Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 120

03/26/2015 10:00 AM House FISHERIES

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10:04:57 AM Start
10:05:22 AM HB112
11:22:39 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 112(FSH) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES                                                                            
                         March 26, 2015                                                                                         
                           10:04 a.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Louise Stutes, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                      
Representative Bob Herron                                                                                                       
Representative Craig Johnson                                                                                                    
Representative Charisse Millett                                                                                                 
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 112                                                                                                              
"An  Act   repealing  the   Alaska  Commercial   Fisheries  Entry                                                               
Commission and transferring its  duties to a commercial fisheries                                                               
entry division  established in  the Department  of Fish  and Game                                                               
and the office  of administrative hearings; and  providing for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 112(FSH) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 112                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: REPEAL CFEC; TRANSFER FUNCTIONS TO ADFG                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) STUTES                                                                                            
02/18/15       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/18/15       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
03/12/15       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                            
03/12/15       (H)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
03/19/15       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                            
03/19/15       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/19/15       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/26/15       (H)       FSH AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                            
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REID HARRIS, Staff                                                                                                              
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As staff  for the House Special Committee on                                                             
Fisheries, explained the changes in CSHB 112, Version W.                                                                        
JULIANNE CURRY                                                                                                                  
United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA)                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered testimony, answered  questions, and                                                             
recommended  holding  CSHB 112  until  the  legislative audit  is                                                               
JERRY McCUNE, President                                                                                                         
Cordova District Fishermen United (CDFU)                                                                                        
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During the  hearing on  CSHB 112,  offered                                                             
support for CFEC and answered questions.                                                                                        
MARTIN LUNDY                                                                                                                    
Southeast Alaska Seiner's Association (SEAS)                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   During the  hearing on CSHB  122, testified                                                             
in opposition.                                                                                                                  
AL BURCH                                                                                                                        
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   During the hearing on HB  112, testified in                                                             
PAUL SHADURA, II                                                                                                                
Kasilof, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:   During the  hearing on CSHB  112, testified                                                             
in opposition.                                                                                                                  
JAMI ROSS, Representative                                                                                                       
Alaska Herring Seiners Association                                                                                              
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:   During the  hearing on CSHB  112, testified                                                             
in opposition.                                                                                                                  
KEVIN BROOKS, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                               
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G)                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions related to CSHB 112.                                                                  
ALPHEUS BULLARD, Attorney                                                                                                       
Legislative Legal and Research Services                                                                                         
Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   During the  hearing on CSHB  112, responded                                                             
to a question.                                                                                                                  
BENJAMIN BROWN, Commissioner                                                                                                    
Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC)                                                                             
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   During the  hearing on CSHB  112, testified                                                             
and responded to previous questions and comments.                                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
10:04:57 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  LOUISE  STUTES  called  the  House  Special  Committee  on                                                             
Fisheries  meeting  to  order  at  10:04  a.m.    Representatives                                                               
Stutes,  Kreiss-Tomkins, Foster,  and Heron  were present  at the                                                               
call to  order.  Representatives  Johnson and Millett  arrived as                                                               
the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                    
         HB 112-REPEAL CFEC; TRANSFER FUNCTIONS TO ADFG                                                                     
10:05:22 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES announced that the  order of business would be HOUSE                                                               
BILL NO. 112,  "An Act repealing the  Alaska Commercial Fisheries                                                               
Entry  Commission and  transferring  its duties  to a  commercial                                                               
fisheries entry  division established  in the Department  of Fish                                                               
and  Game   and  the  office  of   administrative  hearings;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
10:06:38 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  moved to  adopt CSHB  112, labeled                                                               
29-LS0485\W, Kirsh/Bullard, 3/19/15, as the working document.                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES objected for discussion.                                                                                           
10:07:09 AM                                                                                                                   
REID HARRIS, Staff, Representative Louise Stutes, Alaska State                                                                  
Legislature, paraphrased from the following statement [original                                                                 
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Explanation of Changed HB 112, Version A to Version W                                                                    
     Page 11, line 22:                                                                                                          
          Delete "and quasi-judicial"                                                                                           
     Page 13, line 18:                                                                                                          
          Delete "hearing procedures"                                                                                         
          Insert "hearings"                                                                                                   
     Page 13, lines 21 -24:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
          "(b) An administrative hearing on a contested                                                                         
          case under this chapter shall be conducted by the                                                                     
          office of administrative hearings (AS 44.64.010).                                                                     
          Notwithstanding AS 44.64.060(e), the office of                                                                        
          administrative hearings shall render the final                                                                        
          administrative decision."                                                                                             
     Page 13, line 25, through page 14, line 7:                                                                                 
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
     Reletter the following subsection accordingly.                                                                             
     Page 14, lines 12- 17:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
          "administrative adjudication procedures of AS                                                                         
          44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act) [DO NOT]                                                                         
          apply to administrative hearings on contested                                                                         
          cases conducted by [ADJUDICATORY PROCEEDINGS OF]                                                                      
          the office of administrative hearings (AS                                                                           
          44.64.010) held under this chapter. Final                                                                           
          [COMMISSION EXCEPT THAT FINAL] administrative                                                                         
          determinations by the office of administrative                                                                      
          hearings [COMMISSION] are subject to judicial                                                                       
       review as provided in AS 44.62 .560 - 44.62.570."                                                                        
     Page 32, lines 26 - 27:                                                                                                    
          Delete "regulations adopted by the department                                                                       
     [COMMISSION] under 8 AS 16.43.110."                                                                                        
          Insert "AS 16.43.110(b) [REGULATIONS ADOPTED BY                                                                       
          THE COMMISSION UNDER AS 16.43.110]."                                                                                  
     Page 34, line 7:                                                                                                           
          Delete "department"                                                                                                   
          Insert "office of administrative hearings"                                                                            
     Page 34, line 16:                                                                                                          
          Delete "department"                                                                                                   
          Insert "office of administrative hearings"                                                                            
     Page 34, line 24:                                                                                                          
          Delete "department"                                                                                                   
          Insert "office of administrative hearings"                                                                            
     Page 34, lines 27 - 30:                                                                                                    
          Delete "The show cause hearing shall be                                                                               
     [CONDUCTED BEFORE  A QUORUM OF COMMISSIONERS  AND SHALL                                                                    
     BE]  presided over  by a  hearing officer  appointed by                                                                    
     the office of  administrative hearings [COMMISSION] who                                                                    
     shall rule  on the  presentation of evidence  and other                                                                    
     procedural matters."                                                                                                       
          Insert "The show cause hearing shall be conducted                                                                     
     and  a decision  shall be  issued [BEFORE  A QUORUM  OF                                                                  
     COMMISSIONERS AND  SHALL BE PRESIDED OVER  BY A HEARING                                                                    
     OFFICER  APPOINTED]  by  the office  of  administrative                                                                    
     hearings  under AS  16.43.110(b) [COMMISSION  WHO SHALL                                                                    
     RULE  ON   THE  PRESENTATION  OF  EVIDENCE   AND  OTHER                                                                    
     PROCEDURAL MATIERS]."                                                                                                      
     Page 35, line 13:                                                                                                          
          Delete "department"                                                                                                   
          Insert "office of administrative hearings"                                                                            
     Page 42, following line 16:                                                                                                
          Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                    
       Sec. 112. AS 44.62.330(a)(27) is amended to read:                                                                        
               (27) the Department of Fish and Game as to                                                                       
               functions relating to the protection of fish                                                                     
               and game under AS 16.05.871 or commercial                                                                        
               fisheries under AS 16.43;"                                                                                     
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly                                                                           
10:07:25 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  HARRIS explained  that Version  W, defines  which cases  are                                                               
sent to  the Office of  Administrative Hearings and  empowers the                                                               
Office  of Administrative  Hearings  to  make final  adjudication                                                               
rulings  themselves  without the  approval  or  oversight of  the                                                               
Commissioner of  the Department of Fish  & Game.  He  referred to                                                               
Sec. 20, [AS 16.43.110(b)] page 13, [lines 16-24], which read:                                                                  
          (b) An administrative hearing on a contested case                                                                     
     under this chapter shall be  conducted by the office of                                                                    
     administrative      hearings       (AS      44.64.010).                                                                    
     Notwithstanding   AS   44.64.060(e),  the   office   of                                                                    
     administrative   hearings   shall  render   the   final                                                                    
     administrative decision.                                                                                                   
10:08:09 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HARRIS  explained that the  change reads that  the Department                                                               
of Fish & Game will issue  decisions on the 28 long-pending cases                                                               
until a decision  is issued by the Department of  Fish & Game and                                                               
that decision  is contested, those  cases will not go  before the                                                               
Office of Administrative  Hearings (OAH).  He  continued that all                                                               
approved  permits  will  be handled  in-house  by  the  division,                                                               
however, OAH will take jurisdiction of contested cases.                                                                         
10:08:47 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES  removed her objection.   Without further objection,                                                               
Version W was before the committee.                                                                                             
CHAIR STUTES opened public testimony.                                                                                           
10:09:20 AM                                                                                                                   
JULIANNE CURRY,  United Fishermen of Alaska,  said she represents                                                               
United  Fishermen of  Alaska  (UFA) members,  and  its 36  member                                                               
organizations  participating in  fisheries  throughout the  state                                                               
and  its off-shore  federal  waters.   She  expressed that  every                                                               
member is  impacted by  the results of  CSHB 112,  and recommends                                                               
the  committee  hold the  bill  until  the legislative  audit  is                                                               
complete, and until UFN's questions are answered.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  asked   whether  the  Alaska  Commercial                                                               
Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) has  been effective in the last                                                               
three  years,   noting  that  minimal  adjudications   have  been                                                               
MS. CURRY  responded that  it is  difficult for  her to  look the                                                               
committee in the eye and say  that the number of adjudications in                                                               
the last  year is sufficient.   However, UFA worked with  CFEC to                                                               
develop a timeline  as to how CFEC will  implement changes within                                                               
its organization.  She advised that  UFA will continue to push on                                                               
CFEC to ascertain  that the remaining 28 cases  will be completed                                                               
as quickly as possible.                                                                                                         
10:10:04 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  surmised  that  with  better  management                                                               
within the CFEC  group the timeline would have been  25 years ago                                                               
when it  started receiving cases.   She expressed that  this bill                                                               
is  moving and  it is  a serious  conversation about  a group  of                                                               
employees, and  some commissioners,  tasked with  a job  who have                                                               
been dragging their  heels.  She opined that  the fishermen being                                                               
adjudicated must  not be pleased  with the outcomes of  CFEC, and                                                               
asked  whether fishermen  have  weighed  in on  the  pace of  the                                                               
adjudications and their frustrations.                                                                                           
MS. CURRY replied  that not many fishermen or  board members have                                                               
expressed frustration with the pace  of the adjudications in that                                                               
they are  focusing on  their fishing  business, tasks  ahead, and                                                               
industry challenges  as opposed  to looking  at CFEC  because the                                                               
organization  has  functioned  fairly well  for  their  purposes.                                                               
United  Fishermen  of Alaska  (UFA)  supports  the hiring  of  an                                                               
executive director  for CFEC who will  correct the inefficiencies                                                               
and operate as a healthier organization, she explained.                                                                         
10:12:57 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  questioned why  the Department of  Fish &                                                               
Game (ADF&G) could not oversee the continued operation of CFEC.                                                                 
MS. CURRY  advised that  the majority  of members  have expressed                                                               
keeping CFEC independent; however, UFA  does not have an official                                                               
position  until its  questions are  answered  in the  legislative                                                               
audit coming out  in June.  She offered that  UFA will be working                                                               
with CFEC, and Representative Millett's  office once the audit is                                                               
received to determine the path forward as to CSHB 112.                                                                          
10:14:00 AM                                                                                                                   
JERRY  MCCUNE,  President,   Cordova  District  Fishermen  United                                                               
(CDFU), said  he is the  President of Cordova  District Fishermen                                                               
United  (CDFU) and  United  Fishermen of  Alaska  (UFA), and  has                                                               
worked  closely  with  the   Alaska  Commercial  Fisheries  Entry                                                               
Commission  (CFEC)  over 20  years.    He  pointed out  that  his                                                               
membership  does not  understand  whether they  will receive  the                                                               
same services from ADF&G they  are currently receiving from CFEC.                                                               
Regardless,  he expressed,  he  is aware  that  CFEC clean-up  is                                                               
necessary  and  stated   it  will  be  turned   around  and  work                                                               
efficiently with  an executive director  hired to run  the staff,                                                               
but ADF&G is  not the place to house it.   He said administrative                                                               
actions are responsive during the  season and a timely defense is                                                               
