Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124

04/19/2021 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 98 FOREST LAND USE PLANS; TIMBER SALES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 22 SHARED ANIMAL AND RAW MILK/PRODUCTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 22 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
           HB 98-FOREST LAND USE PLANS; TIMBER SALES                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:23:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL NO. 98, "An  Act relating to forest land use plans;                                                               
relating to forest land use  plan appeals; relating to negotiated                                                               
timber sales; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:25:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRONK  moved to  adopt  Amendment  12 to  HB  98,                                                               
[labeled 32-GH1607\A.24, Bullard/Radford, 4/19/21], which read:                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, following line 3:                                                                                                  
          Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                    
        "* Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of                                                                    
     Alaska is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                                         
          LEGISLATIVE INTENT. It is the intent of the                                                                           
      legislature that, when deliberating whether a timber                                                                      
        sale is in the best interests of the state under                                                                        
        AS 38.05, the commissioner of natural resources                                                                         
        consider, in addition to any factors required by                                                                        
     statute, the extent to which the sale may provide                                                                          
               (1)  economic benefits resulting from                                                                            
                    (A)  the local manufacture of high                                                                          
     value-added wood products; and                                                                                             
                    (B)  local processing of the timber                                                                         
        undertaken by the purchaser, including the local                                                                        
     manufacture of other value-added wood products;                                                                            
               (2)  the creation and maintenance of a                                                                           
     stable local job base; and                                                                                                 
               (3)  other foreseeable benefits to the state                                                                     
     and local economy."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 4:                                                                                                            
          Delete "Section 1"                                                                                                  
          Insert "Sec. 2"                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:25:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK  explained his  reasoning for  Amendment 12.                                                               
He noted HB 98 would repeal  AS 38.05.123 and replace it with the                                                               
language in the  bill on page 6, [paragraphs 1-6  on lines 4-10].                                                               
He  stated that  this language  is vague  and therefore  he would                                                               
like to include some intent language to provide clarification.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:25:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   HOPKINS  asked   which   amendment  this   would                                                               
supersede to remove from the committee packet.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK stated Representative  Rauscher will clarify which                                                               
proposed amendment will be deleted if Amendment 12 is passed.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS, regarding the  deliberations on whether a                                                               
timber sale would be in the  best interest of the state, inquired                                                               
if  it  would   be  for  the  best  interest   finding  that  the                                                               
commissioner is  charged with  doing before  moving forward  on a                                                               
timber  sale, and  that the  legislature would  be intending  for                                                               
these to be included in the department's efforts.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK replied yes.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  said he  strongly supports  this language                                                               
and these goals.   He asked why not put them in  the bill so that                                                               
they are  required to  be looked at,  whereas intent  language is                                                               
not  nearly   as  strong  if   the  goal  is  to   support  local                                                               
manufacturing products.   He said he has in this  in his district                                                               
as well and wants to see them succeed.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRONK responded  that it  was discussed  with the                                                               
commissioner,  and   it  was  felt  that   this  intent  language                                                               
clarifies paragraphs (1-6) that have been added.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS   said  he  will  probably   support  the                                                               
amendment in  the end, but  he thinks the clarification  could be                                                               
made clear  by including it in  statute within the bill  and that                                                               
that would be a better way.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:27:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS stated  he  supports this  intent, but  he                                                               
also has some amendments on  local manufacturers, local hire, and                                                               
local contractors.   He said he  hopes this can be  done, as well                                                               
as go a little further.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:28:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN said  she supports  this intent  language,                                                               
but wishes  it were  in statute  as it is  currently.   She noted                                                               
[the   proposed]  intent   language   is  very   similar  to   AS                                                               
38.05.123(e), which is being repealed  in this bill because it is                                                               
only to these negotiated sales  and the negotiated sales is being                                                               
changed in location  in the statute.  The  language that requires                                                               
local  manufacturing  analysis  and   local  job  base  is  being                                                               
deleted, and she  continues to think it's a mistake  for the bill                                                               
to go forward and not keep  the local use provisions that already                                                               
exist  in  law.    She   will  support  the  amendment  with  the                                                               
legislative intent, she continued, but  hopes it can still be put                                                               
in the  statute because  it does  not hurt  to underscore  in two                                                               
ways that  the goal, the  use by  Alaskans for jobs  and personal                                                               
use, is always  of substantial value to Alaskans  and the reasons                                                               
there have  been timber  wars.  [The  committee] wants  to ensure                                                               
the timber  is available for  Alaskans to  be used in  Alaska for                                                               
their  homes, jobs,  and businesses.   She  reiterated she  would                                                               
like to see it in statute but will support the intent language.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:29:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK requested Mr. Dabney  of the Department of Natural                                                               
Resources or  Mr. Orman of  the Department  of Law to  comment on                                                               
the effects of Amendment 12.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:30:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM DABNEY,  Acting State Forester, Acting  Director, Division of                                                               
Forestry, Department  of Natural Resources (DNR),  responded that                                                               
the  intent language  proposed by  Representative Cronk  is good.                                                               
He said it  is aligned with DNR's support of  Alaska jobs.  Also,                                                               
he  continued, it  is  aligned with  at least  three  of the  six                                                               
factors that  need to  be considered by  the commissioner  at [AS                                                               
38.05.110(c)],  specifically   local  timber   markets,  domestic                                                               
markets, and the local economy about a sale.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:31:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  inquired whether  Representative Rauscher                                                               
was going to talk about what  amendment would be removed from the                                                               
committee's consideration.   He  observed that Amendment  1 talks                                                               
specifically  about firewood,  a value-added  product, and  he is                                                               
assuming it  is Amendment 1 that  would be removed, yet  there is                                                               
no mention of firewood for any type of use in Amendment 12.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK offered  his belief that Amendments 1  and 2 would                                                               
not be offered if Amendment 12 is passed.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  responded that in reading  Amendment 12,                                                               
he  is  considering removing  Amendment  2.   Regarding  removing                                                               
Amendment 1,  he said he  would refer to Representative  Cronk as                                                               
to whether  he would  mind a  conceptual amendment  to a  word in                                                               
Amendment 12.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PATKOTAK  asked  what Representative  Rauscher's  specific                                                               
conceptual amendment would be to Amendment 12.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:33:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:34:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK summarized his  explanation of Amendment 12.                                                               
He said the amendment's intent  language is to add protections in                                                               
some areas that are vague.   He suggested that if Amendment 12 is                                                               
adopted, that Amendment 1 and Amendment 2 be presented.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PATKOTAK related  that during  the  at-ease the  committee                                                               
discussed  that Legislative  Legal  Services could  clean up  the                                                               
different iterations  of amendments to  make them into  a concise                                                               
committee substitute (CS), and that  was the route agreed upon by                                                               
the amendment sponsors.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:35:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PATKOTAK removed  his objection  to Amendment  12.   There                                                               
being no further objection, Amendment 12 was adopted.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:35:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER moved to  adopt Amendment 1, [labeled 32-                                                               
GH1607\A.23, Radford, 4/17/21], which read:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, following line 3:                                                                                                  
          Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                    
        "* Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of                                                                    
     Alaska is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                                         
          LEGISLATIVE INTENT. It is the intent of the                                                                           
     legislature   that  the   state   increase  the   areas                                                                    
     available  for  personal  use firewood  while  ensuring                                                                    
     that  the additional  areas  provide equitable  acreage                                                                    
     across the state in  reasonable proximity to population                                                                    
     areas and prioritize road access."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 4:                                                                                                            
          Delete "Section 1"                                                                                                  
          Insert "Sec. 2"                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:35:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  explained Amendment  1 would  add intent                                                               
language  that the  legislature agrees  the state  would increase                                                               
areas  available for  personal use  firewood while  ensuring that                                                               
additional areas  provide equitable  acreage across the  state in                                                               
reasonable proximity  to population  areas.   He said  the reason                                                               
for that is  because providing sales where people  must drive 100                                                               
miles to  get to it  provides no service  to the people,  so this                                                               
basically localizes it.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:36:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  asked  whether there  is  another  place                                                               
included  [in the  bill]  for  incentivizing commercial  interest                                                               
firewood sales.   He observed that the  committee packet includes                                                               
a letter  of support from  Aurora Energy Solutions, which  is the                                                               
wood  fired  kiln in  Fairbanks  where  very  small mom  and  pop                                                               
commercial entities bring  their cut wood from  various areas and                                                               
timber sales for drying.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked whether Representative  Hopkins is                                                               
offering a conceptual amendment.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  replied not  yet.   He stated  that while                                                               
the committee  is incentivizing sales for  personal use firewood,                                                               
he  is  wondering  whether  there is  also  the  opportunity  for                                                               
commercial use of these small firewood sales.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  responded he understands the  intent and                                                               
where Representative Hopkins  is going.  He said  the idea behind                                                               
this is  for much smaller use  because they are usually  left out                                                               
of the equation.   He doesn't have enough  research to understand                                                               
exactly where  Representative Hopkins wants  to go with  this, he                                                               
continued, but  understands the logic.   Because he  doesn't know                                                               
how much  of a detrimental  position [commercial  firewood users]                                                               
are in right now, it would be hard for him to commit.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS stated  he thinks it could  easily be done                                                               
on line  6 of the  amendment, but he will  let it pass  given his                                                               
intent is slightly different than the amendment sponsor's.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  requested Mr. Dabney  or Mr. Orman to  comment on                                                               
what Amendment 1 would look like administratively.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY  noted that  Amendment 1 is  intent language  and said                                                               
the  Division of  Forestry does  everything  it can  to meet  the                                                               
firewood needs of Alaskans.   The more citizens are encouraged to                                                               
contact their local forestry offices,  he advised, the better the                                                               
division  can provide  well distributed  firewood cutting  areas.                                                               
For example, the  division currently has about  10 firewood areas                                                               
in  the  Matanuska-Susitna  (Mat-Su)  Valley.    To  more  evenly                                                               
distribute firewood areas  so people don't have to  drive as far,                                                               
the division  is adding two  more areas  this summer.   He stated                                                               
that the  division will continue  providing firewood  to Alaskans                                                               
to heat  their homes.   The  division encourages  legislators and                                                               
local people to visit the  division's offices or check online and                                                               
let the  division know what it  can do to provide  that important                                                               
service to Alaskans.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:40:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTOPHER ORMAN, Assistant  Attorney General, Natural Resources                                                               
Section, Civil  Division Juneau Office, Department  of Law (DOL),                                                               
advised,  when thinking  about intent  language, to  consider how                                                               
well it  merges and  marries with  the substantive  provisions of                                                               
the  statutes.   He cautioned  that there  might be  some hiccups                                                               
with Amendment 1  a little more than with Amendment  12, but that                                                               
he would defer to the committee.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:41:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER summarized  regarding Amendment  1.   He                                                               
said  the current  administration  is doing  a  fantastic job  of                                                               
providing  firewood   and  timber   sales  for  people   who  are                                                               
requesting them, but he doesn't agree  that it's been that way in                                                               
the past.   So, he  continued, the  intent language is  for 10-15                                                               
years from  now when  this administration is  long gone,  and the                                                               
intent of the bill's language is trying to be understood.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:42:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:42:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PATKOTAK removed  his  objection to  Amendment  1.   There                                                               
being no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:42:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  said  he   would  remove  Amendment  2,                                                               
[labeled 32-GH1607\A.22, Radford, 4/17/21].                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PATKOTAK  explained that  Amendment  2,  in the  committee                                                               
packet, would not be offered.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:42:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  moved to adopt Amendment  3, [labeled 32-                                                               
GH1607\A.20, Radford, 4/16/21].                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, line 8:                                                                                                            
          Delete "and"                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, following line 8:                                                                                                  
          Insert new paragraphs to read:                                                                                        
               "(6)  detrimental effects on the surrounding                                                                 
     environment, including erosion, drainage, and riparian                                                                 
     stability;                                                                                                             
             (7) effects on wildlife habitat; and"                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following paragraph accordingly.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:42:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  explained   his  reasons  for  proposing                                                               
Amendment 3.   He pointed out  that all the criteria  in the best                                                               
interest findings of  the state are economic in nature.   He said                                                               
he  believes a  more wide-ranging  look at  the impacts  of sales                                                               
should  be taken  than simply  an economic  impact.   Amendment 3                                                               
would get to  some of that, he continued, such  as concerns about                                                               
riparian stability, which  is the banks along  rivers and streams                                                               
that are  incredibly sensitive; erosion impacts  from sustainable                                                               
harvesting, which  is the ground qualification  and stability; as                                                               
well as  effects on wildlife  habitat, including fish  given that                                                               
fewer  than  half of  Alaska's  anadromous  streams and  spawning                                                               
grounds are  currently mapped and this  could be one of  the only                                                               
ways  to have  an opportunity  to ensure  strong salmon  habitat.                                                               
Representative Hopkins advised  that this does not  stop a forest                                                               
sale from happening but could just  move the sale back a few feet                                                               
from  the river  or stream  banks to  ensure maintenance  of that                                                               
habitat.   The  state has  dwindling salmon  streams and  fishing                                                               
grounds,  he noted,  and  this is  critical  to maintaining  that                                                               
while still allowing the process  to move forward at an expedited                                                               
rate, which is the goal of HB 98 for timber sales and harvests.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  requested Mr. Dabney  provide an overview  of the                                                               
administrative effects of Amendment 3.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:44:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY responded  that looking at the  detrimental effects on                                                               
surrounding environment  and the effects on  wildlife habitat are                                                               
already in statute under the  Forest Resources and Protection Act                                                               
(FRPA)  at   AS  41.17  and   its  regulations  [in   the  Alaska                                                               
Administrative Code  (AAC)] at Section  11 AAC 95.   He specified                                                               
that  AS 41.17.115,  management of  riparian areas,  specifically                                                               
addresses the  protection measures  for riparian issues,  such as                                                               
erosion, drainage, and  stability.  He further  specified that AS                                                               
41.17.098  affords wildlife  habitat  protections  and gives  the                                                               
Alaska  Department of  Fish  and Game  (ADF&G)  due deference  on                                                               
state lands  for wildlife habitat.   He stated that  the division                                                               
considers  these  items  as part  of  determining  any  potential                                                               
adverse environmental impacts  of a timber sale.   He offered his                                                               
belief  that  Amendment  3  probably   isn't  necessary  in  this                                                               
location  under  110(c)  because  110(c) looks  at  the  type  of                                                               
provision or contract that would be  used to sell timber.  So, he                                                               
advised, 110(c) is more about the  market and what kind of timber                                                               
sale  contract  the  division  is  going to  use  as  opposed  to                                                               
considerations associated with environmental impacts.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK asked whether it is  fair to say that if Amendment                                                               
3  is passed,  then it  wouldn't necessarily  considerably change                                                               
how the  commissioner administers management plans  because it is                                                               
almost  in duplicity  to something  that  is mentioned  somewhere                                                               
else.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY answered  that both the best interest  finding and the                                                               
forest land  use plan  (FLUP) must  adhere to FRPA.   He  said he                                                               
therefore doesn't  believe it necessary to  include [Amendment 3]                                                               
as an  item to consider  because it  wouldn't be relevant  to the                                                               
commissioner's decision for which type of contract to use.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  inquired whether  Amendment 3  would considerably                                                               
hamper the commissioner's ability to implement a FLUP.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DABNEY replied  no,  it would  not  impact the  department's                                                               
ability to adopt a FLUP.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:49:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS spoke  in support of Amendment 3.   He said                                                               
he has been thinking about  areas where timber sales could occur,                                                               
and maybe in some areas there  aren't competing uses and maybe in                                                               
some areas  there are.   Riparian habitat certainly  matters when                                                               
there is a jet boat operator  taking fishermen upriver to fish on                                                               
a  creek where  water quality  has  an impact  on production  and                                                               
therefore local  jobs.  In  areas where tourism is  important the                                                               
viewshed must  be taken  into account.   He  stated he  hears the                                                               
department  saying one  could argue  that  this isn't  necessary,                                                               
however if the committee is going  to pass this bill, then it's a                                                               
good  thing  to  be  responsive  to  some  of  the  citizens  the                                                               
committee has  heard from about  these competing uses  and ensure                                                               
there's a balance.  It's a  matter of emphasis, he continued, and                                                               
it  shows  that the  committee  respects  what can  sometimes  be                                                               
competing interests.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:50:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 1:50 p.m. to 1:52 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:52:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK stated that part of  HB 98 is a long overdue                                                               
cleaning  up  of  redundancies   and,  as  the  department  said,                                                               
Amendment 3  is redundant because  there is already  AS 41.17.115                                                               
and 41.17.098.  Because the purpose  was to clean this up and not                                                               
have redundancies, he said he must oppose Amendment 3.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK noted HB 98  is the administration's bill and said                                                               
the  purpose of  his back-and-forth  on  Amendment 3  is that  it                                                               
doesn't  gut  or take  away  the  intent  of  the bill  from  the                                                               
administration's standpoint.  He asked Mr. Dabney to clarify.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY  responded that the  main point  here is that  the six                                                               
