Legislature(1995 - 1996)

1996-04-23 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1996-04-23                     Senate Journal                      Page 3449
SB 326                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 326 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                              
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                          
An Act providing for an advisory vote regarding                               
regaining state management of fish and game                                    
throughout this state; and providing for an effective                          
was read the first time and referred to the Rules Committee.                   
Fiscal note published today from Office of the Governor.                       
Governor's transmittal letter dated April 22:                                  
Dear President Pearce:                                                         
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution,          
I am transmitting a bill providing for an advisory vote on a                   
constitutionally authorized rural subsistence preference for use of fish       
and wildlife throughout Alaska.                                                
Subsistence and the opportunity to put food on Alaskas dinner table            
is a defining part of being an Alaskan.  It is integral to our culture,        
economy and for many Alaskans, is a way of life.  To ensure                    
continued opportunities for this uniquely Alaskan activity, we must            
take action.                                                                   
The subsistence issue has been before the Legislature for at least six         
years and has been the subject of two special legislative sessions and         
numerous leadership conferences. Developments in recent weeks --               
namely, the federal governments proposed regulations for take-over             
of fish and wildlife management in Alaska -- make state action on              
subsistence more timely and vital than ever.  Federal management of            
Alaskas wildlife resources is simply unacceptable.  Should federal             
subsistence management extend to fish resources on navigable waters,           
as is now under consideration by the U.S. Department of Interior, the          
ability of the state to effectively manage fish and wildlife resources         
throughout Alaska will be seriously compromised.                               

1996-04-23                     Senate Journal                      Page 3450
SB 326                                                                       
During the past year, the lieutenant governor and I have consulted             
with dozens of interested groups and individuals to develop a                  
solution to Alaska's subsistence impasse.  Our goal is to return               
management of fish and wildlife to the state.  A necessary step                
toward that goal is enabling the state to have a subsistence                   
preference for rural residents.  From our meetings, we learned that            
most believe efforts to resolve the subsistence impasse should                 
continue.  There is a strong and growing belief Alaskans should                
solve the problem by consensus, not by relying on perpetual                    
litigation in federal courts.                                                  
It is encouraging that the persons whom we consulted believe the               
effort should continue and my administration is committed to that              
process.  Thats why my administration has a four-point plan to                 
regain state management.  It includes an amendment to the State                
Constitution, changes to state statutes, possible changes to federal           
law and any necessary legal efforts to combat federal expansion in             
An important element of the first point is hearing from Alaskans.              
Thats why I am proposing an advisory ballot question, which would              
stimulate debate and promote better understanding of the issue.  The           
bill would place on the ballot the question of whether Alaskans                
should be given an opportunity to vote on amending Alaskas                     
Constitution so the state can regain management over all fish and              
wildlife throughout Alaska.                                                    
Time is of the essence. I urge your prompt consideration and passage           
of this bill.                                                                  
						Tony Knowles