Legislature(2017 - 2018)ADAMS ROOM 519

03/30/2018 01:30 PM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 2:45 pm --
Moved CSHB 212(FIN) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 231                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to the Alaska Commercial Fisheries                                                                        
     Entry Commission; and providing for an effective                                                                           
3:18:27 PM                                                                                                                    
FATE  PUTNAM,   COMMISSIONER,  COMMERCIAL   FISHERIES  ENTRY                                                                    
COMMISSION (CFEC),  DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND  GAME, provided a                                                                    
PowerPoint   presentation  titled   "CSHB  231(FSH)   Alaska                                                                    
Commercial  Fisheries  Entry  Commission." dated  March  30,                                                                    
2018  (copy  on  file).  He   began  on  slide  2  Titled  "                                                                    
Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission":                                                                                         
     The Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) is a                                                                      
     regulatory and quasi-judicial agency that is tasked                                                                        
     Limit  entry  of  participants  and  vessels  into  the                                                                    
     commercial fisheries                                                                                                       
     Issue  and transfer  annual commercial  fishing permits                                                                    
     and vessel licenses                                                                                                        
     Adjudicate  appeals  of  actions including  denials  of                                                                    
     applications and transfers                                                                                                 
     Study,  analyze,  and  report   on  the  economics  and                                                                    
     stability of commercial fisheries                                                                                          
  Ensure reliable and timely access to fishery data; and                                                                        
     Promote   the   conservation    and   sustained   yield                                                                    
     management of Alaska's commercial fishery resource                                                                         
     Assess  demerit  points   against  or  suspend  fishing                                                                    
     privileges  of  permit   holders  for  convictions  for                                                                    
     violations of commercial fishing laws                                                                                      
Mr. Putnam  explained that the CFEC  licensed all commercial                                                                    
fisheries,  whether  limited   or  open.  Limited  fisheries                                                                    
amounted  to 68  and  open  fisheries totaled  approximately                                                                    
200.  The CFEC  charged .04  percent per  year of  ex-vessel                                                                    
income on  each licensee  and was  calculated retroactively.                                                                    
He noted that the CFED had  not limited a fishery since 2004                                                                    
but could,  based on monitoring conservation  and management                                                                    
data.  The fisheries  data the  CFED collected  was compiled                                                                    
into  reports and  shared with  different various  state and                                                                    
federal   agencies  such   as  the   National  Oceanic   and                                                                    
Atmospheric  Administration (NOAA)  and the  National Marine                                                                    
Fisheries Service  (NMFS). He indicated that  fisheries were                                                                    
a sustainable  resource providing  a return year  after year                                                                    
and  the CFEC  monitored  biomass data  to ensure  resources                                                                    
sustainability   as  mandated   by  the   constitution.  The                                                                    
directive  to  assess  demerit points  was  adopted  by  the                                                                    
legislature in 1998 for salmon  fisheries and the commission                                                                    
suspended other  fisheries permit  holders via  court order.                                                                    
The court  had the  ability to  suspend fishing  licenses in                                                                    
all other areas.                                                                                                                
3:22:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SYLVAN    ROBB,   DEPUTY    COMMISSIONER,   DEPARTMENT    OF                                                                    
ADMINISTRATION, moved to  slide 3 titled "What  HB 231 Does"                                                                    
and addressed what the bill would do as follows:                                                                                
     ? Reduces number of commissioners of the CFEC from                                                                         
          three to two                                                                                                          
     ? Changes compensation for commissioners:                                                                                  
          Commissioner  serving  as  chair retains  a  Range                                                                    
          Pay for second commissioner  is reduced to a Range                                                                    
          24 ($7225/month)                                                                                                      
     ? Removes the CFEC staff from exempt service and                                                                           
          assigns them to classified service                                                                                    
          Division   of   Personnel/Labor   Relations   will                                                                    
          perform   a   classification   study   and   place                                                                    
          positions on appropriate classified pay scale                                                                         
          Current CFEC  staff will  not receive  a reduction                                                                    
          in paytheir   pay will be  "frozen" until  the pay                                                                    
          scale catches up to the newly classified position                                                                     
          New CFEC staff will start at the new Range/Step A                                                                     