factors  [proposed  for  addition]   under  AS  38.05.110(c)  are                                                               
factors  that the  commissioner is  to consider  when determining                                                               
what type of contract is going  to be used to harvest the timber,                                                               
not what types of environmental analysis  are going to be done to                                                               
make a  determination for the  best interest finding.   These are                                                               
very important aspects of FRPA, he  said, and it is inherent that                                                               
that's  what  the  department  is going  to  be  considering  and                                                               
analyzing as part of the best  interest finding.  It's not really                                                               
an item that would be appropriate,  he continued.  It's not going                                                               
to make a  difference whether it's a negotiated timber  sale or a                                                               
commercial  timber   sale  in  how   the  timber   is  harvested.                                                               
Regardless of  what the  contract type  is, the  same protections                                                               
are going to be afforded to the environment.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:55:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  voiced her  support of  Amendment 3.   She                                                               
noted  that in  this  cleanup the  administration has  repeatedly                                                               
said that  the idea  is to consolidate  the state's  timber sales                                                               
process from  three sections  of statute into  one.   The concern                                                               
she has  heard most from people  about the bill, she  related, is                                                               
the lack  of public process  and the truncating of  some appeals.                                                               
Amendment 3 speaks to a  couple of reasons that people frequently                                                               
appeal,  she said.   It  doesn't stop  [the department]  from the                                                               
sales,  and it  might be  a little  bit awkward,  but it  says to                                                               
anyone  critical  of  this  effort   that  those  concerns  about                                                               
riparian habitat are affirmed.   She pointed out that the appeals                                                               
process is being  shortened and put in one place  instead of two.                                                               
Amendment 3,  she added, affirms that  if state land is  used for                                                               
commercial   harvest  that   noncommercial  concerns   have  been                                                               
considered.   Representative Hannan agreed that  FRPA and federal                                                               
law require  [the state] to  do that  but stated that  putting it                                                               
into Alaska statutes says [the state]  is going to take that into                                                               
account, because  the most controversial timber  sales are always                                                               
when they are close to  communities and have multiple use demands                                                               
on that forest habitat.  It  does not stop those sales from going                                                               
forward  and  does  not  detract   from  the  considerations  the                                                               
commissioner might  have, she  continued, but  to people  who are                                                               
skeptical  that  this  consolidation   will  leave  them  out  it                                                               
footnotes that their  interests will be taken into  account.  She                                                               
said she will therefore vote yes on Amendment 3.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:57:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  summarized his reasoning on  Amendment 3.                                                               
He said  that in  looking at trust  and transparency  in Alaska's                                                               
process, the Forest Resources and  Protection Act (FRPA) is in an                                                               
entirely different title  of statute, Title 41,  versus Title 38,                                                               
which  is  being  dealt  with  today.    The  commissioner  shall                                                               
recognize fish  habitat as  the primary  value in  riparian areas                                                               
and they'd  work with the  commissioner of ADF&G, he  stated, but                                                               
there is  an entire  offset of  appeals opportunities  for people                                                               
who  disagree  or the  agency  to  disagree.   He  referenced  AS                                                               
41.17.098(f), "if a disagreement described  in (e)," which is the                                                               
due  deference to  ADF&G, "an  officer of  an agency  may require                                                               
reevaluation of  the disagreement  at a higher  level."   Many of                                                               
the concerns  expressed in  emails about  this bill,  he related,                                                               
also have to do with the  public's interest in areas spoken to by                                                               
Representative Fields, such as jobs  and tourism entities and the                                                               
opportunity to appeal  based on concerns about  habitat when they                                                               
might not  have had an  opportunity before through  AS 41.17.098.                                                               
He pointed out that Amendment 3  is not adding an additional step                                                               
of appeal.  As stated  by the department, he continued, Amendment                                                               
3  would  not negatively  impact  the  administration's goal  and                                                               
intent for HB  98.  Representative Hopkins noted  that the forest                                                               
management  plans  are  not  always   quickly  updated  with  new                                                               
information  as  that information  is  discovered.   Amendment  3                                                               
would  allow  that flexibility  as  more  anadromous streams  are                                                               
mapped, he continued, and would  allow that new knowledge to play                                                               
into  those decisions  going forward.   It  would not  hamper the                                                               
process,  he stated,  but simply  add  a level  of protection  to                                                               
ensure  the ability  to  have  multiple uses  in  one area  going                                                               
forward sustainably.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:00:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK removed his objection to Amendment 3.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:00:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK? objected to Amendment 3.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:00:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Fields, Hopkins,                                                               
Hannan,  Schrage, and  Patkotak voted  in favor  of Amendment  3.                                                               
Representatives  McKay,   Cronk,  Rauscher,  and   Gillham  voted                                                               
against it.   Therefore, Amendment 3 was adopted by  a vote of 5-                                                               
4.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:00:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  moved to adopt Amendment  4, [labeled 32-                                                               
GH1607\A.19, Radford, 4/17/21], which read:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, lines 1 - 2:                                                                                                       
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
        "(e)  A person may file only one appeal with the                                                                        
      commissioner regarding a best interest finding and a                                                                      
     decision to adopt a forest land use plan."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:00:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS explained  Amendment 4  would keep  it to                                                               
one  appeals process  or step  under the  best interest  findings                                                               
(BIFs) and  forest land use plans  (FLUPs).  He said  Amendment 4                                                               
would allow  an individual to  appeal a  BIF and/or a  FLUP under                                                               
one  appeal under  the Alaska  Administrative  Code (AAC),  which                                                               
would  be the  way the  standard appeals  process moves  forward.                                                               
The  ability  to  develop  these timber  harvests  would  not  be                                                               
delayed,  he   stated,  but  full  public   interest  and  public                                                               
transparency would be  allowed by not eliminating  the ability to                                                               
appeal  on a  FLUP.   As he  sees it,  he continued,  this is  in                                                               
consort  with the  intent of  the administration  for this  bill,                                                               
which  is to  expedite the  process  for getting  more timber  to                                                               
market, whether  it's local or  the trees are  shipped somewhere.                                                               
This doesn't  slow that down,  he reiterated, it simply  does not                                                               
eliminate an opportunity for Alaskans.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  requested Mr.  Dabney to  provide an  overview of                                                               
what Amendment 4 would cause administratively.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:02:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY responded that the intent  of HB 98 is to avoid having                                                               
redundant appeals,  and Amendment 4 would  allow the continuation                                                               
of  appeals on  subsequent FLUPs.    He offered  his belief  that                                                               
Representative Hopkins'  intent is  to afford an  opportunity for                                                               
interested parties,  typically those  who live and  recreate near                                                               
harvesting areas, to  have some influence at the  forest land use                                                               
plan stage,  basically how the  harvest is conducted.   He stated                                                               
that the Division  of Forestry will continue its  long history of                                                               
working with the public to allow  public input and comment at the                                                               
FLUP  stage.   Working  with  commenters at  the  FLUP stage  the                                                               
Division of Forestry regularly modifies  harvest units to address                                                               
visual impacts  as well as  windthrow.  He  said his read  of the                                                               
amendment's language  is that it  does not quite meet  the intent                                                               
of Representative  Hopkins because  most of  the appeals  seem to                                                               
come from  groups and  there are signatories  of persons  who are                                                               
members of those  groups.  His interpretation  of the amendment's                                                               
language, he  continued, is that  a person who  is a member  of a                                                               
group could appeal  at the BIF stage, and then  another member of                                                               
the  group  could  appeal  at  the  FLUP  stage,  thereby  having                                                               
redundant appeals.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK requested Mr. Orman's comment on Amendment 4.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:05:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ORMAN stated  that Mr. Dabney covered most of  the issues and                                                               
concerns here.   He  explained that,  currently, forest  land use                                                               
plans can be administratively appealed  pursuant to AS 44.37.011.                                                               
With [the change proposed in  Amendment 4], he said, the apparent                                                               
goal  is that  either the  person  can appeal  the best  interest                                                               
finding or appeal the forest land  use plan.  But, as pointed out                                                               
by Mr.  Dabney the  problem is that  subsequent now,  forest land                                                               
use plans could still be  appealed ostensibly because it seems as                                                               
though the idea here is that  the best interest finding is almost                                                               
merging with  this one forest  land use plan.   He noted  that an                                                               
issue not raised  by Mr. Dabney is  how to then track  this.  How                                                               
does the  Division of Forestry  track that somebody  appealed the                                                               
best interest finding and ensure  that that has already happened,                                                               
and then the division would  be saying "you're precluded now from                                                               
appealing the forest land use  plan because you appealed the best                                                               
interest  finding?"   He  referenced  the  example cited  by  Mr.                                                               
Dabney and  stated it almost then  opens the door as  well to the                                                               
idea that not only will  best interest findings still be appealed                                                               
as HB  98 considers, but then  that forest land use  plans can be                                                               
appealed.   It just  simply becomes  who ends  up filing  and who                                                               
then presents  the appeal at  a certain  specific time.   Some of                                                               
the  legal  issues here,  he  summarized,  are  how it  would  be                                                               
tracked, how  it would be applied,  the denial of an  appeal, the                                                               
process and showing  by the department when an  appeal is denied,                                                               
and then  that determination  decision.   He said  he understands                                                               
