Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

02/12/2010 01:00 PM House RESOURCES

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01:07:03 PM Start
01:07:42 PM HB41
02:17:18 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB  41-BOARD OF FISHERIES CONFLICTS OF INTEREST                                                                     
1:07:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN announced  that the  only order  of business  is                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  41, "An Act relating to  participation in matters                                                               
before the Board of Fisheries by  members of the board and to the                                                               
definition  of   'immediate  family  member'  under   the  Alaska                                                               
Executive Branch  Ethics Act  as that Act  applies to  members of                                                               
the Board of Fisheries; and providing for an effective date."                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON,  sponsor of  HB 41,  stated that  the bill                                                               
deals with conflicts  of interest on the Board of  Fisheries.  It                                                               
is identical  to House Bill  15, which  was heard in  the Twenty-                                                               
Fifth Legislature  and which passed the  House of Representatives                                                               
by a  vote of  33-2.   He noted  that the  Board of  Fisheries is                                                               
composed  of seven  members, with  each member  confirmed by  the                                                               
legislature.   The members serve  three-year terms and  the board                                                               
meets four to six times  per year in different communities around                                                               
the state  to discuss different  statewide issues.   Board member                                                               
conflicts  of  interest  are governed  by  the  Alaska  Executive                                                               
Branch Ethics Act.                                                                                                              
1:09:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  explained that  any board member  having a                                                               
participatory conflict  of interest  is recused from  that issue.                                                               
However, the  problem with this is  that it takes the  member out                                                               
of the board's  discussion and means that a member  with the most                                                               
knowledge  to  offer  on a  particular  regional  fishery  cannot                                                               
participate  in  board  deliberations  or  votes,  although  that                                                               
member can  testify as a member  of the public.   Another problem                                                               
is  that the  definition  of  a family  member  under the  Alaska                                                               
Executive Branch Ethics  Act is so broad that a  board member can                                                               
become conflicted  out even if  a very  distant member of  his or                                                               
her  family  has an  interest  in  a  fishery.   This  definition                                                               
disproportionately affects the rural parts  of Alaska that have a                                                               
strong fishery basis  for the economy and  extended families that                                                               
participate in  some aspect of the  fishery.  The solution  is to                                                               
apply  a   pilot  program  that   would  allow  members   with  a                                                               
participatory  interest  in  a sport  or  commercial  fishery  to                                                               
deliberate on the  issue, but not vote on it;  this pilot program                                                               
would have  a sunset [June 30,  2012].  The other  solution is to                                                               
apply  the  less  broad  Legislative  Ethics  Act  definition  of                                                               
family, which defines family as  direct relations living with and                                                               
supported by the member; this  definition would therefore exclude                                                               
extended family  such as aunts,  uncles, and cousins that  do not                                                               
live with the member.                                                                                                           
1:12:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON directed attention  to the report entitled,                                                               
"Background  Information   on  the  Alaska  Board   of  Fisheries                                                               
Conflict  of Interest  Disclosures and  Ethics Act  Compliance in                                                               
Regard to  HB 41," dated February  12, 2010.  He  related that on                                                               
average  between  2001 and  2006  individual  board members  were                                                               
required  to  recuse  themselves  on nearly  10  percent  of  the                                                               
proposals  in each  board cycle.   The  average between  2001 and                                                               
2010 is 11 percent [page 2  of the report].  Under the provisions                                                               
of HB 41, a board member would  have a conflict of interest on an                                                               
issue when a board action might  affect a member of that person's                                                               
household, but not that person's extended family.                                                                               
1:12:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON, in  response  to  Co-Chair Neuman,  noted                                                               
that  the aforementioned  report  was prepared  by Jim  Marcotte,                                                               
Executive Director of the Alaska  Board of Fisheries.  He further                                                               
pointed out  that in some  years the  conflict of interest  is as                                                               
low as 3  percent and in other  years as high as 20  percent.  In                                                               
further  response,  he  confirmed  that  250  to  500  regulatory                                                               
proposals  were heard  by the  board each  year over  the last  9                                                               
years, and 11  percent of the proposals were subject  to a ruling                                                               
of a  conflict of interest.   He called  attention to Table  1 in                                                               
