Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124
02/23/2018 01:00 PM RESOURCES
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HB 267-RELEASE HUNTING/FISHING RECORDS TO MUNI 1:04:46 PM CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 267, "An Act requiring the release of certain records relating to big game hunters, guided hunts, and guided sport fishing activities to municipalities for verification of taxes payable; and providing for an effective date." [Before the committee was CSHB 267(CRA).] CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON opened public testimony. 1:05:38 PM NIKKI REED, Assistant Finance Officer, Lake and Peninsula Borough, read testimony on behalf of Susan Edwards, Finance Officer, Lake and Peninsula Borough, as follows: Mr. Chairman and committee members, Passage of HB 267 would mean additional revenue to the Lake and Peninsula Borough. The money collected would support our schools, their programs, capital projects, and as leverage for grants. In these times of shrinking revenue - sharing expenditures by the state - we and every other borough are looking to maximize local revenue sources. There are two points I would particularly like to bring to the committee's attention: First, having access to the hunt reports would help streamline [the] fall collection process, eliminate paperwork for the guides, ensure that every hunting guide doing business within the borough was paying for the harvesting of borough resources. Secondly, is the issue of confidentiality that has been raised. Both myself and the assistant finance officer, Nikki Reed, are members of the Alaska Government Finance Officers Association which has [a] confidentiality clause in its code of ethics. Mrs. Reed is a licensed paralegal with all the strictures of confidentiality that comes with that certification. Our borough code has its own confidentiality policy, and the amendment to HB 267 which adds state criminal penalties. I can certainly speak to the integrity of our office and believe that I can speak for my AGFOA colleagues across the state. We take our responsibilities seriously because it is a matter of public trust; without that there would be no government. Mrs. Reed would be happy to answer any of your questions. 1:09:31 PM NATHAN HILL, Manager, Lake and Peninsula Borough, informed the committee he is a lifelong Alaska resident. He said the borough supports HB 267 for several reasons: the borough code requires professional hunting and fishing guides to register with the borough and pay a nominal per person per day use tax on professional guides conducting guided fishing and hunting parties within the borough boundaries; the tax is similar to those on commercial fisheries' activities and other activities of commerce. The tax is imposed on everyone, not just local businesses, and without access to [state] reports, the borough cannot independently verify if the activities reported are correct. [HB 267] would make taxes equitable to all operators who are paying taxes and complying, and fair to residents who depend on the resource. He restated Lake and Peninsula Borough's support for the passage of HB 267. 1:11:44 PM CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON, after ascertaining no one further wished to testify, closed public testimony. 1:12:23 PM REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER moved to adopt Amendment 1, labeled 30-LS0808\J.4, Bullard, 2/6/18, which read: Page 1, line 13, through page 2, line 3: Delete all material and insert: "(2) to a municipality that levies a tax on those activities, if the (A) information concerns hunts or activities occurring within the four calendar years preceding the date of the request; and (B) municipality (i) requests the records for the purpose of verifying taxes payable; and (ii) agrees to maintain the confidentiality of the records." Page 2, line 31, through page 3, line 2: Delete all material and insert: "(5) records or reports of guided sport fishing activities filed by a guide to a municipality that levies a tax on those activities if the (A) municipality requests the records for the purpose of verifying taxes payable; and (B) activities occurred within the four calendar years preceding the date of the request;" Page 4, lines 3 - 13: Delete all material. Renumber the following bill section accordingly. REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMAND objected for discussion purposes. REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER explained Amendment 1 limits the time a municipality is allowed to review [state] records to four years. 1:13:23 PM TIM CLARK, Staff, Representative Bryce Edgmon, Alaska State Legislature, on behalf of Representative Edgmon, sponsor, informed the committee Representative Edgmon has no objection to Amendment 1. REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND withdrew her objection. There being no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. 1:14:21 PM REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER moved to adopt Amendment 2, labeled 30- LS0808\J.5, Bullard, 2/19/18, which read: Page 2, following line 3: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 2. AS 08.54.760 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: (d) The department may charge a municipality a fee, set by the department under AS 37.10.050, to provide a record under (b)(2) of this section." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. Page 4, line 10: Delete "sec. 2" Insert "sec. 3" CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON objected for discussion purposes. REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER explained Amendment 2 grants the Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development (DCCED) the authority to charge a fee for providing a municipality access to records, in order to help offset the additional fiscal burden, and avoid the possibility of additional costs being assessed to guides and hunters. MR. CLARK said Representative Edgmon has no objection to Amendment 2. CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON removed his objection. 1:16:09 PM REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO objected for discussion purposes. 1:16:15 PM EPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER informed the committee he previously obtained approval for Amendments 1 and 2 from the sponsor of the bill. 1:16:28 PM REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO withdrew his objection. There being no further objection, Amendment 2 was adopted. 1:17:23 PM REPRESENTATIVE PARISH moved to adopt Conceptual Amendment 3, which read: Page 2, Line 15: After "reports." INSERT "The department may charge a municipality a fee, set by the department under AS 37.10.050, to provide a record under (5) of this subsection." REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER objected for discussion purposes. MR. CLARK said the sponsor of the bill has no objection to Conceptual Amendment 3. The purpose of the amendment is to allow the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, in addition to DCCED, to recoup expenses from the municipalities for its work, if warranted. In response to Co-Chair Josephson, he confirmed Amendments 2 and 3 merely refer to different departments, and are otherwise identical. REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER removed his objection. There being no further objection, Conceptual Amendment 3 was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER expressed reservations about excessive data collection and the four-year applicable time period; however, he said the parties most affected are supportive of the bill. 1:20:43 PM REPRESENTATIVE LINCOLN moved to report the committee substitute for HB 267(CRA), Version J, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHB 267(RES) was reported from the House Resources Standing Committee.