the intent  and the goal of  the amendment, but that  it raises a                                                               
lot  of  issues  that  then become  secondary  to  this  language                                                               
pursuant to appeal.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:07:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCHRAGE inquired about  removing the best interest                                                               
finding from the amendment language  so that it just pertained to                                                               
the forest  land use plan.   He asked how that  would differ than                                                               
what is proposed in the underlying  bill, and how it would affect                                                               
the number of appeals available to the forest land use plan.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ORMAN responded that he  will answer from a legal perspective                                                               
and surmised that  Mr. Dabney will want to respond  from a policy                                                               
component.  He stated that the idea  in HB 98 is that forest land                                                               
use  plans  will  not  be  administratively  appealed,  but  best                                                               
interest findings  will remain  appealable.   So, he  advised, if                                                               
the  provision  about forest  land  use  plans is  removed  [from                                                               
Amendment  4], it  somewhat mirrors  what is  the intent  and the                                                               
goal of HB 98.  The  difference is that HB 98 clearly articulates                                                               
in Section  4(e) that forest  land use plans are  not appealable.                                                               
He said  he thinks the  problem here would  be that a  person may                                                               
file  only one  appeal  with the  commissioner  regarding a  best                                                               
interest  finding if  that  was it  and  was left  to  that.   He                                                               
further  said  he thinks  there'd  be  some confusion  about  the                                                               
forest  land use  plan and  then its  appeal without  the section                                                               
that's been  drafted in the current  bill of HB 98.   He deferred                                                               
to Mr. Dabney for further response.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCHRAGE rephrased  his question  for Mr.  Dabney.                                                               
He  asked whether  currently, without  implementation  of HB  98,                                                               
FLUPs can be appealed more than  once or whether there is a limit                                                               
of just once.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:10:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY  answered that as  part of the adoption  process FLUPs                                                               
can be  appealed, there is an  appeal period, and FLUPs  are only                                                               
eligible to be  appealed once.  He stated that  each harvest unit                                                               
has a  FLUP - and here  now he is talking  about subsequent FLUPs                                                               
to the BIF - and there is  only one appeal period for each forest                                                               
land use plan.   So, he continued, a single  forest land use plan                                                               
could not be appealed by the same person multiple times.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SCHRAGE  opined that  this gets to  his underlying                                                               
concern with  the bill, which  is that  he thinks there  is value                                                               
with  the FLUPs  being appealable.   He  said he  understands the                                                               
department's concern that  when the FLUPs aren't  available to be                                                               
produced  at the  same time  as the  best interest  finding, then                                                               
later they are subsequently produced  and those then get appealed                                                               
and it draws  out the entire process.  But,  he reiterated, there                                                               
is value in being able to appeal  that FLUP.  If Amendment 4 were                                                               
to  be  amended  to  remove  the  verbiage  about  best  interest                                                               
finding, he stated, it would  make him much more comfortable with                                                               
this bill in allowing the appeal of the FLUPs to continue.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:12:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   RAUSCHER    inquired   whether    the   language                                                               
"notwithstanding AS 44.37.011" means all that is still intact.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY deferred to Mr. Orman for an answer.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ORMAN   replied  that  the  "notwithstanding"   language  is                                                               
confusing language and  is something that is commonly  used.  The                                                               
purpose of  that and the reference  to AS 44.37.011 is  noting in                                                               
total that the  forest land use plans  aren't appealable pursuant                                                               
to AS 44.37.011.   In general, the purpose of  that entire clause                                                               
is to say no administrative appeals for a forest land use plan.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  inquired whether all of  44.37.011 would                                                               
be repealed.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ORMAN  responded,  No,  absolutely not."   He  explained that                                                               
all this  phrase is doing  is noting  that these forest  land use                                                               
plans will  not be appealable as  far as the process  that exists                                                               
for  administrative   appeals  under  AS  44.37.011.     He  drew                                                               
attention  to  Section 12  of  HB  98  and  pointed out  that  AS                                                               
44.37.011 is not part of the repeal provisions.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  offered  his understanding  that  there                                                               
basically is an appeals process in AS 44.37.011.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ORMAN  confirmed that  AS  44.37.011  is the  administrative                                                               
appeal  process  for  decisions  that  are  made  either  by  the                                                               
director or the commissioner.   There are two different ways that                                                               
appeals can  go, he  said.   With subsection  (e) as  drafted [on                                                               
page  7,  lines  1-2],  an   individual  would  not  be  able  to                                                               
administratively appeal a forest land use plan through the                                                                      
administrative process of AS 44.37.011.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:15:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS withdrew  Amendment  4 and  said he  will                                                               
work  on clarifying  that language  with the  department and  any                                                               
other  committee members  who want  to help.   He  said he  would                                                               
bring the amendment up again later  in the week at the chairman's                                                               
discretion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK noted that [HB 98] would be considered again on                                                                  
Friday [4/23/21].                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:15:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN moved to adopt Amendment 5, [labeled 32-                                                                  
GH1607\A.18, Radford, 4/16/21], which read:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, line 27:                                                                                                           
          Delete "a new subsection"                                                                                             
          Insert "new subsections"                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 8, following line 1:                                                                                                  
     Insert a new subsection to read:                                                                                           
          "(e)  If the commissioner determines that                                                                             
     additional analysis  is necessary to complete  the best                                                                    
     interest  finding for  a sale  under this  section, the                                                                    
     commissioner  may require  a  prospective purchaser  to                                                                    
     retain  and pay  for the  services of  a contractor  to                                                                    
     assist  the  commissioner  in evaluating  the  proposed                                                                    
     sale and  financial and technical  data related  to the                                                                    
     proposed sale. The contractor shall  be selected by the                                                                    
     prospective  purchaser from  a list  of consultants  in                                                                    
     forestry   and  timber   economics   provided  by   the                                                                    
     commissioner.   If   the    commissioner   requires   a                                                                    
     prospective  purchaser  to  retain the  services  of  a                                                                    
     contractor  under  this  subsection,  the  commissioner                                                                    
     shall determine the  scope of the work  to be performed                                                                    
     by the contractor."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 9, line 3:                                                                                                            
          Following "38.05.115(c),":                                                                                            
          Insert "and"                                                                                                          
          Delete ", and 38.05.123(g)"                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:15:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  explained Amendment  5 would take  a piece                                                               
that is  being repealed in  Section 12, AS  [38].05.123(g), which                                                               
is  negotiated  sales,  and which  are  currently  restricted  to                                                               
domestic sales.   She noted that HB 98 would  repeal that area of                                                               
statute because the bill is  compressing both domestic and export                                                               
sales into  one area.   However,  she stated,  she would  like to                                                               
carry  over this  current language  in  statute about  negotiated                                                               
sales that if  the commissioner, in analyzing a  sale, found that                                                               
outside expertise  was needed  to evaluate whether  it is  in the                                                               
best  interest of  the state  to go  forward with  the negotiated                                                               
sale, an outside  contractor could be hired to  do that analysis.                                                               
That isn't  the buyer of the  timber, that is a  timber economist                                                               
or such, she  added.  Representative Hannan related  that she has                                                               
heard  from the  administration that  this provision  hasn't been                                                               
used so  it isn't needed.   She posited that it  hasn't been used                                                               
because when  looking at  domestic negotiated  sales it  is clear                                                               
whether there is a local concern  that can buy the timber and has                                                               
jobs for  people.  But,  she continued, in now  taking negotiated                                                               
sales from being  domestic use to being  exportable, she foresees                                                               
that finding the  best interest of the state may  require doing a                                                               
more  complex  analysis.   Amendment  5  would take  the  current                                                               
language  for domestic  negotiated sales  that is  being repealed                                                               
and keep  it in the  statutes as these  sales are opened  up, and                                                               
thereby  include  the ability  to  hire  a  contractor -  if  the                                                               
commissioner  chooses.    It is  not  a  mandate,  Representative                                                               
Hannan pointed  out, but  would allow  [outside expertise]  to be                                                               
hired and  the purchaser is  picking up  the tab because  that is                                                               
the  crux  of  it.    The  state  could  do  this  analysis,  she                                                               
continued,  but it's  a  more complex  analysis  when looking  at                                                               
bigger sales, longer term, out of  Alaska, and it must be ensured                                                               
the state isn't being set up to  have to pay to decide if it's in                                                               
the state's best interest to go forward with the sale.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  requested Mr. Dabney  or Mr. Orman to  provide an                                                               
overview of what Amendment 5 would mean administratively.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:18:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY  replied that Representative Hannan  made good points.                                                               
Although this  part of the  statute has  never been used  and its                                                               
removal was considered part of  streamlining the process, he said                                                               
he too can  see where there could be potential  in the future for                                                               
the commissioner  to want  to take  advantage of  the flexibility                                                               
that  this current  statute allows.   While  it hasn't  ever been                                                               
used before and may never be  used, he allowed that if there were                                                               
to be a situation where the  commissioner would like to have that                                                               
