Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/15/1993 08:00 AM RES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE March 15, 1993 8:00 a.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Bill Williams, Chairman Representative Bill Hudson, Vice Chairman Representative Con Bunde Representative Pat Carney Representative John Davies Representative Joe Green Representative Jeannette James Representative Eldon Mulder MEMBERS ABSENT Representative David Finkelstein OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT Representative Fran Ulmer COMMITTEE CALENDAR HB 123: "An Act relating to loans for the purchase of individual fishery quota shares." CSHB 123 (FSH) WITH LETTER OF INTENT MOVED FROM COMMITTEE WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS WITNESS REGISTER Representative Fran Ulmer Alaska House of Representatives State Capitol Court Building, Room 601 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Phone: 465-4947 Position Statement: Prime sponsor of HB 123 Greg Winegar, Loan Manager Division of Investment Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 34159 Juneau, Alaska 99803-4159 Phone: 465-2510 Position Statement: Supported HB 123 Kris Norosz, Director Petersburg Vessel Owners Association P.O. Box 232 Petersburg, Alaska 99833 Phone: 772-9323 Position Statement: Supported HB 123 Geron Bruce, Special Assistant Alaska Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 25526 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526 Phone: 465-4100 Position Statement: Supported HB 123 Linda Behnken Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association 403 Lincoln St., Suite 237 Sitka, Alaska 99835 Phone: 747-3400 Position Statement: Supported HB 123 Eric Forrer P.O. Box 34383 Juneau, Alaska 99803 Phone: 789-2024 Position Statement: Supported HB 123 Chris Moss P.O. Box 1115 Homer, Alaska 99603 Phone: 235-8053 Position Statement: Supported HB 123 Rick Lauber, Member North Pacific Seafood Processors Association Chairman, North Pacific Fisheries Management Council 321 Highland Drive Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: 586-6366 Position Statement: Supported HB 123 Jerry McCune United Fishermen of Alaska 211 Fourth Street, No. 112 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: 586-2820 Position Statement: Supported HB 123 Drew Scalzi 41685 Redoubt Circle Homer, Alaska 99603 Phone: 235-6359 Position Statement: Supported HB 123 Rick Williams P.O. Box 1321 Petersburg, Alaska 99833 Phone: 483-4830 Position Statement: Opposed HB 123 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 123 SHORT TITLE: LOANS FOR IFQ'S BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ULMER,Grussendorf,Navarre, Sitton,Mackie,Davies,Davidson,Brown TITLE: "An Act relating to loans for the purchase of individual fishery quota shares." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/03/93 215 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/03/93 215 (H) FISHERIES, RESOURCES, L&C, FINANCE 02/05/93 241 (H) COSPONSOR(S): BROWN 02/19/93 (H) FSH AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 17 02/19/93 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 03/03/93 (H) FSH AT 08:30 AM CAPITOL 17 03/03/93 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 03/05/93 546 (H) FSH RPT CS(FSH) NEW TITLE 3DP 1NR 03/05/93 546 (H) DP: OLBERG, MOSES, NICHOLIA 03/05/93 546 (H) NR: DAVIDSON 03/05/93 547 (H) LETTER OF INTENT WITH FSH REPORT 03/05/93 547 (H) -FISCAL NOTE (F&G) 3/5/93 03/15/93 (H) RES AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 124 03/15/93 645 (H) RES RPT CS(FSH) NEW TITLE 4DP 4NR 03/15/93 645 (H) DP: CARNEY, DAVIES, WILLIAMS, JAMES 03/15/93 645 (H) NR: HUDSON, GREEN, MULDER, BUNDE 03/15/93 645 (H) FISHERIES LETTER OF INTENT ADOPTED 03/15/93 645 (H) -PREVIOUS FN (DCED) 3/4/93 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-30, SIDE A Number 000 The House Resources Committee was called to order by Chairman Bill Williams at 8:15 a.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Williams, Hudson, Bunde, Carney, Davies, Green, and James. Members absent at the call were Representatives Finkelstein and Mulder. CHAIRMAN BILL WILLIAMS noted the meeting was being held by teleconference with sites in Sitka, Petersburg, Kodiak, Valdez, Wrangell and Homer. He announced the committee would take up HB 123, and introduced the bill's prime sponsor, Representative Fran Ulmer. HB 123: LOANS FOR IFQ'S Number 035 REPRESENTATIVE FRAN ULMER, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 123, described the bill as a simple step to make loans available for Alaskans to participate in the Individual Fisheries Quota (IFQ) program through the purchase of quota shares. She noted the program would work in a way similar to the limited entry permits, and remarked that although many Alaskans were opposed to IFQs, the program is now law and HB 123 would allow more Alaskans to participate. She also noted the bill was sponsored in response to a suggestion by Juneau halibut fisherman, Eric Forrer. Number 079 VICE CHAIR BILL HUDSON questioned whether the IFQ program was still before the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. He understood the program had not been formally adopted by the secretary. REPRESENTATIVE ULMER understood the IFQ program had been adopted approximately six weeks ago. She said Rick Lauber, a member of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, could explain the status of the IFQ program to the committee. Number 104 GREG WINEGAR, LOAN MANAGER, ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (DCED), expressed the DCED's support of the legislation and described HB 123 as an extension of the DCED's existing loan program. He said the IFQ loans would help promote a predominantly resident fishery. The fiscal note submitted by the DCED, he said, was based on an anticipated starting date in March, 1994. Although the number of loans to be made is not known, he said the DCED expected a lot of activity. Funding was requested for three positions: a loan examiner in Juneau, one in Anchorage, and a loan closer to handle documentation, he advised. Number 134 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE asked whether additional general funds would be required, or if the program would be self- sustaining. MR. WINEGAR replied that the DCED anticipated a surplus of approximately $5 million in the commercial fishing loan fund. Historically, he explained, more money has come into the fund than has gone out. Normally, the funds are reappropriated back to the general fund, but the $5 million will have to be amended so it would not go to the general fund. The net effect, he said, would be zero in terms of new funds. Number 154 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked whether the reappropriation had already been calculated into the present budget. MR. WINEGAR confirmed the reappropriation was in the budget bill. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE commented that it would look as if $5 million were being taken from the general fund, even though it came from the commercial fishing loan fund to begin with. REPRESENTATIVE ULMER interjected that it would show as a reduction in revenues, not as an expenditure. Number 180 CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced the committee would begin to hear testimony from the teleconference sites. Number 184 KRIS NOROSZ, DIRECTOR OF THE PETERSBURG VESSEL OWNERS ASSOCIATION, testified from Petersburg by teleconference in support of HB 123. She told the committee now that the IFQ program has been adopted for the sablefish and halibut long- line fisheries, the association believes it is in the state's best interest to assist fishers in obtaining quota shares. She referred to the present state loan system for the purchase of limited entry permits, and called it a tremendous way to allow Alaskans to participate in the fishery. Expanding the loan system to include loans for the purchase of quota shares, she added, is a logical step for the state to take. Number 200 CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS noted Representative Jeannette James joined the meeting at 8:16, and Representative Eldon Mulder arrived at 8:22 a.m. GERON BRUCE, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE COMMISSIONER OF THE ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME (ADF&G), told the committee the ADF&G supports HB 123. He said the legislation would help ensure maximum participation in the IFQ program, and noted 80% of existing limited entry permits are held by Alaskans. He explained that the state's loan program has been important in keeping the percentage high. Number 220 LINDA BEHNKEN, ALASKA LONGLINE FISHERMEN'S ASSOCIATION, testified by teleconference from Sitka in support of HB 123. She urged the legislation be moved forward quickly. She commented that the loan program would allow Alaskans to participate in the IFQ program to the maximum extent possible, and would ensure that Alaskan fishermen remain competitive in the market, as well as help ensure coastal communities continue to receive the product they depend upon. Participation in the IFQ will provide revenues both to the communities and to the state, she added. Since recipients could begin to receive notification of their allocations as early as 1994, and the program could be implemented as early as 1995, she again urged the state to move forward with HB 123 as quickly as possible. MS. BEHNKEN noted a high level of transfers could be expected in the early stage of the program, so it would be important to have a quota share financing program in place by then. She also added her organization's support for the state's effort to organize a meeting of fisheries, economic and mining experts to better define the loan program. She understood there is a move in that direction that Paul Fuhs has been working on to organize a program which would be followed by workshops in the different communities. Ms. Behnken said this would be beneficial to the state and the initial participants in the loan program. Number 273 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked Ms. Behnken to speculate on the demand once the IFQ shares are available for transfer, and an estimate on what prices might run. MS. BEHNKEN responded that she has reviewed quota share programs in other countries and other areas where they have been implemented. It seems the price often ran approximately one to three times the ex-vessel price on a per pound basis. She expected initially there would be some inflation of prices as people scramble to grab whatever quota share they can find, followed by a lowering of prices as the program settles into place. Number 287 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked whether having a loan program in place such as the one proposed in HB 123 might encourage the inflation of prices. Number 290 MS. BEHNKEN had heard similar concerns from people who had been involved in the limited entry loan program. It seemed to her that prices might be limited by the ceiling the state puts on the amount it will lend for shares. She speculated banks or loan programs in other areas, particularly Washington and Oregon, will make loans available to residents of those states to participate in the quota system. VICE CHAIR HUDSON asked Ms. Behnken whether she agreed that economic and social impact studies should be done to look at the effects of the IFQs, particularly in areas like Kodiak and Cook Inlet. Number 325 MS. BEHNKEN responded that the IFQ program had been approved by the Secretary of Commerce, but the funding had not yet been appropriated, and the final rules were not signed off on by the Office of Management and Budget. The program as a whole was adopted, and she cited economic studies on the distribution of initial quota share allocations. She said the state seems to be calling for a more predictive study of who is likely to buy, to sell, and where the quota shares might go. She believed that kind of study would be difficult to do. Her suggestion for directing who might buy and where the shares might go, was through a loan program as proposed in HB 123. She cautioned that conducting another study might slow down progress in preparation for the implementation of the IFQ program. Number 351 CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced the committee would next hear testimony in Juneau. ERIC FORRER testified in support of HB 123, and said as an independent halibut fisherman, he believes it is absolutely necessary for Alaskans to participate in the IFQ program, which he characterized as a response to problems in the fisheries, not the cause of them. He referred to his experience in the early 1960's as a fisherman on the lower Yukon River, which he said taught him the importance of connections between local resource-based industry and communities. MR. FORRER cautioned that unless financing was available to local fishermen, the quota would end up in the hands of others. He noted the critical point would be whether the halibut fishery could support the debt service incurred to get into the fishery. Better financed outside fishermen will be able to afford a longer pay-off term if the halibut fishery itself does not have to support the quota share. A state loan program, he said, is probably the only alternative for fishermen who do not have the financing options of larger fishing interests. MR. FORRER added economists have made the point that the IFQ program is an opportunity for the state only if the state and communities make financing available that will let local fishermen participate in the program. Number 415 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked whether, under the current state loan system, there were no other loans available for the purchase of IFQ shares. MR. FORRER understood individuals could not currently borrow for the purpose of purchasing halibut shares. CHRIS MOSS testified by teleconference from Homer in support of HB 123. He noted the loan program would provide equal access to the shares to Alaskans who might not qualify for other types of loans. Number 457 RICK LAUBER, MEMBER OF THE NORTH PACIFIC SEAFOOD PROCESSORS ASSOCIATION, AND CHAIRMAN, NORTH PACIFIC FISHERIES MANAGEMENT COUNCIL, referred to Representative Hudson's question regarding the status of the IFQ program's approval by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. He confirmed the program was approved, but delays in implementation were due to the pending nature of funding. Mr. Lauber did not argue with the possibility of implementation as early as 1995. He agreed the state legislature should move ahead with HB 123, and suggested the program could use more funding. MR. LAUBER referred to Ms. Behnken's estimate of the sale price of quota shares, and speculated the price will actually be higher. He agreed the initial price will be inflated, and stressed the importance of this. The initial go-round, he said, would be crucial to Alaskans, and whether they would be able to buy shares while a large number of them are available. MR. LAUBER called the proposed loan program in HB 123 a "no- lose" situation because the permits would be so valuable. He expressed concern with the implications of the North American Free Trade Act, and the possibility for Canadian or Mexican sham companies purchasing shares and getting into the fishery "through the back door." Number 510 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked Mr. Lauber to clarify whether 80% of the catch under the program would be allocated to Alaskan fishermen. MR. LAUBER did not have the figures, and said the allocations differed between the black cod and halibut fisheries. In neither scenario, he said, would Alaska get anywhere near 100%. He tentatively estimated closer to a 70% allocation for Alaskans in the halibut fishery, and 50% in the black cod fishery. He added a number of people will qualify for quota shares who are not now in the fishery. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if Mr. Lauber could forecast what might prohibit the IFQ shares allocated among Alaskans now from being sold to outside interests in the future. MR. LAUBER replied there was no residency restriction on the sale of the shares, and it would be illegal to do so. Number 552 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked whether such a provision could be put on the program. MR. LAUBER clarified the IFQ program, as a federal law, cannot have provisions attached by states. Number 570 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE referred to Mr. Lauber's suggestion that more money be put into the loan program. He asked specifically whether Mr. Lauber meant more money overall, or a larger loan per individual, than the current $300,000 amount. MR. LAUBER answered that the quota shares will initially be worth between three and ten times the value of the sale of fish. With the $300,000 amount, crew members who are otherwise qualified for the IFQ share system, would be able to obtain funds to participate. He said more funding should be concentrated on the total amount available in the loan program. Number 587 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE commented that with the way the market works, the price tends to become equal to the amount of money available for loans. He referred to a letter from Jerry Murray which quoted Clem Tillion as saying that he would not want to loan money on the IFQ shares because the borrowers would never be able to repay the loans. He qualified his comments by saying he could not verify the accuracy of the quote, or what the context was. Number 597 MR. LAUBER responded by saying he had been constantly mystified by Mr. Tillion's statement. If what Mr. Tillion was reputed to say was true, Mr. Lauber said, no one would ever sell quota shares unless it was for cash. He agreed if fishing was bad, it might be difficult for some to pay back their loans. He discussed prudent banking practices and noted shares will not be financed at 100%. Number 610 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER remarked that the alleged quote does not match the response she had in conversations with Mr. Tillion, whom she said was in support of HB 123. VICE CHAIR HUDSON asked for Mr. Lauber's comment on the situation with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seizing limited entry permits for tax debts, and asked whether anything could be done to protect the IFQ shares from the IRS. Number 628 MR. LAUBER referred to legislative attempts to protect salmon permits in the early 1970's, and commented that a problem to prepare for with the program proposed in HB 123 is whether the taxes are assessed at the time of sale, or immediately when the shares are first given out. If the IRS came after the money immediately after shares are distributed, it would end up owning a lot of permits. He did not know of any way to insulate the shares from the IRS, and suggested in jest that if the IRS did seize the permits, it should be required to fish them. Number 650 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER referred to page two, section C (4) of HB 123, regarding eligibility for the IFQ share loans, and asked Mr. Lauber to comment on whether the legislature would be creating a high-risk program that might not be self- sustaining. Specifically, he asked what type of people would be eligible for the program. MR. LAUBER said one of the advantages of the program is that it would allow crew members to purchase IFQ shares. In those cases, he explained, other factors would be considered besides how much money the borrower could put up. REPRESENTATIVE ULMER also responded to Representative Mulder's question, and explained that the language he referred to had been added in the Fisheries Committee Substitute to HB 123. The intention, she said, was to help smaller fishing enterprises participate. The bigger fishermen would not need the state program, she said, because they would have the collateral to find other financing. She clarified the program in HB 123 did not propose lending to people who were bad credit risks. Number 685 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER commented on the high default rates of other state loan programs, and wanted to hear from the DCED on the lending practices that would be instituted with this program. Number 694 VICE CHAIR HUDSON expressed concern that some parts of the state which might have smaller quotas, will be hit harder. He asked whether criteria could be put in place that would give an advantage to certain areas. He referred to the Community Development Quota (CDQ) program, and its move to benefit Northwest Alaskan communities. TAPE 93-30, SIDE B Number 000 VICE CHAIR HUDSON asked Mr. Lauber to comment on whether the IFQ program could incorporate provisions for communities to purchase IFQ shares, or in some other way encourage participation in areas where people need it the most. Number 040 MR. LAUBER replied that opponents of the IFQ program had raised concerns about its effect on individuals. He said the council did not discuss any mechanism for financing, although there is a community development portion of the program. There would be no permanent IFQs going to any communities, he explained, but would give a short-term boost to people in communities that had not had access to fisheries in the past. He did not believe HB 123 could be amended to accomplish what Representative Hudson had suggested. VICE CHAIR HUDSON asked whether Mr. Lauber could recommend some other way to accomplish the goal, such as amending the CDQ program into the IFQ area. Number 090 MR. LAUBER explained the CDQ program was designed to provide funds for communities to get individuals into the fisheries. He said there would be nothing to prevent a community from making arrangements through their own loan programs or loan guarantees to allow individuals or groups to purchase vessels or even to purchase IFQ shares. REPRESENTATIVE PAT CARNEY referred to the question about high risk loans, and suggested it is a good idea to provide low-interest loans to Alaskans for resource development. Number 128 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN expressed concern about the loan criteria that might be used in making loans from the loan program proposed in HB 123. He asked whether the state would be willing to accept that there will be more foreclosures if loans are available to people who cannot pay back their loans. As a related issue, he asked whether the IFQ shares would revert back to the state if loans were defaulted on. REPRESENTATIVE ULMER responded that Mr. Winegar of the DCED could address that issue. She noted the limited entry permit loan program has a very high success rate with few loans in default. She explained that mechanisms were in place to make wise decisions about who gets loans. Number 170 MR. WINEGAR responded to the issue of the language on other financing programs available. He explained that this language parallels section B of the existing commercial fishing loan program. Section B, he said, is targeted at rural Alaska with the idea that individuals who could not get loans from a bank could go through that program. He noted the program has had a low default rate. The lender works with borrowers having difficulty making payments, he explained. He then referred to the criteria for making loans, and said they look at credit, past experience, and debt service. The statute requires 90% of the loan to value collateral, he explained. MR. WINEGAR, addressing Representative Green's question about the IFQ share reverting back to the state in the event of default, replied that the shares would come back to the state, which would then have to sell it to recover loan funds. REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DAVIES asked Mr. Winegar to respond to the IRS question. MR. WINEGAR was not aware of anything the legislature could put into HB 123 to prevent the IRS from having the opportunity to seize the asset of permits or shares. VICE CHAIR HUDSON asked about the process whereby permits or shares come back to the state, and if they came back to the state with IRS-implicated loans. He asked if the state could control the re-sale of the permits. MR. WINEGAR said in the case of an IRS problem, it would depend on who had priority. If the IRS had priority, he explained, it would be difficult for the state to sell that permit. If the state's lien had priority over the IRS, the state would be able to resell it. Number 238 VICE CHAIR HUDSON asked whether the state could do anything to maintain control, such as a "super-lien" that would establish state priority and help prevent the IRS from selling permits low. MR. WINEGAR was not aware of any legal way to do that because federal statutes take precedence. Number 258 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER confirmed the IRS supercedes anyone else's authority. Number 270 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES commented that he could foresee circumstances where the IRS debt would be very small compared to the value of the IFQ share, and the state might be better off either paying off the tax liability or loaning an additional amount for that purpose to prevent the IRS from selling seized permit shares at a low price and depressing the market. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN remarked that as an individual, if he loaned someone money, he could put in a condition that prior to becoming involved in a tax delinquency, the borrower would have to come back and let the lender buy back the asset. Number 293 MR. WINEGAR explained that the DCED has the ability in the foreclosure process to expend funds in order to protect assets. VICE CHAIR HUDSON referred to the limited entry program and asked Mr. Winegar if that program included a buy-back provision. He asked whether the state had ever bought back permits. Number 300 MR. WINEGAR said there was a provision whereby the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) could re- purchase those permits. VICE CHAIR HUDSON asked whether the IFQ shares would fall into that category. MR. WINEGAR replied there was no buy-back provision for the IFQ shares that he was aware of. Number 319 REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY referred to the foreclosure issue, and asked whether the state had a method for assuring that Alaskans could buy back IFQ shares. MR. WINEGAR replied there was a legal problem with requiring sales to Alaskans. He noted the rate of limited entry permit re-sales to residents was high. Number 337 JERRY MCCUNE, UNITED FISHERMEN OF ALASKA (UFA), testified in support of HB 123, although he noted the organization is not completely in agreement with the IFQ program itself. He said the UFA is concerned that small boat owners and small communities should have the opportunity to participate in the program. Regarding the question of risk involved in making the loans to a segment of borrowers that might not qualify for conventional loans, Mr. McCune explained it was his understanding the division of loans would look at the backgrounds of crew members applying for loans. MR. MCCUNE stressed the importance of ensuring the loan program proposed in HB 123 is adequately funded and the rates are reasonable. He urged the state to ensure small boat owners will not lose shares to big boat owners. Referring to the IRS problem, he commented that in most cases the IRS is willing to work out payment plans. He said he would object if the IRS proceeds to take permits at random in spite of good faith efforts by the fishermen to meet their tax obligations. Number 397 DREW SCALZI testified from Homer in support of HB 123. He said the initial response to the IFQ program he has observed has been that everyone wants to buy quota shares. He noted the focus of the loan program is on the concept and not the criteria. He referred to the IFQ share as a tangible access to the resource. He addressed Mr. Lauber's earlier statement regarding the price of IFQ shares in Canada being between $8 -$10 per pound, and said that was accurate for the time, but noted in Canada, the average price for halibut in 1992 was $2.85 per pound, which equates to three times the ex-vessel value. Number 437 RICK WILLIAMS testified in opposition to HB 123 by teleconference from Petersburg. He has fished for twenty years in Alaska, and objected to the IFQ program because it would take jobs out of Alaska. He cautioned that the large debts incurred by fishermen to acquire IFQ shares will make it difficult for them to pay off the loans, and may force fishermen to cut corners in ways like operating with a shorter crew. Number 460 VICE CHAIR HUDSON asked Mr. Williams to expand on his comment that the loan program shows Alaska's endorsement of the IFQ program. MR. WILLIAMS expanded on his thoughts that the state should not jump in and pass a bill that appears to endorse a controversial issue. He suggested there will be extensive litigation relating to the IFQ program. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked whether any one else wished to testify. There being no further public testimony, he moved to committee discussion. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER asked Representative Ulmer what the cost might be of forestalling action of HB 123 and delaying the implementation of a loan program. He also asked her to comment on Mr. Williams' testimony that the loan program appeared to be tacit support for the IFQ program. REPRESENTATIVE ULMER commented that although she had not been directly involved with the development of the IFQ program, it was her understanding that the program has been approved by the Secretary of Commerce and will be implemented. She said the situation was analogous to a freight train coming down the tracks, and the only question is whether you want to get on board, let it go by, or get run over. Delaying HB 123, she said, meant that in the initial sale of IFQ shares, Alaskans would not be at the table. REPRESENTATIVE ULMER agreed there may be lawsuits resulting from the IFQ program, and those lawsuits may well derail the program. She cautioned, however, that it does not hurt the state of Alaska to be prepared, and HB 123 is not an endorsement of the IFQ program. She suggested the bill could be passed with a letter of intent that would express the committee's concerns with the IFQ program. Number 522 VICE CHAIR HUDSON reiterated his concern that more social and economic impact studies be done in preparation for the IFQ program. He said he would support HB 123, but would still push for further study and possible modification of the IFQ program itself. Number 535 REPRESENTATIVE CARNEY MOVED and asked unanimous consent that the committee ADOPT CSHB 123 (FSH) and the letter of intent. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were any objections to the motion, and hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER made a MOTION to MOVE with individual recommendations CSHB 123 (FSH) with the attached letter of intent and fiscal notes, and asked unanimous consent. CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there were objections to the motion, hearing none, the MOTION PASSED. ANNOUNCEMENTS CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced the next meeting of the House Resources Committee would be on Wednesday, March 17, at 8:00 a.m., at which time public testimony would be taken on the confirmations of Boards of Fisheries and Game appointees. He referred to the legal question regarding Jack Didrickson's appointment to the Board of Game, and asked committee members to be prepared to discuss that issue. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to come before the House Resources Committee, Chairman Williams adjourned the meeting at 9:35 a.m.