Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

03/02/2022 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 202 RENEWABLE ENERGY GRANT FUND TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 202 Out of Committee
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
*+ SB 204 HUNTING PERMIT/TAG AUCTIONS/RAFFLES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 2, 2022                                                                                          
                           3:32 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                             DRAFT                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Joshua Revak, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                             
Senator Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Peter Micciche, Vice Chair                                                                                              
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Natasha von Imhof                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 202                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the renewable energy grant fund and                                                                         
recommendation program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED SB 202 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 204                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to auctions or raffles for hunting harvest                                                                     
permits and big game tags; and providing for an effective date."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 202                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: RENEWABLE ENERGY GRANT FUND                                                                                        
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) REVAK                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/22/22       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/22       (S)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
03/02/22       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 204                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: HUNTING PERMIT/TAG AUCTIONS/RAFFLES                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) REVAK                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/22/22       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/22/22       (S)       RES, FIN                                                                                               
03/02/22       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
EMMA TORKELSON, Staff                                                                                                           
Senator Joshua Revak                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented SB 202 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CURTIS THAYER, Executive Director                                                                                               
Alaska Energy Authority                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke in support of SB 202.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL THOMAS, Representing Self                                                                                                  
Haines, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Spoke on SB 202 as the original sponsor of                                                                
Renewable Energy Fund (REF) legislation.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL ROVITO, Deputy Director                                                                                                 
Alaska Power Association (APA)                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 202.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
EMMA TORKELSON, Staff                                                                                                           
Senator Joshua Revak                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 204 on behalf the sponsor.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
EDDIE GRASSER, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Wildlife Conservation                                                                                               
Alaska Department of Fish and Game                                                                                              
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on SB 204.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN KEHOE, President                                                                                                          
Alaska Wild Sheep Foundation                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 204.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JANET PASTERNAK, Representing Self                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  support of SB  204 as  an avid                                                             
hunter and fisherman.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MARK RICHARDS, Executive Director                                                                                               
Resident Hunters of Alaska (RHAK)                                                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT: Testified  in tentative  support of  SB 204,                                                             
withholding written  support or  comments until  the organization                                                               
reviews fiscal notes and other documentation.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TED SPRAKER, President                                                                                                          
Kenai Peninsula Chapter of Safari Club International                                                                            
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in  support of the amended language                                                             
in  SB  204  on  behalf  of the  Alaska  Chapter  and  the  Kenai                                                               
Peninsula Chapter of the Safari Club International.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SAM ROHRER, President                                                                                                           
Alaska Professional Hunters Association (APHA)                                                                                  
Kodiak, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 204.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
RACHEL HANKE, Legislative Liaison                                                                                               
Alaska Department of Fish and Game                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT: Available  to  answer  questions related  to                                                             
SB 204.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:32:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  JOSHUA   REVAK  called   the  Senate   Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 3:32  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators Kiehl, Bishop, Kawasaki, and Chair Revak.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                SB 202-RENEWABLE ENERGY GRANT FUND                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:33:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK  announced the consideration  of SENATE BILL  NO. 202                                                               
"An  Act  relating  to  the   renewable  energy  grant  fund  and                                                               
recommendation program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR REVAK noted  that this was the first hearing  for SB 202 in                                                               
this committee.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:34:02 PM                                                                                                                    
EMMA TORKELSON, Staff, Senator Joshua Revak, Alaska State                                                                       
