Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

03/15/2021 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSJR 8(RES) Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
Moved SB 64 Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
         SB  79-HUNTING/TRAPPING/FISHING: DISABLED VETS                                                                     
3:54:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   REVAK   reconvened   the  meeting   and   announced   the                                                             
consideration of  SENATE BILL  NO. 79 "An  Act relating  to sport                                                               
fishing, hunting, and trapping identification cards."                                                                           
3:54:44 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL, speaking as sponsor  of SB 79, commented that this                                                               
bill  appreciates  veterans  who  acquired  a  disability  of  50                                                               
percent  or greater  in service  to the  nation. He  said a  free                                                               
hunting  and   sport  fishing  license  is   currently  available                                                               
annually to  service-disabled veterans that reside  in Alaska. He                                                               
contrasted this to  Alaskans over the age of 60  who are eligible                                                               
for  a free,  permanent  hunting, fishing  and trapping  license.                                                               
Senator Kiehl  said a constituent,  who acquired a  disability of                                                               
50 percent  or greater in  service to the nation,  approached him                                                               
and  requested   the  same  courtesy  be   extended  to  eligible                                                               
veterans. This made eminent sense.                                                                                              
SENATOR  KIEHL pointed  out that  this bill  does not  materially                                                               
move  away from  the great  North American  tradition of  license                                                               
fees which contribute  to fish and game  management, and wildlife                                                               
conservation.  This bill  honors  service-disabled veterans  with                                                               
minimal fiscal change as noted in the Sponsor Statement:                                                                        
     Only  a small  number  of  disabled veterans  currently                                                                    
     purchase  a  trapping  license  each  year,  so  making                                                                    
     disabled veterans eligible for  a free trapping license                                                                    
     will have  a miniscule fiscal impact.  For this minimal                                                                    
     cost,  Alaska  will  provide  real  value  to  veterans                                                                    
     injured during their service to America.                                                                                   
3:56:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK asked whether the  only change to the current hunting                                                               
and  fishing   license  for  service-disabled  veterans   is  the                                                               
addition of a trapping benefit.                                                                                                 
SENATOR KIEHL answered  correct and in the process  the bill also                                                               
trues-up  issuance of  licenses, so  they are  issued permanently                                                               
instead of annually.                                                                                                            
3:57:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP  questioned how the  aforementioned 50  percent or                                                               
greater disability was derived.                                                                                                 
SENATOR KIEHL  stated for the  free hunting and  fishing license,                                                               
50  percent or  greater  disability is  the  existing rule.  That                                                               
requirement was copied over into this bill.                                                                                     
3:57:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR VON IMHOF  asked about disability documentation  and if a                                                               
doctor's  disability  assessment is  required  to  apply for  the                                                               
SENATOR  KIEHL  answered  correct,  the bill  uses  the  existing                                                               
system, which  is a federal  government determination.  The state                                                               
does  not second  guess  the determination,  but  the state  does                                                               
require documentation.                                                                                                          
3:58:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE  offered  a supposition  and  asked  whether  a                                                               
permanent  card   remains  valid  if  the   veteran  later  fully                                                               
SENATOR KIEHL expressed his belief  that once issued, the card is                                                               
permanently  valid, but  said  he needs  to  confirm the  current                                                               
practice with the department.                                                                                                   
3:58:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REVAK made  a last call for questions,  then proceeded to                                                               
public testimony.                                                                                                               
3:59:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK  RICHARDS, Executive  Director, Resident  Hunters of  Alaska                                                               
(RHAK),  Fairbanks, Alaska,  testified in  support of  SB 79.  He                                                               
stated RHAK  is a  hunting conservation  group with  nearly 3,000                                                               
members. It advocates for resident  hunting priority and prudent,                                                               
sustainable  wildlife  management  policies  in  accordance  with                                                               
Article VIII of  the Alaska Constitution. It is  RHAK's view that                                                               
just like Alaska  residents who are 60 years of  age or older are                                                               
eligible for  a permanent identification  card (PID) in  order to                                                               
hunt, sport  fish, or trap for  free, the same benefit  should be                                                               
extended  to Alaska's  veterans  who are  50  percent or  greater                                                               
disabled.  As  eligible veterans  are  currently  allowed a  free                                                               
hunting and  fishing license, the  only change to statute  is the                                                               
addition of a trapping license  and issuance of a permanent card.                                                               
He stressed  that 50  percent or  greater disabled  veterans need                                                               
all  the  help  the  state  can   offer  to  get  them  back  out                                                               
participating in the field.                                                                                                     
MR. RICHARDS  said being  50 percent disabled  does not  mean one                                                               
cannot walk, hike, or get out in  the field. He knows of a couple                                                             
of 50 percent  disabled veterans that run trap  lines. For others                                                               
that  are  more  disabled  or are  wheelchair  bound,  there  are                                                               
organizations  that help  get them  out in  the field.  This also                                                               
applies to  activities like  predator calling  in winter  using a                                                               
firearm or  bow which  sometimes requires  a trapping  license to                                                               
take certain fur bearers.                                                                                                       
MR. RICHARDS concluded  his testimony by stating  the Division of                                                               
Wildlife  Conservation  expects no  fiscal  impact  if this  bill                                                               
passes and this bill has a  zero fiscal note. RHAK fully supports                                                               
the passage of the bill.                                                                                                        
4:01:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  REVAK asked  Maria Gladziszewski  the cost  of a  trapping                                                               
MARIA  GLADZISZEWSKI,  Deputy   Director,  Division  of  Wildlife                                                               
Conservation,  Alaska  Department  of   Fish  and  Game,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, apologized and  stated that she did not have  the cost of                                                               
a trapping license at-hand.                                                                                                     
SENATOR BISHOP chimed-in that the trapping license fee is $25.                                                                  
4:02:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK determined  no one else wished to  comment and closed                                                               
public testimony on SB 79.                                                                                                      
4:02:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS asked  Senator Kiehl  to clarify  why this  bill                                                               
references a loan on page 1, line 7 of the original bill.                                                                       
SENATOR KIEHL  answered this is  an alternate way to  qualify for                                                               
the disabled  veterans annual free  hunting and  fishing license.                                                               
He  said the  verbiage was  copied  from current  statute and  he                                                               
thinks  it   mirrors  the  eligibility  language   for  the  AHFC                                                               
veterans' loan program.                                                                                                         
4:03:37 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  REVAK asked  how  many of  these  licenses the  department                                                               
expects to issue.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  KIEHL  said  he  does  not know  how  many  of  Alaska's                                                               
service-disabled veterans  are interested in a  trapping license.                                                               
He conjectured as there are  only 900 trapping licenses currently                                                               
issued  in the  state, and  fewer  yet would  qualify under  this                                                               
bill, it is not a material hit to the fish and game fund.                                                                       
4:04:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK held SB 79 in committee.                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SJR08_UnivAK-Land-Grant_Summary-of-Changes_Version A to B.pdf SRES 3/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SJR08_UnivAK_Landgrant_BillText_Version B.pdf SRES 3/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SJR08_UnivAK_LandGrant_Research_Presentation_12March2021.pdf HRES 4/12/2021 1:00:00 PM
SRES 3/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 79 - Sectional Analysis version A.pdf SRES 3/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 79
SB 79 - Sponsor Statement version A.pdf SRES 3/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 79
SB064 Nancy Hillstrand oppose 2.22.21.pdf SRES 3/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 64
SB 79 RHAK Support Letter Support 3.15.21.pdf SRES 3/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 79
SB064 Milo Adkinson Oppose 3.15.21.pdf SRES 3/15/2021 3:30:00 PM
SB 64