the  report  that summarizes  the  number  of proposals  and  the                                                               
percent of  proposals with  conflict for each  of the  nine years                                                               
between 2002 and 2010, inclusive.                                                                                               
1:14:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN asked  which category  of fishery  has the  most                                                               
conflicts - subsistence, sport, or commercial.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON referred to the  third column in Table 2 of                                                               
the report and  responded that conflicts of interest  are more by                                                               
region  than by  specific  type  of fishery.    For example,  the                                                               
people  with  the  four  highest  percentages  of  meetings  with                                                               
conflicts  [for the  years  between 2001  and  2010] were  Robert                                                               
Heyano  of Dillingham  with a  conflict  at [26]  percent of  the                                                               
meetings, Vince  Webster of  King Salmon  with 17  percent, Grant                                                               
Miller of Sitka  with 14 percent, and Ed Dersham  of Anchor Point                                                               
with 11  percent.  Mr.  Heyano, Mr.  Webster, and Mr.  Miller are                                                               
commercial fishermen and Mr. Miller  is a sport charter operator.                                                               
John Jensen  of Petersburg and  Mel Morris  of Kodiak each  had 9                                                               
percent and, like  the others, these two men are  from areas that                                                               
have fisheries as  an industry base with lots  of extended family                                                               
members participating.                                                                                                          
1:16:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN referred  to the  last  column in  Table 2  that                                                               
lists the percent  of proposals with conflict and  noted that Mr.                                                               
Heyano is  at 5 percent,  Mr. Jensen is at  7 percent, and  17 of                                                               
the  24 board  members have  0 percent  conflict.   He asked  how                                                               
these numbers  correlate with the  11 percent that  was mentioned                                                               
for the 250 to 500 proposals.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON interjected  that it  is more  complicated                                                               
than simply  looking at a  straight line analysis.   He explained                                                               
that  the Board  of Fisheries  has  cycles where  it meets  every                                                               
three years in  various locations, such as  Bristol Bay, Cordova,                                                               
or Southeast Alaska, and this must  be factored in.  For example,                                                               
Russell Nelson of  Dillingham [with 0 percent] was  not an active                                                               
fisherman, but  Robert Heyano was an  active commercial fisherman                                                               
and had relatives in  both the drift and set net  areas.  It must                                                               
be realized that  when the meeting is taking place  in a location                                                               
in which  a board  member lives  and at which  his or  her fellow                                                               
community members are  in attendance, that board  member must sit                                                               
in the  back of  the room  because he or  she is  conflicted out.                                                               
That makes no  sense at all, he  opined, and it is  his view that                                                               
this issue has been mightily shortchanged by the legislature.                                                                   
1:19:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON stated  that Table 1 is the  easiest way to                                                               
look  at the  issue  in  the manner  Co-Chair  Neuman is  talking                                                               
about.  It can be seen from  Table 1 that the number of proposals                                                               
per  cycle and  the percent  of proposals  with conflict  is very                                                               
dependent  upon the  year.   For example,  if a  particular cycle                                                               
includes  proposals for  Southeast Alaska  and there  is a  board                                                               
member that is a fisherman in  that region, that member will have                                                               
a  large  number  of  conflicts  in that  year.    If  there  are                                                               
proposals for Cook  Inlet and no member on the  board is from the                                                               
Cook  Inlet region,  there  will  be no  conflicts.   He  further                                                               
pointed out that on Table 2,  Ed Dersham had conflicts as a sport                                                               
charter operator, not as a commercial fisherman.                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  said the last  column of Table 2  indicates that                                                               
Mr. Dersham had conflict with 3 percent of the proposals.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON, at Co-Chair  Neuman's request, yielded the                                                               
witness chair to Representative Austerman for testimony.                                                                        
1:21:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ALAN AUSTERMAN,  Alaska State  Legislature, noted                                                               
that  he is  from Kodiak  and that  he sat  on the  House Special                                                               
Committee  on Fisheries  for  six years,  during  which time  the                                                               
conflict  of  interest  issue  always  cropped  up  as  something                                                               
needing  to be  addressed.   He  said the  interpretation by  the                                                               
Department of  Law is so  strict that  even the involvement  in a                                                               
fishery of  a board  member's great uncle  will take  that member                                                               
out of  the picture.   How to  resolve this conflict  of interest                                                               
issue  has been  ongoing for  a number  of years.   His  personal                                                               
opinion  is that  Board of  Fisheries members  should be  able to                                                               
declare every  conflict they have at  the start of a  meeting and                                                               
then do business.   If the member has a  financial conflict, this                                                               
would be put on the table  for everyone to see and everyone would                                                               
see how  that member votes.   However, getting to this  point has                                                               
not  happened  over these  years  and  he therefore  thinks  that                                                               
allowing board  members to debate the  issue, but not vote,  is a                                                               
fairly decent methodology and a step  in the right direction.  He                                                               
requested that  committee members  consider extending  the sunset                                                               
date beyond  June 30,  2012, because that  date would  only cover                                                               
one cycle  and he believes two  are needed to adequately  see how                                                               
well it is working.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN, in response  to Co-Chair Neuman, stated                                                               
that HB 41 addresses both personal and financial conflicts.                                                                     
1:24:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG surmised  that people  in the  various                                                               
communities may feel they are  not being represented when a board                                                               
member is conflicted  out.  He inquired whether  this also causes                                                               
problems with not having a quorum or creating a tie vote.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN answered that  this does happen, but not                                                               
often.  What it  really gets down to is that  the person with the                                                               
most  knowledge cannot  even debate  or talk  about the  subject.                                                               
For example, in one instance a  board member worked for an at-sea                                                               
processor  composed  of  several  processors  from  the  Seattle,                                                               
Washington,  area  that also  had  processing  plants in  Alaska.                                                               
Every time  an issue came before  the board that had  any kind of                                                               
effect on  any one of  those processors, the Department  of Law's                                                               
interpretation was  that that member  had to recuse  himself from                                                               
debating or  even talking about the  issue.  The way  this is set                                                               
up now and the way it is  interpreted by the Department of Law is                                                               
ludicrous, he  opined.   He allowed, however,  that he  has never                                                               
seen a  board member  stand up  and say  the Department  of Law's                                                               
interpretation is wrong.                                                                                                        
1:27:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN   called  attention  to  a   letter  written  to                                                               
Representative Seaton  by Judge  Karl Johnstone, a  current board                                                               
member,  in which  Judge Johnstone  expresses  his opposition  to                                                               
[allowing  board members  who  are conflicted  from  voting on  a                                                               
proposal  to be  able  to deliberate  that  proposal].   Co-Chair                                                               
Neuman  related  that  during  the  confirmation  process,  Judge                                                               
Johnstone received  unanimous positive comments in  regard to his                                                               
ability to apply fairness.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN  responded  that  he has  not  had  the                                                               
opportunity to talk to Judge Johnstone in this regard.                                                                          
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN stated his intent to  ask members of the fish and                                                               
game advisory  committees and  the public  for their  opinions on                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN suggested that  Co-Chair Neuman also ask                                                               
the  opinions of  all  of the  previous chairs  of  the Board  of                                                               
Fisheries.   Based on  his past experience,  he said  he believes                                                               
all of the previous chairs have  supported some type of change to                                                               
the conflict of interest.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON expressed  his  interest  in hearing  more                                                               
from Judge  Johnstone because his experience  with previous Board                                                               
of Fisheries  members is the  same as  Representative Austerman's                                                               
and therefore the judge's opinion would be in the minority.                                                                     
1:31:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON resumed  his introduction  of HB  41.   He                                                               
explained  that every  member  is required  at  the beginning  of                                                               
every  meeting  to  declare any  potential  conflicts,  including                                                               
financial.  Thus, the conflicts of  interest are on the table and                                                               
the decisions are made at the beginning of every meeting.                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  inquired  whether a  board  member's  financial                                                               
interests must be put forth on the table.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON replied that that  is done and Mr. Marcotte                                                               
will explain  exactly how it  is done.   He said he  believes the                                                               
form  that  board  members  must  fill out  is  included  in  the                                                               
committee packet.                                                                                                               
1:32:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  asked whether  there  are  any examples  by                                                               
