Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

02/28/2020 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
          SB 159-SALT WATER FISHING: OPERATORS/GUIDES                                                                       
3:30:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be Senate Bill 159, "An Act  relating to salt water sport fishing                                                               
operators and salt water sport  fishing guides; and providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
3:31:36 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  RUTZ,  Director,  Division   of  Sport  Fisheries,  Alaska                                                               
Department of  Fish and Game,  Palmer, Alaska, explained  that SB
159 would  reinstate sport fishing  guide and  operator licensing                                                               
standards  and fees  for  salt water  guides  and operators.  The                                                               
legislature adopted  the sport fish  guide and  operator licenses                                                               
that took effect in 2005 and  sunsetted on December 31, 2014. The                                                               
legislature reinstated the legislation  and it sunsetted in 2018.                                                               
The  department   would  like  to  see   the  operator  licensing                                                               
standards and  fees in  statute in  perpetuity. The  license fees                                                               
pay the  cost of collecting  logbook data which is  the reporting                                                               
section of SB 159.                                                                                                              
He detailed that  the department has collected  logbook data from                                                               
salt  water  sport  fishing businesses  and  guides  since  1998.                                                               
Logbook  data is  critical to  upholding the  state's obligations                                                               
for the United States and  Canadian Pacific Salmon Treaty as well                                                               
as providing  crucial data to  the International  Pacific Halibut                                                               
Commission. Logbook data  is also critical for  the North Pacific                                                               
Fisheries Management  Council for managing federal  fisheries and                                                               
avoiding  duplicative  reporting   mechanisms  that  place  undue                                                               
burden on the charter fishing industry.                                                                                         
MR.  RUTZ noted  that committee  members received  a logbook  use                                                               
summary that lays  out all the needs and  obligations the program                                                               
3:34:47 PM                                                                                                                    
RACHEL HANKE, Legislative Liaison,  Alaska Department of Fish and                                                               
Game, Juneau,  Alaska, provided the following  sectional analysis                                                               
for SB 159, version A:                                                                                                          
     Section 1                                                                                                                
       Establishes license fees for salt water guides and                                                                       
        • Guide license - $200                                                                                                  
        • Operator license - $400                                                                                               
        • Operator and guide combined license - $400                                                                            
     Section 2                                                                                                                
     Adds new Article to AS 16.40AS 16.40.262  provides stipulations for the salt                                                                      
          water operator license and defines the license                                                                        
        • AS 16.40.272  provides stipulations for the salt                                                                      
          water guides and combined license and defines                                                                         
          both license types.                                                                                                   
        • AS 16.40.282  establishes reporting requirements                                                                      
          for salt water guides and operators.                                                                                  
        • AS 16.40.292       establishes   penalties   for                                                                      
          violations the chapter.                                                                                               
        • AS 16.40.301  defines "salt water sport fishing                                                                       
          guide" and "salt water sport fishing guide                                                                            
     Section 3                                                                                                                
        Adds salt water sport fishing operator and guide                                                                        
     license to AS 25.27.244(s)(2) which defines "license.                                                                      
     Section 4                                                                                                                
     Effective date of January 1, 2021.                                                                                         
3:36:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE asked what the  fees were when the program expired                                                               
in 2018.                                                                                                                        
MR. RUTZ answered that they were  $200 for the guide and operator                                                               
fee and  $100 for  the guide fee,  which is half  of what  SB 159                                                               
asks for.                                                                                                                       
CHAIR  MICCICHE asked  if the  combined fee  has always  been the                                                               
same as the salt water fishing operator license.                                                                                
3:37:01 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM TAUBE,  Deputy Director, Division of  Sport Fisheries, Alaska                                                               
Department of Fish  and Game, Juneau, Alaska,  explained that the                                                               
combined  fee has  been the  same  as the  operator license.  The                                                               
combined fee in  SB 159 is $400 and previously  the fee was $200.                                                               
An operator who  is also a guide  would pay the full  amount as a                                                               
business does.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR COGHILL  noted that  the amended  legislation adds  a new                                                               
section. He  asked if the  new section  adds new verbiage  to the                                                               
MS. HANKE answered  that the new section is mostly  the same, but                                                               
the bill  reinstates the reporting requirement  from the original                                                               
3:38:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL asked  for the number of salt water  guides and the                                                               
total number of guides in the state.                                                                                            
MR. TAUBE  answered that there  are approximately 1,200  to 1,300                                                               
salt water guides. The approximate  total of both fresh water and                                                               
salt water guides is 2,200 to 2,400.                                                                                            
SENATOR  KIEHL pointed  out that  logbooks are  important to  the                                                               
