Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/05/1997 03:41 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
        SB  19 FISH & GAME COMN'R NOT TO ENFORCE FED LAW                      
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  announced  SB 19  to be up for consideration.              
  SENATOR SHARP,  sponsor, said that SB 19 repeals the present                 
 statutory mandate which is AS 16.05.050 (1) stating the State of              
 Alaska will assist the federal government agencies in the                     
 enforcement of federal laws and regulations as they apply to fish             
 and game resources in Alaska.  He said in light of the aggressive             
 federal action to assume management of fish and game over large               
 areas of our State, in violation of our statehood compact, he felt            
 repeal of this statute was prudent and in the best interests of the           
 citizens of Alaska.  He further stated that this was part of SB 77            
 that passed both bodies last year, but was vetoed.                            
  SENATOR LINCOLN  said the only piece of correspondence the committee         
 received on this issue was from the Alaska Peace Officers                     
 Association, which is throughout the State, and they unanimously              
 opposed it.  She asked if he knew why.  SENATOR SHARP said this is            
 the only correspondence he has seen from them and he hadn't                   
 received a phone call from them on any details.                               
  SENATOR LINCOLN  asked if by eliminating that portion of the                 
 statutory mandate they are saying the State of Alaska   will not be           
 assisting the federal government in enforcing their laws.  SENATOR            
 SHARP replied that it will not mandate that they shall enforce                
 every federal regulation and law on the books.  He didn't think               
 they had a choice now.  He wanted the Commissioner to have the                
 discretion.  He said there would continue to be cooperation beyond            
 the three-mile limit, because that's federal law and the State has            
 routinely worked with the feds on that enforcement.  This language            
 pertains to enforcement where federal laws and regulations are                
 contrary to existing State statutes and regulations.                          
  COLONEL GLASS,  Fish and Wildlife Protection, said he had some               
 concerns with this bill because there are 81 officers enforcing               
 fish and wildlife laws; and if they could not cooperate and deal              
 with the federal people, the resources would be damaged.                      
  SENATOR TAYLOR  explained that removing the mandate still allows the         
 department to have the discretion to enter into agreements and                
 enforcement protocols that they want to enter into.  This removes             
 the hammer, if the department did not feel comfortable or                     
 appropriate in going out and assisting.  He said last year he had             
 not heard any opposition to this specific section.  COLONEL GLASS             
 responded that that was his concern, and as long as they could                
 enter into MOUs and agreement letters, using the Lacey Act as an              
 example, he would have his concern answered.                                  
  SENATOR SHARP  reiterated that he did not see how taking the mandate         
 away does any harm to working together in those areas that would be           
 beneficial to enforce State regulation or laws in conjunction with            
 using federal laws that enhance their abilities to do that.                   
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  said he assumed that was the same concern the              
 Alaska Peace Officers Association had.  COLONEL GLASS said he was             
 not aware they had filed that objection and he is a member of the             
 Association.  He said he would check with Sergeant McCorkel who               
 signed the letter.                                                            
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  said he understands that they are repealing a duty         
 and not a power and he assumed that was what the Alaska Peace                 
 Officer's objection was.                                                      
  CHAIRMAN HALFORD  noted that there was a motion before them to move          
 SB 19 from committee with individual recommendations.  There were             
 no objections and it was so ordered.  CHAIRMAN HALFORD noted that             
 it passed with the accompanying $0 fiscal notes.                              

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