Legislature(2017 - 2018)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/28/2017 01:30 PM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to a Call of the Chair --
-- Delayed to 2:00 PM --
+ SB 78 PERM FUND DIVIDEND CONTRIBUTIONS/LOTTERY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 105 DENALI WOLF SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREA TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= SB 83 PROTECT: VULNERABLE ADULTS/LONG TERM CARE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 83(HSS) Out of Committee
HOUSE BILL NO. 105                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act establishing the Gordon Haber Denali Wolf                                                                          
     Special Management Area."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:13:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDY   JOSEPHSON,  SPONSOR,   provided  some                                                                    
background  for the  bill. The  legislation aimed  to create                                                                    
the Gordon  Haber Denali Wolf Special  Management Area which                                                                    
would be  a buffer zone  near the border of  Denali National                                                                    
Park  where wolves  may not  be  hunted. The  area would  be                                                                    
named for  Gordon Haber, who  was a biologist that  had done                                                                    
wolf-prey research  in Denali National Park  and other areas                                                                    
of Alaska from 1966 to 2009.    While doing the work that he                                                                    
loved, Gordon  tragically died  in a  plane crash  in Denali                                                                    
National Park on  October 14, 2009.   For  many years Denali                                                                    
National Park  had been known as  one of the best  places in                                                                    
the world to  view wild wolves. In 2013,  Denali had 530,921                                                                    
visitors, who contributed  $513,355,000 to Alaska's economy.                                                                    
The opportunity to  view wolves is a big  incentive to visit                                                                    
the park.  Unfortunately, wolf viewing success  has declined                                                                    
dramatically.  A buffer zone  previously established in 2000                                                                    
on the  park's eastern  boundary to  protect the  wolves was                                                                    
removed by the Board of Game  in 2010. In 2014, less than 6%                                                                    
of  park visitors  were able  to  see wolves,  down from  45                                                                    
percent back in 2010. Wolf  population has declined from 116                                                                    
in spring  2006 to 50 in  spring 2014. House Bill  105 helps                                                                    
to correct these trends.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Kawasaki referred to  the map in member files                                                                    
(copy on file).  He asked why the blue area  was not part of                                                                    
the area and black.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton wanted to ensure  that invited testimony had                                                                    
a chance to get on record.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:28:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICK STEINER, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA, read from a                                                                      
prepared statement (copy on file):                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     I    appreciate     the opportunity     to   provide                                                                       
     comment   in   support   of   HB   105, and  look                                                                          
          forward to     any questions you may have                                                                             
          afterward.                                                                                                            
     For the record,     I    am   a    conservation                                                                            
          biologist with Oasis     Earth                                                                                        
        (www.oasisearth.com)     in Anchorage, and I                                                                            
          was a     professor with the University of                                                                            
      Alaska    from 1980 -    2010, stationed     in                                                                           
          Kotzebue, Cordova, and Anchorage.                                                                                     
      As  legislators,   you  all  face many difficult                                                                          
          decisions this session, but HB     105 is    not                                                                      
      one of    them.      This     bill should    be                                                                           
          an   easy and unanimous "YES."                                                                                        
      1. One simple      standard with which      to                                                                            
          decide bills   in   front     of   you is: does                                                                       
          it   hurt, or help the Alaska      economy?                                                                           
          And regarding HB    105, it   is   an                                                                                 
          overwhelming   economic positive.                                                                                     
      In these      challenging    economic times      the                                                                      
    state needs    to   do   everything     possible to                                                                         
          support the    Alaska    economy.                                                                                     
      One of   the  easiest   and  most cost-effective                                                                          
          measures lawmakers can take to     enhance   our                                                                      
    economy   is   to do     everything     possible to                                                                         
       enhance   the wildlife tourism     industry -                                                                            
       a    $2.7 billion/year   industry in    Alaska                                                                           
          (I   will elaborate more on   that a    bit                                                                           
     later).                                                                                                                    
      2.  Another   critical  standard  to   base your                                                                          
          decisions on   is   the principle of fairness and                                                                     
     common ownership of  all resources (including wildlife)                                                                    
     by all  Alaskans, embodied  in the  State Constitution,                                                                    
     Article 8, Section 3: "Common Use":                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Wherever  occurring  in   their  natural  state,  fish,                                                                    
     wildlife,  and waters  are reserved  to the  people for                                                                    
     common use.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     All of  us own and have  equal access to the  wolves in                                                                    
     Denali,  including the  70,000 Alaskans  who visit  the                                                                    
     park each year -- not just the 2 or 3 individuals who                                                                      
     hunt and trap them along the NE boundary.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     and this month marks the 100th anniversary of Alaska's                                                                     
     most iconic tourism destination. The would be the                                                                          
     perfect   time                                                                                                             
    to   finally   resolve   the century-old     problem                                                                        
          of conserving park wildlife along       the                                                                           
          park's  eastern     boundary.      HB   105 goes                                                                      
       a    long way toward     doing     just that.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
      [The     only friendly amendment I     would                                                                              
     respectfully suggest     is   to   include, in                                                                             
          addition to    wolves, a prohibition    on   take                                                                     
          of   all park predator species        -     bears,                                                                    
          lynx,     wolverine,     coyote,   etc.,     as                                                                       
     these     are valuable watchable wildlife for the                                                                          
          park as   well.]                                                                                                      
      Wolf     Townships History        In   1906,     when                                                                     
          east coast     hunter-naturalist   Charles                                                                            
      Sheldon   explored the   Denali    area,     he                                                                           
          noted     that commercial hunters selling    Dall                                                                     
          sheep     meat to   railroad workers    and                                                                           
          miners    were decimating     local       wildlife                                                                    
          populations.        Sheldon   went to                                                                                 
          Washington     D.C. and, along     with the                                                                           
          Boone     and Crockett Club,             advocated                                                                    
          establishment of    Mt. McKinley National Park                                                                        
          as   a    "game     refuge."       President                                                                          
          Woodrow  Wilson signed the original 2                                                                                 
          million   acre park into law  on   Feb. 26,                                                                           
        1917.          But the precise  boundaries                                                                              
     necessary to   protect   park wildlife were unclear,                                                                       
     imperfect,     and continued to    be   debated.                                                                           
          In particular, lands     northeast of   the                                                                           
          original park       boundary, where     park                                                                          
          wildlife migrate    seasonally,               were                                                                    
          considered     by   many to   need park                                                                               
          protection as well.                                                                                                   
    According     to   Fairbanks historian Ed   Davis,                                                                          
     since the initial   establishment of    the park,                                                                          
          there have     been many unsuccessful   attempts                                                                      
          to   add lands along     the northeast boundary,                                                                      
          now known      as   the "Wolf Townships"     and                                                                      
      "Stampede Trail,"   into the park to    protect                                                                           
          park wildlife:                                                                                                        
    1922     -    AK   Railroad proposes to     include                                                                         
      Wolf Townships in   McKinley Park to    protect                                                                           
          Park wildlife. 1965 -    State     selects   Wolf                                                                     
          Townships,     but cites need to   expand    Park                                                                     
          to   protect   caribou, and that existing Park                                                                        
          boundary is    "an arbitrary line."     1969     -                                                                    
          Johnson   administration considers,     but                                                                           
          declines, to   add Wolf Townships into Park 1978                                                                      
          -    Wolf Townships found     worthy    for                                                                           
          inclusion in   Denali    National Monument, but                                                                       
          lands     had been selected by     State.     1980                                                                    
          -    The original version     of   ANILCA                                                                             
          included the   Wolf Townships within    the new                                                                       
          park boundaries because this area provides                                                                            
          critical habitat    for park wildlife. Although                                                                       
          this area was removed    from the    final   bill,                                                                    
      the Senate     report    accompanying   ANILCA                                                                            
          made it   clear     the expectation     was for                                                                       
          the wolf townships to    become    part of                                                                            
        Denali:        The prime resource for which                                                                             
          the north      addition is established is    the                                                                      
      critical       range     necessary to   support                                                                           
          populations    of   moose,    wolf,     and                                                                           
          caribou   as   part of        an   integral                                                                           
          ecosystem. Public   enjoyment of   these                                                                              
          outstanding    wildlife  values would thus be                                                                         
          assured.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:38:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Ortiz  noted that  the buffer  was eliminated                                                                    
in 2010. He queried the reason for that decision.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Steiner  replied that it  derived from the  Park Service                                                                    
ideology  from various  interest  groups.  He remarked  that                                                                    
there  were  several  proposals  asking  that  the  existing                                                                    
buffer be  expanded, because it  was too small.  He remarked                                                                    
that there  were as  many as  19 park  wolves in  that small                                                                    
buffer. He remarked that 15 to  20 percent of the total park                                                                    
population was killed after the wolves crossed the buffer.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Ortiz  came from  Southeast Alaska  and could                                                                    
certainly understand  the benefits of an  area with wildlife                                                                    
viewing,  and  felt that  tourism  to  view wildlife  had  a                                                                    
greater effect on the economy than hunting.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Guttenberg  suggested that the area  had been                                                                    
his  previously in  his district.  He felt  that the  buffer                                                                    
change did not have to do with biological certainty.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Steiner  agreed. He  stated that the  Denali wolf  was a                                                                    
political pawn in the process.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Gara  noted  that the  opposition  letters  were                                                                    
focused on the impact of subsistence and other hunting.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Steiner  responded that  the  trapping  and hunting  of                                                                    
wolves in the area was  non-subsistence, rather it was sport                                                                    
hunting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Gara commented  that the  letters probably  were                                                                    
referring to more wolves and less moose.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Steiner stated  that there  were  complaints about  the                                                                    
high  number of  moose in  the  area. He  remarked that  the                                                                    