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, presented SB 202 on behalf of the                                                                  
sponsor. She spoke on the following sponsor statement:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SB  202  extends  the authorization  of  the  Renewable                                                                    
     Energy Grant Fund and  Recommendation Program setting a                                                                    
     new sunset date of June 30, 2033.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The Renewable Energy Fund  (REF) program was originally                                                                    
     established in 2008 with the  passage of House Bill 152                                                                    
     and  later received  a ten-year  extension in  2012, in                                                                    
     both   cases  receiving   a  unanimous   vote  of   the                                                                    
     legislature. The  REF is managed  by the  Alaska Energy                                                                    
     Authority in coordination  with a nine-member Renewable                                                                    
     Energy Fund Advisory Committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Since its inception in 2008,  the Renewable Energy Fund                                                                    
     has  distributed over  $275  million  dollars in  grant                                                                    
     funds   for   qualifying   and   competitively-selected                                                                    
     renewable energy projects across the state.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     These  REF  grants  have   been  supplemented  by  both                                                                    
     federal and  local funding to  the tune of  hundreds of                                                                    
     millions  of  dollars.  These combined  funds  help  to                                                                    
     stabilize  and reduce  energy  costs  for consumers  by                                                                    
     supporting renewable energy projects  in both urban and                                                                    
     rural communities across Alaska.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     As technology has improved  and the available renewable                                                                    
     energy sources have expanded, so  too has the number of                                                                    
     proposed projects.  In the  last application  cycle, 39                                                                    
     applications from  around the state were  submitted. As                                                                    
     energy prices climb, it is  important to take advantage                                                                    
     of  all   alternative  sources  of  energy   and  heat,                                                                    
     especially  in  our  most vulnerable  communities.  The                                                                    
     Renewable Energy Grant Fund is  an important tool which                                                                    
     supports Alaskan communities meet their energy needs.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Please  join me  in supporting  SB 202  and a  ten-year                                                                    
     extension  of the  Renewable  Energy  Fund, which  will                                                                    
     continue  to support  energy  independence  in more  of                                                                    
     Alaska's communities.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.   TORKELSON   pointed  out   that   two   senators  and   two                                                               
representatives serve  on the  nine-member Renewable  Energy Fund                                                               
Advisory Committee  along with  appointees from  other designated                                                               
groups. SB  202 also sets  an immediate effective date.  The fund                                                               
operates by sending  out open applications in  rounds. The Alaska                                                               
Energy  Authority   (AEA)  considers  each  submission   for  its                                                               
economic  and technical  feasibility.  AEA's recommendations  are                                                               
forwarded to the advisory committee  before they are submitted to                                                               
the legislature for approval.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:36:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked  how many gallons of fuel  have been saved                                                               
in the past ten years.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:37:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CURTIS  THAYER,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Energy  Authority,                                                               
Anchorage,  Alaska,   answered  that  approximately   30  million                                                               
gallons of  diesel fuel have  been displaced  annually, primarily                                                               
by renewable energy.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR REVAK  asked former representative  Bill Thomas  to testify                                                               
on SB 202.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:37:55 PM                                                                                                                    
BILL THOMAS, Representing  Self, Haines, Alaska, spoke  on SB 202                                                               
as sponsor of the original  Renewable Energy Fund legislation. He                                                               
served in the House of  Representatives for eight years, and this                                                               
was  one of  his  primo bills.  He and  then  Speaker Harris  had                                                               
similar  bills. They  merged those  two bills  into one  piece of                                                               
legislation, the renewable energy grant  fund, a program aimed at                                                               
reducing  energy  costs  in rural  communities.  The  legislature                                                               
allocated  50 million  dollars per  year  for renewable  projects                                                               
years ago.  Over time  allocations are less,  but the  fund still                                                               
receives  money. The  Renewable  Energy Fund  program works.  The                                                               
fund   helped    several   Southeast   communities    switch   to                                                               
hydroelectric energy,  reducing their  energy costs  by 30  to 40                                                               
percent.  Several  communities have  a  combination  of wind  and                                                               
hydroelectric  power.  He  expressed   his  belief  that  several                                                               
communities  now have  almost 100  percent  renewable energy.  He                                                               
expressed happiness with the efforts  of groups and organizations                                                               
like the  Inside Passage Electric  Cooperative (IPEC),  which has                                                               
supported  this legislation  and has  worked with  many Southeast                                                               
villages on hydropower installations.  The program has benefitted                                                               
many communities,  and hopefully,  the legislature will  renew SB
202 for ten more years.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:40:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK opened public testimony on SB 202.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:41:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL ROVITO, Deputy Director,  Alaska Power Association (APA),                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska,  testified in support  of SB 202,  stating APA                                                               
is  a  statewide  trade association  for  electric  utilities  in                                                               
Alaska. APA  members provide  power to more  than half  a million                                                               
Alaskans from Utqiagvik to Unalaska,  throughout the Interior and                                                               
Southcentral,  and  down the  Inside  Passage.  APA thanks  Chair                                                               
Revak for sponsoring this bill,  supports extending the renewable                                                               
energy  grant fund,  and urges  passage of  SB 202  this session.                                                               
Many APA  electric utility members have  received crucial funding                                                               
from  REF since  its inception.  These funds  have supported  the                                                               
addition of  REF projects that  lowered reliance on  diesel fuel,                                                               
stabilized rates, and decreased  the carbon footprint of electric                                                               
generation.  The Renewable  Energy  Fund contributed  to over  95                                                               
operating projects,  totaling 244  grants and $275  million since                                                               
its inception,  resulting in savings  of over 30  million gallons                                                               
of  diesel  fuel each  year.  So,  it is  clear  that  REF is  an                                                               
extremely valuable  program that  has proven worthy  of continued                                                               
operation. Also, numerous projects  are still under consideration                                                               
for  future  grant  funding rounds.  These  projects,  like  past                                                               
projects, will be  chosen through a deliberative  AEA process and                                                               
reviewed by  the Renewable Fund Advisory  Committee. By extending                                                               
the sunset  date of the  program, electrical utilities  in Alaska                                                               
will have  certainty that REF will  be available as long  as they                                                               
continue innovating power systems.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:43:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. THAYER  spoke in support  of SB 202, providing  the committee                                                               
with  a  brief  REF  financial  overview. To  date,  REF  has  95                                                               
operational projects, 38 are in  development; REF contributed $34                                                               
million to  Railbelt Projects and  $248 million to  rural Alaska,                                                               
and  REF  brought   in  $138  million  in   matching  funds.  The                                                               
legislature approved  11 projects  in rural Alaska  totaling $4.7                                                               
million last year.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THAYER  said that  this  year's  funding mechanism  includes                                                               
excess earnings  from the Power Cost  Equalization (PCE) program,                                                               
the PCE endowment, and community  assistance. $25 million will be                                                               
divided between rural powerhouses,  capitalizing on the revolving                                                               
loan  fund for  bulk fuel  and  the REF  program. The  governor's                                                               
proposed budget designated $15 of the  $25 million to REF and $10                                                               
million  to powerhouses.  REF application  round  14 received  39                                                               
applications  totaling  $19.2  million.   The  number  of  viable                                                               
applications  will  drop  as  AEA  goes  through  the  evaluation                                                               
process. AEA's  goal is to  submit $15  million in FY  23 project                                                               
recommendations to the legislature in April.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THAYER  pointed out  that the Renewable  Energy Fund  did not                                                               
receive funding for five fiscal  years and only recently received                                                               
funding for FY 22  and 23 and a little bit in  FY 19. Despite the                                                               
lean past  years, the  program put $15  million in  earnings into                                                               
the budget.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:46:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KAWASAKI asked what happens when a project fails.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. THAYER  answered that when  a project fails, the  funds lapse                                                               
back  into the  program. Round  13  funded 11  projects in  rural                                                               
Alaska,  totaling $4.7  million,  through closed-out  outstanding                                                               
grants,  unexpended  money, and  canceled  projects;  this was  a                                                               
first  in  the  program's  history.  AEA  tries  to  recycle  the                                                               
program's money.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:47:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  REVAK  found  no  further   witnesses  and  closed  public                                                               
testimony  on SB  202.  He  reiterated that  SB  202 extends  the                                                               
sunset ten years.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:48:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  moved to  report SB  202, work  order 32-LS1522\A,                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
fiscal note(s).                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR REVAK found  no objection and SB 202 was  reported from the                                                               
Senate Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:48:28 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
           SB 204-HUNTING PERMIT/TAG AUCTIONS/RAFFLES                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:50:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   REVAK   reconvened   the  meeting   and   announced   the                                                               