          Staff will  be represented by  appropriate unions                                                                     
          Supervisors  Union  (SU)  and  General  Government                                                                    
          Unit (GGU)  or Confidential  Employees Association                                                                    
Ms. Robb advanced to slide 4 titled "Why is HB 231 Needed":                                                                     
         Caseload is lighter                                                                                                 
               Decisions  from the  CFEC have  declined over                                                                    
         Save money                                                                                                          
               Align commissioners to similar ranges of                                                                         
               similar positions (OAH, Hearing Officers)                                                                        
               Align staff with similar positions in                                                                            
               classified service                                                                                               
Ms. Robb mentioned the organizational chart on slide 5                                                                          
titled "Current CFEC Organizational Chart".                                                                                     
Vice-Chair   Gara  asked   whether   there  were   decisions                                                                    
commissioners  had  to make  that  involved  a tie  breaking                                                                    
Mr. Putman  directed attention to  page 2, Section 6  of the                                                                    
      Sec. 6. AS 16.43.110 is amended by adding a new                                                                           
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
     (f) In case  of a tie vote between  commissioners in an                                                                    
     adjudicatory  proceeding, the  decision of  the hearing                                                                    
     officer  is the  final administrative  decision of  the                                                                    
     commission subject to review  by a superior court under                                                                    
     AS 44.62 (Administrative 22 Procedure Act).                                                                                
Mr.  Putman  elaborated  that  adjudicatory  decisions  were                                                                    
initially  made  by  hearing  officers.  In  the  event  the                                                                    
current commissioner Dale  Kelly and he could  not arrive at                                                                    
consensus the  decision of the  hearing officer  would stand                                                                    
subject to  appeal by  the Superior  Court and  possibly the                                                                    
Supreme   Court.  Historically,   hundreds  of   cases  were                                                                    
appealed to the Superior Court and  70 cases moved on to the                                                                    
Supreme Court.                                                                                                                  
3:27:36 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Gara  asked  if  there  was  a  reason  for  two                                                                    
commissioners  instead of  one. Mr.  Putman replied  that he                                                                    
had  been on  the commission  for four  months; there  was a                                                                    
tremendous amount of work and  he was very pleased there was                                                                    
a second commissioner. He spoke  to the balance made between                                                                    
the two  commissioners due to  their backgrounds;  Ms. Kelly                                                                    
with extensive  fisheries experience and Mr.  Putnam who was                                                                    
an attorney. He  believed reducing the number  from three to                                                                    
two  was feasible.  He related  that the  transfer decisions                                                                    
the commissioners  made were  difficult and  it was  best to                                                                    
utilize "two minds".                                                                                                            
Representative Wilson asked how  many cases historically had                                                                    
been  overturned  by  the  commissioners  from  the  hearing                                                                    
officer's administrative  decisions and  how many  cases had                                                                    
the court overturned.  Mr. Putman did not have  the data. He                                                                    
detailed  that 2  or 3  cases out  of the  70 Supreme  Court                                                                    
cases  were  overturned.  In addition,  the  Superior  Court                                                                    
often  remanded decisions  back  to the  commission and  the                                                                    
commission  could make  a  redetermination  of its  decision                                                                    
that went back to  the Superior Court. Representative Wilson                                                                    
asked  if the  commission  was necessary  when ultimately  a                                                                    
licensee  could use  the courts.  Mr. Putman  responded that                                                                    
the   legislature  had   initially  determined   that  three                                                                    
commissioners  were  necessary  to  weigh  and  balance  the                                                                    
important decisions  that were derived from  a multimillion-                                                                    
dollar industry.                                                                                                                
3:32:12 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Wilson  referred to page  2 of the  bill. The                                                                    
bill  specified  that  without two  commissioners  a  single                                                                    
commissioner  may exercise  all the  powers and  perform all                                                                    
the duties  of the  commission. Mr.  Putman replied  she was                                                                    
referencing Section 2  beginning on page 1,  lines 1 through                                                                    
3. He elucidated  that the intent of the  provision was only                                                                    
on  condition   of  a  vacancy.  The   section  allowed  the                                                                    
commission to continue to function.                                                                                             