important.   He referred to  an earlier incident on  December 24,                                                               
when CFEC jumped in to defend  the people in Yakutat when the IRS                                                               
seized set net permits because "we  don't have a right, we have a                                                               
privilege to fish."   He reminded the committee  that CFEC worked                                                               
on the Carlson  case, and noted that the Bristol  Bay fishery has                                                             
also benefited  from CFEC on many  fronts.  Although, he  said he                                                               
could not defend  the White Cards issue in the  Cordova area that                                                               
issue  is currently  being  cleaned-up, but  some  of those  guys                                                               
fished for 20 years on a White  Card.  He advised [CFEC] has been                                                               
told to get  all of the cases  off as more cases  are coming, and                                                               
the Board of  Fisheries' research division is also  being used as                                                               
a resource for legal issues.   He opined that the division, as it                                                               
was  created, is  separate and  it should  stay out  of politics,                                                               
have the right  employees dedicated to the  fishing industry, and                                                               
the integrity of the limited entry law.                                                                                         
10:17:06 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES referred to his  reference to December 24, and asked                                                               
what year the permits were seized in Yakutat.                                                                                   
MR.  McCUNE recalled  the year  "was awhile  back" but  recounted                                                               
that the  permits were preserved  and CFEC helped  the fishermen.                                                               
He explained  that a couple  of Bristol Bay fishermen  has passed                                                               
away, and their  widows received the permits but  did not realize                                                               
they owed  taxes, so the  IRS tried  to seize those  permits even                                                               
though it  was their only  income.   He expressed that  when this                                                               
law was  created it wisely  determined that  corporations, banks,                                                               
and other  entities, could not get  these permits "and it  had to                                                               
be in a  person's name."  He opined that  CFEC has performed well                                                               
in protecting  permits, individuals' livelihood, and  keeping the                                                               
integrity of the law in place.                                                                                                  
CHAIR STUTES  added that Mr.  McCune's testimony  exemplifies the                                                               
point that at one point in  time CFEC provided a valuable service                                                               
to fishermen, but it seems that  CFEC has run its course which is                                                               
the reason for CSHB 112.                                                                                                        
10:18:44 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT requested an explanation of a White Card.                                                                
MR.  McCUNE deferred  to a  commissioner, but  said when  limited                                                               
entry was  first created there  were disputes on points,  such as                                                               
Viet Nam  veterans, et  cetra, and while  those cases  were being                                                               
adjudicated,  White  Cards  were  issued to  allow  fishermen  to                                                               
continue to operate while legal decisions were made.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  surmised that the December  24th incident                                                               
was in the 1980s.                                                                                                               
MR. MCCUNE said somewhere in there.                                                                                             
10:19:45 AM                                                                                                                   
MARTIN  LUNDY,  Southeast  Alaska  Seiner's  Association  (SEAS),                                                               
provided  testimony,  paraphrasing  from  a  prepared  statement,                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
     The Southeast  Alaska Seiners  Association (SEAS)  is a                                                                    
     commercial fishing  gear group  comprised of  more than                                                                    
     150  paying skipper  and crew  memberships, as  well as                                                                    
     over 75  paying business  members. SEAS  represents the                                                                    
     interests  of  roughly  1,500  fishermen  in  the  S01A                                                                    
     fishery, and their  families and communities throughout                                                                    
     SE Alaska and beyond.                                                                                                      
     The combined  permitting fees paid  by the  S01A permit                                                                    
     holders  in  our   limited  entry  fishery  contributed                                                                    
     nearly  $400,000  to the  CFEC  budget  this past  year                                                                    
10:20:45 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. LUNDY read from his prepared statement:                                                                                     
     A  significant amount  in budgetary  considerations and                                                                    
     we demand our  voice be heard on  decisions affecting a                                                                    
     governmental agency that has  worked hard on our behalf                                                                    
     for years.  SEAS is  uniquely positioned to comment and                                                                    
     evaluate CFEC's job performance.   Unlike some who have                                                                    
     used  a snapshot  in  time to  render  judgement on  an                                                                    
     entire   agency's   workings,  the   Southeast   Alaska                                                                    
     Seiner's   Association  worked   for  years   with  the                                                                    
     commissioners and  public servants  of CFEC  during the                                                                    
     buyback of permits in the  SO1A fishery.  This nearly a                                                                    
     decade long process involving  multiple parties, one of                                                                    
     whom, a very important one  is seated on the committee,                                                                    
     was and  continues to be  to this day the  only buyback                                                                    
     program of  its kind, not  simply the state but  in the                                                                    
     country.   And CFEC  handled it  just as  it had  to be                                                                    
     done, in an exhaustive  and exemplary manner.  Chairman                                                                    
     Twomley  and Commissioner's  Brown and  (indisc.) carry                                                                    
     on the great work of  past commissioners such as, Frank                                                                    
     Holman,  Mary  McDowell,   Peter  Froehlich,  and  will                                                                    
     buyback some  various fisheries in Cook  Inlet, Bristol                                                                    
     Bay, and Southeast,  on the horizon.   This state needs                                                                    
     their full competence  and expertise at work.   We take                                                                    
     a  dim  view  of  the   way  in  which  the  Commercial                                                                    
     Fisheries Entry  Commission has been portrayed  in some                                                                    
     corners,  especially  in  light  of  our  long-standing                                                                    
     interaction   with   the   agency.      We   want   our                                                                    
     commissioners,   our   Supreme  Court   of   commercial                                                                    
     fisheries intact  and able to  move the  agency forward                                                                    
     of their own  volition.  The independence  of CFEC must                                                                    
     be maintained  and this  will not happen  if HB  112 is                                                                    
     passed.   We don't want  CFEC being blown about  in the                                                                    
     political winds of the day  and while we are very happy                                                                    
     with the  leadership and  the men  and women  of ADF&G,                                                                    
     and all  that they do  to ensure the sustenance  of our                                                                    
     fisheries for all manners of  users, there is a special                                                                    
     place  for Commercial  Fisheries Entry  Commission, and                                                                    
     it  is   on  its   own.    Southeast   Alaska  Seiner's                                                                    
     Association opposes HB  112 and we encourage  you to do                                                                    
     the same.                                                                                                                  
10:23:15 AM                                                                                                                   
AL BURCH, testifying  in support of HB 112,  described himself as                                                               
a dissenting  member of  the United  Fishermen of  Alaska's (UFA)                                                               
position, who has  been involved in the fishing  industry over 55                                                               
years, and  participated on various  boards and commissions.   He                                                               
recounted  helpful actions  on the  part of  the CFEC,  but urged                                                               
passage of  HB 112  with ADF&G  providing the  support necessary.                                                               
He stated he was advised  previously that when the skipper leaves                                                               
the  boat,  the $3,000  license  leaves  with  him.   He  related                                                               
instances where he tried to move  people off of the deck into the                                                               
wheelhouse  and was  told that  even  for one  trip the  deckhand                                                               
would have  to pay $3,000 in  order to step into  the wheelhouse.                                                               
A bill  was introduced to fix  that, but it never  left committee                                                               
and died and he could not  get it introduced again.  He expressed                                                               
