Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/18/1993 05:00 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  Number 029                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if the business at hand was                      
  HB 115.                                                                      
  CHAIRWOMAN JAMES replied in the affirmative.                                 
  Number 032                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated that, as the Chairman of the                    
  House Labor and Commerce Committee, he was prepared to                       
  present HB 115, which was sponsored by that committee.  He                   
  explained that HB 115 amended the statute to allow for the                   
  continuation of the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council (the                    
  Council), until 1996.  The Council was due to expire on June                 
  30, 1993.  He believed this was a necessary function if this                 
  important council was to continue to operate under the                       
  statutes of the state of Alaska.                                             
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON noted there had been considerable work                 
  and interest in amending HB 115.  He then presented a                        
  committee substitute (CSHB 115), which he asked the                          
  committee to adopt.  He was prepared to explain the                          
  differences between HB 115 and CSHB 115.                                     
  Number 093                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked that the discussion be                   
  delayed until the committee members could get copies of the                  
  proposed changes.                                                            
  Number 101                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY asked if he was the only person                      
  present that was not a member of the International Trade &                   
  Tourism Committee.                                                           
  Number 109                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN commented that the members had two                  
  sets of fiscal notes and asked Representative Hudson if he                   
  planned to use both in his presentation.                                     
  Number 112                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON replied that he would address that                     
  Number 113                                                                   
  CHAIRWOMAN JAMES noted the arrival of Representative Jim                     
  Number 136                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JIM NORDLUND asked why the extension was                      
  three years instead of four.                                                 
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said that would be clear when the                      
  copies arrived.                                                              
  Number 145                                                                   
  CHAIRWOMAN JAMES handed out Representative Nordlund's                        
  statement of goals for the committee.                                        
  Copies of CSHB 115 were distributed.                                         
  Number 160                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON apologized for not having copies of                    
  CSHB 115 earlier and stated that "after discussion with the                  
  industry and the various state departments, I felt it was                    
  better for me to bring you a work product that you could                     
  work directly off of and explain why I am proposing to the                   
  committee that you adopt a new committee substitute for                      
  House Bill 115 and subsequently in the form that I have                      
  presented to you."                                                           
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON pointed out the title of HB 115 had                    
  been substantially modified in CSHB 115, which he said was                   
  necessary in order to accommodate some of the other changes                  
  that were being proposed.  He noted Section 1 amended                        
  current law by removing "substantially" with regard to a                     
  board member's involvement in the visitor and recreation                     
  business so the board member no longer had to be                             
  "substantially involved", but only had to be "involved in a                  
  visitor or recreation business".  He disclosed this had been                 
  suggested by the industry to broaden participation on the                    
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON pointed out further on Page 2, line                    
  12, "the director is a member of the board;" was ADDED                       
  before "the governor" and "other" was ADDED before "board                    
  members" on line 13, which essentially added one more member                 
  to the board, so instead of there being ten members there                    
  would be eleven, and the eleventh would be the director of                   
  the Council.  He noted that currently the statute provided                   
  for the governor to appoint ten members, but the Council and                 
  the Division of Tourism preferred to have the Council's                      
  board elect their own presiding officer from its members                     
  rather than the director automatically filling that                          
  Number 228                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if the "11" had been "10" before                  
  and should thus have been underlined.                                        
  Number 230                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON clarified the language was taken right                 
  out of the statutes and, therefore, was not a change.                        
  Number 232                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if that meant there had been 11                   
  votes required before, and if it was currently only 10,                      
  where was the 11th vote.                                                     
  Number 238                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON responded "Damned if I know.  I                        
  understand your question.  Why was it 11 before when there                   
  were only 10 board members?"                                                 
  Number 248                                                                   
  CHAIRWOMAN JAMES noted the arrival of Representative Curt                    
  Number 250                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON continued with his overview of CSHB
  115.  He noted on line 21, page 2, this draft removed from                   
  existing language "the director serves as presiding officer                  
  of the board;" which explained the title change and why the                  
  bill had expanded to some extent.  He noted further that on                  
  Page 2, line 22 AFTER "elect" "a presiding officer and" had                  
  been ADDED.  The last change was on Page 3, Line 20, where                   
  "1993" had been CHANGED to "1997".                                           
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON requested the committee either take                    
  questions or further testimony at this time, and hoped the                   
  committee would consider adoption of CSHB 115.                               
  Number 282                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN again asked about the fiscal note.                      