flexibility it  would be good to  have it there.   He stated that                                                               
keeping Representative Hannan's amendment  would be acceptable to                                                               
the department.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:20:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked whether Amendment 5  would cause a                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY  replied he would  get back  to the committee  with an                                                               
answer.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCKAY said his understanding  is that the buyer of                                                               
the timber would pay for the contractor to do a study.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DABNEY concurred  with  Representative  McKay and  therefore                                                               
concluded that there would be no change in the fiscal note.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER noted  that  "may" and  "shall" are  two                                                               
different words, and "may" is used  here.  He inquired whether it                                                               
would raise the  price of most of the  contracts considering some                                                               
of them may be reevaluated through a third-party contract.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY answered  he doesn't see where utilizing  this part of                                                               
the statute  would impact what the  market value would be  of the                                                               
timber sale.   He said that,  if utilized, he envisions  this for                                                               
the commissioner  to better evaluate the  financial and technical                                                               
data related to the proposed sale, not the market value.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:22:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN summarized her  explanation of Amendment 5.                                                               
She  noted  the  administration  doesn't  think  it  would  be  a                                                               
burdensome step,  the commissioner  would not  be required  to do                                                               
this,  and   for  local  negotiated  sales   she  speculates  the                                                               
commissioner will continue not needing  this.  But, she said, the                                                               
bill  is  streamlining  and  talking  about  export  sales  being                                                               
something Alaska's  forests would be  used for, and she  wants to                                                               
ensure those  can be moved  forward without  a big ticket  to the                                                               
state to commercialize other timber.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:23:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PATKOTAK removed  his  objection to  Amendment  5.   There                                                               
being no further objection, Amendment 5 was adopted.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:23:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  moved to  adopt Amendment 6,  [labeled 32-                                                               
GH1607\A.17, Radford, 4/17/21], which read:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, lines 17 - 18:                                                                                                     
          Delete "[TO A LOCAL MANUFACTURER OF WOOD PRODUCTS                                                                     
     OR A USER OF WOOD FIBER]"                                                                                                  
          Insert "to a local manufacturer of wood products                                                                      
     or a user of wood fiber"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:23:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  said Amendment 6 would  restore the export                                                               
ban  and explained  his  reasons  for wanting  to  do  this.   He                                                               
recounted that  at its previous  meeting the committee had  a lot                                                               
of discussion  about local  benefits and  how local  benefits are                                                               
closely tied  to local manufacturers, local  firewood production,                                                               
logs for  homes, dimensional lumber.   He further  recounted that                                                               
the committee also had some discussion  about how it is easier to                                                               
protect state interests  when state people are doing  the job and                                                               
a little harder if  there is, say, an Oregon company.   He said a                                                               
lot of Chinese colonialism has  been seen driven by the communist                                                               
party,  and he  has  concerns about  that  looking at  [Alaska's]                                                               
resource wealth,  particularly in Southeast Alaska.   Harvesting,                                                               
processing, and selling these resources  in Alaska will guarantee                                                               
there  are  public benefits  that  are  consistent with  Alaska's                                                               
constitutional framework around resource production, he stated.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  requested Mr. Dabney  or Mr. Orman to  provide an                                                               
overview of what Amendment 6 would mean administratively.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:24:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY replied that  one main point of HB 98  is to allow for                                                               
export of  negotiated sale.   He said these negotiated  sales are                                                               
not designed  to accommodate foreign purchasers  but are designed                                                               
to  allow Alaska  industry to  sell all  the timber  it harvests.                                                               
Some tree species  and log sizes cannot  be manufactured locally,                                                               
such as  hemlock and  small diameter  material.   Particularly in                                                               
Southeast Alaska,  he continued, there  is no market for  that to                                                               
be milled locally, and so parts  of many [state timber] sales are                                                               
already exported because that's what  the local purchaser must do                                                               
to sell the logs that it harvests.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:26:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ORMAN  responded that in  thinking holistically about  HB 98,                                                               
Amendment 6 would  be returning language back  to [AS 38.04.118].                                                               
However, he specified,  HB 98 takes portions  of negotiated sales                                                               
that are  currently in 38.05.115 and  moves them to 118.   Now in                                                               
115, as  far as those small,  negotiated sales, the only  kind of                                                               
strong  restriction is  no more  than a  certain amount  of board                                                               
feet within a  one-year period; so that's the  limitation in 115.                                                               
[Under  HB  98]  those  would  be moved  to  118  and  then  with                                                               
Amendment 6 those small timber  sales presumably that were in 115                                                               
now  are going  to have  this additional  restriction under  118.                                                               
Mr.  Orman  further  stated  that   there  would  be  many  other                                                               
structural impacts legally from Amendment  6 that would then need                                                               
to  be considered  and potentially  addressed if  this [language]                                                               
was just added back  in.  It would be different  if it were clear                                                               
that  115  is   going  to  remain  unchanged   from  its  current                                                               
iteration; then essentially what is  being done is now making 118                                                               
what it was  before as well prior to this  proposed amendment and                                                               
leave 118  how it  currently is,  which is what  seems to  be the                                                               
idea.  But, he said, that's  not what would necessarily happen if                                                               
this amendment were made to 118  because of then the changes that                                                               
have been made  as far as 115.   Those small timber  sales in 115                                                               
that  have been  moved to  118 are  now going  to be  changed, he                                                               
stated, and the  restrictions are going to change  then with this                                                               
amendment to 118 if the small timber sales stay in 118.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:28:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  asked whether  Ms. Radford  of Legislative                                                               
Legal Services, [and drafter of Amendment 6], is online.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  answered that Legislative  Legal Services  is not                                                               
online because  HB 98 is  a governor's  bill.  He  explained that                                                               
Legislative Legal  Services wouldn't  be online  unless requested                                                               
by committee members offering amendments.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  said he was  asking because he  is curious                                                               
whether Ms. Radford would agree with the interpretation.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PATKOTAK noted  that the  committee  would be  considering                                                               
amendments again  on Friday  [4/23/21] and  Representative Fields                                                               
could reintroduce it then.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS stated that the  intent with Amendment 6 is                                                               
to remain  with the  status quo in  terms of an  export ban.   He                                                               
said he will go back to Ms. Radford and make sure the amendment                                                                 
has been drafted consistent with that.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK said Amendment 6 would be considered again on                                                                    
Friday [4/23/21] pending follow-up.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:30:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS moved to adopt Amendment 7, [labeled 32-                                                                  
GH1607\A.16, Radford, 4/17/21], which read:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 4:                                                                                                            
          Delete "AS 38.05.035(e) is amended"                                                                                   
          Insert "AS 38.05.035 is amended by adding a new                                                                       
     subsection"                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 5:                                                                                                            
          Delete "(e) Upon"                                                                                                     
          Insert "(r) Notwithstanding (e) of this section,                                                                      
     for parcels north of the  latitude of Thompson Pass and                                                                    
     west of Cook Inlet, upon"                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Page 4, lines 23 - 25:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
               "(A)  a contract for a negotiated sale of                                                                        
     timber  in an  amount  equal to  or  less than  500,000                                                                    
     board  feet  or  equivalent  other  measure  authorized                                                                    
     under AS 38.05.118;"                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, line 3:                                                                                                            
          Delete "by considering"                                                                                           
          Insert ". For parcels north of the latitude of                                                                    
     Thompson Pass and west of  Cook Inlet, the commissioner                                                                
     shall consider"                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, lines 11 - 25:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, following line 26:                                                                                                 
          Insert a new subsection to read:                                                                                      
          "(d)  For parcels north of the latitude of                                                                            
     Thompson Pass and  west of Cook Inlet,  for harvests of                                                                    
     20 acres or  less or timber salvaged  from land cleared                                                                    
     for a nonforest use, the  department may not permit the                                                                    
     harvest  of timber  in  a harvest  unit  until a  site-                                                                    
     specific  forest  land use  plan  has  been adopted.  A                                                                    
     forest  land   use  plan  under  this   subsection  may                                                                    
     authorize  timber harvests  for multiple  harvest units                                                                    
     included in  a timber sale contract.  The department is                                                                    
     not required to  adopt the forest land  use plan before                                                                    
     awarding a timber sale contract."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Reletter the following subsections accordingly.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, line 27:                                                                                                           
          Delete "A"                                                                                                            
          Insert "For parcels north of the latitude of                                                                          
     Thompson Pass and west of Cook Inlet, a"                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Page 6, line 30:                                                                                                           
          Delete "section"                                                                                                      
          Insert "subsection"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, line 1, following "AS 44.37.011,":                                                                                 