proposal and  the number of  people who had to  recuse themselves                                                               
for each proposal.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON answered  that Mr.  Marcotte prepared  the                                                               
report  independently  of  his  office.   He  said  most  of  the                                                               
recusals  take  place  because  of the  regional  nature  of  the                                                               
fisheries and  where the board is  in its cycle.   So, generally,                                                               
these  recusals  come in  huge  blocks  because a  member  having                                                               
extended family  that fishes in  that region must  excuse himself                                                               
or herself from lots of the proposals.                                                                                          
1:34:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI inquired  how  many  of these  conflicts                                                               
would  be taken  out if  the only  thing that  is changed  is the                                                               
definition of family.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON responded  that under  current law  and HB
41, a board member would be  barred from voting on proposals that                                                               
affect his  or her  bottom line  as well  as an  immediate family                                                               
member's bottom  line.  However,  he does not have  the breakdown                                                               
for how many of those were extended family or immediate family.                                                                 
1:36:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG referred  to page 2, line 5,  of HB 41,                                                               
and  asked  how  a  conflict  is determined  and  who  makes  the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON deferred to Mr. Marcotte.                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  requested  that  a  copy  of  the  conflict  of                                                               
interest form  be provided to  committee members.   He reiterated                                                               
that  the advisory  committees  will be  contacted  and that  the                                                               
Department of Law will also be contacted.                                                                                       
JIM  MARCOTTE, Executive  Director,  Board  of Fisheries,  Boards                                                               
Support Section, Alaska Department of  Fish & Game, noted that he                                                               
compiled  the statistics  in the  report and  they encompass  the                                                               
most  recent  Board  of  Fisheries  meeting  which  concluded  on                                                               
[February 7, 2010]  in Anchorage.  The statistics  look back over                                                               
a  nine-year period  and because  the  board is  on a  three-year                                                               
cycle, the report includes three complete three-year cycles.                                                                    
1:37:50 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MARCOTTE, in  response to  Co-Chair  Neuman, explained  that                                                               
there are  several goals in  regard to board composition  and the                                                               
three-year cycles.   One goal  is to have a  board with a  lot of                                                               
diversity - people  from different geographic areas  of the state                                                               
that  have   knowledge  of  different  fisheries.     The  Alaska                                                               
Executive  Branch Ethics  Act is  written so  that people  cannot                                                               
vote on something that he or  she would have a direct personal or                                                               
financial  interest in.    So,  those are  competing  goals.   In                                                               
regard to  the three-year  cycle, instead  of having  one meeting                                                               
about  salmon, the  next about  crab,  and the  next about  sport                                                               
grayling fishing, the board has found  that it works best to deal                                                               
with fishing issues  in a particular region in one  meeting.  For                                                               
example, one meeting  might deal with fishing  issues for Bristol                                                               
Bay  and the  next  might  deal with  fishing  issues for  Prince                                                               
William  Sound.   If  there is  a meeting  on  crab in  Southeast                                                               
Alaska and a board member is  a crab permit holder for commercial                                                               
fishing in  Southeast, then  he or she  would potentially  have a                                                               
conflict of  interest in some  proposals, such as those  that are                                                               
close to the  area that the member fishes.   However, that member                                                               
would likely  not have a  conflict for crab fishing  elsewhere in                                                               
the state and would thus bring  to the board expertise about crab                                                               
fishing in  general, issues about  hot stacking,  registration in                                                               
the different  fisheries, particulars  about gear, and  so forth.                                                               
Therefore, the  members have different expertise  that they bring                                                               
on any different proposal.                                                                                                      
1:40:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  assumed  that  all seven  board  members  would                                                               
likely have a broad-based knowledge about fisheries in general.                                                                 
MR.  MARCOTTE replied  in general,  yes.   The rich  diversity of                                                               
fisheries in  Alaska is phenomenal  and it is quite  an education                                                               
to travel  around the state  over a  three year period  and learn                                                               
about these very unique fisheries.                                                                                              
1:41:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MARCOTTE  spoke about the  board's procedures.   He explained                                                               