consideration  of  SENATE  BILL  NO.  204  "An  Act  relating  to                                                               
auctions  or raffles  for hunting  harvest permits  and big  game                                                               
tags; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR REVAK noted  that this was the first hearing  for SB 204 in                                                               
this committee.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:50:35 PM                                                                                                                    
EMMA TORKELSON, Staff, Senator Joshua Revak, Alaska State                                                                       
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, introduced SB 204 on behalf the                                                                    
sponsor, speaking to the following sponsor statement:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Since its  passage in the 1997,  the Governor's Auction                                                                    
     and   Raffle   Tag   program   has   successfully   and                                                                    
     substantially   increased   funding  for   the   Alaska                                                                    
     Department  of Fish  and Game  (ADF&G). In  2021, gross                                                                    
     revenue was  just over  $1.2 million.  SB 204  seeks to                                                                    
     build  on  this  success and  expand  the  department's                                                                    
     ability  to  bring  in   revenue,  which  will  support                                                                    
     wildlife  conservation  and   protection  programs  and                                                                    
     education across Alaska.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Foundationally, Senate  Bill 204 adds three  species to                                                                    
     the available harvest permit  list and standardizes the                                                                    
     number of  game harvest permits that  ADF&G grants each                                                                    
     year   to  qualified   organizations  for   fundraising                                                                    
     auctions or  raffles. By doing so,  the department will                                                                    
     have the  flexibility to issue  up to four  permits for                                                                    
     each  species, taking  into account  the health  of the                                                                    
     game  population  and   recommendations  of  department                                                                    
     biologists  when  determining  the actual  number  that                                                                    
     will be issued each year.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The increased  revenue from this moderate  expansion of                                                                    
     available  harvest permits  will  ensure two  important                                                                    
     outcomes. First,  it allows the department  to maintain                                                                    
     sufficient funds to  continue critical conservation and                                                                    
     wildlife  protection   measures  that  have   been  the                                                                    
     mainstay  of wildlife  management for  decades. Second,                                                                    
     with  the large  increase  in  firearms and  ammunition                                                                    
     sales  and approximately  $18 million  in new  Pittman-                                                                    
     Robertson (PR)  grants coming our way,  ADF&G will need                                                                    
     sufficient  matching dollars  to prevent  these new  PR                                                                    
     funds from reverting back to the federal government.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Modern, effective wildlife  management is becoming more                                                                    
     expensive.  For example,  an increase  of  a couple  of                                                                    
     dollars to aviation  fuel has a major  impact on survey                                                                    
     and  inventory operations  which,  in turn,  are a  key                                                                    
     element   in  setting   game  population   and  harvest                                                                    
     objectives. Without accurate  objectives, for instance,                                                                    
     the Board  of Game cannot make  well-informed decisions                                                                    
     on yearly hunting seasons and bag limits.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     In sum,  SB 204 will  allow more federal revenue  to be                                                                    
     leveraged for  critical sustainable  wildlife education                                                                    
     and management  programs and the proactive  work needed                                                                    
     to prevent  new listings  under the  Endangered Species                                                                    
     Act.  Senate  Bill  204 directly  supports  sustainable                                                                    
     wildlife populations, outdoor  traditions, hunters, and                                                                    
     outdoor recreation users.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:53:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK asked Ms. Torkelson to proceed with the sectional                                                                   
analysis.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. TORKELSON reviewed the following sectional analysis for SB
204.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
              Senate Bill 204  Sectional Analysis                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
      "An Act relating to auctions or raffles for hunting                                                                     
      harvest permits and big game tags; and providing for                                                                    
                      an effective date."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1. Amends AS 16.05.343(a):                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
       Page 1  Lines 6-7: Adds Afognak  and Raspberry Island                                                                  
     Herds to  the type of  Elk harvest permits that  can be                                                                    
     donated by the department to be auctioned or raffled.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
       Page 1 Line 6:  Changes the number of harvest permits                                                                  
     that can  be donated for Etolin,  Afognak, or Raspberry                                                                    
     Elk herds from four to two.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
       Page 1  Line 9: Adds the word "wildlife"  in front of                                                                  
       onservation"  to  clarify  that  the  nonprofits  who                                                                    
     qualify to  receive these donated harvest  permits must                                                                    
     be   established  to   promote  education   in  outdoor                                                                    
     traditions  and  "wildlife" conservation  and  wildlife                                                                  
     protection   programs    in   partnership    with   the                                                                    
     department.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2. Amends 16.05.343(c):                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
       Page  1 Line 14    Page  2 Line 4:  Removes differing                                                                  
     tag  limits for  individual  species and  allows up  to                                                                  
     four harvest  permits to be  issued for all  the listed                                                                  
     species.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
       Page  2 Line 1: Adds  "emperor goose" to the  list of                                                                  
     available species harvest permits.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
       Page 2  Lines 5-8: Adds four McNeil  River State Game                                                                  
     Sanctuary  bear-viewing  permits  to  be  auctioned  or                                                                    
     raffled through the same process.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
       Page 2 Lines 13-30:  Removes language and replaces it                                                                  
     later  in  a  new  subsection  (1)  outlining  a  70/30                                                                    
     revenue split  between the Department of  Fish and Game                                                                    
     and the  qualified organization putting on  the auction                                                                    
     or  raffle and  (2) limiting  use of  the funds  by the                                                                    
     organization to  approved programs and  prohibiting use                                                                    
     of the  funds for any political  campaign or candidate.                                                                    
     This language is put back  into statute in Section 4 as                                                                  
     subsections (f) & (g) of AS 16.05.343.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
        Page 2  Lines 12  &  13, Page  3  Lines 1,  2, &  5:                                                                  
     Removes  "big  game"  from any  mention  of  "big  game                                                                    
     harvest permit"  so that all  the permits  are referred                                                                    
     to consistently by the broader "harvest permit."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
       Page  3 Lines 3 &  4: Changes the inscription  on the                                                                  
     hunting  license  issued  under  this  subsection  from                                                                    
     "Governor's license" to "Commissioner's license"                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 3. Amends AS 16.05.343(e):                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
       Page  3 Line 11:  Adds that a nonprofit  must promote                                                                  
     education  in   "wildlife  conservation"   and  conduct                                                                    
     "wildlife"  conservation programs  in order  to qualify                                                                    
     as  an  organization  that   can  conduct  auctions  or                                                                    
     raffles  for   the  department.  The   new  requirement                                                                    
     sentence reads: "The department  may select a nonprofit                                                                    
     organization   that  promotes   education  in   outdoor                                                                    
     traditions and wildlife  conservation and that conducts                                                                    
     wildlife conservation and  wildlife protection programs                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section   4.  Amends   AS  16.05.343   by  adding   new                                                                  
     subsections:                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
       Page  3 Lines  19-25: Reinserts the  language removed                                                                  
     in  Section  2 to  create  a  new subsection  (f)  that                                                                    
     requires  that all  revenue earned  from an  auction or                                                                    
     raffle of harvest permits be  paid to the Department of                                                                    
     Fish  and Game  EXCEPT  an amount  not  to exceed  30%,                                                                    
     which  the   qualified  organization  putting   on  the                                                                    
     auction  or raffle  can retain  for the  administrative                                                                    
     costs  of  holding   the  auction/raffle  and  approved                                                                    
     projects and educational  programs that support outdoor                                                                    
     tradition,   wildlife    conservation,   and   wildlife                                                                    
     protection.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
        Page 3  Lines  26    Page 4  Line  4: Reinserts  the                                                                  
     language  removed   in  Section  2  to   create  a  new                                                                    
     subsection (g) explicitly limiting  use of the funds by                                                                    
     the  organization to  approved programs  listed in  (f)                                                                    
     and  prohibiting use  of the  funds for  any "candidate                                                                    
     for  political  office,"  "organization  supporting  or                                                                    
     opposing    ballot    propositions,"   and    "expenses                                                                    
     associated   with    lobbying   the    legislature   or                                                                    
     administration."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
       Page 4 Lines 3-7:  Creates a new subsection (h) which                                                                  
     allows  winners of  brown bear  and Dall  sheep harvest                                                                    
     permits  to  engage  in  the hunt  even  if  they  have                                                                    
     successfully taken  a brown bear  or Dall sheep  in the                                                                    
     state in the four years preceding.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section 5. Sets an effective date January 1, 2023                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:59:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK  stated that he  worked closely with  the department,                                                               
stakeholders, and user groups on this  bill. The intent of SB 204                                                               
is to find  reasonable improvements to a  very successful program                                                               
that  earns  ADF&G  a  lot   of  revenue  and  benefits  wildlife                                                               
conservation studies, education,  and nonprofits. Seventy percent                                                               
of program revenues directly benefit ADF&G.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
The  intent is  to get  through public  testimony, then  hold and                                                               
fine-tune SB 204 in committee.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:01:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP asked  what prompted  the  change in  designation                                                               
from "Governor's license" to the "Commissioner's license."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TORKELSON  answered  that  all  raffle  or  auction  permits                                                               
bearing  the inscription  "Governor's license"  currently require                                                               
the  governor's  signature.  Winners  are  often  given  a  short                                                               
timeframe  to  complete hunts.  Couple  this  with permits  often                                                               
issued  collectively  in  batches, and  processing  time  becomes                                                               
critical.  The   commissioner  is   already  involved   with  the                                                               
licensing process,  so shifting responsibility would  relieve the                                                               
governor of quick-turnaround time pressure.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BISHOP  asked whether the department  should be specified                                                               
to  differentiate  it,  even  though  it  is  understood  SB  204                                                               
proposes that the ADF&G commissioner issue the licenses.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TORKELSON answered  that this  statute is  under the  Alaska                                                               
Department  of  Fish  and  Game  domain,  so  the  department  is                                                               
implied.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:02:44 PM                                                                                                                    
EDDIE  GRASSER,  Director,  Division  of  Wildlife  Conservation,                                                               
Alaska Department of  Fish and Game, Palmer,  Alaska, pointed out                                                               
that  many  statute  titles reference  the  commissioner  without                                                               
specifying the  department; this is  how most other  permits like                                                               
this are written.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR REVAK stated that the question would be reviewed.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:03:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL  sought  confirmation that  the  department  could                                                               
donate two elk tags and one  bison tag under [subsection] (a) [in                                                               
bill Section 1];  and an additional four elk tags  and four bison                                                               
tags  with the  revenue share  program under  [subsection (c)  in                                                               
bill Section 2].                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  TORKELSON  answered  yes, the  programs  are  separate.  The                                                               
organization that  raffles the tags  under [subsection  (a)] gets                                                               
100  percent of  the  proceeds. The  department and  organization                                                               
split  the  revenue  under   [subsection]  (c);  ultimately,  the                                                               
department may issue up to four  elk tags and four bison tags. If                                                               
the herds cannot sustain that, the department may issue fewer.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL  sought confirmation  that SB  204 reduces  the elk                                                               
cap to  six total permits and  increases the bison permit  cap by                                                               
one.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. TORKELSON expressed  her belief that the  bison cap increased                                                               
by one and the elk cap decreased by two.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  KIEHL   expressed  curiosity   about  the   language  in                                                               
Section 1  that  refers to  the  Etolin,  Afognak, and  Raspberry                                                               
Island elk herds, inquiring whether there were other herds.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRASSER answered that elk  inhabit other islands in Southeast                                                               
Alaska too, like Zarembo Island.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:05:37 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:06:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK  reconvened the meeting, found  no further questions,                                                               
and opened public testimony on SB 204.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:06:36 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN KEHOE, President, Alaska  Wild Sheep Foundation, Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska, testified in support of  SB 204. He stated the foundation                                                               
has approximately  700 members  and has  been in  operation since                                                               
2014. This  is an  excellent program and  has been  successful in                                                               
the past.  SB 204  appears to improve  the program.  He expressed                                                               
his belief that the Foundation  participated in this program more                                                               
than  other organizations,  contributing almost  $2.5 million  to                                                               
ADF&G. Based  on the  Pittman-Roberston Wildlife  Restoration Act                                                               
match, this equates  to almost $10 million  for conservation. The                                                               
foundation  strongly   supports  SB   204,  the   program  should                                                               
continue,  and the  changes in  the  bill will  help improve  the                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:08:09 PM                                                                                                                    
JANET PASTERNAK, Representing  Self, Anchorage, Alaska, testified                                                               
in support of  SB 204 as an  avid hunter and fisherman.  She is a                                                               
proud graduate  of the Becoming  an Outdoors Woman  (BOW) Program                                                               
and  has attended  numerous nonprofit-supported  outdoor classes.                                                               
These  educational   programs  were   funded  and   supported  by                                                               