that he  hopes the committee  will move  this bill forward  as it                                                               
will  put emphasis  behind dealing  with  the problem.   He  said                                                               
ADF&G would be  quick in coming up  to speed in how  to deal with                                                               
this.   He offered  that he  would like  to see  some way  he can                                                               
bring someone off  the deck without costing either  the deck hand                                                               
or him $3,000 for one trip.                                                                                                     
10:27:13 AM                                                                                                                   
PAUL  SHADURA,  II, said  he  is  a life-long,  third  generation                                                               
commercial fisherman  within the Cook  Inlet waters.   He advised                                                               
he has  two CFEC Limited Entry  set net salmon permits  and there                                                               
are  five  in  his  family  group.   Today,  he  advised,  he  is                                                               
representing   the   South   K  Beach   Independent   Fishermen's                                                               
Association,    and   the    association   "adamantly"    opposes                                                               
reconfiguring  the Commercial  Fisheries Entry  Commission (CFEC)                                                               
into  the "schizophrenic"  Department  of Fish  &  Game, and  the                                                               
association   is  against   allowing   more   authority  to   the                                                               
politically  fractured  Board  of  Fisheries.    He  referred  to                                                               
Article  VIII,  Section 15,  of  the  Alaska State  Constitution,                                                               
which reads:                                                                                                                    
     No  exclusive right  or  special  privilege of  fishery                                                                    
     shall be  created or authorized  in the  natural waters                                                                    
     of the State. This section  does not restrict the power                                                                    
     of  the  State to  limit  entry  into any  fishery  for                                                                    
     purposes of resource  conservation, to prevent economic                                                                    
     distress among fishermen and  those dependent upon them                                                                    
     for  a   livelihood  and   to  promote   the  efficient                                                                    
     development  of  aquaculture  in  the  State.  [Amended                                                                    
MR.  SHADURA related  that  this section  does  not restrict  the                                                               
power  of the  state  to limit  entry into  any  fishery for  the                                                               
purposes  of  resource  conservation,  and  to  prevent  economic                                                               
distress  among  fishermen and  those  dependent  on them  for  a                                                               
livelihood.   He advised it was  ratified by the voters  in 1972,                                                               
wherein the  state could then  institute a limited  entry program                                                               
for distressed fisheries, and noted  that an initiative to repeal                                                               
the law was rejected by the  voters in 1976.  Clearly, he stated,                                                               
the commercial fishing community feels  strongly in his area that                                                               
to  have  an  independent  body  within the  state  agency  is  a                                                               
blessing.     He  pointed  out   that  the  CFEC   performed  143                                                               
adjudications last  year, with  29,000 individual  vessel permits                                                               
yearly.   Commercial  fishermen have  a considerable  investment,                                                               
some  in the  thousands of  dollars to  acquire the  privilege to                                                               
harvest the  state's fisheries  resources.   He pointed  out that                                                               
the sports division director at  ADF&G stated "the department can                                                               
handle  it   like  a  sports   fishing  license  bought   at  the                                                               
neighborhood   grocery,"    which   is   an   example    of   the                                                               
misunderstanding  of the  importance  to  the commercial  fishing                                                               
community.   The change language, "the  department shall regulate                                                               
entry  into the  commercial  fisheries resources  of the  state,"                                                               
brings  fear to  his eyes,  he  said.   Commercial fishermen  pay                                                               
their way,  and CFEC is  completely funded by  commercial fishing                                                               
participants' fees and,  in fact, there is a  surplus at present,                                                               
he advised.   He expressed shock that this bill  comes out of the                                                               
House   Special  Committee   on  Fisheries,   a  committee   that                                                               
commercial  fishermen have  relied  upon as  a  voice to  express                                                               
changes they wish to accomplish within the state government.                                                                    
10:30:52 AM                                                                                                                   
JAMI  ROSS, Representative,  Alaska Herring  Seiners Association,                                                               
said  he  is  a  representative of  the  Alaska  Herring  Seiners                                                               
Association, has  commercially fished  in Alaska for  34 seasons,                                                               
owns eight limited entry licenses,  and currently holds eight-ten                                                               
other  non-limited  entry licenses.    He  pointed out  that  the                                                               
Commercial  Fisheries Entry  Commission  (CFEC)  and the  limited                                                               
entry  system  in  Alaska  is   one  of  the  models  of  fishery                                                               
management in  the world as  many other countries have  looked to                                                               
this limited entry system as  a way of ensuring sustainability in                                                               
their fisheries.   He  opined that CFEC  has played  an important                                                               
role in  that Alaska's fisheries  are the  best in the  world and                                                               
continues to be  so.  He expressed that he  just heard about this                                                               
bill and  that many fishermen  throughout Homer have  never heard                                                               
about this bill, and that its  content is shocking.  He expressed                                                               
that  the biological  aspect of  fisheries is  the Department  of                                                               
Fish & Game, and the business aspect  is CFEC.  He said, he looks                                                               
at  it as  a separation  of power  and keeping  those aspects  of                                                               
fisheries separate is  critical of which the  committee has heard                                                               
from  previous witnesses.   He  stressed that  the potential  for                                                               
politicizing the entry process is  enormous within the ADF&G.  He                                                               
said  he  knows the  CFEC  is  working  on limiting  the  fishery                                                               
currently,  and has  heard statements  that they  haven't limited                                                               
one in  ten years.   He  referred to a  fiscal analysis  from the                                                               
Office  of  Administrative  Hearings   and  that  the  commercial                                                               
fisheries are constantly  in change and motion and  to think that                                                               
Alaska  is never  going  to limit  entry of  a  fishery again  is                                                               
extremely  short  sighted.    He reiterated  he  is  primarily  a                                                               
herring fisherman and  herring is going through  some tough times                                                               
right now,  but who  is to say  Alaska doesn't  completely change                                                               
the herring fisheries  in a short period, and change  them from a                                                               
sacral fishery to  a crude bait fishery.  He  pointed out that it                                                               
would require  the experts  at CFEC to  re-organize the  types of                                                               
limited entry licenses  currently being held.  He  then related a                                                               
story having to do with the  Sitka herring fishery.  He described                                                               
this bill as potentially being one  of the worst things that ever                                                               
happened to  Alaska's commercial  fishing industry, which  is the                                                               
number two  industry behind  oil, and  the largest  public sector                                                               
employer in the State of Alaska.                                                                                                
10:34:52 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT requested  the  number of  permits he  is                                                               
MR. ROSS advised  he holds eight limited entry  licenses, and has                                                               
held up to eight-ten non-limited entry licenses over his career.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  asked what his limited  entry permits are                                                               
MR.  ROSS replied  that he  holds four  separate salmon  licenses                                                               
purse seine, and four separate  herring licenses purse seine.  He                                                               
advised that  an individual  can only  participate in  one salmon                                                               
fishery per  calendar year  and he has  fished pretty  much every                                                               
area in the State of Alaska over his career.                                                                                    
10:36:04 AM                                                                                                                   
KEVIN BROOKS,  Deputy Commissioner,  Office of  the Commissioner,                                                               
Department  of   Fish  &  Game  (ADF&G),   [Available  to  answer                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   asked    how   the   department                                                               
anticipates handling buybacks should CSHB 112 pass.                                                                             
MR.  BROOKS  responded  that the  department's  research  section                                                               
provides  the economic  analysis,  the work,  the enumeration  of                                                               
