Legislature(2017 - 2018)ADAMS ROOM 519

04/03/2018 10:00 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 197(FIN) Out of Committee
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHB 41(FIN) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
<Pending Referral>
-- Public Testimony --
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
HOUSE BILL NO. 197                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating  to the duties of  the commissioner of                                                                    
     natural   resources;  relating   to  agriculture;   and                                                                    
     relating to community seed libraries."                                                                                     
10:06:29 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JENNIFER  JOHNSTON,   SPONSOR,  thanked  the                                                                    
committee  for  hearing the  bill.  She  referenced the  new                                                                    
committee substitute (CS) [yet to  be adopted version M, see                                                                    
below for  detail]. She  shared that working  on the  CS had                                                                    
been a collaborative process that  had made a good bill even                                                                    
better. She  had heard significant  support for  the passage                                                                    
of the  bill from agricultural local  gardening communities.                                                                    
The bill would help to  legitimize a growing movement in the                                                                    
state   to  further   improve   food   security  and   self-                                                                    
sufficiency. She thanked the committee  for hearing the bill                                                                    
and asked her staff to provide further detail.                                                                                  
ELIZABETH REXFORD, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER JOHNSTON,                                                                    
read from a prepared statement:                                                                                                 
     The  newest  version of  HB  197  reduces labeling  and                                                                    
     testing regulations  for the exchange of  small batches                                                                    
     of commercial  seeds. The bill will  permit the Alaskan                                                                    
     gardening  and farming  communities the  opportunity to                                                                    
     continue  expanding seed  sharing without  breaking the                                                                    
     law.   We  currently   have   far  onerously   labeling                                                                    
     requirements in Alaska.                                                                                                    
     The  way the  statute  is currently  written, any  seed                                                                    
     that is  used at any  capacity within the state  has to                                                                    
     go through or should  go through the commercial process                                                                    
     of  extensive  testing,  germinating  percentages,  and                                                                    
     labeling. The  new requirements comparatively  would be                                                                    
     limited.  The  new  labeling guidelines  would  require                                                                    
     only a  few sections: the  seed's common name  and name                                                                    
     and  address of  the seed  library. If  treated with  a                                                                    
     toxic   substance  the   labeling  would   require  the                                                                    
     statement "treated  seed, not for consumption."  As for                                                                    
     signage in the library, the  seed library would have to                                                                    
     display  the statement  "not authorized  for commercial                                                                    
     use  and not  classified, graded,  or inspected  by the                                                                    
     State  of  Alaska."  The  new  fewer  requirements  for                                                                    
     labeling   is  far   less  than   the   two  pages   of                                                                    
     requirements we currently do have.                                                                                         
     As stated  previously, Alaska  has been  experiencing a                                                                    
     severe  food security  challenge.  By  passage of  this                                                                    
     bill,  our community  seed libraries  will  be able  to                                                                    
     confidently  exist and  grow  into  the future.  Please                                                                    
     join us  in supporting HB  197. Rob Carter whom  is the                                                                    
     state's plant material center manager  is online as our                                                                    
     expert.  Thank you  for taking  the time  to hear  this                                                                    
     bill again.                                                                                                                
10:09:09 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Foster noted  the  committee  had previously  been                                                                    
joined by Representative Ortiz.                                                                                                 
Representative Wilson  asked for verification  the 100-pound                                                                    
limit in  the bill meant  that a  person [could not  give or                                                                    
exchange seed] exceeding  more than 100 pounds  at one time.                                                                    
She asked for verification that it was not an annual limit.                                                                     
Ms. Rexford  answered that a 12-month  limitation per person                                                                    
included in a previous bill version had been removed.                                                                           
Representative  Wilson asked  if the  limit was  based on  a                                                                    
particular transaction in the current bill.                                                                                     
Ms. Rexford answered in the affirmative.                                                                                        
Co-Chair Seaton  referenced language the summary  of changes                                                                    
from bill versions A to  M, specifying version M had removed                                                                    
the insertion  of "commercial  and noncommercial."  He asked                                                                    
for clarification.                                                                                                              
Ms.  Rexford  answered that  the  specific  language in  the                                                                    
summary of changes had been an error.                                                                                           