  Number 285                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said, "The fiscal note is an error and                 
  will be reissued, and it will be zero.  What happened was                    
  the fiscal note from Commerce and Economic Development                       
  simply picked up last year's budget, and we do have it, and                  
  so this fiscal note should not be adopted, and I would ask                   
  that it not be...."                                                          
  Number 295                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if there were twenty-one members                 
  on the board.                                                                
  Number 300                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON replied in the affirmative.                            
  Number 302                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY inquired whether anyone from the                       
  Alaska Visitors' Association (AVA), the Tourism Marketing                    
  Council, the Anchorage Convention and Visitors' Bureau                       
  (ACVB), or any of the convention and visitors' bureaus were                  
  Number 305                                                                   
  DAZEE said that she was a member of the AVA, Baker Aviation,                 
  and the ARDER Executive for Bering Straits Region.  She                      
  wondered how much Bush representation was on the Council's                   
  board.  She understood one had to be a "heavy-duty" investor                 
  to be on the board and wondered if the term "substantially"                  
  also covered the financial amount required.                                  
  Number 315                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON responded, "I think one of the primary                 
  reasons to the question asked is for that very purpose, to                   
  give greater flexibility in appointing someone who only has                  
  to be involved in the visitor and recreation business.  And                  
  I think that's a fair assessment.  This bill doesn't say                     
  who, from what region, or anything else.  It just simply                     
  sets up the original language, so all we're doing is                         
  removing 'substantially' so as to provide greater                            
  flexibility and perhaps to accomplish the very thing that                    
  you're talking about.  As a matter of fact, I know that's                    
  the case."                                                                   
  Number 328                                                                   
  TINA LUNDGREN introduced herself as the Executive Director                   
  of the Alaska Tourism Market Council.                                        
  CHAIRWOMAN JAMES asked whether it was proper for the                         
  committee to be discussing CSHB 115 prior to having a motion                 
  to substitute it for the original bill.                                      
  Number 333                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON explained it was proper for him to                     
  present CSHB 115, then for the committee to either adopt it                  
  or go back to the original version, that being HB 115.                       
  Number 335                                                                   
  115, as a working draft.  Without objections, IT WAS SO                      
  Number 340                                                                   
  MS. LUNDGREN stated the purpose of CSHB 115 was to extend                    
  the Council, and noted the Council had been working for the                  
  state of Alaska for the last four years.  She pointed out                    
  Alaska had a unique arrangement in its cooperative venture                   
  between the state and private industry, which was the envy                   
  of many other destinations.  She reiterated Representative                   
  Hudson's explanation of CSHB 115 with regard to the director                 
  being a member of the board and the board being allowed to                   
  choose its own chair.  The program allowed small businesses                  
  access to a market to which they otherwise would not have                    
  access on their own, without which the large companies could                 
  continue their access at the expense of the smaller                          
  companies, she said.                                                         
  MS. LUNDGREN added CSHB 115 had the support of the                           
  administration, the tourism community, and the Council                       
  Number 370                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY pointed out she was a member of the                    
  Anchorage Convention and Visitors' Bureau and asked if that                  
  Bureau had been notified and was comfortable with CSHB 115.                  
  Number 375                                                                   
  MS. LUNDGREN replied that Bill Lelander, the ACVB'S CEO, sat                 
  on the Council and was very supportive.                                      
  Number 378                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN MOVED that the committee accept CSHB
  115, with the zero fiscal note.                                              
  Number 383.                                                                  
  CHAIRWOMAN JAMES asked if there were any objections.  There                  
  were none.  She then stated CSHB 115 would be MOVED out of                   
  this committee, and circulated the committee report for                      
  members' signatures.  She then introduced Jim Ayers.                         
  Number 406                                                                   
  presented information on the Alaska Marine Highway.  First                   
  he showed photos of the fleet's eight vessels, pointing out                  
  the fleet's oldest vessel had recently been sold, the others                 
  were being refurbished, and a new ocean-going vessel was now                 
  in the governor's budget.  He stated there were thirty-two                   
  ports, and the importance of the Marine Highway to Tourism                   
  and Trade had increased considerably, being responsible for                  
  $145 million annually, $18 to $20 million of that being in                   
  Anchorage alone, having 1,000 employees, and being the                       
  seventh largest business in the state.                                       
  MR. AYERS said one of every twelve visitors to Alaska used                   
  the Marine Highway System and passengers spent an average of                 
  sixteen nights.  The System could be sold to private                         
  investors, but that would not be beneficial to the state, he                 
  said.  He stated the Inside Passage was "the number one                      
  visited area" in Alaska, and marine travel was growing                       
  across the world.                                                            
  MR. AYERS reported the Marine Highway System worked closely                  
  with industries such as lumber, construction, and fishing,                   
  to the extent of even having community representatives help                  
  establish schedules.  He reported further that the Marine                    
  Highway had become an integral part of Alaska's economy, on                  
  which many businesses had come to rely.                                      
  Number 611                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked what vessel would be used in the                 
  Aleutian Chain.                                                              
  Number 614                                                                   
  MR. AYERS replied, "The Tustamena."                                          
  Number 620                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND asked when the new ship would be                     
  built and how it would be financed.                                          
  Number 621                                                                   
  MR. AYERS responded that the legislature had appropriated                    
  $7.5 million in 1992 and an additional $7.5 million had been                 
  requested for 1993, for a total of $15 million of the                        
  approximately $75 to $85 million that it would take to build                 
  the new ship.                                                                
  TAPE 93-2, SIDE B                                                            
  Number 000                                                                   
  MR. AYERS continued that he was working with Senator Stevens                 
  on acquiring discretionary money.  The ship would pay its                    
  own operating costs and some of its administrative costs, he                 
  said, and reported that much of their operation depended on                  
  the legislature's action on this year's capital budget.                      
  Number 069                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked that Mr. Ayers be scheduled to                    
  return to address the committee in detail on the new                         
  proposed ferry.                                                              
  MR. AYERS agreed and passed out information about the Marine                 
  Highway's budget.                                                            
  Number 090                                                                   
  CHAIRWOMAN JAMES noted the arrival of Representative Terry                   
  Martin, and introduced David Orr to talk about the Northern                  
  Sea Route.  Walt Wilcox passed out relevant information.                     
  Number 115                                                                   
  presented pictures and information regarding the Northern                    
  Sea Route, between the Bering Strait and Mermansk, Russia.                   
  He stated that Russia began this route 600 years ago, but                    
  the real emphasis started in the early 1900's and was                        
  subsequently developed by Russia starting in the 1960's.                     
  MR. ORR reported that Russia currently provided year-round                   
  services on the northern sea route, and Alaska's current                     
  interest was based on the closeness to ports in Europe,                      
  which could cut distances in half from Alaskan ports.  He                    
  discussed and showed pictures of Russia's ice-breakers,                      
  which allowed year-round use of the route, pointing out that                 
  much of the ice-breaking technology came from Finland.                       
  MR. ORR disclosed that last October, he witnessed the                        
  signing of an agreement between Alaska and the Mermansk                      
  Shipping Company to begin moving two cargo shipments from                    
  Alaska to Europe via the Northern Sea Route in 1993.  This                   
  will be announced by the businesses concerned, and more                      
  shipments will be forthcoming via this route, he added.  He                  
  noted feasibility studies had been requested from the Corps                  
  of Engineers regarding extending the navigation season in                    
  the Bering Sea as far north as Barrow, and on the Yukon and                  
  Kuskokwim Rivers, for freight as well as passenger ferries.                  
  Break-up could also be more controlled along Alaska's rivers                 
  using ice-breakers, he added.                                                
  Mr. ORR pointed out the enormous opportunities available for                 
  Western Alaska because the Yukon River and all points north                  
  of the Yukon River were exempt from the Jones Act.  Bethel                   
  and/or Nome could become major ports using passenger ships                   
  and also barges on the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers which                      
  could then be loaded directly onto large ocean-going ships,                  
  he said.  He also informed the committee that hydrofoils                     
  could be outfitted with ice-breaking capabilities.  Pictures                 
  of ice roads were used to show how large ships equipped with                 
  their own cranes could be loaded and unloaded during winter.                 
  Mr. ORR reported that Russia had twenty-five million people                  
  living north of the Arctic Circle and thus required this                     
  technology, whereas Alaska had the choice to take advantage                  
  of these developments.                                                       
  Number 550                                                                   
  WALTER WILCOX, COMMITTEE AIDE, announced that the meeting                    
  previously scheduled for next Tuesday had been cancelled;                    
  and the next scheduled meeting for the International Trade &                 
  Tourism Committee would be Thursday, February 25, at 5:00                    
  p.m., in Room 102.                                                           
  CHAIRWOMAN JAMES thanked Mr. Orr for his presentation and                    
  adjourned the meeting at 6:45 p.m.                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects