Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 120

02/12/2015 10:00 AM House FISHERIES

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10:05:28 AM Start
10:05:47 AM HB41
10:41:53 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 41(FSH) Out of Committee
                  HB 41-SPORT FISHING SERVICES                                                                              
10:05:47 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 41, "An  Act relating to sport  fishing services,                                                               
sport fishing operators, and sport  fishing guides; and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
10:06:53 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON moved  Committee Substitute  (CS) for  HB
41,  Version   19-LS0238\H,  Bullard,  2/7/15,  as   the  working                                                               
CHAIR STUTES objected for discussion.                                                                                           
10:07:31 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KATHY TILTON,  Alaska State  Legislature, thanked                                                               
the committee for  hearing the bill and deferred to  staff for an                                                               
explanation of the changes represented in the CS.                                                                               
10:08:21 AM                                                                                                                   
HEATH HILYARD,  Staff, Representative Kathy Tilton,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, directed attention to the  CS, page 10, to point out                                                               
the changes in the effective dates,  Sec. 12-16, lines 25-30.  He                                                               
explained  that   Alaska  Department  of  Fish   &  Game  (ADF&G)                                                               
expressed a conflict  with implementing the statute  in 2015, and                                                               
accord was reached by pushing the effective date back one year.                                                                 
10:09:37 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  STUTES   removed  her   objection  and,   without  further                                                               
objection, Version H was before the committee.                                                                                  
10:09:47 AM                                                                                                                   
MR.  HILYARD  explained that  the  original  sport fishing  guide                                                               
licensure had a sunset date of  12/31/14.  The expiration was not                                                               
a policy call  on the part of the 28th  Alaska State Legislature,                                                               
but essentially a  function of logistics and  mechanics, with the                                                               
resultant unintended  consequence of a sunset  on this licensure;                                                               
basically  the result  of political  maneuvers at  the time.   He                                                               
pointed  out that  he would  be  using the  terms charter,  sport                                                               
fishing,  and   guided  recreational,  interchangeably   for  the                                                               
purposes  of  this presentation.    The  bill re-establishes  the                                                               
sport  fishing  guide  and  operator  licenses,  and  amends  the                                                               
previously existing fee structure  to double licensing fees, thus                                                               
ensuring  a  budget  neutral  action.     As  the  sport  fishing                                                               
representative  on  the  advisory  panel,  he  said  he  has  had                                                               
conversations  with  charter  operators and  regulatory  agencies                                                               
regarding  the  need for  this  legislation.    On request  of  a                                                               
committee member for a review of the fiscal note, he deferred.                                                                  
10:12:50 AM                                                                                                                   
CRYSTAL  KOENEMAN,  Staff,  Representative  Cathy  Munoz,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  reviewed the fiscal note  information and the                                                               
increases, paraphrasing  from the sectional analysis,  which read                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
          Section 1 - Retroactive to January 1, 2015;                                                                           
      establishes license fees at the current rate of $100                                                                      
     for operators, $50 for guides, and $100 combined.                                                                          
        Section 2 - Effective January 1, 2016; increases                                                                        
     license fees to $150 for operator, $75.00 for guides,                                                                      
     and $150 combined.                                                                                                         
        Section 3 - Effective January 1, 2017; increases                                                                        
      license fees to $200 for operator, $100 for guides,                                                                       
     and $200 combined.                                                                                                         
MS.  KOENEMAN  added that  the  projected  revenues are:  FY16  -                                                               
$205,000,  FY17  - $308,000,  and  FY18  and subsequent  years  -                                                               
$411,200.    The  operating  costs  for  the  program  are  about                                                               
$382,700.  She said the  department considers this to be adequate                                                               
to cover  the program and  provide an appropriate buffer  for the                                                               
coming years, while maintaining a neutral budget figure.                                                                        
10:15:16 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES opened public testimony.                                                                                           
10:15:46 AM                                                                                                                   
CHRIS  CONDOR,  Captain,  Rum Runner  Charters,  Vice  President,                                                               
Juneau Charter Operators, testified in  support of HB 41 and said                                                               
the   program   has   been   essential   in   ensuring   quality,                                                               
standardized,  charter  service.     Under  this  program,  ADF&G                                                               
licensed  operators  have  been  required  to  hold  a  captain's                                                               
license, carry appropriate  insurance, demonstrate on-board first                                                               
aid measures,  and maintain  a department  required log  book for                                                               
documentation  of  the fishing  effort  activities  on the  boat.                                                               
Through these measures  the public has had a  level of protection                                                               
and  the department  has received  accurate  data for  management                                                               
purposes.  He said that the  charter boat fleet supports the bill                                                               
and the  proposed, self-sustaining fee structure.   Program costs                                                               
might  also be  reduced by  eliminating  some of  the data  lines                                                               
currently required in the log book.   He pointed out that some of                                                               
the data  points are never  tabulated and there are  also halibut                                                               
catch entries that are specific  for the federal government.  The                                                               
federal  government  should be  contributing  for  that data,  he                                                               
opined, and stressed that, primarily  the information gathered is                                                               
important.   He directed  attention to  the committee  packet and                                                               
the letters of support therein.                                                                                                 
10:18:14 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS noted  that  there  appears to  be                                                               
broad support in the charter fleet for this measure.                                                                            
MR.  CONDOR  agreed.    He  qualified  that  the  support  he  is                                                               
reporting applies to  the Southeast region, and  pointed out that                                                               
the Kenai operators hold other viewpoints.                                                                                      
10:19:27 AM                                                                                                                   
TOM BROOKOVER,  Acting Director,  Division of Sport  Fish, Alaska                                                               
Department of Fish & Game  (ADF&G), provided official support for                                                               
HB 41,  and recounted the  department's original support  for the                                                               
10:20:16 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON referred  to the  CS, Sec.  8, to  ask why                                                               
there is a "carve-out" for the  Kenai area, if it is important to                                                               
have in the  proposed CS, and whether the  division supports this                                                               
MR. BROOKOVER  stated his  understanding that  Sec. 8  provides a                                                               
waiver for  the requirement  that guides  attend the  Kenai Guide                                                               
Academy, with specific  conditions for application.   He said the                                                               
department is  neutral on that  aspect, and conjectured  that the                                                               
measure  may  have  an  impact   on  the  Department  of  Natural                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON assumed  that the  cited carve-out  is not                                                               
appropriate for  any other location  in Alaska; strictly  a Kenai                                                               
MR. BROOKOVER clarified  that the provision applies  to the Kenai                                                               
River special management area alone, making it a local issue.                                                                   
MR.  HILYARD offered  that, in  order to  guide on  the Kenai,  a                                                               
certification course  must be  completed.   The section  allows a                                                               
guide to waive completion of  the course, specifically for an in-                                                               
season hire.                                                                                                                    
10:23:03 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS requested  further information  on                                                               
the importance of the ADF&G log book.                                                                                           
MR. BROOKOVER said  that it is the primary  vehicle for obtaining                                                               
information  for  the department's  data  base.   It  contains  a                                                               
comprehensive  daily accounting  of  a  charter vessel's  fishing                                                               
10:25:10 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHNSON  asked   whether   six  positions   were                                                               
terminated when the program reached sunset.                                                                                     
MR.  BROOKOVER  responded, no.    The  department understood  the                                                               
ramifications that  would occur,  should the sunset  be realized.                                                               
Working with  the Department of Law,  ADF&G preemptively modified                                                               
the regulations  to accommodate the  impending deficit.   The six                                                               
positions  were assigned  to make  the  modifications.   Changes,                                                               
such  as   stipulating  "register"   to  replace   "license,"  in                                                               
regulation,  were  necessary to  continue  the  log book  program                                                               
without interruption.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON questioned the  need for six people [added                                                               
positions shown in the fiscal note].                                                                                            
MR. BROOKOVER  explained that an  implementation of the  log book                                                               
program  requires  major  effort  and  that  the  duties  of  the                                                               
positions were shifted, not added.                                                                                              