permits,  and reports  it to  the  director of  the division  for                                                               
processing the endeavor.   He acknowledged that he  does not have                                                               
a  clear answer  as to  how that  might implicate  the Office  of                                                               
Administrative Hearings.                                                                                                        
10:37:16 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT   questioned  whether  he   would  remain                                                               
neutral in adjudicating licenses.   She opined that the licensing                                                               
section  within  CFEC performs  most  of  the  work, which  is  a                                                               
neutral  transfer  of  licenses.    She  pointed  out  that  with                                                               
adjudications  being in  the Office  of Administrative  Hearings,                                                               
philosophically it wouldn't matter  who the commissioner was, and                                                               
it wouldn't be politicized, or would it be politicized.                                                                         
MR.   BROOKS  answered   that  he   has   worked  for   four-five                                                               
commissioners  in  ADF&G, and  each  commissioner  comes in  with                                                               
their own  background and experiences,  but each have  brought an                                                               
objectivity to  dispose of their  responsibilities in a  fair and                                                               
efficient manner.   With  regard to  the permits,  licensing, and                                                               
transfer functions, he said, staff  would handle the requests and                                                               
should  CSHB 112  pass, those  same staff  will be  working in  a                                                               
division  within the  department performing  that same  function.                                                               
Staff efficiencies are considered  and the possibility exists for                                                               
peak  period  assistance  within  the agency.    With  regard  to                                                               
appeals on  a transfer, the  first review  of that is  handled by                                                               
another   staff   within  the   division   in   looking  for   an                                                               
administrative remedy,  possibly the  transfer is denied  it will                                                               
go to  someone else "higher  up" in the  division.  An  appeal of                                                               
the  second decision  would go  to the  Office of  Administrative                                                               
Hearings, he explained.  Mr. Brooks  said he spoke with a hearing                                                               
officer there  and asked  whether they  could care  for immediate                                                               
emergency transfers that  risk the opportunity of  a fisherman to                                                               
fish and opined that although  there may be complications, it can                                                               
be done.                                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  queried  whether there  is  a  political                                                               
"twinge"  on the  administrative  law judges  that would  prevent                                                               
them  from being  fair and  appropriate in  adjudicating hearings                                                               
based  on commercial  fishing.    She asked  whether  there is  a                                                               
philosophy that goes down to the administrative law judges.                                                                     
MR. BROOKS expressed that the  administrative law judges handle a                                                               
wide  portfolio  of  cases  and  are  expected  to  be  fair  and                                                               
impartial, which is the case here.                                                                                              
10:42:00 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT surmised  there  would  be growing  pains                                                               
within ADF&G,  but also commonality  between ADF&G and  what CFEC                                                               
does.   Although,  she opined,  its  workload is  very small  now                                                               
except  for   the  licensing   section  and   questioned  whether                                                               
administrative law  judges could absorb the  work currently being                                                               
performed by the commissioners.                                                                                                 
MR. BROOKS replied yes.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT questioned whether  there were cost saving                                                               
measures in the bill.                                                                                                           
MR.  BROOKS  advised   that  the  most  obvious   is  that  three                                                               
commissioners are  replaced by a  single director, and  over time                                                               
as  the department  has an  opportunity to  review administrative                                                               
functions, licensing  functions, IT support, et  cetra, there are                                                               
efficiencies to be gained.                                                                                                      
10:42:54 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT asked  whether he  sees diminishment  for                                                               
commercial  fishermen by  [transferring  the duties  of CFEC]  to                                                               
ADF&G,  other than  change  being difficult.    She advised  that                                                               
Frank Cullman,  from CFEC,  assisted with  the buyback  bill, and                                                               
questioned  whether Mr.  Brooks foresees  problems in  organizing                                                               
and  putting  forward  legislation if  other  commercial  fishery                                                               
groups consider a commercial fisheries buyback.                                                                                 
MR.  BROOKS  answered   that,  today,  he  does   not  foresee  a                                                               
diminishment  for  commercial   fishermen,  recognizing  that  he                                                               
cannot  foresee every  nuance or  complication that  could arise.                                                               
The  commitment  from the  department  is  to address  situations                                                               
appropriately as  they arise.   He stated  there is  an undoubted                                                               
wealth of  information consisting within the  three commissioners                                                               
that possess  historical knowledge,  and acknowledged  that ADF&G                                                               
does not  possess historical knowledge,  but it does  have CFEC's                                                               
body of work and the willingness to try to make it work.                                                                        
10:44:13 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES  clarified that not every  case will be sent  to the                                                               
Office  of Administrative  Hearings.   She explained  that within                                                               
the  transfer  process  it  will   first  go  into  a  designated                                                               
individual  to make  the decision,  and if  that decision  is not                                                               
satisfactory it  then moves to  the director to adjudicate.   She                                                               
further  explained  that in  the  event  the applicant  does  not                                                               
accept   the  decision   it   then  moves   to   the  Office   of                                                               
Administrative  Hearings, and  the  applicant has  the option  of                                                               
appealing that decision to the superior court.                                                                                  
10:44:55 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON   asked  whether  the  department   has  a                                                               
position on CSHB 112.                                                                                                           
MR. BROOKS  replied that  the department has  not taken  a formal                                                               
position  on the  bill, but  believes it  can keep  the functions                                                               
working in an effective manner.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE HERRON commented  that the previous administration                                                               
had  a uniform  rule that  it would  not take  a position  on any                                                               
legislation,  but  this  governor   has  given  the  latitude  to                                                               
departments that they could take a position on legislation.                                                                     
CHAIR STUTES  closed public testimony after  ascertaining that no                                                               
one further wished to testify.                                                                                                  
10:46:26 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  recalled that Alpheus  Bullard and                                                               
an attorney  from the  Department of  Law (DOL)  offered succinct                                                               
comments  in a  previous hearing,  regarding the  potential of  a                                                               
case going  the wrong way  and setting a  retroactive precedence.                                                               
He asked Mr. Bullard whether he had a further perspective.                                                                      
10:47:20 AM                                                                                                                   
ALPHEUS  BULLARD,   Attorney,  Legislative  Legal   and  Research                                                               
Services, Legislative  Affairs Agency, responded it  is not clear                                                               
what  "retroactive precedent  being invoked"  means as  the cases                                                               
the commission has  heard are final, and  contested decisions are                                                               
appealable  to the  superior court.   He  stated that  should the                                                               
ADF&G  assume  the responsibilities  of  the  commission and  the                                                               
Office  of Administrative  Hearings hear  contested cases,  it is                                                               
not  clear  what  possible  affect   that  could  have  on  cases                                                               
previously decided.                                                                                                             
10:48:47 AM                                                                                                                   
BENJAMIN BROWN,  Commissioner, Alaska Commercial  Fisheries Entry                                                               
Commission (CFEC),  advised that case law  is available regarding                                                               
Supreme  Court decisions  addressing the  issue of  retroactivity                                                               
and the re-opening of a  previously entirely limited fishery.  He                                                               
pointed out  that Chairman Twomley  spoke about it and  cited the                                                               
cases a week  ago, and people may  want to read those  cases.  He                                                               
opined that  attorney William Milks,  from the Department  of Law                                                               
(DOL), would  have provided answers to  those specific questions.                                                               
He remarked  that the  hearings in this  committee have  not been                                                               
adequately  addressed  to  gain  an understanding  of  the  legal                                                               
nuances relating to  CFEC law in Alaska.  He  suggested the House                                                               
of  Representatives  take  the  time  to  review  those  specific                                                               
judicial legal  issues before  moving forward.   He  related that                                                               
CFEC is  aware of justifiable  questioning, however,  the nuclear                                                               
option of  destroying the  agency in  one fell  swoop is  not the                                                               
appropriate action.                                                                                                             
10:51:01 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. BROWN  continued that as  a procedural matter, this  bill was                                                               
introduced by  Representative Seaton at  the end of  last session                                                               
and requested a  legislative audit, which is underway.   He asked                                                               
the committee  whether it prefers  to move  on the bill  prior to                                                               
the completion of the audit,  and noted that audits are expensive                                                               
and  it  will provide  a  valuable  objective assessment  of  the                                                               
commission,  and  the best  way  to  move  forward.   The  budget                                                               
situation as critical, he described,  but is also an opportunity,                                                               
and while  actions speak louder  than words, so does  haste makes                                                               
waste and this may  be a hasty move.  He  expressed that making a                                                               
final policy decision is premature;  however, it is important for                                                               
the  commission  to  take  the  concerns  seriously  and  provide                                                               
action.   He  pointed to  a previous  concern regarding  moving a                                                               
deck hand to  the wheelhouse and the [$3,000]  fee, and suggested                                                               
that a bill  to address fees may be more  in line than abolishing                                                               
the agency.   One point, he said, is a  statutory requirement for                                                               
CFEC commissioners is that they  are unable to hold any ownership                                                               
in  a  commercial  limited entry  permit  or  commercial  fishing                                                               
business  interest, yet  the bill  nullifies that  statute and  a                                                               
commissioner or  director in ADF&G  could own permits  and effect                                                               
licensing/permits.   Even if all  of the contested matters  go to                                                               
the Office  of Administrative Hearings (OAH),  the regulations to                                                               
limit a  new fishery  still must  be drafted  by someone,  and it                                                               
will not be OAH, he opined.                                                                                                     
10:54:25 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  BROWN referred  to last  week's amendment  that deleted  the                                                               
phrase "quasi-judicial and before  a regulatory agency," he said,                                                               
and  now it  defines this  "would  be" division  as a  regulatory                                                               
division.   He remarked that he  does not know what  a regulatory                                                               
division   is,  as   departments  adopt   regulations,  divisions                                                               
generally do  not.  It will  be Mr. Brooks and  his colleagues at                                                               
ADF&G  who will  adopt whatever  regulations will  set the  exact                                                               
criteria for  a newly limited  fishery, and according  to ADF&G's                                                               
fiscal note it does not  presently envision that they would limit                                                               
a  commercial fishery  during  the five  years  reflected on  the                                                               
fiscal note.   He  pointed out,  that it  ignores the  mandate of                                                               
Alaska's Limited  Entry Act to consider  limitation when Alaskans                                                               
come forward and advise that limitation  needs to happen.  In the                                                               
event adjudicatory decisions  will not be made  by this director,                                                               
who answers  directly to the  commissioner, the  regulations that                                                               
drive that  process must  be adopted  by ADF&G.   He  invited the                                                               
committee  to  review  20  AAC  and  the  particular  regulations                                                               
adopted  in  each and  every  fishery  the commission  previously                                                               
limited, as  they are  very specific and  require expertise.   He                                                               
stressed that  the expertise could  exist, but the  potential for                                                               
conflict  is ineradicable  especially if  those people  are in  a                                                               
position to continue owning limited  entry permits.  He described                                                               
that as a  "pretty major flaw" in  the bill but that  it could be                                                               
cleaned up.                                                                                                                     
10:55:54 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  BROWN  continued  by  reviewing the  actions  taken  by  the                                                               
commission last  year, and said  there were two  initial issuance                                                               
limitations last year,  plus one the beginning of  this year, and                                                               
141 other cases completed.                                                                                                      
He  advised that  limited transfers  and permanent  transfers are                                                               
not  just ministerial  as they  are all  contested to  the extent                                                               
that someone  has been told "no,"  when they want something.   He                                                               
described it as  a policy call for a staff  person, paralegal, or                                                               
director making  the yes or  no decision  before it goes  to OAH.                                                               
He explained that  it has implications, and the  farther it moves                                                               
up the food  chain the likelier it is that  people might question                                                               
the extent  to which they've  been given  due process and  a fair                                                               
and just hearing.   There is also the  category of "miscellaneous                                                               
decisions" ...                                                                                                                  
CHAIR STUTES interjected that Mr.  Brown can make a few comments,                                                               
but he  has already had  an opportunity  to testify and  she does                                                               
not want him to plead his case all over again.                                                                                  
MR. BROWN  indicated that buybacks  is a  whole new body  of work                                                               
for  ADF&G  to undertake,  together  with  the reorganization  of                                                               
fishery  which   is  different  from  limiting   a  new  fishery.                                                               
Currently,  there  are  fishermen  that   would  like  to  use  a                                                               
different type  of gear in a  specific fishery in the  state.  He                                                               
opined  that  pressure  will  brought  to bear  on  some  of  the                                                               
fisheries currently  limited to  make sure  the right  gear types                                                               
are being  used for  conservation reasons,  and to  ascertain the                                                               
economic viability of  the fishery is as maximal  as possible for                                                               
those participating in it.  He  pointed to an example of when the                                                               
Department  of Community  and Regional  Affairs  merged into  the                                                               
Department  of  Commerce,  Community, and  Economic  Development,                                                               
while attempting the difficult  process of downsizing government.                                                               
He  stated  that a  cost  benefit  analysis should  be  performed                                                               
[regarding CSHB 112].                                                                                                           
10:59:01 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT dismissed the  comparison of combining the                                                               
two above-stated departments  in that it does not  compare to the                                                               
transfer CFEC to  ADF&G, and she takes offense to  his comment of                                                               
"destroying  the agency."    The legislature,  over  the last  30                                                               
years, has seen a blatant  dwindling of adjudicated cases and her                                                               
mission  is to  recognize an  opportunity to  provide efficiency.                                                               
She pointed out that appropriate  firewalls can be established as                                                               
ADF&G has  the ability to  determine where conflict  could arise.                                                               
She  acknowledged that  buybacks are  complicated, and  expressed                                                               
confidence  that ADF&G  would learn  the process.   She  stressed                                                               
that her concern  is providing good service to  the fishermen and                                                               
keeping them whole, and maintained  that CFEC is not effective in                                                               
the manner  it once was  and that change is  needed.  This  is an                                                               
opportunity  for CFEC  to be  absorbed into  the ADF&G,  with the                                                               
same by-laws in place, same  missions, and the same outcomes, she                                                               
related.  Realistic, streamlined  expectations must be considered                                                               
