Legislature(2015 - 2016)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/07/2015 01:30 PM House FINANCE

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 137                                                                                                            
     "An Act raising certain  fees related to sport fishing,                                                                    
     hunting, and  trapping; raising the age  of eligibility                                                                    
     for  a  sport  fishing, hunting,  or  trapping  license                                                                    
     exemption  for  state residents  to  65  years of  age;                                                                    
     requiring state residents to purchase  big game tags to                                                                    
     take certain  species; and  providing for  an effective                                                                    
1:34:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DAVE TALERICO, SPONSOR, read from the                                                                            
sponsor statement:                                                                                                              
     House Bill 137  is a response to  calls from individual                                                                    
     hunters,   fishers,   outdoorsman   groups,   and   the                                                                    
     Department of Fish and Game  (DFG) to raise license and                                                                    
     tag fees for DFG.                                                                                                          
     There  is  currently  a deficiency  between  the  costs                                                                    
     associated with  management and research needs  and the                                                                    
     revenue  brought  in  by  license  and  tag  fees.  The                                                                    
     primary change  that HB 137 makes  is raising resident,                                                                    
     nonresident, and  military hunting,  fishing, trapping,                                                                    
     and  combination  licenses  to   help  deal  with  this                                                                    
     deficiency.  However, the  most  significant change  in                                                                    
     fees occurs to nonresident big game tag fees.                                                                              
     HB  137  also  limits   eligibility  for  a  low-income                                                                    
     license  only to  Alaskans that  have an  annual income                                                                    
     less  than  the limit  in  statute.  The annual  family                                                                    
     gross income limit  to be eligible for  this license is                                                                    
     being  raised  from  $8,200 to  $29,820  to  match  the                                                                    
     current poverty level  for a family of  four in Alaska.                                                                    
     The  bill  also  creates  a  voluntary  fish  and  game                                                                    
     conservation decal that  a person who does  not hunt or                                                                    
     fish  can  purchase  in  order  to  contribute  to  the                                                                    
     conservation efforts in Alaska.                                                                                            
     The final  change to this bill  is to raise the  age of                                                                    
     eligibility  for  the  hunting, fishing,  and  trapping                                                                    
     license  exemption from  60 years  to  62 years.  Also,                                                                    
     residents under  the age of  18 are exempt  from having                                                                    
     sport  fishing,  hunting,  and trapping  licenses,  and                                                                    
     nonresidents  under  the  age  of 16  are  exempt  from                                                                    
     having a sport fishing license.                                                                                            
     It has been  over 17 years since  many nonresident fees                                                                    
     have been raised and over  24 years since most resident                                                                    
     fish and  game fees  have been  raised. Though  the fee                                                                    
     increases  in HB  137 will  not match  the increase  in                                                                    
     costs associated  with fish  and game  management, this                                                                    
     bill helps  ensure that Alaskans can  continue to enjoy                                                                    
     use of Alaska's abundant fish and game resources.                                                                          
Vice-Chair  Saddler  wondered  if  the bill  left  the  free                                                                    
hunting  and  fishing licenses  intact  for  members of  the                                                                    
National   Guard,  Territorial   Guard,  and   for  disabled                                                                    
veterans. Representative Talerico responded yes.                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  asked   Representative  Telarico  to                                                                    
define  low income  as  it related  to  hunting and  fishing                                                                    
licenses. Representative  Talerico relayed that  the poverty                                                                    
income  level of  a  family  of four  was  set  at or  below                                                                    
$29,820. He  expounded that the resident  fees had increased                                                                    
$5 for  a fishing license and  $5 for a hunting  license. He                                                                    
indicated that  the trapping license  had increased  but the                                                                    
combination  license provided  a  price break.  He used  the                                                                    
combination license he carried in  his wallet as an example.                                                                    
If  the  bill   passed  the  same  license   would  cost  an                                                                    
additional $6.                                                                                                                  
Representative  Wilson  felt  commented  that  $29  thousand                                                                    
annual income was  not very low depending on  where a person                                                                    
lived. She asked if that  was the current number in statute.                                                                    
Representative Talerico responded  that currently $8,200 was                                                                    
the low annual income level.                                                                                                    
1:38:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wilson  wondered   why  the  huge  increase.                                                                    
Representative Talerico  replied that he thought  the $8,200                                                                    
number  had been  established several  years previously.  He                                                                    