          Insert "for parcels north of the latitude of                                                                          
     Thompson Pass and west of Cook Inlet,"                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, lines 3 - 26:                                                                                                      
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
        "* Sec. 4.  AS 38.05.115 is amended by  adding a new                                                                
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
          (d)  For parcels north of the latitude of                                                                             
     Thompson Pass and west of  Cook Inlet, the commissioner                                                                    
     shall  determine   the  timber  to  be   sold  and  the                                                                    
     limitations,  conditions,   and  terms  of   sale.  The                                                                    
     limitations,  conditions, and  terms shall  include the                                                                    
     utilization,  development,   and  maintenance   of  the                                                                    
     sustained yield principle,  subject to preference among                                                                    
     other beneficial uses."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, line 27:                                                                                                           
          Delete "a new subsection"                                                                                             
          Insert "new subsections"                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, following line 27:                                                                                                 
          Insert new subsections to read:                                                                                       
          "(d)  Notwithstanding AS 38.05.120 and 38.05.123,                                                                     
     for parcels north of the  latitude of Thompson Pass and                                                                    
     west of  Cook Inlet, upon a  finding that a sale  is in                                                                    
     the best  interest of the  state, the  commissioner may                                                                    
     negotiate  a sale  of timber  at  appraised value.  The                                                                    
     period of  a contract for  a sale of  timber negotiated                                                                    
     under  this subsection  may not  exceed  25 years.  The                                                                    
     contract  shall provide  that  the  appraised value  of                                                                    
     timber remaining  to be harvested under  the provisions                                                                    
     of  the contract  shall be  redetermined at  least once                                                                    
     every five years.                                                                                                          
          (e)  Notice of intent to negotiate a contract                                                                         
     authorized  by (d)  of  this section  for  the sale  of                                                                    
     timber in an amount greater  than 500,000 board feet or                                                                    
     equivalent other  measure shall be given  in accordance                                                                    
     with AS 38.05.945."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Reletter the following subsection accordingly.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, line 28:                                                                                                           
          Delete "Within"                                                                                                       
          Insert "For parcels north of the latitude of                                                                          
     Thompson Pass and west of Cook Inlet, within"                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Page 7, line 31, following "measure":                                                                                      
          Insert "under this subsection"                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 8, line 3:                                                                                                            
          Delete "AS 38.05.118 [AS 38.05.115]"                                                                              
          Insert "AS 38.05.115, 38.05.118,"                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Page 8, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete "or"                                                                                                       
          Insert "and, for parcels north of the latitude of                                                                 
     Thompson Pass and west of Cook Inlet, for"                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 8, lines 18 - 28:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
        "* Sec. 7.  AS 38.05.123 is amended by  adding a new                                                                
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
          (k)  For parcels north of the latitude of                                                                             
     Thompson Pass and west of  Cook Inlet, the commissioner                                                                    
     may negotiate  a sale of  timber under this  section if                                                                    
     the prospective purchaser agrees  to use to the maximum                                                                    
     extent commercially  practicable the timber  subject to                                                                    
     the sale for the  local manufacture of high value-added                                                                    
     wood   products.    In   evaluating    proposals,   the                                                                    
     commissioner  shall  take  into  account  the  proposed                                                                    
     manufacture of  other value-added  wood products  to be                                                                    
     produced under a negotiated contract."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 8, line 31:                                                                                                           
          Delete "AS 38.05.118 only [AS 38.05.115]"                                                                         
          Insert "AS 38.05.115 and 38.05.118 only"                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 9, line 3:                                                                                                            
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill section accordingly.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:30:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  explained why he is  offering Amendment 7.                                                               
He said  that in listening  to the discussion and  reading public                                                               
comments  from  Alaskans on  HB  98,  it  seemed there  was  some                                                               
support  for the  Interior of  basically wood  production in  the                                                               
Interior.  He didn't see any  support in the public comments from                                                               
areas with marketable  timber in the Prince  William Sound region                                                               
or  in  Southeast Alaska.    So,  there  seems  to be  some  real                                                               
geographical  differences in  terms  of  people's perspective  on                                                               
this bill.   He stated he therefore asked for  an amendment to be                                                               
drafted that  would limit  the geographic scope  of this  bill to                                                               
the Interior where  public support has been seen.   He allowed he                                                               
doesn't know  if that  is the  best way to  thread the  needle in                                                               
getting the  benefits of this bill  without some of the  costs in                                                               
fisheries, tourism,  and so forth.   He said he is  interested in                                                               
hearing  from committee  members.   If this  is an  approach that                                                               
members support,  then he is happy  to offer it and  have a vote,                                                               
and if  not an  approach members support,  then he  will withdraw                                                               
it.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  requested Mr.  Dabney to  provide an  overview of                                                               
what Amendment 7 would mean administratively.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:31:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DABNEY responded  that HB  98 is  a statewide  bill, and  an                                                               
important main point  of the bill is to  allow negotiating timber                                                               
sales  that can  be exported.   This  is predominantly  a concern                                                               
that  would benefit  Southeast Alaska  purchasers,  he said,  and                                                               
would  allow  more flexibility  for  the  remaining companies  of                                                               
those  purchasers in  Southeast  Alaska.   He  stated he  doesn't                                                               
believe Amendment 7 meets the intent of HB 98.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  PATKOTAK requested  Mr. Orman  to provide  an overview  of                                                               
what Amendment 7 would mean administratively.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:32:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ORMAN responded  that  as  he reads  Amendment  7, the  area                                                               
limitation would  apply to negotiated  timber sales,  which would                                                               
be the  [AS 38.05.115,  38.05.118, and  38.05.123] sales.   There                                                               
would be no  area limitation for the [38.05.120]  sales, which is                                                               
the competitive bid  sales and competitive bid process.   He said                                                               
that as he  reads the amendment, although maybe this  was not the                                                               
intent, a disparity  would be had in some  ways between Southeast                                                               
Alaska, and timber  sales in Southeast Alaska,  and ostensibly no                                                               
negotiated timber  sales within  Southeast Alaska as  pursuant to                                                               
115, 120, or 123, and yet  those negotiated timber sales would be                                                               
allowed in  the Interior area.   At its core that  would create a                                                               
disparity  between timber  markets  and timber  markets would  be                                                               
treated  differently  depending  on their  location,  he  stated.                                                               
Southeast  Alaska is  only  a competitive  bid  process, and  the                                                               
Interior  is   negotiated  sales   or  competitive   bid  process                                                               
potentially, which  would create  a problem.   Mr. Orman  posed a                                                               
scenario in  which it  becomes an  equal protection  analysis and                                                               
said  the lowest  level of  scrutiny  that the  court would  talk                                                               
about  would probably  be a  rational basis  test.   The question                                                               
would  then be:   What  would be  the rational  basis for  timber                                                               
markets  and  the  timber  industry  in  Southeast  Alaska  being                                                               
treated differently than  the timber market in the  Interior?  In                                                               
general,  that's  probably the  initial  legal  effect and  legal                                                               
problem, he  advised.   Mr. Orman  then addressed  page 2  of the                                                               
amendment, lines  3-4, which state,  "Page 6, following  line 26:                                                               
Insert  a  new  subsection".    He  stated  he  thinks  that  new                                                               
[subsection] might  be problematic  legally.   He noted  that the                                                               
[proposed] new  subsection states  "for harvests  of 20  acres or                                                               
less" of  timber "the  department may not  permit the  harvest of                                                               
timber in  a harvest unit  until a site-specific forest  land use                                                               
plan has been  adopted."  He said the language  isn't clear about                                                               
more and greater  harvests, which may be a typo  or error in some                                                               
way.  He advised that there  is an error with that provision that                                                               
[the drafter] might need to look at.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:35:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER noted Amendment 7  is four pages and said                                                               
he doesn't  want to  vote no,  and he doesn't  want to  vote yes.                                                               
Given  how  much  information  is  in  the  amendment  and  given                                                               
amendments will be  taken up again, he stated he  would like some                                                               
time to  study the  amendment using  the books of  law.   He said                                                               
that if he must vote today, he will have to vote no.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:36:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCKAY asked  how much  timber sale  volume, on  a                                                               
scale of  1-100, would  be removed if  Southeast Alaska  is taken                                                               
out of the bill.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DABNEY responded  that 100  percent  of the  volume that  is                                                               
subject to  export at this time  in the State of  Alaska that the                                                               
Division  of  Forestry has  jurisdiction  over  is exported  from                                                               
Southeast Alaska.   Currently, he  said, none of the  timber from                                                               
timber sales in the rest of  the state is exported, so the answer                                                               
would be 100.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MCKAY concluded that if  Amendment 7 were to pass,                                                               
the whole purpose of HB 98 would basically be negated.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY answered  correct.  He said one key  point of the bill                                                               
is  to  allow exporting  negotiated  timber  sales, in  Southeast                                                               
Alaska in particular.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:38:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS stated he is  happy to give members time to                                                               