that   at  the   very  beginning   of  a   meeting  right   after                                                               
introductions, the chair  asks each board member  to describe his                                                               
or  her  income  sources,  to  list  any  personal  or  financial                                                               
interest that  the member or his  or her family members  may have                                                               
in fishery-related  businesses, and  to identify any  personal or                                                               
financial interest that  the member or his or  her family members                                                               
may have in regard to any of the specific proposals.                                                                            
1:42:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MARCOTTE, in  response to  Co-Chair  Neuman, confirmed  that                                                               
each  of  the Board  of  Fisheries  members completes  a  written                                                               
conflict of  interest disclosure  for each  meeting.   Most board                                                               
members have already  prepared a written narrative of  who his or                                                               
her  family  members are,  along  with  a description  of  income                                                               
sources and  any overlaps in  fisheries.  For some  families this                                                               
is  considerable  and for  some  not.    In response  to  further                                                               
questions from  Co-Chair Neuman, Mr. Marcotte  clarified that the                                                               
narrative is  not a form  that is  filled out, it  is information                                                               
that each  board member  presents verbally on  the record  at the                                                               
meeting.   After a  member presents  that information,  the chair                                                               
will invite  questions from other  board members.  Based  on that                                                               
discussion, the  board chair  makes a ruling  as to  whether each                                                               
member can  participate in the  different proposals.   The member                                                               
does not state what the dollar  values are for his or her income,                                                               
but does identify  the income sources.  When the  chair makes the                                                               
ruling, it is not based on  a dollar threshold, but whether it is                                                               
determined to be a significant conflict.                                                                                        
1:45:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN asked whether HB  41 would require that the value                                                               
of the income be disclosed.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON answered that there  is nothing in the bill                                                               
that would  change the current financial  disclosure requirements                                                               
under the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act.                                                                                   
1:47:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MARCOTTE  directed attention to  the chart  on page 3  of his                                                               
report that  shows the  two different  definitions of  family for                                                               
the  Alaska  Executive  Branch Ethics  Act  and  the  Legislative                                                               
Ethics  Act.   Under  HB 41,  the less  broad  definition of  the                                                               
Legislative  Ethics Act  would instead  apply, which  would be  a                                                               
significant change.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  pointed out  that  in  his letter,  board                                                               
member Karl  Johnstone states that  he supports the  provision of                                                               
HB 41  that would narrow  the definition  of family members.   He                                                               
asked for verification that he  is interpreting Judge Johnstone's                                                               
statement correctly.                                                                                                            
MR. MARCOTTE stated  that he talked to  Judge Johnstone yesterday                                                               
and Judge Johnstone expressed reservation  about allowing a board                                                               
member with a  conflict to participate in  the deliberations, but                                                               
supported the  aspect of HB  41 that would narrow  the definition                                                               
of  family.    In  regard to  Representative  Kawasaki's  earlier                                                               
question  about  what  the  impact  would  be  of  narrowing  the                                                               
definition,  Mr.  Marcotte said  it  is  very difficult  to  know                                                               
because over  the past  nine years from  which his  dataset comes                                                               
from, the  question did  not delineate  whether the  conflict was                                                               
for  a household  member or  for  extended family.   However,  he                                                               
estimated that about  half the time the conflict arises  due to a                                                               
family member that is not part of the household.                                                                                
1:51:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MARCOTTE further noted that  neither the Alaska Department of                                                               
Fish & Game  (ADF&G) nor the Board of Fisheries  has developed an                                                               
official position on HB 41 at  this time.  However, he added that                                                               
the  bill  fine tunes  the  procedures  and  does not  propose  a                                                               
revolutionary change.  He related  that most of the board members                                                               
have expressed general comfort with how the bill is written.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  requested Mr. Marcotte's personal  opinion as to                                                               
whether HB  41 would have  a significant  impact on the  Board of                                                               
MR. MARCOTTE answered  that the interests are the  quality of the                                                               
discussion -  bringing in the expertise  - and he thinks  it is a                                                               
step  in that  direction.   The flip-side  concern is  whether it                                                               
