Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/22/1995 01:17 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
       HB 102 EXTEND BIG GAME COMMERCIAL SERVICES BOARD                       
                                                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN, sponsor of the measure, gave the                   
 following overview.  He served as a member of the Big Game                    
 Commercial Services Board for two years.  If this board is not                
 extended, guides will be unregulated.  Several years ago, a                   
 contentious issue was settled by the Supreme Court, called the                
 OWSICHEK decision.  That decision eliminated exclusive use areas              
 for guides, which in the past were bought and sold as commodities.            
 That practice was found to be in violation of the common use clause           
 of the Alaska Constitution.  Currently, anyone can be assigned to             
 a guide-use area, with a maximum of three guide-use areas for a               
 minimum of five years per area.  This allows for some control, and            
 for the Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection to monitor guiding           
 activities.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 390                                                                    
                                                                               
 JOE KLUTSCH, representing the Alaska Professional Hunters                     
 Association, reviewed the background of the Big Game Commercial               
 Services Board.  In 1988 the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the              
 former guide area system, as implemented, was unconstitutional, and           
 violated provisions of Article VIII.  As a result, the Governor               
 appointed a task force to restructure and design a new regulatory             
 apparatus for the guiding industry.  In 1988-89 a bill, which                 
 defined who could conduct what activities in a commercial capacity,           
 passed the Legislature.  By 1991, the task force had completed its            
 work and made recommendations to the Legislature and the Big Game             
 Commercial Service Board, on the structuring of a new regulatory              
 package.  The key tenet of the package was the area registration              
 system.  At the onset it was somewhat controversial.  The guiding             
 industry had anticipated a fairly complicated system for ranking,             
 evaluating and selecting individuals who were able to conduct                 
 guiding activities within areas.  Because of legal complications              
 and public pressure, that component of the regulatory package was             
 dropped.   The task force then adopted a simple and generic area              
 registration system.  The justifications were resource based; the             
 idea being to provide a spatial distribution of effort.  Guides               
 would be spread out over a wide area, rather than high                        
 concentrations of effort in small areas, to reduce the potential              
 for over-harvest of game populations.  The idea behind the five               
 year limit for area registrations was to provide a stewardship                
 incentive, and prevent individuals from roving from one area to               
 another, harvesting available game past its sustained yield level             
 and then moving on.  The system enhanced enforcement efforts and              
 created a level of accountability.  This system allowed for equal             
 access, since new guides were on the same footing as established              
 guides.  The registration concept was found to be consistent with             
 Article VIII.                                                                 
                                                                               
 MR. KLUTSCH continued.  The key question before the committee is              
 what will happen if the board is sunsetted.  Eight years of work,             
 since the OWSICHEK ruling, would be lost.  Land and resource                  
 managers, members of the public, the Legislature, and the guiding             
 profession have put thousands of hours into structuring this                  
 system.  If the Big Game commercial Services Board is sunsetted,              
 many key game populations will be hunted at, or beyond, maximum               
 sustained yield levels, which will force the Board of Game, after             
 the fact, to close these seasons to non-resident hunting.  Non-               
 resident hunting is what the guiding industry depends on.  The area           
 system has reduced conflicts with other user groups.  The advantage           
 of the registration system is the ability to measure the level of             
 effort before game populations have been harvested at maximum                 
 sustained yield level.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 477                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR HOFFMAN referred to a report by the Legislative Budget and            
 Audit Division, which recommends the Big Game Commercial Services             
 Board be extended to 1997.  The Department of Commerce and Economic           
 Development recommended the Board be extended to 1998.  He asked              
 why the two agencies recommended different time lengths.                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN assumed the Legislative Budget and Audit Division's             
 report was issued in November of 1993.  Normally it is on a four              
 year cycle; last year it was on a one year cycle to keep it in its            
 sunset stage.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 490                                                                    
                                                                               
 EDDIE GRASSER, representing the Alaska Outdoor Council (AOC),                 
 testified in support of HB 102.  He expressed concern that at some            
 point in time, the AOC would like the Legislature to address  the             
 Big Game Commercial Services Board's inability to address the                 
 increasing numbers of transporters and air taxis delivering                   
 clients.  Other residents of the state are being restricted by the            
 huge increase in drop-off hunters by air taxis.  The air taxi                 
 industry is not being regulated by the Board, other than the fact             
 that carriers must obtain a transporter's license and file reports.           
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if Mr. Grasser knew of any opposition to HB
 102.  MR. GRASSER replied he did not; he was hoping the Legislature           
 could improve regulation of the industries.  SENATOR TAYLOR felt              
 the title was too restrictive to accommodate that request.                    
                                                                               
 Number 513                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR moved HB 102 from committee with individual                    
 recommendations.  There being no objection, the motion carried.               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects