Legislature(2013 - 2014)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/12/2014 09:00 AM Senate FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Scheduled But Not Heard
Scheduled But Not Heard
Moved CSSB 77(RES) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      March 12, 2014                                                                                            
                         9:13 a.m.                                                                                              
9:13:27 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Meyer called the Senate Finance Committee meeting                                                                      
to order at 9:13 a.m.                                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Pete Kelly, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Anna Fairclough, Vice-Chair                                                                                             
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Mike Dunleavy                                                                                                           
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Senator Peter  Micciche; Ben Mulligan,  Legislative Liaison,                                                                    
Department of  Fish and Game; Larry  Semmens, Staff, Senator                                                                    
Peter  Micciche; Representative  Mike Chenault;  Tom Wright,                                                                    
Staff, Representative Mike Chenault;                                                                                            
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Al Barrette, Self, Fairbanks.                                                                                                   
SB  77    BIG GAME HUNTING WITH CHILDREN                                                                                        
          CSSB 77(RES) was REPORTED out of committee with a                                                                     
          "do pass" recommendation and with a previously                                                                        
          published zero fiscal note: FN1(DFG).                                                                                 
HB 231    CATTLE BRAND REGISTRATION                                                                                             
          HB 231 was HEARD and HELD in committee for                                                                            
          further consideration.                                                                                                
Co-Chair Meyer discussed the meeting's agenda.                                                                                  
SENATE BILL NO. 77                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to big game hunting with children."                                                                       
9:14:48 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  PETER MICCICHE,  presented SB  77. He  related that                                                                    
hunting  was a  large  part Alaska's  cultural heritage  and                                                                    
that  it  was  most  effectively   passed  on  to  the  next                                                                    
generation by  encouraging that it  be done  responsibly. He                                                                    
stated  that  the  Board of  Game  currently  possessed  the                                                                    
ability to  establish special hunts  in order to  ensure the                                                                    
responsible   instruction   and  indoctrination   of   young                                                                    
hunters;  the  bill  gave  the  board  more  flexibility  to                                                                    
establish youth hunts.  He stated that the  idea was largely                                                                    
brought to  the sponsors by the  Board of Game and  that Ted                                                                    
Spraker,  who lived  in  his district,  was  an advocate  of                                                                    
youth hunts. He shared a  personal story about how the Teens                                                                    
on  Target Program  had  taught his  daughter  how to  shoot                                                                    
firearms and be  safe with them; the program  had then taken                                                                    
the  female teens  on  a hunt  and  taught them  responsible                                                                    
hunting  practices.  He stated  that  the  bill allowed  for                                                                    
youth hunts  to happen  more often;  it also  specified that                                                                    
during hunts for Sitka Black-tailed  Deer in areas where the                                                                    
annual limit was  one animal, only one tag would  have to be                                                                    
punched. He  expounded that the  adult's tag would  not have                                                                    
to be  punched as a  result of  the bill. He  furthered that                                                                    
the  legislation also  removed  the  limitations that  youth                                                                    
hunts had to be scheduled  during regular hunting season. He                                                                    
thought  that encouraging  youth to  responsibly participate                                                                    
and carry  on Alaska's  great hunting tradition  and outdoor                                                                    
heritage  was  very  important  for  youth  development  and                                                                    
quality multi-generational outdoor experiences.                                                                                 
9:18:44 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:20:13 AM                                                                                                                    
AL BARRETTE, SELF, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference), spoke in                                                                    
favor of SB  77; however, he wanted to make  people aware of                                                                    
the  specific inclusion  of Sitka  Black-tailed Deer  in the                                                                    
legislation. He noted that the  Sitka meeting had determined                                                                    
that  one deer  was a  fairly  small animal  and should  not                                                                    
count against an entire family's  bag limit; he thought that                                                                    
areas that had  a black bear limit of one  could qualify for                                                                    
the  same  bag-limit  exclusion as  the  Sitka  Black-tailed                                                                    
Deer.  He recommended  that  an amendment  be  added to  the                                                                    
legislation  that gave  the  Board of  Game  the ability  to                                                                    
waive both  bag limits  in order to  give it  flexibility in                                                                    
addressing situations  where a game animal  should not count                                                                    