in every department  of this government, and this is  not an easy                                                               
decision to come to but it is necessary, she opined.                                                                            
11:02:56 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  referred  to  previous  committee                                                               
hearing  testimony regarding  insulting decisions  made currently                                                               
within  CFEC  from political  influence.    He asked  whether  he                                                               
described Mr.  Brown's testimony correctly  in that, "if  the new                                                               
fisheries limited,  regulations will  need to be  promulgated and                                                               
those regulations will  have to go the  commissioner's office and                                                               
because  the  commissioner's office,  or  people  working in  the                                                               
commissioner's office may, or may  not, have interests in certain                                                               
commercial  fisheries there  is  a potential  for  a conflict  of                                                               
MR. BROWN pointed out there  are two different potential areas of                                                               
concern in  that there are  many moving  parts going on  here and                                                               
this is  the second hearing on  a complex bill.   The elimination                                                               
of  the prohibition  on having  an  interest in  a limited  entry                                                               
permit doesn't exist as the bill  is currently written.  He said,                                                               
"that's  a  really  obvious  example   of  something  that  is  a                                                               
diminution  in  the prophylactic  structure  of  the agency  that                                                               
prevents the potential  for conflict."  He pointed  to the larger                                                               
issue of fishermen defining the ADF&G  as a political place.  The                                                               
two  issue are  that  no longer  is there  a  prohibition on  the                                                               
commissioner or  director from actually  holding a permit  on the                                                               
value  of which  might be  affected by  the limitation  of a  new                                                               
fishery and  the regulations adopted  to limit that  new fishery,                                                               
but the larger  issue of "that commissioner oversees  the head of                                                               
the  biological one,  the Division  of  Commercial Fisheries  who                                                               
oversees all  the managers  out in  the field."   He  pointed out                                                               
those  managers   may  have  issues   that  trickle  up   to  the                                                               
commissioner, and trickle down to  the division.  He related that                                                               
the  executive branch  ethics act  would remain  in effect  which                                                               
prohibits  the  taking  or withholding  official  action  in  the                                                               
manner that  can benefit one's  self but,  he described, it  is a                                                               
generic  tool as  opposed to  a prohibition  on ownership  of any                                                               
commercial fishing interests that currently exists.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  whether  to  say the  short                                                               
answer to his question is yes.                                                                                                  
MR. BROWN replied yes.                                                                                                          
11:05:53 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT   pointed  out  that   commissioners  are                                                               
appointed by the governor as are the three CFEC commissioners.                                                                  
MR. BROWN said  they are only removable for cause  and there is a                                                               
due process  set up for that,  which is different as  there is no                                                               
provision  for  removal  for  cause   for  the  director  or  the                                                               
commissioner.  The  way it is currently  structured, the governor                                                               
can  fire the  commissioner  and the  commissioner  can fire  the                                                               
director with no  hearing and no reason, he stated.   He said his                                                               
point is  that the difference  can be corrected, but  the current                                                               
version of the legislation does not correct it.                                                                                 
11:06:49 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON noted that  conversations in this building                                                               
are taking place  regarding every department and  division of the                                                               
state as  to the need  for efficiencies.   All fiscal  note items                                                               
are being scrutinized and serious  decisions must be made and, he                                                               
stressed, this  is not a  personal action.   He pointed  out that                                                               
holding  the bill  was requested;  however, retaining  it in  the                                                               
first committee of  referral would not be appropriate,  and if it                                                               
is held  anywhere it  should be in  Senate Rules  where decisions                                                               
can be made at  the end of the day.   He encouraged the committee                                                               
to  move the  bill, gather  information  as the  bill moves,  and                                                               
position  it to  where  a decision  can be  made  based upon  its                                                               
11:09:01 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  when the  last  commercial                                                               
fishery in Alaska was limited.                                                                                                  
MR.  BROWN  responded in  2004-2005,  which  was a  vessel  based                                                               
limited  fishery  of the  Weathervane  Scallop,  and Korean  Hair                                                               
Crab.  He  advised that it is  the only one that  has reverted to                                                               
open  access status  so there  is  still a  vessel based  limited                                                               
entry system  for Korean Hair Crab  on the books; it  is somewhat                                                               
of  a virtual  fishery  because the  conservation concerns  never                                                               
left for that fishery to be open.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   asked   about   the   fisheries                                                               
anticipated to be limited in the future.                                                                                        
MR.  BROWN  replied  that   when  publically  naming  anticipated                                                               
limited  fisheries it  has the  effect of  encouraging people  to                                                               
fish for history.  He said  there are three specific fisheries in                                                               
three different  geographical areas that  are at the  point where                                                               
one or  more of those would  be limited in the  period envisioned                                                               
within the fiscal note.                                                                                                         
11:11:11 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  asked whether the scallop  and crab limit                                                               
was handled by the legislature.                                                                                                 
MR. BROWN stated  that it had to be done  legislatively as it was                                                               
vessel-based as  it was  a dramatic  departure from  the skipper-                                                               
based limitation system, and required a new section of statutes.                                                                
11:11:40 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  recalled  Mr.  Brown's  reference                                                               
that there is  a fishery that may be changing  the gear type used                                                               
and asked whether it is the Chatum Sable Fishery.                                                                               
MR. BROWN explained that concerns  have been expressed that using                                                               
long line  creates more bycatch  than pot, but they  are separate                                                               
fisheries now.   He said it is one of  the unanswered question in                                                               
whether two  existing fisheries  can be merged,  and that  is the                                                               
area inquired about.                                                                                                            
11:12:37 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS referred  to  the  ability of  the                                                               
ADF&G  to  insulate  decisions  and  regulations  from  political                                                               
influence, or influence  of interests within the  department.  He                                                               
asked  how  the  department  foresees being  able  to  limit  new                                                               
fisheries  if  required,  or  change  the  gear  types  used  for                                                               
existing fisheries.   He  further asked  Mr. Brooks  to generally                                                               
respond to  the issues raised  by the previous  witness regarding                                                               
creating insulation from different  competing interests that may,                                                               
or may  not, exist within  ADF&G as the department  proceeds with                                                               
the limiting of fisheries in Alaska.                                                                                            
MR. BROOKS  deferred to the  Commercial Fisheries  Entry Division                                                               
Director as he  is far more familiar with  specific fisheries and                                                               
how they are  prosecuted and limited.  He added  that with regard                                                               
to  insulating, ADF&G  currently operates  under public  scrutiny                                                               
and the  ethics act in that  no employee can take  an action that                                                               
personally benefits  them or a  family member.  He  stressed that                                                               
the department's  ethic's standard operating procedure  is highly                                                               
focused,  including people  declaring outside  employment, and  a                                                               
department employee  harvesting a species the  department manages                                                               
or  doesn't manage.   The  department's biologist  have a  lot of                                                               
