Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/25/1995 09:37 AM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 HB 312 - EXTEND CURRENT SUBSISTENCE LAW                                     
                                                                               
 Number 132                                                                    
                                                                               
 KYLE PARKER, LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT, SPEAKER GAIL PHILLIPS, PRIME              
 SPONSOR, told committee members Liza Gay was available on line.  He           
 said she is the former Assistant Attorney General and headed the              
 Natural Resources Section in the Anchorage office up until about              
 two years ago.  Ms. Gay has been contracted by the legislature to             
 work on the subsistence issue.  He stated Ms. Gay is very                     
 knowledgeable in state subsistence law.                                       
                                                                               
 MR. PARKER said the 1992 state subsistence law is set to sunset in            
 October 1995.  HB 312 repeals the sunset clauses of that 1992 law,            
 thereby extending the 1992 law indefinitely.                                  
                                                                               
 LIZA GAY, ATTORNEY, said the sponsor statement before the committee           
 explains the reasons why HB 312 is a good bill to pass.  HB 312               
 keeps the 1992 law intact rather than reverting back to the 1986              
 law.  She stated even though the two are similar, there are many              
 advantages in the 1992 law.  She pointed out HB 312 provides that             
 the existing language the legislature worked out in 1992 remain in            
 place.  She told committee members the sponsor statement explains             
 why the 1992 law is an improvement over the 1986 law in terms of              
 definitions.                                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES stated he is puzzled as to how HB 312                   
 preserves the 1992 law.  He said in Section 1 of HB 312, it says              
 Section 3, special session law 1992 is repealed.  When looking at             
 special session law 1992, Section 3 is a repeal and reenactment.              
 He felt if there is a repeal of a repeal and reenactment, the                 
 amendment is being eliminated and the 1986 law is being preserved.            
                                                                               
 MS. GAY said HB 312 was drafted by the Legislative Affairs                    
 attorneys and the repeal of Section 3 takes away the 1986 law.                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES disagreed.  He said Section 3 in special                
 session law 1992 repeals the 1986 law and reenacts it to read                 
 differently.  He stated Section 3 of special session law 1992 was             
 an amendment to the existing statute AS 16.05.258 and if the                  
 amendment is being repealed before the effective date of the                  
 amendment, then the amendment is eliminated and the 1986 law                  
 remains.                                                                      
                                                                               
 MS. GAY said that was not her understanding.  She stated HB 312               
 takes away the reversion to the 1986 law.                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said he checked with Legislative Affairs                
 Legal Services and they concur with his interpretation.                       
                                                                               
 MS. GAY reiterated Legislative Affairs Legal Services drafted HB              
 312.                                                                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES repeated HB 312 is repealing an amendment               
 before the effective date of the amendment and therefore, the                 
 amendment does not have an effect.  He stressed if the amendment              
 does not have an effect, the 1986 law stands.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 245                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PARKER stated Section 2 of the 1992 law is the 1992 law.                  
 Section 3 is the 1986 law.  He pointed out Section 12 of that law             
 says "Sections 3 and 5 of this Act take effect October 1, 1995."              
 He said in Section 3, the state would be reverting back to the 1986           
 law, as amended, to replace the 1992 law which sunsets in October             
 1995.  He pointed out Representative Davies was correct in saying             
 that the 1986 law was changed in Section 3.  However, the intent              
 was that Section 2 remain in effect but in the event Section 2                
 sunsetted in October 1995, the state would go back to the 1986 law            
 by Section 12 of the 1992 law.                                                
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked why the effective date of October 1,               
 1995, was put in Section 12.                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. PARKER said that was the sunset date to ensure the provisions             
 of the 1986 law would come back into effect.                                  
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS clarified HB 312 extends the existing                    
 situation indefinitely.                                                       
                                                                               
 MR. PARKER replied the extension in HB 312 will extend the 1992 law           
 indefinitely.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 293                                                                    
                                                                               
 GERON BRUCE, LEGISLATIVE LIAISON, ALASKA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND               
 GAME (ADF&G), said the Governor has asked the Lieutenant Governor             
 to take the lead in trying to bring together the various parties              
 who are in dispute about subsistence in the state.  He noted the              
 Lieutenant Governor will be working on the issue over the summer              
 and next winter and hopefully will come up with a solution to the             
 subsistence issue which will last and be satisfactory to most                 
 Alaskans.  He stated the Governor is willing to support a one-year            
 extension of the status quo while that process is ongoing.                    
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE pointed out HB 312 is not simply an extension of the                
 status quo and for that reason, the Governor cannot support it.  He           
 stated the 1992 law struck a balance of terror by adopting a new              
 subsistence law during the 1992 special session but leaving on the            
 books, in obeyance, the 1986 law and said there would be a review             
 of the 1992 law in 1995, a report would be issued and there would             
 be an examination of the performance under the 1992 law to                    
 determine if that law was an improvement over the 1986 law.  He               
 explained if the 1992 law was not considered to be an improvement,            
 then the 1986 law would come back on the books.                               
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE said HB 312 removes the 1986 law and the sunsetting                 
 provision.  Therefore, HB 312 essentially undermines the crafted              
 mechanism to keep pressure upon people to come up with a lasting              
 solution.  He stated the Administration is willing to work with the           
 sponsors of this legislation to come up with a vehicle that will              
 extend the status quo for one year while an attempt to find a                 
 permanent solution to the subsistence issue is ongoing.                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked what the key differences are between              
 the 1986 and 1992 laws.                                                       
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE replied the 1986 law contains the rural priority for                
 subsistence use.  He said the 1992 law established a mechanism to             
 put together nonsubsistence areas which were, in some people's                
 view, designed to be around the urban areas where subsistence was             
 not a part of the way of life of the people there.  He explained              
 the 1986 law does not have nonsubsistence use areas in it.  He                
 noted the nonsubsistence areas have been ruled by a lower court to            
 be unconstitutional and a decision from the Alaska Supreme Court is           
 being waited on.                                                              
                                                                               
 MR. BRUCE added the steps the Boards of Fish and Game are required            
 to go through in order to make a determination on subsistence are             
 laid out in more detail in the 1992 law than they are in the 1986             
 law.  He stated the other significant difference between the 1992             
 law and the 1986 law is the 1992 law has some definitions which the           
 1986 law lacks such as customary trade and customary and                      
 traditional.  He added there is a definition in the 1992 law for              
 reasonable opportunity.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 383                                                                    
                                                                               
 JERRY MCCUNE, PRESIDENT, UNITED FISHERMEN OF ALASKA (UFA), said UFA           
 supports HB 312.  He felt there is a need to extend the current               
 subsistence law because it has good definitions.  He noted the                
 current law is not a total package but there is a need to extend it           
 until a determination on where the state is at with other rulings             
 is made and a consensus is developed.                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES clarified UFA prefers the 1992 law over the             
 1986 law.                                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. MCCUNE said that was correct.  He stated UFA prefers the 1992             
 law because of the definitions it contains and because there is a             
 need to see the rulings on the nonsubsistence areas.                          
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced HB 312 would be held until                     
 Thursday's hearing at 4:00 p.m.                                               

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