Board  of Game  and advisory  committees. He  asked why  the bill                                                               
only requires logbook data from salt water guides.                                                                              
MR.  TAUBE answered  that the  department specifically  submitted                                                               
salt water guides because the  salt water guide industry supports                                                               
the legislation.  The department dropped fresh  water logbooks at                                                               
the  beginning  of  2019  partly due  to  not  having  sufficient                                                               
funding to  continue the program and  a lack of support  from the                                                               
fresh water  guide industry to  complete the logbooks.  The fresh                                                               
water  guiding industry  felt  that the  division  was not  using                                                               
their logbook data for management purposes.                                                                                     
He explained  that after in-season  logbook data  collection, the                                                               
department  releases data  during the  post season.  However, the                                                               
department  is converting  to an  electronic logbook  (e-logbook)                                                               
system for the 2021 season.  The department will mandate all salt                                                               
water   guides  to   complete  their   e-logbooks.  The   logbook                                                               
conversion  should  expedite   data  processing  and  information                                                               
MR. TAUBE detailed that the  department releases king salmon data                                                               
by  mid-July to  determine where  the  state is  with regards  to                                                               
Pacific Salmon Treaty obligations.  They start generating halibut                                                               
harvest reports  at the same  time for the North  Pacific Fishery                                                               
Management Council for the fall.                                                                                                
3:41:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL remarked that all  the listed logbook data benefits                                                               
were  in-season management  benefits.  He  opined that  providing                                                               
more data would seem to help  the Board of Game and biologists to                                                               
do  a better  job, especially  with the  e-logbook implementation                                                               
providing in-season information for just about everybody.                                                                       
MR. TAUBE replied  in-season is a relative  term, but preliminary                                                               
data   access  would   occur  within   weeks  of   the  e-logbook                                                               
compilation. However,  data analysis  during the  in-season would                                                               
take some time.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR MICCICHE asked  why the legislation sunsetted  twice in the                                                               
last six years.                                                                                                                 
MR. TAUBE replied  he does not know the rationale  for the sunset                                                               
clauses. The initial legislation adopted  in 2005 had a five-year                                                               
sunset with two-year sunsets afterwards.                                                                                        
CHAIR MICCICHE  remarked that  this is  obviously a  priority for                                                               
the department. He  asked why the legislation was  not a priority                                                               
during the previous times when it sunsetted and then expired.                                                                   
MR. TAUBE  answered that he  believes it  was a priority  for the                                                               
department, but he  isn't certain why the  sunset provisions were                                                               
SENATOR  COGHILL  pointed  out  that the  fiscal  note  indicated                                                               
concerns  over  the  fresh  water  guide  licensing  logbook.  He                                                               
recalled  that  the fresh  water  logbook  discussion related  to                                                               
whether the process provided value.                                                                                             
SENATOR  COGHILL  asked  how the  department  records  individual                                                               
licensing and boat labeling [registration].                                                                                     
3:44:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. TAUBE  explained that the department  requires licensed guide                                                               
businesses to  register their vessel  and get logbooks  for their                                                               
staff. Within  the logbook  there is  a vessel  registration form                                                               
that identifies  the vessel utilized  by the business  during the                                                               
season. The  guide business can  contact the department to  add a                                                               
replacement vessel  if their registered  vessel goes  down during                                                               
the season.                                                                                                                     
He explained  that vessel registration  allows the  department to                                                               
track  vessels used  for guiding.  Each vessel  receives a  large                                                               
gold and  green decal, often  called "the watermelon."  The guide                                                               
businesses receive  annual renewal tags  that go on each  side of                                                               
their registered vessel.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  COGHILL   asked  how   the  department   holds  licensed                                                               
individuals accountable for logbook data.                                                                                       
MR.  TAUBE explained  that logbook  instructions require  logbook                                                               
entries to  be completed before  offloading passengers  and fish.                                                               
The department  can issue  citations to  individuals that  do not                                                               
comply. Licensed guide businesses  must submit completed logbooks                                                               
to the  department within a  two-week timeframe when  reports are                                                               
He  noted  that the  department  has  been lenient  on  reporting                                                               
provisions if someone operates in  a remote location and requires                                                               
an  end  of season  waiver.  However,  the department  has  cited                                                               
individuals   for   incorrectly  completing   logbooks,   falsely                                                               
completing  them, or  not  turning them  in  within the  required                                                               
3:46:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL asked if using  e-logbooks will allow faster data                                                               
downloading and cleaner accountability.                                                                                         
MR.  TAUBE answered  yes. He  detailed that  a guide  or business                                                               
will upload  logbook information after  a fishing trip  once they                                                               
have connectivity. The department will  allow a guide or business                                                               
