Legislature(2021 - 2022)BARNES 124

03/23/2021 01:30 PM House TRANSPORTATION

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Audio Topic
01:33:56 PM Start
01:34:59 PM Confirmation Hearing(s): Board of Marine Pilots
01:49:40 PM SJR9
02:09:39 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Board of Marine Pilots - Lucas Hasenbank &
Richard Harris
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSSJR 9(L&C) Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
             SJR  9-URGE EXEMPTION FOR CRUISE SHIPS                                                                         
1:49:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HOPKINS  announced that  the  final  order of  business                                                               
would be  CS FOR SENATE  JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 9(L&C),  Urging the                                                               
United  States  Congress  to exempt  cruise  ships  from  certain                                                               
provisions  of  the  PVSA  and  other  applicable  provisions  of                                                               
federal  law  for the  period  during  which Canadian  ports  are                                                               
closed to cruise ships carrying  more than 100 people; and urging                                                               
the President  of the United States  not to fine or  take actions                                                               
against cruise ships sailing to the state.                                                                                      
1:49:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR JESSE  KIEHL, Senator,  Alaska State  Legislature, shared                                                               
in 2019  Alaska had 2.2m  tourists, most of  whom came in  on big                                                               
ships.  The  tourists were responsible for about  $4B in economic                                                               
activity across Alaska, he shared.   In 2020 the number was close                                                               
to  zero,  he  shared,  putting small-  and  medium-sized  Alaska                                                               
businesses  and  their  employees  at great  risk.    There  were                                                               
federal  payroll  protection  programs,  disaster  loans,  Alaska                                                               
CARES Act  money, and unemployment  assistance; yet, if  the 2021                                                               
numbers looked similar, there would  be very few businesses which                                                               
would survive.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR KIEHL stated in 2021  with the Canadian closure, a series                                                               
of  American  federal laws  were  positioned  to prevent  another                                                               
cruise ship season.  In  effect, with big ships' obligatory stops                                                               
in Canada  on their way to  Alaska canceled, SJR 9  would ask for                                                               
temporary  reprieve  during  the  pandemic  and  closed  Canadian                                                               
waters.     He  noted   SJR  9  had   been  developed   with  the                                                               
Congressional delegation;  that all three members  had introduced                                                               
legislation that  would do what  SJR 9 requested.   If SJR  9 did                                                               
not pass, it would ensure prohibitive  laws did not pass.  It did                                                               
not  ask for  any  breaks  or shortcuts  on  COVID-19 safety,  he                                                               
pointed out.  The Center for  Disease Control (CDC) put out a 40-                                                               
page manual for COVID-19 mitigations  should sailing again become                                                               
safe.  There were safe ways for cruising to resume, he added.                                                                   
1:55:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HOPKINS  thanked the  sponsor  for  bringing forth  the                                                               
statewide issue.                                                                                                                
1:55:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  asked about  the similarity between  SJR 9                                                               
and House Bill 13.                                                                                                              
SENATOR KIEHL said  the only change was  some clarifying language                                                               
in the second resolved clause  to clarify no enforcement would be                                                               
taken  against  ships under  the  Passenger  Vessel Services  Act                                                               
1:56:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK asked when  Congress would "deal with this,"                                                               
and  if getting  ships to  Juneau in  the summer  of 2021  were a                                                               
SENATOR KIEHL  said he could not  predict Congress.  At  one time                                                               
he  thought the  provisions  could have  been  inserted into  the                                                               
American  Rescue  Act because  it  was  done through  the  budget                                                               
reconciliation  process   and  was  not  an   order,  he  shared.                                                               
Congressman Don  Young originally  introduced legislation  on the                                                               
matter, he stated, and shared  he thought the solution "elegant."                                                               