Representative   Wilson  thought   the  interpretation   was                                                                    
concerning.  She  deduced that  a  commissioner  may not  be                                                                    
appointed, and it would not  be the fault of the commission.                                                                    
She  spoke to  the salary  ranges  listed in  the bill.  She                                                                    
wondered if  pay increases applied.  Ms. Robb  answered that                                                                    
the  pay would  increase over  time due  to step  increases.                                                                    
Representative  Wilson asked  if  the commissioner  designee                                                                    
was currently employed  by the state and  would the starting                                                                    
salary  be   commensurate  with  the   individual's  current                                                                    
salary.  Ms. Robb  believed  she was  asking  if the  person                                                                    
would retain  their current step  if their range  was higher                                                                    
than  the  starting  salary  listed.  She  answered  in  the                                                                    
affirmative.  Representative Wilson  wondered why  they were                                                                    
unionizing  employees. She  had  heard the  only reason  for                                                                    
unions were because  of bad employers. She  wondered why the                                                                    
staff  would  be unionized.  She  wondered  if there  was  a                                                                    
problem.  Ms. Robb  replied in  the  negative. She  detailed                                                                    
that  the reason  for the  classification was  the positions                                                                    
were  similar   to  jobs  that  currently   existed  in  the                                                                    
classified service  and the change was  appropriate based on                                                                    
the principle of "like pay for like work".                                                                                      
3:36:06 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Wilson  requested   a   chart  to   further                                                                    
understand the pay scale  for non-unionized individuals. She                                                                    
wanted to compare the current  pay and how it would increase                                                                    
over time. She also requested the information on appeals.                                                                       
Co-Chair  Seaton  spoke  to the  testimony  about  a  person                                                                    
retaining their  steps when  transferring to  a commissioner                                                                    
position. He thought that if  a person was currently working                                                                    
at a lower  range the starting salary would begin  at a step                                                                    
A of Range 24. Ms. Robb answered in the affirmative.                                                                            
Representative  Ortiz  asked for  a  summary  of the  bill's                                                                    
impact. Ms. Robb  answered that the bill  reduced the number                                                                    
of  commissioners from  three to  two. In  addition, HB  231                                                                    
reduced the  pay range of  the commissioner who was  not the                                                                    
chair  and  moved the  commission's  staff  from the  exempt                                                                    
service  to  the  classified service.  Representative  Ortiz                                                                    
asked if the  net impact would drive down the  cost at CFEC.                                                                    
Ms. Robb  responded in the affirmative.  She reiterated that                                                                    
the current staff would be held harmless in terms of pay.                                                                       
3:38:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Pruitt  asked  for  the  current  number  of                                                                    
positions. Mr.  Putman referred to the  organizational chart                                                                    
on  slide  5.  He  answered that  there  were  22  positions                                                                    
however,  one  of the  three  commissioners  were vacant,  a                                                                    
legal  specialist,  executive   secretary,  clerk,  and  the                                                                    
research  department  was  vacant. Currently,  15  employees                                                                    
remained.  He  expected the  commission  to  operate at  the                                                                    
reduced  level  except  for  possibly  hiring  one  research                                                                    
Representative Pruitt  asked if employees had  asked to have                                                                    
their status changed. Ms. Robb  answered that there had been                                                                    
some interest from current employees.                                                                                           
Co-Chair Foster OPENED public testimony.                                                                                        
Co-Chair Foster CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
Co-Chair Foster  announced that amendments were  due by 5:00                                                                    
p.m. on Tuesday April 3, 2018.                                                                                                  
HB  231  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 316 Sectional Analysis.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
HB316 Sponsor Updated.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
Washington Post- Supporting Doc 1.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
Washington Post Supporting Doc 2.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
CSHB 231 (FSH) Explanation of Changes FINAL 3.27.18.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 231
CSHB 231 (FSH) Sectional Analysis FINAL 3.27.18.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 231
HB 231 Transmittal Letter 4.14.17.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 231
CSHB 231 (FSH) H FIN Presentation FINAL 3.30.18 .pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 231
HB 316 Supporting Doc ACLU to H-FIN re HB 316 (Final).pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
HB 212 CS version U.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB 212 - Explanation of changes D to U 3.27.18.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB 212 - Sectional version U.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB 316 - Department of Law Concern 3.29.18.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
HB212model_wo SDR.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB212model_w SDR.pdf HFIN 3/30/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 212