review Amendment 7.   He referred to a letter  from Aurora Energy                                                               
Solutions, an  Interior company,  which states HB  98 streamlines                                                               
the timber  sale process  providing predictable  timber harvests,                                                               
so  including pulp  grade  spruce materials  and  birch logs  for                                                               
firewood.  He said he thinks  there is also a letter from another                                                               
Interior  business in  support  of  the bill.    His intent  with                                                               
Amendment  7,  he explained,  was  to  get whatever  efficiencies                                                               
might be gained  in local use, and it seems  the Interior is most                                                               
germane.  He  further explained his intent was to  also get those                                                               
areas where  there might  be the greatest  conflicts in  terms of                                                               
tourism, fisheries, and so forth,  which to oversimplify could be                                                               
Southeast Alaska.  He pointed out  that Amendment 7 is written in                                                               
such a way  that it protects the ability to  harvest in the Glenn                                                               
Highway corridor  in recognition that  there could be  some local                                                               
use  there.   He expressed  his  interest in  further input  from                                                               
committee  members  and added  that  he  thinks  HB 98  could  be                                                               
written  potentially  in  a  way  that  this  is  not  necessary.                                                               
However,  Representative  Fields  continued,  without  perfecting                                                               
amendments in terms  of process he doesn't want  some of Alaska's                                                               
most valuable timber in Southeast to just go to China or Oregon.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:40:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS  stated   he  appreciates  Representative                                                               
Fields' intent  to target  the Interior  with Amendment  7, given                                                               
the letters of  support and the vastly different  types of forest                                                               
in  the  Interior as  opposed  to  Southeast  Alaska.   He  asked                                                               
whether  using Thompson  Pass  and Cook  Inlet  would provide  an                                                               
adequate legal  marker if  Amendment 7  were adopted,  or whether                                                               
something more specific than landmarks is needed.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. ORMAN replied  yes, but qualified that if  moved forward this                                                               
kind of amendment  would probably need intent language.   He said                                                               
that if  the idea is  to treat  harvests and timber  in Southeast                                                               
differently than  the Interior,  and just broadly  try to  say so                                                               
through a  general marker  and boundary, which  he thinks  is the                                                               
goal, there  needs to then  be an  explanation for the  intent as                                                               
far as  the rational basis for  that.  In his  opinion looking at                                                               
this as  a drafter,  this doesn't  seem as  though it's  an issue                                                               
like  a park  boundary, for  example.   For  park boundaries,  he                                                               
explained, there must  be clear identification of  the lands that                                                               
are included within the park boundary.   This, however, is more a                                                               
delineation of the  areas where negotiated sales are  going to be                                                               
available versus  those where competitive  sales are going  to be                                                               
available.  He therefore said  he thinks a general description as                                                               
provided here  is probably  sufficient because  it's not  so much                                                               
setting aside  land for something  and doing so  with specificity                                                               
as  much  as  trying  to  generally  articulate  an  area  and  a                                                               
distinction between two areas.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOPKINS  noted that different parts  of Alaska are                                                               
treated differently for  oil and gas development:   Middle Earth,                                                               
Cook  Inlet, and  the  North Slope.    He said  he  is glad  that                                                               
Thompson Pass and Cook Inlet would work in this amendment.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:43:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN  inquired  whether  it  is  Representative                                                               
Fields' intention  that the Cook  Inlet sales on  Kenai Peninsula                                                               
be lumped  with Southeast  Alaska, given  the Kenai  Peninsula is                                                               
east of Cook Inlet and Thompson Pass kind of splits it.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS  responded that given the  geography of the                                                               
state and the  nature of the forests it isn't  possible to have a                                                               
simple latitude.   He explained the intention was  that the Glenn                                                               
Highway corridor  and areas  north would  be included,  hence the                                                               
Thompson  Pass  boundary; and  that  the  Interior region  around                                                               
McGrath could  potentially also be  included because  that forest                                                               
ecosystem  is more  like  the Interior.   In  the  spirit of  not                                                               
excluding the broader McGrath/Yukon-Kuskokwim  region, he said he                                                               
wanted to reference west of Cook  Inlet to include the west shore                                                               
of Cook Inlet and everything  west because he can see potentially                                                               
a local  sale for local  production and use and  potentially that                                                               
could be a  good thing.  He further explained  that excluded from                                                               
the streamlined provisions of HB  98 would be the Kenai Peninsula                                                               
Borough, Prince William Sound, and  all coastal Alaska stretching                                                               
east  to Representative  Hannan's district  and points  southeast                                                               
because, basically,  there are more  competing uses.  He  said he                                                               
is  sensitive to  Mr. Orman's  question  about equal  protection.                                                               
However,  he  stated, there  are  different  types of  trees  for                                                               
different purposes.   So, it's not really  equal protection; it's                                                               
different  species   used  for  different  things   in  different                                                               
regions.  Therefore,  he added, it makes sense  to have different                                                               
processes, which gets back to Representative Hopkins' point.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:45:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  stated the committee  would consider  Amendment 7                                                               
again on Friday [4/23/21].                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:45:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease at 2:45 p.m.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:46:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK  moved to adopt  Amendment 10,  [labeled 32-                                                               
GH1607\A.12, Radford, 4/13/21], which read:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 2, following "sales;":                                                                                      
          Insert "relating to emergency firefighters;"                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 8, following line 28:                                                                                                 
          Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                    
        "* Sec. 11. AS 41.15.030(b) is amended to read:                                                                     
          (b)  The commissioner may hire emergency                                                                              
     firefighting    personnel,    and    shall    establish                                                                    
     classifications  and rates  of  pay  for the  emergency                                                                    
     firefighting    personnel     consistent    with    the                                                                    
     compensation paid  by other firefighting  agencies. The                                                                    
     commissioner may  adjust the classifications  and rates                                                                    
     based  on  findings  of  the  federal  Bureau  of  Land                                                                    
     Management  for  Alaska.  The commissioner  may  assign                                                                    
     emergency  firefighting   personnel  to   conduct  fire                                                                    
     suppression,   hazard   reduction,   fire   prevention,                                                                    
     habitat restoration  or improvement, and  other related                                                                    
     activities     in     emergency    and     nonemergency                                                                    
     circumstances.    The     assignment    of    emergency                                                                    
     firefighting personnel  to nonemergency  activities may                                                                    
     not  be used  to  replace permanent  or seasonal  state                                                                    
     employees.    [THE    COMMISSIONER    MAY    NOT    USE                                                                    
     APPROPRIATIONS  TO THE  DEPARTMENT  FROM STATE  GENERAL                                                                    
     FUNDS FOR  EMERGENCY FIREFIGHTING PERSONNEL  ENGAGED IN                                                                    
     NONEMERGENCY ACTIVITIES UNDER THIS SECTION.]"                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:46:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  objected for  purposes of  discussion.   He noted                                                               
Representative  Cronk and  Representative  Rauscher had  proposed                                                               
similar amendments  and said  either of  them could  explain what                                                               
the amendment does.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK spoke to Amendment  10.  He stated that lack                                                               
of  consistent  work  for Alaska's  emergency  firefighter  (EFF)                                                               
crews has  been an issue  over the past  years.  These  crews are                                                               
extremely important  to Interior  villages, he  said, as  well as                                                               
non-Interior villages like  Hooper Bay.  He explained  there is a                                                               
statute that prohibits the commissioner  from using certain funds                                                               
for EFF work, so Amendment  10 would hopefully create some steady                                                               
employment  opportunities  for  rural-based  firefighting  crews.                                                               
This  would  strengthen  local  economies  and  family  life  and                                                               
enhance the  public safety  in Alaska and  [those places  in] the                                                               
Lower 48  that rely on  these crews  for assistance.   He further                                                               
stated  that  this  proposal   aligns  with  Governor  Dunleavy's                                                               
priorities  to provide  economic  opportunities  for Alaskans  to                                                               
enhance  public  safety  and  empower  rural  Alaskans  in  their                                                               
response  to manage  the state's  resources.   He specified  that                                                               
Amendment  10 would  allow the  use  of state  general funds  for                                                               
emergency   firefighter   personnel  engaged   in   non-emergency                                                               
activities  such as  clearing out  forests  around villages,  and                                                               
prescribed work that would make  Alaska's villages and towns much                                                               
safer from  wildfire.  For example,  if it is a  rainy summer and                                                               
firefighter crews  aren't working,  Amendment 10 would  give them                                                               
the  opportunity to  do these  other things.   Over  the last  20                                                               
years,  he continued,  employment opportunities  in the  villages                                                               
through  the  firefighting  system  have  drastically  decreased.                                                               
Amendment  10 would  provide  a  way for  the  department to  use                                                               
general funds to put crews to work during the summer.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK requested  Mr. Dabney provide an  overview of what                                                               
Amendment 10 would do administratively.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:48:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY answered  that it would be very beneficial  to be able                                                               
to use  general funds  for non-emergency  activities.   He stated                                                               
that currently  emergency firefighters are  essentially part-time                                                               
workers  during the  fire season.   Depending  on how  active the                                                               
fire season is  the firefighters may have a good  season or a bad                                                               
season - 2019  had lots of fires  and was a good  season for EFF,                                                               
2020 not  many fires  and so  little opportunity  for employment.                                                               