against both  of the bag  limits; this would allow  an adult                                                                    
and child to  each take a species. He thought  that the bill                                                                    
was well written, other than his suggested amendment.                                                                           
9:22:13 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                         
Co-Chair Kelly inquired what the  process would be regarding                                                                    
the  qualification for  the  youth  hunts. Senator  Micciche                                                                    
responded that a representative  from the Department of Fish                                                                    
and  Game  (ADFG) was  present  to  address questions  about                                                                    
youth hunts.                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Kelly  recalled  that  he  had  been  the  primary                                                                    
sponsor of the  original youth hunt bill when  it had passed                                                                    
in 1999 or 2000. He recalled  that when he was a kid, school                                                                    
did  not  start until  a  little  later  on in  the  hunting                                                                    
season;   in  some   cases,  the   startup  of   school  had                                                                    
deliberately  corresponded  with  the  hunting  seasons.  He                                                                    
explained  that   over  time,  the  school   year  had  been                                                                    
lengthened  and that  it had  become more  difficult to  get                                                                    
children  hunting.  He  recalled  that after  the  bill  had                                                                    
passed, he had wanted to take  his kids hunting at the early                                                                    
date;  however, he  found out  that were  there classes  and                                                                    
other complications  that one needed  to do months  prior to                                                                    
the hunt.  He shared a personal  story about how he  and his                                                                    
children were  unable to  shoot a bull  moose that  they saw                                                                    
during the early youth hunting season.                                                                                          
Co-Chair  Kelly inquired  how complicated  it would  be this                                                                    
time around  to participate in  the youth hunts.  He further                                                                    
inquired if  the Board of  Game would make so  many barriers                                                                    
that a  family would be unable  to go hunt in  August before                                                                    
school started.                                                                                                                 
BEN MULLIGAN,  LEGISLATIVE LIAISON,  DEPARTMENT OF  FISH AND                                                                    
GAME, replied that it was already  on the books that in some                                                                    
game management units, youth had  to take a hunter education                                                                    
class; however, the  Board of Game had the  ability to waive                                                                    
the requirement of having the  youth take a hunter education                                                                    
class  if the  hunting  was in  a safe  area  and they  were                                                                    
accompanied by an  adult that had taken the  class. He added                                                                    
that the  board had lately  allowed the above  exception. He                                                                    
was unsure how  the board would set up  the requirements for                                                                    
the youth hunt and deferred  that portion of the question to                                                                    
Mr. Spraker.                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Kelly requested  Mr. Mulligan to pass  a message on                                                                    
to  the  Board of  Game  that  the class  requirements  were                                                                    
nonsense; he thought  that people should be able  to get out                                                                    
9:26:08 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Hoffman noted that by  definition, a 17 year-old was                                                                    
a child;  however, in his  district there were many  15, 16,                                                                    
and  17 year-olds  that went  Ptarmigan  hunting without  an                                                                    
adult. He inquired  if these individuals would  no longer be                                                                    
able  to go  hunting without  an adult  if the  bill passed.                                                                    
Senator  Micciche responded  that they  could still  hunt as                                                                    
normal and that the bill applied only to the special hunts.                                                                     
Mr.  Mulligan  interjected  that  the bill  did  not  change                                                                    
anything pertaining to normal hunts,  such as small game. He                                                                    
stated  that the  way the  bill was  written currently,  the                                                                    
individuals that  Senator Hoffman had mentioned  would still                                                                    
be able to hunt Ptarmigan in the same fashion.                                                                                  
Vice-Chair  Fairclough  recalled work  on  the  bill in  the                                                                    
Senate  Resource  Committee  prior   to  the  new  CS  being                                                                    
released. She  noted that the bill  had originally contained                                                                    
the word "may" instead of  "shall" on line 5. She referenced                                                                    
a letter  to Co-Chair  Kelly from Mr.  Spraker, who  was the                                                                    
chairman  of the  Board  of Game,  that  indicated that  the                                                                    
board supported  amended language to change  "shall" back to                                                                    
"may"  and removing  the season  requirement. She  requested                                                                    
the sponsor to comment on  the issue of "shall" versus "may"                                                                    
in  the  legislation.  She wanted  the  committee  to  fully                                                                    
understand  what had  been originally  proposed, as  well as                                                                    
what was in the current version.                                                                                                
LARRY SEMMENS,  STAFF, SENATOR  PETER MICCICHE,  stated that                                                                    
he had  spoken to Mr.  Spraker about  the issue and  that he                                                                    
had agreed that  "shall" worked just as well  as "may" since                                                                    
the  season  dates  were  amended.  He  concluded  that  Mr.                                                                    
Spraker had  expressed no problem  with leaving  the statute                                                                    
as it currently was with the word "shall."                                                                                      
Senator  Olson inquired  how the  bill would  affect federal                                                                    
lands and  subsistence hunters who might  have children that                                                                    
were unable to attend classes as  might be the case in rural                                                                    
areas.  Senator Micciche  responded  that the  bill did  not                                                                    
affect normal  hunting seasons and  only applied  to special                                                                    
youth hunts.                                                                                                                    
Senator Olson  queried how  someone in  a remote  place like                                                                    
Hollis or  Klawock would be  able to participate  in special                                                                    
hunts  outside   of  the  normal  hunting   season.  Senator                                                                    
Micciche  deferred   the  question  to  Mr.   Mulligan,  but                                                                    
clarified  that  Senator Olson  was  asking  how someone  in                                                                    
remote areas would get the hunter education training.                                                                           
Senator  Olson replied  that was  what it  came down  to. He                                                                    
noted  that his  real  question was  regarding  the kind  of                                                                    
penalty  that  rural  residents would  incur  if  they  were                                                                    
stopped by a game warden  and did not have the requirements.                                                                    
He wondered how  the prerequisites for the  youth hunt would                                                                    
be made  available to  some of the  remote places  in Alaska                                                                    
like the Aleutians or Diomede  Island. Mr. Mulligan believed                                                                    
that the  hunter education courses were  offered online, but                                                                    
added that  he would  double check  with the  department. He                                                                    
noted that the courses being  offered online did not address                                                                    
the  issue   and  added   that  he   would  look   into  the                                                                    
availability of  offering hunter education courses  in other                                                                    
ways besides in-person classes.                                                                                                 
9:30:40 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Olson  inquired if the  youth hunt program  would be                                                                    
eligible on  federal lands. Mr.  Mulligan replied  that ADFG                                                                    
did  regulate wildlife  on many  federal  lands. He  thought                                                                    
that in order  to enact a youth hunt on  federal lands, ADFG                                                                    
would  have to  coordinate  with the  federal government  to                                                                    
ascertain if they wanted the state doing that.                                                                                  
Senator Micciche related that  examples of prior youth hunts                                                                    
would give a better illustration of how the system worked.                                                                      
Mr. Mulligan  stated that the  Board of Game  had instituted                                                                    
six  youth hunts.  He reported  that there  were two  Black-                                                                    
tailed Deer  hunts and  that one hunt  was on  Kodiak Island                                                                    
while the other was in  Southeast Alaska. The board had also                                                                    
instituted three youth-moose hunts  and one youth-moose hunt                                                                    
out  of  Delta Junction  in  the  region's youth  management                                                                    
area. He  related that with some  of the hunts, such  as the                                                                    
ones for  the Sitka  Black-tailed Deer,  there was  simply a                                                                    
harvest tag  that a  guardian or parent  could get;  in some                                                                    
cases, the  hunts required drawings  that the  youth entered                                                                    
into  in order  to  keep a  tighter rein  on  the number  of                                                                    
harvested  animals.  He added  for  the  record that  ADFG's                                                                    
director  of the  Division  of  Wildlife Conservation,  Doug                                                                    
Vincent-Lang, had committed that  he would actively look for                                                                    
additional youth  hunts to  bring forward  to the  board for                                                                    
review and  possible approval. He related  the importance of                                                                    
getting kids out  hunting and noted that in  some cases, the                                                                    
specialty youth  hunt was the  best way to provide  that. He                                                                    
observed that  with a specialty  youth hunt,  the department                                                                    
knew  that  the  youth  were  not  trying  to  compete  with                                                                    
everyone else;  furthermore, it provided  the youth  with an                                                                    
advantage  and got  them interested  and hooked  on Alaska's                                                                    
Vice-Chair Fairclough requested an  explanation of the youth                                                                    
hunts in a  situation where there was a shortage  of food in                                                                    
a  particular area;  she inquired  if a  youth hunt  in this                                                                    
