Legislature(1999 - 2000)
04/23/1999 08:07 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE BILL NO. 7 "An Act relating to the University of Alaska and university land, and authorizing the University of Alaska to select additional state land." CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 7(RES) "An Act relating to the University of Alaska and university land, and authorizing the University of Alaska to select additional state land." Senator Robin Taylor spoke to work draft version #1- LS0072\K, Luckhaupt, 3/24/99. [Copy on File]. He explained the changes between that version and the one previously adopted in the Resources Committee. Senator Taylor advised that the proposed version would be clearer and easier for everyone to follow. MEL KROGSENG, Staff, Senator Robin Taylor, commented that Legal Counsel, Jerry Luckhaupt, had recommended the above mentioned changes. Senator Leman MOVED to adopt the "K" version as the working document before the Committee. There being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted. Co-Chair Torgerson advised that Amendments #1 and #2 had been incorporated into the new committee substitute. [Copies on File]. Following discussion between Senator Donley and Co-Chair Torgerson, it was decided that only the bottom portion of Amendment #3 would be offered. [Copy on File]. That language would insert: "Must be managed in a manner that permits the continuation of subsistence, sport hunting and sport fishing" to the maximum extent possible. Senator Donley MOVED to adopt that language. Senator Taylor explained the language had not been inserted because by listing specific activities, then others are then precluded. He recommended that rather than listing every conceivable match, it was the intent to remove specific designations and merely use; "Continuation of traditional uses of the land", leaving the category broader. He reiterated that the language had been intentionally left generic. Senator Donley agreed with Senator Taylor and suggested that the concern could be addressed by adding the language: "Including, but not limited to". Senator Donley MOVED to WITHDRAW Amendment #3. There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment #3 was withdrawn. Senator Adams MOVED to adopt Amendment #4, 1-LS0072\I.2, Luckhaupt, 3/3/99. [Copy on File]. He stated that there are statewide municipalities which have not completely selected their lands. Senator Taylor countered that there are municipalities around the State, which over the years have been precluded from making certain selections either by the Mental Health Trust Fund litigation or other factors. He recognized that it is a problem. He added that he was willing to work on a viable solution to address the concern. Senator Taylor pointed out that Line #8 of the amendment, stipulates that the "guts" of the bill would only take effect if each municipality of the State was in existence on the effective date of that section. He recommended that a percentage number be added in order to make the selection process. He reiterated that he was willing to work on that concern, however, he felt that the proposed language "went too far". Senator Adams MOVED to WITHDRAW Amendment #4. There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment #4 was withdrawn. Senator Adams MOVED to adopt Amendment #5. [Copy on File]. Co-Chair Torgerson OBJECTED for the purpose of discussion. Senator Adams stated that the amendment would clarify that if the University did not reimburse the Department for reasonable costs incurred in the selection, platting and surveying of the land, the Department could not convey the land to the University of Alaska. Senator Taylor commented that the situation should be worked out between the University and the Department of Natural Resources. Senator Adams argued that the land would not be available if that portion of the Department of Natural Resources budget was not addressed for the current year budget. He stressed the concerns of adequately funding the Lands Division in FY00. A roll call vote was taken on the motion. IN FAVOR: Adams, Phillips, Donley OPPOSED: Leman, Wilken, P. Kelly, Torgerson Senator Green and Senator Parnel were not present for the vote. The MOTION FAILED (3-4). DICK MYLIUS, Resource Assessment & Development, Division of Lands, Department of Natural Resources, Anchorage, (Testified via Teleconference) offered to answer questions of the Committee. He pointed out that the Department had previously testified in opposition to SB 7. Mr. Mylius testified the Department's concerns are that the process for identifying the 250,000 acres would be time consuming, expensive and a contentious process. He pointed out that the Department had difficulty in identifying land to constitute the Mental Health Trust and that there was much public opposition. The Department estimates that it would cost over $1 million dollars per year to survey and transfer that land. He reiterated that the Senate Finance Committee in this year's proposed budget had basically "gutted" the Division of Lands, the agency responsible to take the lead in providing this transfer. Senator Phillips interjected that he "took exception" to this testimony. Co-Chair Torgerson requested that Mr. Mylius restrict his testimony to the bill and not the budgetary actions. Mr. Mylius continued, the Department has concerned regarding the impact the proposed bill would have on the municipalities because over 600,000 acres are currently owed to the municipalities. The same lands that the University wants are the ones which municipalities also request. Mr. Mylius concluded that this bill would create an uncertainty regarding land ownership in the State of Alaska. Senator Phillips questioned if zero dollars had been given to the Division of Lands. Mr. Mylius replied that cuts to the Division of Lands were approximately at 17%. Senator Leman MOVED to report CSSB 7(FIN) out of Committee with individual recommendation and with the accompanying fiscal notes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CSSB 7(FIN) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with fiscal notes by the Department of Natural Resources dated 3/5/99, the University of Alaska dated 1/22/99 and the Department of Fish and Game dated 1/29/99.