compromises the integrity  of the board.  It is  a very important                                                               
part of the  board process to know that decisions  are being made                                                               
in the best interests of the  state and not in someone's personal                                                               
interests.   He thinks  that keeping  the restriction  on voting,                                                               
but   allowing   the  board   member   to   participate  in   the                                                               
deliberations  on record,  strikes a  good balance  between those                                                               
two competing interests.                                                                                                        
1:52:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR   NEUMAN  commented   that  once   integrity  has   been                                                               
questioned,  it is  hard to  overcome even  if the  accusation is                                                               
proven  untrue.   He asked  whether HB  41 would  still establish                                                               
MR. MARCOTTE  stated he does  not feel the bill  would compromise                                                               
either the board's  or the board members'  public credibility and                                                               
he  thinks   the  integrity  of   the  board  process   would  be                                                               
maintained.     In  further  response,  he   said  board  members                                                               
currently  have financial  disclosures  at the  beginning of  the                                                               
meeting; forms  are not filled  out with the dollar  amounts that                                                               
are earned in  different fisheries, but members  do disclose what                                                               
their financial associations are in  the different fisheries.  He                                                               
noted that HB 41  does not seek a change in  this regard and that                                                               
he  believes  the disclosure  of  financial  associations at  the                                                               
beginning  of the  meeting is  what Representative  Austerman was                                                               
referring to.                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR   NEUMAN   remarked   that   financial   disclosure   by                                                               
legislators is an important part  of assuring that the public can                                                               
have trust in them.                                                                                                             
1:55:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON offered  her belief that fishermen would                                                               
not want  to serve  on the  board if they  had to  give financial                                                               
MR. MARCOTTE agreed that that would discourage some applicants.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON  clarified  that her  statement was  in                                                               
regard to whether the co-chair  is suggesting that the disclosure                                                               
of dollar amounts be required.                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN responded  no, he did not mean that.   He pointed                                                               
out that financial  disclosure has become a reason  why people do                                                               
not want to serve on city councils or borough assemblies.                                                                       
1:58:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said he believes the  financial disclosure                                                               
that is required at the start  of the Board of Fisheries meetings                                                               
is adequate  and more  details would not  serve the  interests of                                                               
the public.  He directed attention  to the paper in the committee                                                               
packet  entitled,  "Recusals  due  to  Conflict  of  Interest  in                                                               
Quarterly  Ethics Reports  2003-2006."   He  said  the paper  was                                                               
prepared by his  office and depicts the recusals  due to conflict                                                               
of interest  for the  years 2003,  2004, 2005,  and 2006  for the                                                               
various statewide boards in Alaska.   He noted that for the state                                                               
medical  board, a  person  is  not recused  because  of a  family                                                               
member  being in  medical practice.   The  Board of  Fisheries is                                                               
much  more restrictive  in regard  to involvement  of either  the                                                               
board  member  or the  member's  family.    He  said he  will  be                                                               
providing further information in this regard.                                                                                   
2:04:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON,  in response  to Co-Chair  Neuman, pointed                                                               
out that  when the  Board of  Fisheries meets  in a  rural region                                                               
like Bristol Bay  or Southeast Alaska where the  economics of the                                                               
region are highly  dependent upon fisheries, a  board member from                                                               
that region will be recused from  a number of proposals.  Even if                                                               
it is  only three board  members being recused,  it will be  on a                                                               
huge number  of issues  because the  cycle for  that year  is for                                                               
that region, and this can create a dramatic effect.                                                                             
2:06:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MARCOTTE added  that he  would like  to echo  Representative                                                               
Austerman's comment in regard to  the bill's proposed review date                                                               
of January 31, 2012 [page 2,  line 20], which would provide for a                                                               
review of one  full cycle.  As has been  seen, he continued, each                                                               
cycle is going  to have its own pattern, and  the cycle coming up                                                               
is the Cook Inlet and Kodiak  cycle.  He offered his opinion that                                                               
the review period would need to  go through three cycles to get a                                                               