MS.  KOENEMAN offered  to provide  additional information  on the                                                               
request for personnel.                                                                                                          
10:28:51 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  whether  the standard  time                                                               
period for the sunset of licensure bills is 10 years.                                                                           
MS. KOENEMAN responded  that time limits are a policy  call.  The                                                               
original  program was  for 10  years, and  it is  the purview  of                                                               
Legislative Audit Division to recommend the sunset dates.                                                                       
10:30:19 AM                                                                                                                   
MONTE  ROBERTS, Member,  Kenai Advisory  Committee, testified  in                                                               
opposition to HB  41, recalling that the  Kenai charter operators                                                               
originally  supported the  concept  for charter  operators to  be                                                               
licensed.  The  original program as an addition  to the stringent                                                               
practices already  in place  for the  Kenai area.   The  log book                                                               
requirement  was new  and  penalties for  reporting  were put  in                                                               
place that became cumbersome.   The operators were supportive for                                                               
the ten  year period and looked  forward to the sunset  date.  He                                                               
reported that the program has  become a hammer for the department                                                               
and  a  disproportionate  tool;  using   the  log  book  data  to                                                               
extrapolate   on   the   pressure   to  a   fishery   from   non-                                                               
licensed/reporting   user   groups.     He   provided   anecdotal                                                               
situations where violations might  occur, suggesting the need for                                                               
attention/amendment.   The allowance for Kenai  charter operators                                                               
to have  the Sec. 8 waiver  option is important, he  said, as the                                                               
college offers  the required course  only twice per year,  and an                                                               
operator  could  be  put  out   of  business  depending  on  life                                                               
circumstances.  The  bill could be written to  be supportable, he                                                               
said,  but  maintained  opposition  given  the  current  language                                                               
regarding penalty violations.                                                                                                   
The committee took a brief at-ease at 10:35.                                                                                    
10:35:20 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES  closed public testimony after  ascertaining that no                                                               
one further wished to testify.                                                                                                  
10:36:24 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR STUTES  questioned where the violation  penalty information                                                               
is  contained in  the  bill,  as mentioned  by  the witness  from                                                               
MR.HILYARD  answered  that  the   overall  statute  does  contain                                                               
violation  measures;  however,  HB   41  only  reestablishes  the                                                               
licensure requirement and does not address penalties.                                                                           
10:37:27 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   ORTIZ  queried   the  possibility   for  charter                                                               
operators to be regulated on a limited entry basis.                                                                             
MR.HILYARD  said  there appear  to  be  problems surrounding  the                                                               
possibility  for  establishing  a  true,  direct,  charter  fleet                                                               
limited entry program, and recalled  past efforts dating from the                                                               
late  1990's.   However,  the National  Marine Fisheries  Service                                                               
(NMFS)  did, in  recent  years,  impose a  limited  entry on  the                                                               
charter halibut fishery and permits were issued.                                                                                
10:39:49 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON expressed concern  for the accuracy of the                                                               
fiscal note, as it is written  showing only expenses, but said he                                                               
would not object to the will of the committee.                                                                                  
10:41:32 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  moved  CSHB  41,  Version  H,  with  the                                                               
forthcoming and  attached fiscal notes.   Without objection, CSHB
41(FSH), Version  29-LS0238\H, Bullard, 1/7/15 was  reported from                                                               
the House Special Committee on Fisheries.                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 41.PDF HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Sectional Analysis.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Supporting, Burchfield.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Supporting, Cummings.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Supporting, Haney.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Supporting, JCBOA.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Supporting, RumRunner.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Draft Committee Substitute.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Explanation of Changes.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Fiscal Note.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Fiscal Note Ver H LEG.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Fiscal Note Ver H DFG.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Supporting, SEAGO.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Fiscal Note Version H DFG updated.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Supporting, ACA.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41
HB 41 Version E.pdf HFSH 2/12/2015 10:00:00 AM
HB 41