Representative  Guttenberg spoke  to the  importance of  the                                                                    
bill  for   encouraging  gardens   and  early   farmers.  He                                                                    
appreciated  the sponsor's  work on  the bill.  He explained                                                                    
there  was  no need  to  regulate  seed libraries  "at  that                                                                    
level" but they were  still subject to regulations regarding                                                                    
noxious  weeds and  other things.  He thought  100-pound per                                                                    
person limit seemed like a  substantial amount. He asked for                                                                    
detail. He asked  if the limit focused on  one specific seed                                                                    
such as grass, alfalfa, hay, or other.                                                                                          
Ms. Rexford answered  that the sponsor had  considered a few                                                                    
levels  and  numbers  in  terms of  grams  and  pounds.  She                                                                    
believed  the figure  had originally  been 100  grams, which                                                                    
was  far  too  small  for  the  department  to  oversee  and                                                                    
regulate. The  level had  been increased  to 1  pound, which                                                                    
was also viewed as too low.  The department had come up with                                                                    
a number to protect  the public and agricultural communities                                                                    
against  invasive  species  and other  noxious  plants.  She                                                                    
discussed how  the 100-pound limit  had been  calculated. It                                                                    
had been  suggested by calculating the  general broadcasting                                                                    
plant recommendation  for the  non-commercial planting  of a                                                                    
cover crop used to improve soil  health or to produce a crop                                                                    
such as oats or barley for 1  acre of feed or forage. In the                                                                    
future  there  may be  several  instances  where the  amount                                                                    
would exceed  the 100-pound limitation,  in which  case, the                                                                    
current testing regulations would be followed.                                                                                  
10:13:19 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Guttenberg  opined  that   a  one  acre  lot                                                                    
bordered on  commercial, but  he was  not certain  where the                                                                    
break point occurred.  He asked to hear  from the Department                                                                    
of Natural  Resources (DNR) at  what point a low  level seed                                                                    
library became commercial (due to size).                                                                                        
ROB  CARTER, MANAGER,  PLANT MATERIALS  CENTER, DIVISION  OF                                                                    
AGRICULTURE,   DEPARTMENT   OF    NATURAL   RESOURCES   (via                                                                    
teleconference), asked for a restatement of the question.                                                                       
Representative Guttenberg  complied. He believed  100 pounds                                                                    
exceeded what he  perceived a seed library to  be. He viewed                                                                    
seed libraries as local gardeners  with vegetable and garden                                                                    
patches. He stated that 100 pounds  could be much more if it                                                                    
was for a  family. He asked what a  100-pound limit included                                                                    
that a limit of 25 to 50 pounds could not have done.                                                                            
Mr. Carter answered that 100  pounds was a general broadcast                                                                    
planting  rate for  crops such  as oats,  barley, and  wheat                                                                    
that an individual  may utilize for a forage  crop for their                                                                    
goats,  cows, or  other livestock.  The department  believed                                                                    
limitations were necessary to  provide protection and ensure                                                                    
it  could  control  the  spread  of  invasive  or  nonnative                                                                    
species of plants  in Alaska. The department  wanted to make                                                                    
sure  the  limitations  were  high  enough  for  individuals                                                                    
living a subsistence lifestyle who  may be raising livestock                                                                    
or  producing a  forage or  feed  or improve  their soil  in                                                                    
remote regions of one acre  or more. The department believed                                                                    
100 pounds met  the need and still fell  below the threshold                                                                    
required for commercial planters or producers.                                                                                  
10:16:08 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative   Guttenberg   thought    the   answer   made                                                                    
significant  sense. He  had not  previously thought  about a                                                                    
local gardener  or seed library  trying to support  goats or                                                                    
dairy. He asked for the coverage  of 100 pounds of barley or                                                                    
grass seed.  He asked for  verification the bill  applied to                                                                    
noncommercial farmers only and  would not include commercial                                                                    
seed producers.                                                                                                                 
Mr.  Carter replied  in the  affirmative.  For example,  the                                                                    
bill would apply to an  individual living in Bethel or north                                                                    
of  the range  along the  Yukon  River who  was required  to                                                                    
purchase some  seed. He continued  that to save  on shipping                                                                    
the individual had  brought in a couple  hundred pounds. The                                                                    
individual  had  carryover from  the  previous  year from  a                                                                    
barley   crop  they   had  used   to  raise   livestock  for                                                                    
subsistence. The  bill would give  the individual  the right                                                                    