nonprofit organizations  such as the Outdoor  Heritage Foundation                                                               
of Alaska  and the Safari Club  International. As a woman  from a                                                               
non-hunting  family, she  learned  the traditions  and ethics  of                                                               
hunting in Alaska. She could  never have participated in the life                                                               
she now  leads without  the support from  these programs.  SB 204                                                               
allows  nonprofit organizations  to  raise  tremendous money  for                                                               
conservation  and  education.  In addition,  it  offers  resident                                                               
hunters another opportunity to win  a coveted tag they might have                                                               
missed  in the  state lottery.  One year  as a  volunteer at  the                                                               
Outdoor  Heritage Foundation  table  selling  bison tags,  people                                                               
plunked down hundreds of dollars to  buy tickets for a bison tag.                                                               
At that  time, ADF&G  said 36,000  hunters applied  for 35  to 45                                                               
annually available  bison tags. Not  very good odds  for winning.                                                               
Providing  raffles  at auctions  for  some  of these  tags  gives                                                               
hunters more  chance of  hitting the jackpot.  This is  a win-win                                                               
for  education, conservation,  and hunters  alike. She  urged the                                                               
passage  of SB  204  as  it will  help  improve  and support  the                                                               
cherished Alaska tradition of hunter education and ethics.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:10:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK  RICHARDS, Executive  Director, Resident  Hunters of  Alaska                                                               
(RHAK), Fairbanks,  Alaska, testified in tentative  support of SB
204,   withholding  written   support  or   comments  until   the                                                               
organization reviews  fiscal notes and other  documentation. RHAK                                                               
supports ways  to generate revenue  for wildlife  conservation as                                                               
long   as  they   do  not   negatively  impact   resident  hunter                                                               
opportunities.  He  stressed that  RHAK  does  not want  this  to                                                               
extend beyond four tags per  species. Some states are pushing for                                                               
more Governor's tags to  increase department revenues, decreasing                                                               
resident  hunting opportunities.  The North  American model  of a                                                               
user-paid  wildlife conservation  system  equalizes license,  tag                                                               
fees,  and hunting  opportunities.  Governor's tags  do not  fall                                                               
within  the  scope  of  this   model;  typically,  the  wealthier                                                               
nonresident hunter  is able to  bid on  and win these  tags. RHAK                                                               
would prefer  SB 204 to state  an intent to stop  asking for more                                                               
Governor tag allocations in the  future. RHAK has discussed other                                                               
options for  raising revenues with the  commissioner and Director                                                               
Grasser. RHAK has participated in  the Governor's tag program for                                                               
several years,  and he was  happy to answer questions  about what                                                               
they  do with  their 30  percent of  the revenue.  RHAK typically                                                               
applies  for the  most coveted  sheep  tag, but  because RHAK  is                                                               
based  solely   in  Alaska  and   focuses  on   resident  hunting                                                               
opportunities it  will probably  never get  a coveted  sheep tag.                                                               
The organization is unable to  compete with the dollars generated                                                               
on the  national level  in the Lower  48. He  expressed gratitude                                                               
for  the resident-only  Kodiak brown  bear Governor's  tag, which                                                               
RHAK received for the past  two years. Resident Hunters of Alaska                                                               
wants to  see parity  in how  tags are  awarded and  allocated to                                                               
organizations.   While  the   benefit   passes   mainly  to   the                                                               
department, the  boon to the  organizations awarded  coveted tags                                                               
is  the  big  crowds  attending banquets  and  fundraisers  where                                                               
tables, tickets,  and other auctioned  items bring  in additional                                                               
dollars. In  this respect, RHAK  does not benefit.  Although RHAK                                                               
supports  increasing   department  revenues,  there   are  better                                                               
methods. He  said he  will forward written  comments on  the bill                                                               
after further review.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:13:53 PM                                                                                                                    
TED SPRAKER,  President, Kenai Peninsula  Chapter of  Safari Club                                                               
International,  Soldotna, Alaska,  testified  in  support of  the                                                               
amended language  in SB 204 on  behalf of the Alaska  Chapter and                                                               
the  Kenai Peninsula  Chapter of  the Safari  Club International.                                                               
The  Kenai  Peninsula Chapter  has  about  150 members,  and  the                                                               
Alaska  Chapter   has  about  600  members.   He  encouraged  the                                                               
committee to review a letter  submitted by Mr. John Sturgeon, the                                                               
president  of  the  Alaska  Chapter.  The  letter  contains  good                                                               
information,  especially about  Governor's  tags. He  highlighted                                                               
the  success of  a recent  sheep tag  that netted  a little  over                                                               
$400,000. The  interesting detail  about this  sheep tag  and the                                                               
funds it generated is that 53  percent of the funds came from out                                                               
of state. He  pointed out that these are new  dollars that can be                                                               