He  specified  that  Amendment  10 would  enable  the  hiring  of                                                               
additional  firefighters so  [the  department]  could build  back                                                               
some  of  its  capacity  of  firefighting  crews.    The  primary                                                               
responsibility of those crews would be  to be prepared to work on                                                               
active fires  but when it is  raining or is the  shoulder season,                                                               
those  crews  could  perform  hazardous  fuels  reduction  around                                                               
communities.   He  said this  would  increase [the  department's]                                                               
ability to protect communities,  would increase employment in the                                                               
state,  and  would  increase  the  number  of  crews  because  if                                                               
Alaskans  see the  ability  to have  full-time  seasonal work  as                                                               
opposed to  part-time seasonal work, then  [the department] would                                                               
get a lot more interest.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK invited  Mr. Orman to provide an  overview of what                                                               
Amendment 10 would do administratively.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:51:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ORMAN related  that he researched the  legislative history of                                                               
AS  41.15.030, including  some of  the discussions  from 1996  as                                                               
well as  the "Personnel Act" [AS  39.25].  He advised  that there                                                               
are no  legal issues with  Amendment 10  as far as  removing that                                                               
last sentence.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:51:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCHRAGE  inquired  whether  from  his  historical                                                               
research,  Mr. Orman  could provide  any context  as to  what the                                                               
thinking was for why that prohibition was put into place.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. ORMAN replied that in 1996  the discussion or the concern was                                                               
pursuant to the  "Personnel Act" and there was the  lack of long-                                                               
term non-permanent  employees.  So, he  said, quite a bit  of the                                                               
language in AS  41.15.030(b) was added because  of concerns about                                                               
the "Personnel  Act," some  of which he  believes were  raised by                                                               
the Department  of Labor  and Workforce  Development.   That last                                                               
sentence was  still part of that.   He noted that  there was also                                                               
discussion in  the minutes regarding potentially  federal dollars                                                               
or general  fund dollars and  those concerns, which  don't really                                                               
exist either.  Mr. Orman further  noted that changes were made to                                                               
the  "Personnel  Act" in  2000  which  allow for  long-term  non-                                                               
permanent employees.   He offered his belief that  the changes in                                                               
2000 cured in part the concerns  that the legislature had in 1996                                                               
and as a  result this can be removed because  of those changes to                                                               
the "Personnel Act."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCHRAGE  said  he appreciates  Amendment  10  and                                                               
thinks it is a great idea.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:53:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER noted that  his amendment is identical to                                                               
this  one.    He  drew  attention to  the  third  sentence  under                                                               
subsection (b)  of Amendment 10, which  states: "The commissioner                                                               
may  assign  emergency  firefighting personnel  to  conduct  fire                                                               
suppression,   hazard   reduction,   fire   prevention,   habitat                                                               
restoration  or  improvement,  and other  related  activities  in                                                               
emergency and  nonemergency circumstances."  He  opined that this                                                               
is more  important than just  being a jobs amendment  because for                                                               
decades  the  state  has drifted  away  from  doing  preventative                                                               
measures, and  that is why  he appreciates this amendment.   Over                                                               
the past decade,  he related, he has  heard firefighters complain                                                               
that the  state isn't doing preventative  measures anymore, which                                                               
is one reason why fires in Alaska get so large so quick.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:54:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOPKINS concurred  with Representative  Rauscher.                                                               
He related that, as well, he  learned about this type of language                                                               
earlier in the  session during a discussion with  the Division of                                                               
Forestry.   He pointed out  that last  year in the  Department of                                                               
Natural Resources  Budget Subcommittee, money was  put forward in                                                               
the budget  for the first  time in  the state's history  for fire                                                               
prevention, such  as fire  breaks and  land clearing,  that would                                                               
help eliminate  the growth of  some of these fires,  although not                                                               
on federal  land.  Some of  the concerns [the division]  had were                                                               
not  having  the  work  for   those  clearings,  and  while  [the                                                               
division] would  have gone through local  contractors, this keeps                                                               
the  jobs even  more localized  to the  villages and  the regions                                                               
that might be most impacted.   This is a good amendment, he said,                                                               
and he  is interested in  seeing the  impacts going forward.   He                                                               
added  that along  with  that first  ever  fire prevention  money                                                               
Amendment 10 is timely and good.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:56:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  thanked Representative Cronk  for bringing                                                               
forward the amendment and said she  supports the goal.  She noted                                                               
that when  there is emergency  firefighting there is a  stream of                                                               
money to  pay for  that, but this  is nonemergency  using general                                                               
funds and  most of HB  98 is about timber  sales.  She  asked Mr.                                                               
Dabney  whether the  mechanism to  pay for  the fire  suppression                                                               
activity would be out of timber sales or some other mechanism.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. DABNEY  responded that  for this  nonemergency work  it would                                                               
depend on the activity.  In  this case, he explained, it would be                                                               
general funds;  so, as  the general fund  budget is  available it                                                               
would  be used  to pay  for the  additional days  and weeks  that                                                               
these employees  work.  As  mentioned by  Representative Hopkins,                                                               
the  legislature  authorized  $5   million  to  the  Division  of                                                               
Forestry  specifically  for  creation  and  maintenance  of  fuel                                                               
breaks.  That  money will go a  long way in having  these men and                                                               
women work in Alaska in the late spring, summer, and early fall.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN asked  whether the  $5 million  would give                                                               
the  Division of  Forestry enough  money this  summer to  execute                                                               
firebreaks in a  variety of locations around state  forests.  She                                                               
further asked how that fund would  be replenished.  When the fund                                                               
was first  created in the budget,  any dollar was a  step forward                                                               
because it  had never been done  before, she continued.   Now the                                                               
legislature is  going to direct the  division to use it  in rural                                                               
communities using nonemergency  firefighters in their communities                                                               
in a  prevention strategy.   She inquired whether she  is correct                                                               
in understanding  that if  $5 million is  spent this  summer then                                                               
next year  the legislature will want  to put in $5  million more.                                                               
She further  inquired whether there  is any mechanism that  is an                                                               
ongoing part of  the Division of Forestry to both  sell trees and                                                               
fund  [EFF  personnel  for  nonemergency  activities]  to  ensure                                                               
protection of the state's assets.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DABNEY  offered his  belief  that  the $5  million  [capital                                                               
improvement  plan   (CIP)]  has  a  five-year   lifespan,  so  he                                                               
anticipates  the division  would not  spend all  $5 million  this                                                               
year, as well the division does  not have the capacity to do that                                                               
currently.  He  said there is millions of dollars'  worth of need                                                               
across Alaska, but  it must be planned,  and different mechanisms                                                               
used  such as  contractors and  employees.   He concurred  that a                                                               
mechanism  to   ensure  a  replenishment  of   funding  for  this                                                               
important work would be beneficial  because after fuel breaks are                                                               
created the  vegetation grows back  and therefore  maintenance is                                                               
needed  every 10  years  or so.   Much  of  that maintenance,  he                                                               
added, is an example of where firefighters can do work by hand.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:01:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER said  he appreciates the representative's                                                               
question but  drew attention  to subsection (b).   He  noted that                                                               
[line   7]  states   the   commissioner   "may"  hire   emergency                                                               
firefighting personnel  and [lines 11-12] state  the commissioner                                                               
"may" assign emergency  firefighting personnel.  So,  he said, if                                                               
there  is  no funding  at  the  time,  it  is not  directing  the                                                               
commissioner to do  this.  Rather, it is  saying the commissioner                                                               
has the ability to do this if there is funding.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:02:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FIELDS related that his  wife's father was a smoke                                                               
jumper for his  entire career and her brother is  a smoke jumper.                                                               
He stated  it is  amazing how  much the  climate has  changed and                                                               
with it the profession.  What  used to be ground fires that could                                                               
be fought  by hand  now are  super storms  that create  their own                                                               
weather and be deadly.  He said  Amendment 10 is a good idea, but                                                               
the reality is that the state is  going to spend a lot more money                                                               
fighting fire regardless of whether it  wants to and will have to                                                               
more actively manage the landscape  to prevent these super fires.                                                               
He said Representative  Hannan raises a good question,  and it is                                                               
a  question  he supports  addressing,  whether  in this  bill  or                                                               
otherwise.  He  offered his support for Amendment  10, the hiring                                                               
of Alaskans to support the  local economy, and looking further at                                                               
how to do it structurally.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:03:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK  removed his  objection.   There being  no further                                                               
objection, Amendment 10 was adopted.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:03:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR PATKOTAK announced that HB 98 was held over.                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 98 Letter Becky Long 4.19.2021.pdf HRES 4/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 98
HB 98 Letter John Strasenburgh 4.19.2021.pdf HRES 4/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 98
HB 98 HRES Amendment Packet 1 4.19.2021.pdf HRES 4/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/23/2021 10:30:00 AM
HRES 4/23/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 98
HB 98 Memo Amendment A.15 4.19.2021.pdf HRES 4/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/23/2021 10:30:00 AM
HRES 4/23/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 98
HB 98 Amendment Cronk A.24 4.19.2021.pdf HRES 4/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/23/2021 10:30:00 AM
HRES 4/23/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 98
HB 22 Conceptual Amendment Rauscher 4.19.2021.pdf HRES 4/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 22
HB 98 HRES Action on Amendments 4.19.2021.pdf HRES 4/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/23/2021 10:30:00 AM
HRES 4/23/2021 1:00:00 PM
HB 98