Legislature(1997 - 1998)
01/23/1997 08:03 AM House STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 20 - DOG MUSHING CONTESTS TAPE 97-1, SIDE B Number 0001 The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs Standing Committee was HB 20, "An Act relating to dog mushers' contests." CHAIR JAMES called on Thomas W. Wright, Legislative Assistant to Representative Ivan Ivan, to present the sponsor statement. Number 0023 MR. WRIGHT, Legislative Assistant to Representative Ivan Ivan, Alaska State Capitol, read the following sponsor statement into the record: "House Bill 20 would authorize dog mushers' associations, which run races recognized by the Division of Charitable Gaming, to conduct statewide games of change. The division recognizes those associations which have been in existence for at least three years, have at least 25 Alaskan members and be a not for profit organization. Prizes may be awarded for the closest guesses of at least three elements of uncertainty about a sled dog race that cannot be determined before the start of the race. The intent is to provide a mechanism to assist race organizing committees to become financially self-sufficient. "High profile protests from animal rights activists have caused important corporate sponsors to withdraw financial support. House Bill 20 would create a sweepstakes similar to that currently being used by the Iditarod Race Committee and, hopefully, allow sled dog races which do not have strong financial backing to continue. "House Bill 20 will allow contestants to purchase raffle tickets on which the contestant would guess the checkpoints and finish line arrival times, the temperature when the a particular team crosses the finish line, total number of dogs that finish the race, etc. The dog mushers' association will administer the mushers' contests in conjunction with state regulatory authority." MR. WRIGHT announced Dennis Poshard, Department of Revenue, was present to answer any questions from the committee members regarding the logistics of the bill, and he would be available to answer any questions directly related to the bill. Number 0100 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked Mr. Wright if a similar bill was passed last year? Number 0109 MR. WRIGHT replied a similar bill was passed out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee last year. It was, however, stopped in the House Finance Committee. Number 0130 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ wondered if the list of organizations provided to the committee members was exhaustive. MR. WRIGHT replied it was a list of organizations that were recognized by the Charitable Gaming Division of the Department of Revenue. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked Mr. Wright if it was required that dog mushing organizations register with the Charitable Gaming Division? MR. WRIGHT deferred the question to Dennis Poshard, Department of Revenue. Number 0161 DENNIS POSHARD, Director, Central Office, Charitable Gaming Division, Department of Revenue, replied, "Yes." He explained any organization that wanted to conduct a charitable gaming activity was required to apply for a permit with the division. Number 0177 CHAIR JAMES explained the list provided to the committee members were the organizations that already had a raffle permit with the division. Number 0187 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked Mr. Poshard if a race and bet with a neighbor, for example, fell under the preview of the bill? Number 0192 MR. POSHARD responded it would only fall under the preview of the division if it was a large race. It did not preclude a person from getting together with neighbors for a poker game, for example. That was considered a social activity. Number 0232 CHAIR JAMES commented this statute continued to be revisited. The statute listed the contests that were covered and to add a new contest legislation was necessary. Number 0264 MR. WRIGHT explained when the bill was introduced last session it was intended only for Iditarod qualifying races. However, there was such support from the other dog mushing races that it was decided to include them as well. Number 0296 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked Mr. Poshard to explain the controls surrounding the proceeds generated from a raffle, for example? Number 0311 MR. POSHARD replied a dog mushing association would first have to meet certain qualifications to receive a permit. It was the responsibility of the association to file on an annual basis a financial statement that listed the gross income from the activity, the prizes awarded, any expenses associated with that activity, the net profits, and how the profits were used. There was a statutory requirement that the association had to spend the profits within one year of earning them. The division checked the reports for accuracy and conducted audits when necessary. Number 0367 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked Mr. Poshard if the filings made by the associations were open to the public? Number 0373 MR. POSHARD replied, "Yes." The Department of Law ruled any filing reports were considered public information. Number 0401 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated he was concerned that the department would not have the additional resources to conduct more audits because staff was recently lost. Number 0420 MR. POSHARD replied the division received approximately 1,100 reports each year. A substantial portion of those reports were not complicated to audit, however. The remaining reports were primarily from pull tabs and bingo activities requiring more concentrated audit efforts. He reiterated the division did not conduct an audit on every charitable organization that received a permit. An order of priority was established of those associations that the division deemed necessary to audit. The bill addressed only dog mushing associations of which most already filed a financial statement with the division. He did not anticipate an increase in paperwork for the division as a result of the bill. Number 0517 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked Mr. Poshard if the proceeds could only be used in the same way that the proceeds for pull tabs could be used? Number 0530 MR. POSHARD replied, "That's correct." He explained there was a statutory requirement that limited the use of net proceeds for every activity that a permit had been issued. Number 0553 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked for clarification regarding the definition of an "element of chance." Number 0580 MR. POSHARD replied the elements of uncertainty were determined by the association conducting the activity. The bill only required three elements of chance. He cited it could be the total number of dogs to cross the finish line, the winning time, or the time of the last place musher, as examples. It could be anything, as long as, three were chosen to determine the winner. Of the three chosen, one would have to be the primary determinant while the remaining two would be the secondary and tertiary determinants. The secondary and tertiary determinants would be used only when necessary to determine a winner. Number 0710 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked Mr. Poshard if "time" was one or two elements of chance? Number 0715 MR. POSHARD replied, "One." Number 0717 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated other testimony indicated time was two elements of chance - hour and minute. He reiterated the elements of chance were vague. He was not sure if it would make any difference, however. Number 0750 CHAIR JAMES called for a motion to pass the bill from the committee. Number 0766 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON moved that HB 20 move from the committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). Number 0772 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON objected. He stated he would vote no on this bill because he was concerned about placing a value on the activity of dog mushing over youth baseball, for example. There was a limited amount of money available. He had a difficult time understanding that a dog mushing association could be considered a charitable organization. There was no further discussion so a roll call vote was taken. Representatives James, Berkowitz, Dyson, Hodgins and Vezey voted in favor of the motion. Representative Elton voted against the motion. House Bill 20 was so moved from the House State Affairs Standing Committee.