up to two days to make  corrections to the logbook but after that                                                               
the  data  is  uploaded  and   changes  are  no  longer  allowed.                                                               
Citations  or  violations  will  be   the  same  for  failure  to                                                               
correctly complete  e-logbooks. It's just a  more efficient means                                                               
of collecting information.                                                                                                      
MR. TAUBE detailed  that the e-logbook process  will be efficient                                                               
for guides  taking clientele  out multiple  days. Guides  will be                                                               
able to repeat clientele information  in future days to record e-                                                               
logbook entries.  Guides will  also be able  to scan  licenses to                                                               
automatically upload  client information. The idea  behind the e-                                                               
logbooks  was  to  make  things more  efficient  for  guides  and                                                               
acquisition of the data easier for the department.                                                                              
3:48:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  asked how  many licensed operators  can be  on a                                                               
tagged boat.                                                                                                                    
MR.  TAUBE  explained  that  each  vessel  has  one  logbook  and                                                               
generally there is one guide  per vessel. There could be multiple                                                               
guides on  a single  vessel, but guides  would be  recording into                                                               
the same  logbook. Usually  the second guide  acts as  a deckhand                                                               
and the lead guide records logbook trip information.                                                                            
SENATOR  COGHILL   inquired  if  logbook  accountability   is  an                                                               
economic or legal relationship.                                                                                                 
MR. TAUBE answered it's a legal relationship.                                                                                   
SENATOR COGHILL recapped that there is one boat and one guide.                                                                  
MR. TAUBE added that there is one logbook in that circumstance.                                                                 
CHAIR MICCICHE asked if a deckhand has licensing requirements.                                                                  
MR. TAUBE  answered that  the definition  of sport  fishing guide                                                               
services  excludes a  deckhand  from  licensing requirements.  He                                                               
explained that deckhands fall under the guide's license.                                                                        
CHAIR MICCICHE  asked if  the department  requires a  deckhand to                                                               
have a current sport fishing license.                                                                                           
MR. TAUBE answered yes.                                                                                                         
3:50:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE asked if insurance,  first aid, holding a driver's                                                               
license and other requirements are the  same as they have been in                                                               
the past.                                                                                                                       
MR. TAUBE answered yes.                                                                                                         
CHAIR MICCICHE read the following provision on page 4, line 28:                                                                 
       A person who is required to complete reports under                                                                       
     this section may not provide false information or omit                                                                     
     material facts in a report.                                                                                                
He asked if  he agrees that in  the State of Alaska  a person who                                                               
is  under 16  years  of  age does  not  require  a sport  fishing                                                               
MR. TAUBE clarified that an Alaskan  resident under the age of 18                                                               
and  a  nonresident under  the  age  of  16  does not  require  a                                                               
CHAIR MICCICHE  asked what  protects a guide  from the  charge of                                                               
filing a  false report if  the parents of a  nonresident 17-year-                                                               
old claim  their child is  under age 16  and the truth  comes out                                                               
when the boat is boarded and IDs are checked.                                                                                   
3:52:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  TAUBE  answered   that  the  determination  is   up  to  the                                                               
investigating  enforcement  officer.  If  the  guide  made  every                                                               
effort  to get  the  correct information,  the  clients would  be                                                               
responsible. He  said the department  does not require  guides to                                                               
ask for birth certificates.                                                                                                     
CHAIR MICCICHE noted that the guide  in the referenced case was a                                                               
very  uncomfortable winner.  He said  he brought  it up  to bring                                                               
clarity to the  case to ensure that the incident  does not happen                                                               
MR.  TAUBE the  committee  to  support SB  159  without a  sunset                                                               
clause, if possible.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  MICCICHE   noted  his  concern  about   the  rollercoaster                                                               
management of  the guidebook program and  the unfair requirements                                                               
it places on salt water operators  who have a lot of other things                                                               
worry about.                                                                                                                    
3:54:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE  opened public testimony; finding  none, he stated                                                               
he  would  keep  it  open. He  encouraged  written  testimony  be                                                               
submitted to sres@akleg.gov.                                                                                                    
3:54:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE held SB 159 in committee.                                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 159 ver. A.pdf SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 159
SB 159 Transmittal Letter 1.28.2020.pdf SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 159
SB 159 Sectional Analysis 1.28.2020.pdf SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 159
SB 159 Fiscal Note DFG-DSF-01.14.2020.pdf SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 159
SB 159 ADFG Letter of Support 1.28.2020.pdf SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 159
SB 159 Logbook Use Summary 1.28.2020.pdf SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 159
SB 189 v. A.PDF SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 189
SB 189 Transmittal Letter ver. A 2.18.2020.pdf SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 189
SB 189 Sectional Analysis - ver. A 2.18.2020.pdf SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 189
SB 189 Fiscal Note DFG-SF 02.03.2020.pdf SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 189
SB 189 Support Doc - DOR Redemption Letter 2.13.2020.PDF SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 189
SB 189 Support Doc - Surcharge Revenue Breakdown 2.18.2020.pdf SRES 2/28/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 189