case  would  take  precedent  over  those  who  engaging  in                                                                    
subsistence  hunting. She  believed that  a former  Board of                                                                    
Game  member  had  raised the  issue  of  allocation  during                                                                    
testimony  in the  Senate Resources  Committee; she  thought                                                                    
that the  testimony had indicated  the notion that  the word                                                                    
"shall" on  line 5 of the  bill would somehow mean  that the                                                                    
youth  hunts could  take priority  over  other hunting.  She                                                                    
acknowledged  that  she  may be  misunderstanding  what  was                                                                    
said, but requested an explanation.                                                                                             
Senator Micciche  replied that  the former board  member who                                                                    
had  testified had  misunderstood  the  language to  require                                                                    
increasing  hunts  as though  it  was  something that  would                                                                    
multiply over  the years; however,  nothing in  the language                                                                    
of the bill  specified that. He stated that  the bill stated                                                                    
that  annual seasons  would  be  established in  appropriate                                                                    
areas  of  the state  for  big  game  other than  bison  and                                                                    
muskox. He  thought that  it was a  good question,  but that                                                                    
the language meant  that a youth hunt would  take place only                                                                    
in the case of an abundance of  a type of game and then only                                                                    
in limited numbers.  He stated that there had  been very few                                                                    
youth hunts  to-date and that  when a program like  Teens on                                                                    
Target applied  for one, it  involved a limited  quantity of                                                                    
animals in a very limited area.                                                                                                 
9:34:45 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Mulligan added  that subsistence  took priority  in the                                                                    
allocation and that if the  number of animals on a landscape                                                                    
diminished, subsistence  would get  priority; in  this case,                                                                    
the  youth  hunts  would  be reduced  as  the  abundance  of                                                                    
animals dictated.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair Meyer noted  that the Board of Game  had included a                                                                    
letter  in members'  packets (copy  on file)  that suggested                                                                    
that the minimum age for the  youth hunt be 10 years old; he                                                                    
noted  that the  bill  had the  required age  set  at 8.  He                                                                    
inquired  why 8  years  old  was arrived  at  as a  minimum.                                                                    
Senator Micciche replied  that some believed that  8 was the                                                                    
right age, but that Mr. Spraker  thought that 8 was a little                                                                    
young  for   most  kids   to  fully   grasp  the   level  of                                                                    
responsibility needed.  He stated  that the  age requirement                                                                    
was really a  personal preference and that  the sponsors had                                                                    
wanted to  make sure that  families were able to  take their                                                                    
young  kids hunting;  he thought  that  the age  at which  a                                                                    
child would  be responsible  enough could  vary and  that it                                                                    
represented a decision that a family would have to make.                                                                        
9:36:18 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer  related that the  committee tended  to focus                                                                    
on the financial side of  bills and that the legislation had                                                                    
a zero  fiscal note.  He thought  that the  bill represented                                                                    
good legislation.                                                                                                               
Vice-Chair Fairclough  MOVED to  REPORT CSSB 77(RES)  out of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal  note. There being NO  OBJECTION, it was                                                                    
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
CSSB 77(RES) was REPORTED out  of committee with a "do pass"                                                                    
recommendation and  with a previously published  zero fiscal                                                                    
note: FN1(DFG).                                                                                                                 
9:37:06 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:38:39 AM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 231                                                                                                            
     "An Act eliminating the Department of Revenue's duty                                                                       
     to register cattle brands."                                                                                                
9:39:18 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MIKE  CHENAULT, presented  HB 231.  He stated                                                                    
that the bill was fairly basic  and was a piece of repealing                                                                    
legislation.  He   reported  that   bill  would   remove  AS                                                                    
44.25.0203, which  required the Department of  Revenue (DOR)                                                                    
to  register  cattle  brands.  He  referenced  a  report  in                                                                    
members'  packets from  Legislative Research  Services (copy                                                                    
on file)  and reported that  prior to statehood,  all duties                                                                    
associated  with  the  registration  of  cattle  brands  had                                                                    
resided in the old  territorial Department of Finance; those                                                                    