had  information  from  the federal  government  as  to  the                                                                    
current  level of  poverty. He  reiterated that  the poverty                                                                    
level income for a family  of four was $29,820. He suggested                                                                    
that the number could be changed easily.                                                                                        
Representative Wilson asked  about documentation showing how                                                                    
many people took  advantage of the discount  at the previous                                                                    
low  income level.  She also  wondered  how many  additional                                                                    
people would take advantage of  discounts for other programs                                                                    
with the  new number.  Representative Talerico  thought some                                                                    
of the numbers were available  and he would provide them. He                                                                    
suggested Mr. Mulligan  from Department of Fish  and Game or                                                                    
Mr. Banks from his office provide the information.                                                                              
JOSHUA BANKS, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE DAVE TALERICO, referred                                                                    
to page  2 in tab  7 of the  tabbed binders provided  to the                                                                    
committee.  Fishing  license   fees  and  projected  revenue                                                                    
reflected the increases  in HB 137. He reported  that in the                                                                    
second  column the  resident low  income hunting,  trapping,                                                                    
and  sport  fishing  combination  license  had  a  five-year                                                                    
average revenue stream of just over $20 thousand.                                                                               
Co-Chair Thompson  acknowledged Representative Munoz  at the                                                                    
Representative   Wilson  asked   about   the  $20   thousand                                                                    
licensing   associated   with   the  low-income   level   of                                                                    
approximately $8  thousand. She wanted projections  based on                                                                    
the new numbers.                                                                                                                
BEN  MULLIGAN, SPECIAL  ASSISTANT,  DEPARTMENT  OF FISH  AND                                                                    
GAME, referred to  the House Resources' fiscal  note on page                                                                    
2. He  relayed that DNR  looked at the number  of households                                                                    
in Alaska which  fell under the $29,820  income level, using                                                                    
demographic  information   from  Department  of   Labor  and                                                                    
Workforce  Development   (DOL).  The  department   took  the                                                                    
average   number   of    Alaskans   per   household,   2.92,                                                                    
extrapolated out to 137,240  individuals, and determined how                                                                    
many  Alaskans   purchased  a  sport  fishing   license;  24                                                                    
percent.  The number  of new  people that  would potentially                                                                    
purchase a  low income sport fishing  license totaled 12,748                                                                    
(32,938 minus the preexisting number purchased).                                                                                
Representative Wilson  asked Mr.  Mulligan to repeat  the 12                                                                    
thousand number. Mr. Mulligan responded 12,748.                                                                                 
1:42:47 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Thompson   asked  if   the  current   version  "P"                                                                    
generated  enough   revenue  to  support   the  department's                                                                    
operating cost in sport  fisheries and wildlife conservation                                                                    
that would  replace current unrestricted general  fund (UGF)                                                                    
appropriations. Mr.  Mulligan referred  again to  the fiscal                                                                    
note. He stated  that the license increase would  bring in a                                                                    
combined $6.49  million. At present  the general  funds (GF)                                                                    
in  each  of  the  Sport  Fish  Division  and  the  Wildlife                                                                    
Conservation  Division sat  a little  bit  above $6  million                                                                    
respectively. It  would not completely replace  the money if                                                                    
all GF were lost.                                                                                                               
Vice-Chair Saddler asked about  the extra money generated by                                                                    
the increased  fees. He wanted  to know how it  affected the                                                                    
joint  state and  federal funding  of wildlife  conservation                                                                    
efforts.  Mr.   Mulligan  wondered   whether  Representative                                                                    
Saddler was asking about how  the extra funds would be spent                                                                    
on wildlife  conservation or both wildlife  conservation and                                                                    
sport fishing.                                                                                                                  
Vice-Chair Saddler responded, "Both."                                                                                           
Mr.  Mulligan  first  addressed  wildlife  conservation.  He                                                                    
stated  that intensive  management activities  would require                                                                    
DFG  funding.  He  mentioned the  Alaska  National  Interest                                                                    
Lands Conservation  Act (ANILCA) Access Defense  Program. He                                                                    
also reported having Pittman-Robertson  federal aid money to                                                                    
match  other funding.  Federal funding  was increasing  at a                                                                    
dramatic  rate  based on  ammunition  and  gun sales.  These                                                                    
monies would also be used  to the fullest extent possible to                                                                    
match the funds.                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Saddler  asked about the state  receiving federal                                                                    
money  as   a  result  of  the   Pittman-Robertson  matching                                                                    
formula. Mr.  Mulligan responded  that he could  not provide                                                                    
an exact number.  He explained that certain  programs had to                                                                    
be paid directly  from DFG. He elaborated that  when it came                                                                    
to  certain  intensive  management  activities  it  was  not                                                                    
advisable  to use  federal funds  and some  aspects did  not                                                                    
qualify for  federal aid funding.  It would be  difficult to                                                                    
provide  an   exact  leverage  amount  resulting   from  the                                                                    
increase. He would return with additional information.                                                                          
Co-Chair Thompson  asked whether  the state was  in jeopardy                                                                    
of losing its federal funding if  it did not raise its fees.                                                                    
Mr. Mulligan  responded that  if the  state did  not provide                                                                    
matching funds  by September  of 2016,  some of  the federal                                                                    
funds would likely have to be returned.                                                                                         
1:46:19 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Thompson asked for an  amount. Mr. Mulligan did not                                                                    
have a figure. He redirected his questions to Mr. Brooks.                                                                       
KEVIN BROOKS,  DEPUTY COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT OF  FISH AND                                                                    
GAME, responded  that in reference  to the federal  funds it                                                                    
was three  federal dollars  for one  state dollar.  In rough                                                                    
terms the  current version of  the bill would  generate $2.2                                                                    
million on the  hunting side. It had the  potential to match                                                                    
$6.6  million of  federal aid.  The department  had seen  an                                                                    
increase  of approximately  $10 million  in the  federal aid                                                                    
funding from the FY 15 to  FY 16 apportionment which was the                                                                    
reason  for placing  a  very large  capital  project of  $11                                                                    
million in the department's  capital request. The department                                                                    
hoped to capture  some of the federal  aid dollars. However,                                                                    
he  stated it  was under-matched.  Certainly the  revenue in                                                                    
the  bill would  help  with the  matching  dollars. He  also                                                                    
reported  that   the  state  had  two   years  to  obligate.                                                                    
Obligation for  the federal government  was not an  order of                                                                    
goods but an approved project.  He continued to explain that                                                                    
once  the  state had  an  approved  project with  identified                                                                    
match funding  it could  obligate on  the federal  side. The                                                                    
danger  the state  faced was  being hit  with another  large                                                                    
increase between  FY 16 to  FY 17, which he  anticipated. It                                                                    
would  compound  the  state's ability  to  provide  matching                                                                    
funds.  He  relayed the  state  was  stretched in  providing                                                                    
matching funds  because it had more  federal dollars through                                                                    
the door than it could match.                                                                                                   
Representative  Gattis asked  about the  residents' feedback                                                                    
concerning raising  fees. She understood  that the  fees had                                                                    
not been  raised for  about 17 years.  She wanted  to better                                                                    
understand  whether the  state was  maximizing its  matching                                                                    
funds by increasing the charges.                                                                                                
Mr.  Brooks  responded  that  the  focus  of  the  intensive                                                                    
matching programs were  geared towards providing opportunity                                                                    
for hunters and fishers,  but more specifically for hunters.                                                                    
The  opportunities  included  lengthening  seasons  allowing                                                                    
people  to  hunt and  fill  their  freezers. The  department                                                                    
wanted to  continue its efforts  but needed the  approval of                                                                    
the  Board of  Game.  The department  realized  that the  $6                                                                    
million of  GF currently appropriated for  the sport fishing                                                                    
and  the wildlife  budgets were  vulnerable for  the ensuing                                                                    
years. The  increase in fees  would backfill some of  the GF                                                                    
cuts and  would assist the  state in continuing some  of the                                                                    
important  and intensive  management programs  that provided                                                                    
1:50:06 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gattis was unclear  whether there were enough                                                                    
monies or  if the state  needed more funds. She  wondered if                                                                    
the state could  have raised its fees and done  a better job                                                                    
of maximizing its  match or if the state  was maximizing its                                                                    
match with the fee schedule  in HB 137. Mr. Brooks responded                                                                    
that the current version of the  bill would not match all of                                                                    
the federal funds that were available to the state.                                                                             
Representative Gattis  asked how much more  the state needed                                                                    
to maximize its match. She  commented that there was clearly                                                                    
a  "sweet spot"  to maximize  returns when  legislators were                                                                    
aware  that  the  state's GF  might  need  backfilling  from                                                                    
another source.  She wondered if  the state could  raise its                                                                    
fees in  such a way  that would better maximize  the state's                                                                    
Mr. Brooks  reported that the department  supported the bill                                                                    
and considered  it important. He  also felt  the legislature                                                                    
and  the  sportsman  groups  came to  a  level  of  increase                                                                    
acceptable to  them. He  suggested the  sponsor of  the bill                                                                    
would certainly  have a  strong opinion  about a  number. He                                                                    
felt that it  was not up to the department,  nor did he have                                                                    
a specific recommendation the certain dollar levels.                                                                            
Representative Gattis  stated that what she  was hearing Mr.                                                                    
Brooks say  was that  the state  could further  maximize its                                                                    
match.  Representative Talerico  stated that  the intent  of                                                                    
the  bill was  not to  recover all  of the  GF money  but to                                                                    
ensure the  ability to fund  the opportunity for all  of the                                                                    
hunters  and sportsmen.  His understanding  was that  if the                                                                    
state  did  not have  the  ability  to  collect data  or  do                                                                    
particular  surveys needed,  whether  intense management  or                                                                    
any specific  area, the  state would be  forced to  error on                                                                    
the  side  of  caution.  The  state  could  be  forced  into                                                                    
imposing  shorter seasons  or quotas.  Currently, the  state                                                                    
enjoyed reasonable seasons with  opportunities for people to                                                                    
get out more  than 10 days or more than  one weekend. He was                                                                    
inspired  to  get  the  state  to a  level  where  it  could                                                                    
continue to have what it  currently enjoyed with the defined                                                                    
seasons. He  relayed that in  the area where he  lived there                                                                    
was  a 25-day  moose season.  If  the state  did not  manage                                                                    
hunting  properly   then  it  would   have  to  move   to  a                                                                    
conservative  method   which  would  likely  lead   to  lost                                                                    
opportunities for everyone.  He was eager to hold  on to the                                                                    
opportunities for people who really  wanted to be out in the                                                                    
Co-Chair  Thompson  relayed  the   names  of  the  available                                                                    
testifiers if there were questions from members.                                                                                
1:54:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  wondered why it was  important to raise                                                                    
the discount age for a king  salmon stamp from age 60 to age                                                                    
62.  Representative Talerico  could  not  imaging getting  a                                                                    
free  license that  he would  qualify for  in the  following                                                                    
year. He  felt awkward  bringing a  bill forward  that would                                                                    
qualify  him  to  receive  a free  license.  He  planned  on                                                                    
purchasing a license as long as  he was available to get out                                                                    
into the field. He was not  married to the provision and was                                                                    
happy to change it.                                                                                                             
Representative  Gara  understood  the  sponsor's  reasoning.                                                                    
However, he  thought the provision  might not  be favorable.                                                                    
He referred to page 6, line  6 and line 8. He explained that                                                                    
a non-resident  could either purchase  a small  game hunting                                                                    
license  or an  alien hunting  license which  was much  more                                                                    
Co-Chair Neuman  asked Representative  Talerico to  point to                                                                    
where the topic of  intensive management fees was referenced                                                                    
in   the  bill.   Representative  Talerico   indicated  that                                                                    
intensive management fees were not part of the bill.                                                                            
Co-Chair  Neuman  asked  Mr.   Brooks  to  define  intensive                                                                    
management  for  game.  Mr. Brooks  replied  that  intensive                                                                    
management was  a method of wildlife  management approved by                                                                    
the  Board of  Game that  designated species  for additional                                                                    
survey work,  habitat manipulations,  and lethal  removal of                                                                    
predators if required. There was  a broad list of activities                                                                    
that were included under an intensive management program.                                                                       
1:58:14 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Neuman asked if the  legislature would have any say                                                                    
how the  intensive management funds  were spent.  Mr. Brooks                                                                    
responded affirmatively.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair Neuman clarified, "Even  though they are designated                                                                    
funds?" Mr.  Brooks replied that  all of the funds  would go                                                                    
into  the  Fish  and  Game fund  which  comes  from  license                                                                    
revenue and federal aid dollars.                                                                                                
Co-Chair Neuman  wanted clarification. He continued  that in                                                                    
conversations with  the Director Swanton of  the Division of                                                                    
Sport Fisheries  current fishing license fees  were $15 with                                                                    
a $9  surcharge designated  for repaying  the bonds  for two                                                                    
new  fish hatcheries;  a sport  fish hatchery  and a  salmon                                                                    
hatchery. He anticipated  the bonds being paid  off by about                                                                    
2020. He asked Mr. Brooks if he was accurate.                                                                                   
Mr.  Brooks relayed  that the  total bonds  currently had  a                                                                    
deadline of  2026. However, he  reported that the  state was                                                                    
doing early  redemptions in which  the state paid  its older                                                                    
obligations.  He relayed  that  although  2021 was  slightly                                                                    
ambitious it was not far from the mark.                                                                                         
Co-Chair Neuman  reported that he oversaw  the Department of                                                                    
Fish and Game's  budget. He explained that  the $9 surcharge                                                                    
for the  two hatcheries were  approved several years  ago to                                                                    
build the hatcheries.  The department was able  to take $500                                                                    
thousand out  of the $9  fees collected for the  Division of                                                                    
Sport Fisheries.  The extra money  was used to pay  down the                                                                    
bonds  more quickly.  He expressed  wanting to  take the  $9                                                                    
that  people were  used to  paying and  fold the  money back                                                                    
into  the  department  instead  of  increasing  the  fishing                                                                    
license fee. The department would  receive the $9. He wanted                                                                    
to know the current cost of the bonds.                                                                                          
Mr.   Brooks   responded   that  the   surcharge   generated                                                                    
approximately  $6.5 million  to $7  million per  year. There                                                                    
was a  sequence established  in the appropriation  bill that                                                                    
paid the  $500 thousand debt  in the sport  fishing division                                                                    
first.  Additional  funds  were   used  to  pay  down  early                                                                    
redemptions.  The  department  paid down  $850  thousand  in                                                                    
early redemptions in the last payment that was made.                                                                            
2:01:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman   asked,  if   the  state  lapsed   the  $9                                                                    
surcharge,   whether  the   department   would  receive   an                                                                    
additional  $67 million  as  long as  the  number of  people                                                                    
purchasing fishing  licenses remained  the same.  Mr. Brooks                                                                    
responded affirmatively.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair  Neuman spoke  of another  piece of  legislation in                                                                    
play  that   dealt  with  the  Commercial   Fisheries  Entry                                                                    
Commission (CFEC). He explained that  in the budget that was                                                                    
being   crafted   instead   of  CFEC   having   a   separate                                                                    
appropriation, the  funding was moved to  the department. He                                                                    
specified  the  reason  for  doing  so  was  for  additional                                                                    
management. He reported  an excess of about  $3.5 million in                                                                    
permit fees  collected by CFEC typically  used for enhancing                                                                    
research programs. In the current  year the department would                                                                    
have access to these funds for  the first time could be used                                                                    
for  other  research  programs. He  wanted  to  confirm  his                                                                    
accuracy. Mr.  Brooks responded  that it  was a  new funding                                                                    
source, not additional money. It offset GF cuts.                                                                                
Co-Chair Neuman  suggested that  they were  other designated                                                                    
general funds  (DGF) that the  department would  have access                                                                    
to  in   order  to  target  fisheries   management  programs                                                                    
overseen  by the  department. Mr.  Brooks confirmed  that he                                                                    
was correct.                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman pointed  out that  there was  approximately                                                                    
$3.5 million and $7 million  of extra sport fishing dollars.                                                                    
He took issue with increasing  licensing fees. He wanted the                                                                    
committee to  be aware of  the department's flow  of funding                                                                    
sources.  He  told of  being  an  avid outdoorsman  who  had                                                                    
traveled  with  biologists  on   salmon  surveys  and  moose                                                                    
surveys.  In talking  with the  biologists he  believed they                                                                    
needed    funds    but    suggested    conducting    further                                                                    
2:04:30 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Thompson  referred to  the current  year's indirect                                                                    
expenditure report and how it  specifically related to money                                                                    
foregone  by the  state for  free resident  senior licenses.                                                                    
The department  estimated that the state  had foregone about                                                                    
$6 million  in revenue under  current law. He  remarked that                                                                    
the  figure  was  inaccurate because  it  assumed  that  all                                                                    
77,866 qualifying  seniors purchased  a license in  2013. He                                                                    
stated  that the  money foregone  under the  law enacted  in                                                                    
1981   was  significant.   He   recalled  the   department's                                                                    
estimation  of a  $77 savings  to seniors  through the  time                                                                    
period. He  concluded it was  important to  continue looking                                                                    
at the information based on the reasons he provided.                                                                            
Representative Kawasaki  pointed to  the Comparison  of Fish                                                                    
and Game Fee Increase  Proposals sheet comparing the current                                                                    
statute, HB 137  version H, and HB 137 version  P. He wanted                                                                    
to  know about  the group  appearing in  the fourth  column,                                                                    
"Outdoor Caucus."                                                                                                               
Mr. Banks responded  that the numbers in  the column labeled                                                                    
"Outdoor Caucus"  were provided by a  coalition of sportsman                                                                    
groups  including   members  such  as  the   Alaska  Outdoor                                                                    
Council,  also  part  of the  Legislative  Outdoor  Heritage                                                                    
Representative   Kawasaki  noted   the  small   increase  to                                                                    
resident hunting,  fishing, and trapping licensing  fees but                                                                    
also  pointed  to  the  larger increase  in  fees  for  non-                                                                    
residents. He brought up information  in a legislative legal                                                                    
memo  that talked  about the  differential between  resident                                                                    
and  non-resident  and  that  a   state  could  not  have  a                                                                    
differential for a non-resident  because it dealt with game.                                                                    
The memo  also mentioned that  there was one case  upheld in                                                                    
Montana where the differential  between the non-resident and                                                                    
resident  fee  was  25  times  larger.  He  wanted  to  hear                                                                    
comments from Mr. Banks.                                                                                                        
Mr.  Banks recalled  that  Representative Talerico's  office                                                                    
requested  a  copy  of  the   legal  opinion  regarding  any                                                                    
required thresholds. It turned out  that the Carlson case in                                                                    
Montana  did not  apply  to HB  137.  The Legislative  Legal                                                                    
department provided  additional information  which confirmed                                                                    
that the  proposed increases  were not as  high as  those in                                                                    
2:08:09 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kawasaki  asked  if the  resident  and  non-                                                                    
resident  licensing fees  and the  differential between  the                                                                    
two generally conformed to those in other states.                                                                               
Representative  Talerico mentioned  the old  saying, "We  do                                                                    
not really care how they do  it outside." He shared that his                                                                    
opportunity to  take a game  animal in the state  of Wyoming                                                                    
would be  the same  as what  Alaska would  charge for  a new                                                                    
mouse tag.  It varied in  the Lower 48 states  claiming that                                                                    
license and tag fees varied  substantially. He added that in                                                                    
some states the tag fees varied based on regions.                                                                               
Representative Kawasaki  stated he preferred  residents paid                                                                    
less  than non-residents  to the  extent  possible. He  also                                                                    
asked  if  any  studies  had been  done  to  understand  the                                                                    
potential  negative  impacts  from high  increases  to  non-                                                                    
residential  tags. For  instance,  he wondered  if the  high                                                                    
cost of a tag would detour people from visiting Alaska.                                                                         
Mr.  Brooks stated  that DFG  had information  comparing the                                                                    
cost to hunt and fish in  Alaska with the western states. It                                                                    
was not  uncommon for  states to charge  a premium  for non-                                                                    
residents.  He  relayed  one example  heard  in  a  previous                                                                    
committee that to  hunt a mule deer or an  elk in Oregon was                                                                    
about $2 thousand  for a non-resident. He  advised that Thor                                                                    
Stacey  could  provide  extensive information  about  a  fee                                                                    
threshold for  non-residents. The  folks coming from  out of                                                                    
state to  hunt in  Alaska were  paying a  significant amount                                                                    
for travel  and guide  services. Previous studies  were done                                                                    
to  determine  what  kind  of   increase  the  public  could                                                                    
Representative  Kawasaki asked  about  the DFG  conservation                                                                    
decal listed in Section 19  and about new language having to                                                                    
do with the $20 voluntary fee.  He wondered if the fee would                                                                    
be deposited into the state  GF and how the department would                                                                    
use the funds.                                                                                                                  
Mr.  Brooks  informed  the committee  that  in  the  current                                                                    
version of the  bill the revenue would return to  the GF. It                                                                    
was an  official wildlife  conservation stamp.  He explained                                                                    
that one  of Representative Seaton's  constituents suggested                                                                    
that  there   were  folks  that   were  likely   willing  to                                                                    
contribute financially  to the  management of  resources but                                                                    
generally did  not do  any harvesting.  He relayed  that the                                                                    
DFG  fund  was dedicated  for  hunting  and fishing  license                                                                    
revenue as  a federal government requirement  established at                                                                    
the time of statehood. He  did not believe the decal revenue                                                                    
would qualify  for the dedication. There  were probably ways                                                                    
that it could be deposited into  the Fish and Game fund such                                                                    
as a statutory designated  program receipt. There were other                                                                    
ways it could be identified  for other types of conservation                                                                    
functions within the department.                                                                                                
2:12:51 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Thompson  was very  much  in  support of  the  $20                                                                    
decal. He felt that at his  age he should be responsible for                                                                    
paying something.                                                                                                               
Vice-Chair Saddler  thanked the  sponsor and  the department                                                                    
for  working with  the outdoors  organizations to  introduce                                                                    
the  bill.  He felt  that  it  was  coming together  with  a                                                                    
willingness  to pay  more for  conservation of  some of  the                                                                    
finest  traditions  of  outdoorsmen. He  commended  all  for                                                                    
coming to a great compromise.  He also acknowledged that the                                                                    
fees could have  been higher if they were  based strictly on                                                                    
an inflation adjusted basis. He thanked the sponsor.                                                                            
Representative Gara  asked about the  change in age  from 60                                                                    
to 62 prior to a discount  on the various licenses and tags.                                                                    
He wanted  to know  if the  change could  be phased  in with                                                                    
licenses in 2017.                                                                                                               
Representative  Talerico   did  not  have  a   problem  with                                                                    
Representative   Gara's  suggestion.   He  appreciated   the                                                                    
committee process and his question.                                                                                             
2:15:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gattis  suggested there  had been  many folks                                                                    
that were willing  to pay for their licenses  whether at age                                                                    
60, 62,  or 65. Folks were  willing to pay for  the honor of                                                                    
being  able to  hunt. She  wanted to  have the  conversation                                                                    
about raising  the age  to 65  rather than  62. She  did not                                                                    
feel it  would be as  a much of  a challenge as  some people                                                                    
believe.  She also  suggested the  possibility of  tying the                                                                    
benefit to receiving the Permanent  Fund Dividend (PFD). She                                                                    
wondered  about  determining  residency for  a  person  that                                                                    
received  a  license that  was  good  forever. She  wondered                                                                    
about residency verification. She had a few questions.                                                                          
Mr.   Brooks   explained    that   currently   once   senior                                                                    
identification cards  (PID), were issued the  department did                                                                    
not verify  residency. The  PID was  a lifetime  benefit. He                                                                    
added that  residency was verified by  being checked against                                                                    
the PFD  data base at the  time of issuance. If  someone did                                                                    
not receive  a PFD a letter  would be sent asking  for other                                                                    
verification of residency  such as a utility  bill showing a                                                                    
presence in the state.                                                                                                          
Representative Wilson  referred to  the low  income category                                                                    
of making at  or below $29 thousand per year.  She wanted to                                                                    
verify  that  the  $5  fee  covered  licensing  for  hunting                                                                    
fishing, and trapping. Individuals  that fell outside of the                                                                    
low  income  level  would  pay  $60 for  the  same  type  of                                                                    
license.   She  wanted   to  know   if   she  was   correct.                                                                    
Representative Talerico responded affirmatively.                                                                                
She thought  the state should  evaluate the  numbers further                                                                    
and suggested splitting the number  in half. She opined that                                                                    
the  difference in  revenue would  be about  $382,440 versus                                                                    
$63,740 at $5.  She based her numbers off of  the old fiscal                                                                    
note. She reemphasized having a  discussion on dropping to a                                                                    
$5 low  income licensing  fee adding that  the drop  was too                                                                    
low in her opinion. She  mentioned that she was referring to                                                                    
an old version where it was  talking about the Board of Game                                                                    
making regulation  to reduce or  eliminate the  resident tag                                                                    
and  fee  for  muskox  for  all  or  a  portion  of  a  game                                                                    
management unit. She wanted to  know if the provision was in                                                                    
the current version of the bill, as she could not find it.                                                                      
Mr. Banks clarified  that the provision was  in the original                                                                    
bill in  version H. He  relayed that the  sponsor originally                                                                    
proposed creating resident big  game tags but, the provision                                                                    
was removed  in the resources committee  substitute. Members                                                                    
could find the provision on page 3 of version H.                                                                                
Representative Wilson  re-asked if the provision  was in the                                                                    
new version of the bill.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair Thompson  clarified that  version P was  the newest                                                                    
edition of the bill.                                                                                                            
Mr. Banks responded in the negative.                                                                                            
2:20:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Guttenberg asked  about  a way  in which  to                                                                    
