  four to  five violations  are found.   Otherwise,  he                                                               
said  he  did  not  have  an answer.    In  further  response  to                                                               
Representative Parish, he clarified  that the one hundred contact                                                               
rate reflects hunting, fishing, and trapping.                                                                                   
1:27:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  referred to a  change in the  bill [found                                                               
on page 2, lines 13 and 17].                                                                                                    
MAJOR CHASTAIN  explained the addition  of "this or" in  the bill                                                               
[on page  2, lines 13  and 17] means a  person may not  receive a                                                               
sport fishing, hunting,  or trapping license if  said license has                                                               
been revoked in another state or in Alaska.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON called  attention to the bill  [on page 3,                                                               
line  29]  and   asked  whether  a  transfer   station  would  be                                                               
considered a solid waste disposal facility.                                                                                     
MAJOR CHASTAIN was unsure and said  he would provide an answer to                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON concluded  that the  bill provides  "stiffer"                                                               
fines  for  restitution  and is  easier  to  prosecute;  however,                                                               
changing crimes to violations means  violators are not subject to                                                               
criminal jailtime.                                                                                                              
MAJOR CHASTAIN agreed  that the bill provides more  tools for law                                                               
enforcement  and   for  prosecution   in  that   prosecutors  may                                                               
determine  appropriate  charges,   and  restitution  amounts  are                                                               
increased to reflect inflation.                                                                                                 
1:32:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  recalled AWT's current practice  is to not                                                               
charge a  full fee to  those who self-report.   He asked  for the                                                               
number  of violators  who have  self-reported and  have not  been                                                               
MAJOR CHASTAIN said the overwhelming  majority of those who self-                                                               
report  is  charged  a  violation   offense  with  no  additional                                                               
restitution.     In   a  few   cases   judges  have   implemented                                                               
restitution,  thus the  bill will  prevent adding  restitution to                                                               
certain violation offenses.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE  directed attention  to the bill  on page                                                               
5, line 28, which read:                                                                                                         
     (c) A defendant may not be ordered to pay restitution                                                                      
     under (b) of this section                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE  suggested "may  not" should  be replaced                                                               
with "shall not."                                                                                                               
1:34:54 PM                                                                                                                    
AARON  PETERSON, Assistant  Attorney General,  Office of  Special                                                               
Prosecutions,  Fish and  Game, Criminal  Division, Department  of                                                               
Law, advised that "... when  'shall' is accompanied by a negative                                                               
word, the word  'shall' usually means 'may' in  fact, so, because                                                               
what's  being negated  is the  permission, not  the requirement."                                                               
He concluded  that the legislation  as currently drafted  is most                                                               
correct and this is "widely understood."                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE WESTLAKE pointed out  that many people affected by                                                               
the proposed  legislation are "  ... people that don't  have very                                                               
much money that are out there  doing these things and they aren't                                                               
going to be  ... able to hire people to  go defend themselves and                                                               
I really don't want any wiggle room  for a judge over there to be                                                               
arguing  semantics ...."   He  stressed the  legislature's intent                                                               
should be clear.                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON asked Mr. Peterson  if the legislation directs                                                               
that the defendant cannot be ordered to pay restitution.                                                                        
MR. PETERSON  said yes,  the correct  grammatical reading  of the                                                               
bill is  that they may not  and "they do not  have the discretion                                                               
to order restitution as it's currently drafted."                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH asked  why certain  offenders have  had to                                                               
pay restitution.                                                                                                                
MAJOR CHASTAIN noted  his experience has shown that  each case is                                                               
different, and  a judge  or magistrate  in a  local area  has the                                                               
ability  to  use  discretion,  and  decide  that  restitution  is                                                               
necessary.     His   division   provides   DOL  with   sentencing                                                               
recommendations  and the  current directive  to troopers  is that                                                               
restitution should not be applied to self-reported cases.                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON  asked for  the  penalties  that could  still                                                               
apply to an offender who immediately self-reports.                                                                              
1:42:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR CHASTAIN stated that currently,  taking an illegal moose is                                                               
a  misdemeanor and  a person  who self-reports  and salvages  the                                                               