duties  had been  since assumed  by DOR.  He noted  that the                                                                    
report from  legislative research indicated that  the duties                                                                    
of recording  cattle brands  were delegated  through statute                                                                    
to the Division  of Agriculture. He stated  that by removing                                                                    
the statute,  the bill helped  clarify that  cattle branding                                                                    
resided within the  Division of Agriculture and  not DOR. He                                                                    
added that DOR had not  been registering brands for a number                                                                    
of  years and  thought that  the  legislation was  a way  of                                                                    
cleaning up the state's statutes.  He noted that the statute                                                                    
was not currently  needed or used in Alaska and  that it was                                                                    
the legislators'  responsibilities to eliminate  statutes as                                                                    
new ones were added.                                                                                                            
Co-Chair  Meyer  agreed  that  it  was  nice  to  take  some                                                                    
statutes  off  the books  before  new  ones were  added;  he                                                                    
thought that  the state was  a little behind in  doing this,                                                                    
but that the legislation represented a good start.                                                                              
9:43:13 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Fairclough  referenced the report  by Legislative                                                                    
Research Services and stated that  it appeared as though $42                                                                    
was  collected in  2013 through  fees; she  guessed that  it                                                                    
cost  more than  that amount  to  print the  book of  cattle                                                                    
brand  registrants. She  wondered if  the fees  should cover                                                                    
the cost of printing the book.                                                                                                  
TOM WRIGHT,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE MIKE  CHENAULT, responded                                                                    
that the sponsors  had looked at that aspect.  He noted that                                                                    
registering cattle brands had an  initial cost of $2 with an                                                                    
additional cost of $1 per  year after that. He reported that                                                                    
the book had a cost of a  little over $2 per copy to publish                                                                    
and that  in the end, it  was kind of a  losing proposition.                                                                    
He acknowledged that the money  was not a significant amount                                                                    
and that one  specific group of cattle owners  would like to                                                                    
see the fees go up; however,  the bill was simply a repealer                                                                    
and that issue  should be addressed through  the Division of                                                                    
Vice-Chair Fairclough  wondered if it was  required that the                                                                    
book  of  cattle  brand  registrations  be  published  in  a                                                                    
printed format. She inquired if  the book could be digitized                                                                    
so that  the state  was not spending  money in  the negative                                                                    
for something that although was  valuable to a limited group                                                                    
of people,  was not being  paid for by  fees. Representative                                                                    
Chenault responded that it could be a consideration.                                                                            
Senator  Bishop inquired  if there  had ever  been an  issue                                                                    
with  cattle  rustling  in Alaska.  Representative  Chenault                                                                    
replied  that to  his  knowledge, there  had  never been  an                                                                    
issue in the state with cattle rustling.                                                                                        
9:46:32 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Olson  noted that he  came from  an area that  had a                                                                    
fair  amount  of  marking   of  animals,  particularly  with                                                                    
Reindeer and  inquired if  the bill  would affect  any other                                                                    
species  besides cattle.  Mr. Wright  responded that  it did                                                                    
not  and added  that  there  were brands  in  the book  that                                                                    
coincided with reindeer branding;  however, all the bill did                                                                    
was  remove the  duty  to register  cattle  brands from  DOR                                                                    
statutes. If  the bill passed,  the Division  of Agriculture                                                                    
would still  retain authority  and jurisdiction  over brands                                                                    
on any animal.                                                                                                                  
Senator Olson further inquired if  there would be any change                                                                    
to  the Division  of Agriculture's  authority regarding  the                                                                    
branding of animals. Mr. Wright replied in the negative.                                                                        
9:47:30 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Meyer observed  that the  bill had  a zero  fiscal                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                         
Co-Chair Meyer discussed the committee's upcoming agenda.                                                                       
HB 231 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                              
9:49:10 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:49:18 AM                                                                                                                    
9:49:42 AM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 9:49 a.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
DNR Email-Brand Books.pdf SFIN 3/12/2014 9:00:00 AM
HB 231
Research-Cattle Branding.pdf SFIN 3/12/2014 9:00:00 AM
HB 231
Sponsor Statement-HB 231.pdf SFIN 3/12/2014 9:00:00 AM
HB 231
CS SB 77 (RES) Sponsor Statement.pdf SFIN 3/12/2014 9:00:00 AM
SB 77
SB 77 Supp Letter TedSpraker 20140204.pdf SFIN 3/12/2014 9:00:00 AM
SB 77
SB 77 Spraker support 2.pdf SFIN 3/12/2014 9:00:00 AM
SB 77