closed area  would be 340,000  acres. He stressed  that most                                                                    
of the moose hunting took place  to the east of the area. He                                                                    
stressed that  there would be  millions of dollars  from the                                                                    
tourism industry as a result of the legislation.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:43:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SEAN MCGUIRE, ALASKANS FOR  WILDLIFE, FAIRBANKS, agreed with                                                                    
the previous  speaker's statement that Denali  was the crown                                                                    
jewel  for  the area.  People  went  to  Denali to  see  the                                                                    
mountain and  wildlife including  wolves. He  suggested that                                                                    
the land  management for the  skinny He relayed  that people                                                                    
were baiting wolves to go outside of the boundary.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  McGuire objected  profusely people  baiting wolves  and                                                                    
removing  the opportunity  for tourists  to  see wolves.  He                                                                    
recalled Cecil the  lion that was lured out of  the park and                                                                    
gunned down.  He thought  the state  was allowing  people to                                                                    
bait the wolves out of the park.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:49:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AL BARRETTE, SELF, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference), spoke in                                                                    
favor of the legislation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton noted  committee  members  had his  written                                                                    
testimony in their packets.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson asked  about page 3, lines  20 and 21.                                                                    
She  surmised   that  the   interpretation  would   be  that                                                                    
accidentally shooting a wolf could result in a misdemeanor.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Barrette  responded  that  the  issue  was  related  to                                                                    
trapping, not hunting.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:55:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Guttenberg noted that  the area west of Healy                                                                    
was the  bus from "Into  the Wild." He stressed  that people                                                                    
should never go in that area.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Barrette asked if it was a question.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Guttenberg   stated    that   it   was   an                                                                    
observation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM  LESCMER, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), worked                                                                    
with grey wolves  and took care of them at  the zoo in town.                                                                    
He  spent more  time around  wolves than  90 percent  of the                                                                    
population.  He  thought  what  was  getting  lost  was  the                                                                    
intelligent of the  animals and the centurion  nature of the                                                                    
animals.  He  invited  members   to  come  meet  the  wolves                                                                    
personally. He applauded  Representative Josephson. He spoke                                                                    
in support of HB 73.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton CLOSED Public Testimony for HB 105.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  remarked  that he  wanted  some  questions                                                                    
about  subsistence  addressed at  the  next  hearing on  the                                                                    
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:59:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson asked that  the department address the                                                                    
indeterminate fiscal note.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Josephson  responded  that the  fiscal  note                                                                    
related to the original version of the bill.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson responded  that there  were 3  fiscal                                                                    
notes  and  it was  possible  that  some  of them  were  not                                                                    
related to the current version of the bill.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton clarified the version before the committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative    Wilson   requested    the   fiscal    note                                                                    
clarification at the next hearing.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Gara asked  about the  misdemeanor issue  in the                                                                    
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton asked  to put  the question  off until  the                                                                    
next bill hearing.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  announced  that  amendments  were  due  by                                                                    
Thursday, May 6, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HB  105  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
5:03:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Ortiz asked about amendments for SB 78.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton conveyed  that  that amendments  for SB  78                                                                    
were  also due  by Thursday,  May 6,  2017 at  5:00 p.m.  He                                                                    
relayed the  agenda for the following  meeting. He indicated                                                                    
the  following  week  would be  focused  on  general  fiscal                                                                    
impact.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  recessed the  meeting  to  a call  of  the                                                                    
chair.  He recessed  the  meeting  to a  call  of the  chair                                                                    
[Note: the meeting never reconvened].                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 105 R. Steiner testimony 2-10-17.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 105
HB105 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 105
HB105 Summary of Changes.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 105
HB 105 Supporting Docs - BoG prop. 142 letters.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 105
Map of Area in CS.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 105
JM Drawing.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
Letterhead SB78 games of chance.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
Letterhead SB78 Payout example.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
Letterhead SB78 sectional.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
Letterhead SB78 summery of changes.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
Letterhead SB78 The Idea.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
sb78 legal2.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
SB78 model 4-7 modifications (2).pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
SB78 model 4-7 modifications.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
Sponsor Statement Alaska Permanent Fund Education Lottery - final.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
SB78 Oped-jwm.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
Supporting Doc. Dividend Summary.PDF HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
Supporting Doc. Gaming report.PDF HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
Supporting Doc. Pick,Click,Give.PDF HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
HB105_Support_042417.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 105
HB105_Oppose_042417.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 105
SB 78 HFIN CS WorkDraft 30-LS0534L.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
SB 78 Explanation of Changes CS v. L.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
SB 83 Rsponse to F and D letter about SB83.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 83
SB 83 Opposition Faith Myers.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 83
SB 83 - Ombud Response to opposition.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 83
HB105_Support_042817.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 105
HB105_Oppose_042817.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 105
SB78_Oppose_042817.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
SB 83 Response to Rep. Wilson.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 83
HB 105 Supporting Document Photo of Wolves.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 105
SB 78 Pick.Click.Give. Participating Organization Requirements.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
Senate Bill 78 Kemppel testimony to House Finance Committee April 28 2017.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
SB 78 Legal Opinion re Indian Gaming.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 78
HB 105 Response Rep. Josephson.pdf HFIN 4/28/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 105