track  big game  tags for  individuals eligible  for the  $5                                                                    
license. He  wanted to know  if low income  individuals were                                                                    
participating  in big  game  hunting.  Mr. Brooks  explained                                                                    
that  there  were  very  few  resident  big  game  tags.  He                                                                    
elaborated that the state had  a brown and grizzly bear tag.                                                                    
He would  look into the  matter. Most  of the big  game tags                                                                    
applied to non-residents.                                                                                                       
Representative Edgmon  commended that he was  still learning                                                                    
the details  of the bill  but wanted to commend  the sponsor                                                                    
for  the work  done  in balancing  interests.  He thought  a                                                                    
significant  amount of  behind-the-scenes work  was done  to                                                                    
bring the  numbers together.  He indicated  he was  going to                                                                    
keep an open  mind about suggested fee  changes. He believed                                                                    
that most of the  increases were commensurate with inflation                                                                    
of 17 or 24  years. He spoke of the health  of elders in his                                                                    
community. He  offered that  he was  interested in  taking a                                                                    
closer look at  increasing the qualifying age  from 60 years                                                                    
to 65 years of age.                                                                                                             
Co-Chair  Thompson asked  for final  remarks  from the  bill                                                                    
Representative  Talerico thanked  the committee  for hearing                                                                    
the  bill. He  stated that  he would  provide the  committee                                                                    
with his recommended amendments. He  was clear that the bill                                                                    
brought its own  controversy. He wanted to make  sure it was                                                                    
vetted  by many.  He also  reiterated  that it  was not  put                                                                    
forth  to  replace   GF  the  state  was   losing,  but  the                                                                    
inspiration behind  the bill was  to make sure  that Alaskan                                                                    
outdoorsmen  did   not  lose  their   opportunity  currently                                                                    
provided by the state. The  one change he was really married                                                                    
to  was   in  Section   20  of   the  bill   which  affected                                                                    
particularly  low income  families.  Rather  than having  to                                                                    
purchase  a resident  license persons  ages 16  and up  that                                                                    
were  still  in high  school  would  be  able to  enjoy  the                                                                    
outdoors  without  having  to purchase  a  license.  He  had                                                                    
received feedback that  the change would be  important for a                                                                    
family of 4 with a 17 year old at home.                                                                                         
HB  137  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
2:24:59 PM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB 137(RES) - Consolidated Letters of Support - 3-24-15.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - DF&G Big Game Tag Increase Scenarios.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - DF&G Hunting Fishing License Increase Scenarios.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - DF&G Hunting License Increase Scenarios.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - DF&G King Salmon Stamp Increase Scenarios.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - DF&G Sport Fishing License Increase Scenarios.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Leg. Finance 1024 FG Funds FY1981-FY2016.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Leg. Finance FY14 Fish and Game Fund Analysis from FG 12 22 14.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Leg. Finance LFD FG Fund Analysis 2 14 15.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Leg. Finance Sport Fish and Wildlife DJ and PR Apportionment History.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Legal Analysis - State v. Carlson.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Letter of Support - Alaska Backcountry Hunters & Anglers - 3-15-15.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Letter of Support - BOG Chairman Spraker - 3-19-15.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Letter of Support - Dan Dunaway.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Letter of Support - Keith Woodworth.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Letter of Support - Kenai River Sportfishing Association - 3-20-15.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Letter of Support - Rebecca Schwanke.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Section Analysis.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Summary of Changes (Ver. H to P).pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Supporting Document - AK BHA Proposal 12-16-08.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Supporting Document - Governor Transition Team.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Supporting Document - License and Stamp Fee Revenue Increase.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
HB 137 Supporting Documents - LTR Outdoor Coalition, Mar 30 2015.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Supporting Document - License and Tag Fee Increase Comparison.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Supporting Document - Tag Fee Revenue Increase.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Supporting Document - License and Tag Sales (1981-2014).pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
CSHB 137(RES) - Supporting Document - Outdoor Caucus Advisory Council Letter.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
HB118 Sectional Analysis for CS HB 118 CRA.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 Supporting Document-Letter REAP 2-26-2015.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 Supporting Documents-Letter AK Municipal League 3-27-2015- HB.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 Supporting Documents-Letter Alaska Bankers Association 3-16-2015.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 Supporting Documents-Letter IGU.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 Supporting Documents-Letter Mayor Eberheart Fairbanks.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
HB118 Supporting Documents-Letter Mayor Hopkins FNSB 3-10-2015.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
SB 3
HB 137 DFG NEW FN.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
HB 118 Supporting Documents- Letter Alaska State Chamber.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
HB 118 PP PACE HFIN 04.07.15.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
HB 118 Supporting Documents- North Pole City Council Resolution.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
HB 137 Legal Memo 15-313.lnd.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
20150407 HB137 Hunting Fees (Oppose).doc HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 137
HB 118 Supporting Documents- Letter AKHLA.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
HB 118 Supporting Document BOSCOS letter.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118
PACE Letter of Support HB118.pdf HFIN 4/7/2015 1:30:00 PM
HB 118