to  share  the noncommercial  seed  with  the community  and                                                                    
nonprofits in order to reap the  benefits of a cover crop or                                                                    
the forage produced off a reasonable one acre.                                                                                  
Co-Chair  Seaton referenced  the summary  of changes,  which                                                                    
addressed  the  limitation  of   100  pounds  for  a  single                                                                    
transfer. He pointed  to labeling requirements on  page 4 of                                                                    
the  bill  pertaining to  each  person  receiving seeds.  He                                                                    
wondered if a person could  buy four 100-pound sacks on four                                                                    
different   days   to   avoid  the   100-pound   limitation.                                                                    
Alternatively, he wondered  if a person would  be limited to                                                                    
buying 100 pounds per year.                                                                                                     
Ms. Rexford  answered that as  the bill currently  read, the                                                                    
limit was per transaction.                                                                                                      
Co-Chair Seaton asked  for the location of  the provision in                                                                    
the bill.  He looked  at the  requirement on  page 4  of the                                                                    
bill that read "a person may  not give seed or exchange seed                                                                    
with another person  under AS 03.20.110 and  03.20.120 in an                                                                    
amount that, for each person  who receives the seed, exceeds                                                                    
100 pounds."  He asked if  the limit was per  transaction or                                                                    
per person.                                                                                                                     
10:19:50 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr.  Carter  viewed the  limit  as  applying to  the  person                                                                    
receiving the  seed. For example,  it was more  efficient to                                                                    
buy  cereal  grain  in  bulk.  He  provided  a  hypothetical                                                                    
example  of an  individual  on the  peninsula  who chose  to                                                                    
purchase a super sack (1,800 to  2,000 pounds of seed) to be                                                                    
used as  forage on  their property. If  a person  used 1,000                                                                    
pounds  of  the seed  and  wanted  to donate  the  remainder                                                                    
across the community, to a  seed library, or to a nonprofit,                                                                    
they would be  limited to giving out 100 pounds  of the seed                                                                    
per person.                                                                                                                     
Co-Chair  Seaton  asked if  the  sponsor  saw a  transaction                                                                    
limitation any differently.                                                                                                     
Representative  Johnston  answered   they  had  contemplated                                                                    
various limits.  She believed the  current language  was the                                                                    
best  it   could  be  without   limiting  too   much,  while                                                                    
maintaining some kind of protection.                                                                                            
Co-Chair Seaton clarified for the  record that the limit was                                                                    
per person.                                                                                                                     
Co-Chair  Foster  noted the  committee  had  been joined  by                                                                    
Representative Grenn earlier.                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Seaton  MOVED  to  ADOPT  the  proposed  committee                                                                    
substitute  for   CSHB  197(FIN),  Work   Draft  30-LS0493\M                                                                    
(Wayne, 3/7/18).                                                                                                                
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Gara  reviewed the  zero  fiscal  note from  the                                                                    
Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  MOVED  to  REPORT  CSHB  197(FIN)  out  of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal  note. There being NO  OBJECTION, it was                                                                    
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
CSHB  197(FIN) was  REPORTED  out of  committee  with a  "do                                                                    
pass" recommendation and with one  new zero fiscal note from                                                                    
the Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                            
10:23:57 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
10:25:25 AM                                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB277 Sponsor Statement 3.12.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 277
HB277 Sectional Analysis 3.12.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 277
HB277 Supporting Document-Fast Facts for Conservatives on Net Neutrality 3.12.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 277
HB277 Supporting Document-Fraudulent Comments from Alaska 3.12.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 277
HB277 Supporting Document-Governor's Letter 3.12.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 277
HB277 Supporting Document-Letter to Governor Encouraging Executive Order 3.12.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 277
HB277 Supporting Document-Letters of Support 3.12.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 277
HB277 Supporting Document-Pew Study 3.12.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 277
HB277 Supporting Document-Portugal Payment Package Example 3.12.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 277
HB277 Supporting Document-Rep. Kawasaki Letter to Governor 3.12.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 277
HB 41 Sponsor Statement 3.30.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Sectional Analysis Ver A 3.30.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB299 Supporting Documents - AK Air Letter to ABC Board 2.16.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 299
HB299 Supporting Documents - ABC Board Letter to AK Air 2.26.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 299
HB299 Supporting Documents - ABC Board Letter to AK Air 2.26.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 299
HB 41 Supporting Document-Pages 38-39 Uniform Rules Alaska State Legislature 4.2.18.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 197 CS WORKDRAFT vM.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 197
HB197 Sectional Analysis ver M 4.2.2018.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 197
HB197 Summary of Changes 4.2.2018.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 197
HB197 Letter of Support.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 197
HB 197 Supporting Document Carter DNR.pdf HFIN 4/3/2018 10:00:00 AM
HB 197