There are  a couple  potential vehicles in  which to  insert this                                                               
resolution, he  said.  There  was no date,  he said.   The cruise                                                               
lines  needed to  make decisions;  the CDC  was still  in partial                                                               
shutdown mode;  and it would take  90 days "from the  word go" to                                                               
get paying passengers  on board, so there was  very little chance                                                               
before mid- or late-July.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK said he supported SJR 9.                                                                                   
1:59:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND asked if  other states impacted had asked                                                               
for similar dispensation; for example,  Washington, where many of                                                               
the cruise ships originated.                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL said he had  been working with the Washington State                                                               
delegation and  several members of  their legislature,  but there                                                               
had  been no  resolution  from Washington.    There were  several                                                               
issues, and the Port of  Seattle would see significant impacts if                                                               
the  big ships  didn't begin  any voyages  there this  summer, he                                                               
2:00:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HOPKINS opened public testimony.                                                                                       
2:00:45 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDREW CREMATA, Mayor of Skagway,  testified in support of SJR 9.                                                               
Mr. Cremata  said the  PVSA presented  a "significant  hurdle" to                                                               
cruises  resuming their  ability  to pay  visits  to Skagway  and                                                               
described  the  dire  situation  in that  community  due  to  the                                                               
pandemic and  subsequent loss  of cruise  ship revenue  income to                                                               
the tune of  $160m in 2020.   The loss of the  2021 cruise season                                                               
would mean 2.5 years in the  best-case scenario.  Has sent letter                                                               
of  support  of SJR  9  to  federal  delegation and  spoken  with                                                               
legislators,  he  stated.   He  has  also encouraged  independent                                                               
traffic, but  the border is closed  for many of the  same reasons                                                               
Canada's were,  he said.   Other port communities  were affected,                                                               
as is Denali Borough, he imparted.                                                                                              
2:03:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN   asked  about  the  total   revenue  loss                                                               
compared to total of $160m in 2020.                                                                                             
MR. CREMATA responded  it was almost an entire  year's income and                                                               
that property  taxes even  had to be  waived for  businesses that                                                               
couldn't afford  to pay.   Going into  2021 budget cycle  with 6%                                                               
revenue projected,  which is optimistic.   There was  still sales                                                               
tax revenue, but the significance  of the impact wasn't shown, he                                                               
said.  It was 96% - 98% percent of revenue, he shared.                                                                          
2:04:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  HOPKINS asked  if Skagway  had a  similar problem  with                                                               
allocations based on population like Denali.                                                                                    
MR.  CREMATA responded  CARES Act  money  was put  back into  the                                                               
hands of  residents and  created a  grant program  for businesses                                                               
out of sales tax.   He emphasized SJR 9 was  a matter of survival                                                               
for the community of Skagway.                                                                                                   
2:06:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HOPKINS closed public testimony on SJR 9.                                                                              
2:06:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HANNAN moved  to report  SJR 9  out of  committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no objection,  SJR 9 moved out  of the House                                                               
Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HTRA Confirmation Hearing - Board of Marine Pilots - Lucas Hasenbank 3.23.2021.pdf HTRA 3/23/2021 1:30:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
HTRA Confirmation Hearing - Board of Marine Pilots - Richard Harris 3.23.2021.pdf HTRA 3/23/2021 1:30:00 PM
Confirmation Hearing
SJR 9 Letters of Support 2021-03-15.pdf HTRA 3/23/2021 1:30:00 PM
SJR 9 Explanation of Changes.pdf HTRA 3/23/2021 1:30:00 PM
SJR 9 Letters of Opposition 2021-03-15.pdf HTRA 3/23/2021 1:30:00 PM
SJR 9 Sponsor Statement.pdf HTRA 3/23/2021 1:30:00 PM
SJR 9 Supporting Document KTOO Article on Federal Legislation.pdf HTRA 3/23/2021 1:30:00 PM
SJR 9 ver. B.PDF HTRA 3/23/2021 1:30:00 PM
SJR 9 Zero Fiscal Note.PDF HTRA 3/23/2021 1:30:00 PM
SJR 9 Letter of Support Fairbanks Chamber 3.23.2021.pdf HTRA 3/23/2021 1:30:00 PM