used  for conservation,  not  just  recirculated Alaska  dollars.                                                               
ADF&G can  use these  dollars for  game management.  He expressed                                                               
satisfaction that SB 204 added  emperor goose harvest permits. He                                                               
was uncertain how many people  applied for the McNeil River State                                                               
Game Sanctuary  bear viewing permits, noting  that 25 nonresident                                                               
emperor goose  tags were  available last  year, and  2,721 people                                                               
applied.  This draw  was  specifically  for nonresidents.  Again,                                                               
this  is   all  new  money   entering  the  state   for  wildlife                                                               
conservation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:16:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SAM  ROHRER, President,  Alaska Professional  Hunters Association                                                               
(APHA), Kodiak,  Alaska, stated that  APHA strongly  supports the                                                               
proposed changes to  the Governor's tag program.  The program has                                                               
been  effective  at  raising millions  of  dollars  for  wildlife                                                               
conservation  in  Alaska.  It  is an  excellent  example  of  the                                                               
benefits Alaskans  receive when the state  partners with Alaska's                                                               
own conservation-based nongovernmental  organizations (NGOs) like                                                               
APHA.  The association  supports  a  user-pay funding  management                                                               
model  for Alaska  wildlife.  SB  204 is  part  of  the suite  of                                                               
possibilities  that keep  wildlife management  funding in  Alaska                                                               
robust. Alaska's  hunting guides are deeply  vested in supporting                                                               
wildlife conservation in Alaska, and  APHA's support of SB 204 is                                                               
an expression of those values.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:18:22 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK closed  public testimony on SB 204.  He asked whether                                                               
SB   204   affects  the   regular   draw   program  by   reducing                                                               
opportunities for Alaskan hunters.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:18:57 PM                                                                                                                    
RACHEL HANKE, Legislative Liaison,  Alaska Department of Fish and                                                               
Game, Juneau, Alaska, replied that is correct.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:19:10 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL sought confirmation that  if the department were to                                                               
issue all of  the bison permits under the cap,  that would be one                                                               
more  than allowed  under existing  law.  He also  asked if  that                                                               
additional bison permit  would come out of the draw  for the area                                                               
for which the tag was issued.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. HANKE deferred the questions to Director Grasser.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GRASSER answered  that the  regular draw  tags are  allotted                                                               
through  the  drawing  program   that  starts  in  November.  The                                                               
department  works  closely  with  area  biologists  to  ascertain                                                               
whether adding one  more bison outside of the  general draw would                                                               
be  detrimental to  the  overall  health of  the  bison herd.  If                                                               
biologists determine  the overall  health would not  be affected,                                                               
that  permit is  generally  used in  the  governor's auction  tag                                                               
program. Some  years a tag  is withdrawn. This year  for example,                                                               
the Tok  sheep tag  was withdrawn because  the department  had to                                                               
reduce the  number of resident  tags available due to  winter die                                                               
offs of that sheep herd.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL said that answered his question.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KIEHL  recalled that during  public testimony,  there was                                                               
some  discussion that  only nonresidents  could draw  for emperor                                                               
geese and that emperor geese would  be in this program. He sought                                                               
clarification  that there  is also  a resident  harvest available                                                               
for emperor geese.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. GRASSER answered that is  correct. Residents can hunt without                                                               
having to draw a permit.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:21:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK held SB 204 in committee for future discussion.                                                                     
4:22:17 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair  Revak adjourned  the Senate  Resources Standing  Committee                                                               
meeting at 4:22 p.m.                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 202 DCCED Fiscal Note 2.25.2022.pdf SRES 3/2/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 202
SB 202 Sectional Analysis 2.26.22.pdf SRES 3/2/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 202
SB 202 Sponsor Statement 2.26.22.pdf SRES 3/2/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 202
SB 202 Support Docs REF Projects By Region 4.14.2021.pdf SRES 3/2/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 202
SB 202 Support Docs Renewable Energy Fund Fact Sheet 2.11.2022.pdf SRES 3/2/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 202
SB 202 Support Letter APA 2.25.22.pdf SRES 3/2/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 202
SB 204 Sectional Analysis 3.1.22.pdf SFIN 3/30/2022 9:00:00 AM
SRES 3/2/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 204
SB 204 Sponsor Statement 3.1.22.pdf HRES 4/25/2022 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/29/2022 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 3/30/2022 9:00:00 AM
SRES 3/2/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 204
SB 204 Support Doc Auction-Raffle Revenue by Year 2.28.2022.pdf HRES 4/25/2022 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 3/30/2022 9:00:00 AM
SRES 3/2/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 204
SB 204 Support Letter SCI-AK 3.1.22.pdf HRES 4/25/2022 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/29/2022 1:00:00 PM
SFIN 3/30/2022 9:00:00 AM
SRES 3/2/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 204
SB 204 ADF&G Fiscal Note 2.26.2022.pdf SRES 3/2/2022 3:30:00 PM
SB 204