interest in  the resources they serve.   He said that  to suggest                                                               
the department  is not going  to insulate decisions  is troubling                                                               
to him because the department  goes to great lengths to ascertain                                                               
there are  no conflicts.  He  pointed out that when  CFEC was set                                                               
up these  things had to be  established, and ADF&G will  bring it                                                               
in and  care for it  as well, and make  sure it has  firewalls in                                                               
place  so there  is no  undue influence.   He  stressed that  the                                                               
department  goes  to great  length  to  ensure employees  do  not                                                               
violate public trust  and will continue to do so  if this bill is                                                               
11:15:59 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  Mr. Brooks  to specifically                                                               
speak to the limiting of entries and creating regulations.                                                                      
MR.  BROOKS responded  that the  department has  regulations, and                                                               
there  are Board  of  Fish and  Board of  Game  regulations.   He                                                               
explained that  the two boards  generate a volume  of regulations                                                               
in  moving  through  the  regulatory  cycle  every  three  years,                                                               
wherein all  parts of the state  are heard on fisheries,  and now                                                               
there  is  a  three-year  cycle  on  the  Board  of  Game.    The                                                               
department has always looked at  the board regulations separately                                                               
from the department regulations.   He advised there are employees                                                               
that  develop regulation  packages so  that expertise  does exist                                                               
within  the department,  although  it has  not anticipated  every                                                               
last detail  of how it  would perform CFEC regulations  once CFEC                                                               
became  a  division.   He  stated  that regulation  packages  are                                                               
performed within  the department  regarding board  and department                                                               
regulations, and  as far  as limiting  fisheries, he  deferred to                                                               
others in the department.                                                                                                       
11:17:48 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HARRIS,  with regard  to Mr.  Brown's comments,  directed the                                                               
committee to Sec. 20, page 13, lines 20-23, which read:                                                                         
          (b) An administrative hearing on a contested case                                                                     
     under this chapter shall be  conducted by the office of                                                                    
     administrative      hearings       (AS      44.64.010).                                                                    
     Notwithstanding   AS   44.64.060(e),  the   office   of                                                                    
     administrative   hearings   shall  render   the   final                                                                    
     administrative decision.                                                                                                   
MR.  HARRIS reiterated  that the  language states  OAH will  make                                                               
decisions  only on  contested cases,  so if  the division  cannot                                                               
handle  it  within   the  division,  OAH  will   then  take  over                                                               
jurisdiction of the  case.  He pointed out that  until that point                                                               
the  division can  say  "yes."   If the  paralegal  says yes,  he                                                               
imagine they would sign off on  it, if the division director says                                                               
yes, he  imagines it would  be signed off on,  if it goes  to OAH                                                               
and it says  yes, it is still  signed off on.  He  stated he does                                                               
not see how  this is a short  fall to fishermen as  far as having                                                               
three  commissioners  make the  decision  and  then go  into  the                                                               
superior  court,  or  going  through  the  same  steps  with  the                                                               
Commercial Fisheries  Entry Division.   He said his  second point                                                               
is found in Sec. 122, page 46, lines 8-10, which read:                                                                          
          TRANSITION    ...   Certificates,    orders,   and                                                                    
     regulations issued or adopted  under authority of a law                                                                    
     amended or  repealed by this  Act remain in  effect for                                                                    
     the  term   issued,  or  until  revoked,   vacated,  or                                                                    
     otherwise modified under the provisions of this Act.                                                                       
11:19:13 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. HARRIS  referred to a statement  by Mr. Brown and  said, "due                                                               
to  the  division or  OAH  managing  permit applications,  courts                                                               
could interpret  this as  a change to  the rules  and; therefore,                                                               
they could open up past  permit cases or entire limited entries."                                                               
Mr. Harris pointed out that  the drafting attorney at Legislative                                                               
Legal   and  Research   Services   assured   him  that   previous                                                               
adjudications  cannot  be reopened  because  of  the transfer  of                                                               
duties if CSHB  112 were to pass.   He said the  statute does not                                                               
prescribe a new direction for  management of limited entry rather                                                               
it changes who  makes the rulings on remaining  and future cases.                                                               
He  wrapped-up, paraphrasing  from  a  prepared statement,  which                                                               
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     There is much testimony  today in favor of continuation                                                                    
     of  CFEC and  it is  understandable that  fishermen are                                                                    
     apprehensive  about  the  elimination  of  CFEC.    The                                                                    
     commission  has  an  excellent history  of  service  to                                                                    
     fishermen  through   successful  limited   entries  and                                                                    
     permit issuance when the immediate  right to fish is at                                                                    
     stake,  as in  transfer and  emergency transfer  cases.                                                                    
     Representative  Johnson,  thank   you,  he  brought  up                                                                    
     essentially the hard  line is the Department  of Fish &                                                                    
     Game  is going  to see  a budget  cut of  slightly more                                                                    
     than 10 percent this year,  and the governor stated the                                                                    
     department will be seeing a  25 percent budget cut over                                                                    
     the next three  years.  These numbers  go beyond budget                                                                    
     cuts, this  is a  restructuring of how  the government,                                                                    
     including  the Department  of Fish  & Game,  functions.                                                                    
     All of the members present  here put hard work into the                                                                    
     operating  budget   and  you've  seen   the  reductions                                                                    
     already.    In  order  for the  department  to  provide                                                                    
     necessary services to  fishermen, the legislature needs                                                                    
     to  look at  some hard  cuts and/or  tradeoffs.   House                                                                    
     Bill 112  is one  way to  ensure fishermen  continue to                                                                    
     enjoy the use  of a fragile resource  and see continued                                                                    
     service  in limited  entry  permit  and vessel  license                                                                    
11:21:04 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  commented that this  is not the  death of                                                               
the  Commercial   Fisheries  Entry  Commission,  but   rather  an                                                               
opportunity  to streamline  under a  new design.   She  expressed                                                               
that  the  caring  of  fishermen and  services  are  expected  to                                                               
continue  and   [the  transfer]  will  not   diminish  commercial                                                               
fisheries.    She  reiterated Representative  Johnson's  comments                                                               
that  this is  conversation the  legislature will  have on  every                                                               
division in every department of Alaska.                                                                                         
11:21:58 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT moved  to  report CSHB  112, labeled  29-                                                               
LS0485\W,   Kirsh/Bullard,  3/19/15,   out   of  committee   with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There  being no  objection, CSHB  112(FSH) moved  from the  House                                                               
Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                                                                 
11:22:39 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Fisheries meeting was adjourned at 11:22                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB112 ver W.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB 112 Explanation of Changes A to W.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB 112 Support CFEC 2014 Adjudications.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB112 Support 2007 CFEC Annual Report.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB 112 Oppose USAG.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB 112 Oppose Southeast Alaska Fuisherman's Alliance.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB 112 Oppose SEAS.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB 112 Oppose CDFU.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB 112 Oppose ATA.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB 112 Oppose ASA.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB 112 Oppose UFA.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB 112 ver E Legal Memo.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
HB 112 ver E.pdf HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112
1 HB 112 Exec Order.PDF HFSH 3/26/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 112