meat can have his/her charge  reduced to a violation offense with                                                               
a penalty under AS 12.55 of  a maximum of $500; however, a person                                                               
who  does  not  self-report  and  is  caught  can  be  charged  a                                                               
misdemeanor with  the possibility of jailtime,  the forfeiture of                                                               
equipment, the revocation of licenses, and more.                                                                                
1:43:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PETERSON,  in response to Co-Chair  Josephson, clarified that                                                               
a  previous  offense  could be  used  for  "historical  reference                                                               
purposes"; for  example, if  a person took  a sublegal  moose and                                                               
next  year did  the  same,  DPS and  DOL  would consider  his/her                                                               
history of offenses.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  inquired  as   to  DPS's  position  on  a                                                               
proposed  amendment  to section  18  adding  a third  stipulation                                                               
"that  it  was  their  only  offense  within,  say,  a  five-year                                                               
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  opined  that adding  another  stipulation  is  a                                                               
policy  decision  and his  division  would  not have  a  concern;                                                               
however,  he  cautioned  against   taking  tools  away  from  law                                                               
enforcement and  establishing in statute language  "that somewhat                                                               
boxes us in."                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH pointed out  his amendment would be related                                                               
only to paying restitution.                                                                                                     
1:48:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON opened public testimony.                                                                                     
1:48:26 PM                                                                                                                    
THOR   STACEY,  speaking   as  the   lobbyist   for  the   Alaska                                                               
Professional  Hunters Association  (APHA), directed  attention to                                                               
section 18  as related  to animals  that need  sealing.   He said                                                               
when  a sheep  is harvested,  to determine  if it  is legal,  the                                                               
horns are  presented to  ADFG where  a qualified  expert catalogs                                                               
and  records the  animal.   If  the animal  is not  legal by  the                                                               
state's definition, it is confiscated.   Mr. Stacey stressed that                                                               
presenting  the  horns  to  ADFG   is  obviously  voluntary,  but                                                               
questioned whether  that action  is considered "an  immediate and                                                               
voluntary  turn-in."   This  could also  apply to  a  bear.   The                                                               
Alaska  Professional Hunters  Association  suggests  that from  a                                                               
hunting guide's  perspective, immediate  reporting may  require a                                                               
wildlife trooper  to fly to the  hunter's location.  If  a hunter                                                               
does not  believe an  animal is  illegal, the  concern is  that a                                                               
hunter may  be in a  remote location and  thus time is  needed to                                                               
get back to town  and present the animal to be  sealed.  He noted                                                               
this question has previously arisen.                                                                                            
MAJOR CHASTAIN gave  the example of Dall sheep  that are required                                                               
to be  sealed.  He acknowledged  a guide may not  know whether an                                                               
animal is  legal, but  big game  guides are  trained and  paid to                                                               
know the size  of an animal taken.   However, if a  sheep that is                                                               
grossly  illegal is  brought in  by a  first-time hunter  "we may                                                               
have to  look at that  differently."   Also, any guide  or hunter                                                               
has the ability to  call in and report an animal  that may not be                                                               
legal, therefore one does not have  to wait until it is presented                                                               
to ADFG to be sealed.                                                                                                           
MR. STACEY  agreed a professional guide  does have a role  in the                                                               
chain of  responsibility and his  remarks are provided  on behalf                                                               
of APHA and its client-hunters.                                                                                                 
1:55:03 PM                                                                                                                    
AL  BARRETTE  spoke  in  support  of the  bill,  except  for  the                                                               
difficult position of AWTs when they  are acting on behalf of the                                                               
executive branch and  make judicial decisions in the  field or in                                                               
the office.  He said Major  Chastain has fully explained the bill                                                               
and there  are forthcoming amendments.   In response  to Co-Chair                                                               
Josephson,  he  said the  amendments  are  related to  rescinding                                                               
taxidermy licenses,  the second degree of  kindred in determining                                                               
bag limits, and allowing legally harvested big game to be sold.                                                                 
1:58:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOSEPHSON, after  ascertaining  no one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
[HB 129 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 129 02.14.17 Transmittal Letter.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB 129 Sectional.pdf HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB0129 Fiscal Note DFG 2.15.17.PDF HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB0129 Fiscal Note DPS 2.15.17.PDF HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB0129A.PDF HRES 3/29/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
Stanley Hoffman_Redacted.pdf HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
Board of Game
Adam Trombley 2015_Redacted.pdf HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
Big Game Commercial Services Board
HB 129 Dept of Law Email.htm HRES 4/3/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 129