representative sample of the different issues.                                                                                  
2:07:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON noted  that this  is his  fourth committee                                                               
hearing on  this bill and  at each of those  meetings comparisons                                                               
have  been  made  to  other boards  and  commissions.    However,                                                               
comparison of the atmospheres between  the Board of Fisheries and                                                               
the other  boards are like  comparing apples and oranges.   Board                                                               
of  Fisheries meetings  are a  highly public,  highly scrutinized                                                               
environment;  and  this  highly  public  decision-making  process                                                               
essentially  provides a  built-in self-policing  mechanism.   The                                                               
decisions are  very controversial and  at times can  involve much                                                               
fratch when  allocating resources  between competing  user groups                                                               
that are  sitting right  there in the  audience before  the board                                                               
members.  This is something  that other boards and commissions do                                                               
not have  to undertake.  He  said he considers the  changes in HB
41 to  be reasonable,  yet comparisons are  made to  other boards                                                               
and commissions that have completely  different missions and much                                                               
less publically-charged environments.   For example, when was the                                                               
last time had the Pharmacy Board had 100 people at a meeting?                                                                   
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN agreed.                                                                                                         
2:10:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON  drew attention to page 3  of a document                                                               
in the  committee packet entitled,  "Fish & Game  Transition Team                                                               
Issues Report to  Governor Sarah Palin."  She  related that there                                                               
were 21  people on  that transition  team and  one of  the team's                                                               
recommendations  was   that  "only   the  household   members  or                                                               
immediate family should  be considered for conflict so  as not to                                                               
unfairly  bias the  process  against  longstanding families  with                                                               
extensive  affected relatives."    She further  related that  the                                                               
team outlined  the following consequences  of inaction:   lack of                                                               
valid   information   in   Board  of   Fisheries   deliberations,                                                               
reluctance of well  qualified members to serve on  the board, and                                                               
lack of public  confidence in the Board of  Fisheries process and                                                               
state management.  She said  she therefore thinks it is important                                                               
to make this recommended change.                                                                                                
2:12:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  noted that the  suggested changes to HB  41 have                                                               
been about  the sunset date and  definition of family.   He urged                                                               
Representative  Seaton to  work with  Representative Kawasaki  in                                                               
regard to the sunset date  and Representative Edgmon in regard to                                                               
the definition of family.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  agreed   to  work   with  Representative                                                               
Kawasaki in regard  to the sunset date.  He  pointed out that the                                                               
bill already provides  for narrowing the definition  of family as                                                               
described in  the transition team report  cited by Representative                                                               
P. Wilson.   He said he  will be interested in  hearing back from                                                               
the advisory committees  because versions of this  bill have been                                                               
out for  at least four  years.  One  version passed the  House of                                                               
Representatives  but did  not  make it  through  the other  body.                                                               
Thus, there has  been a lot of public notice  and comment on this                                                               
bill.   The original bill  was more expansive and  allowed voting                                                               
with the declaration  of conflicts, but that along  with a number                                                               
of other things has since been removed from the bill.                                                                           
2:14:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN inquired as to why  this bill has not been passed                                                               
in the four years it has been around.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  responded that, generally, the  reason the                                                               
bills  in previous  legislatures did  not pass  was because  they                                                               
would  have allowed  board  members that  declare  a conflict  of                                                               
interest  to  vote  on  the  proposal, which  is  like  what  the                                                               
legislature does.   However,  HB 41  would not  allow that.   The                                                               
version of the  bill that previously passed the  House so broadly                                                               
had the same provision as proposed by  HB 41, which is to allow a                                                               
conflicted board member to deliberate but not vote.                                                                             
2:15:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN, in  light of  Representative Edgmon's  comments                                                               
about  comparisons to  other boards,  said Representative  Seaton                                                               
does not need to provide further information in this regard.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  replied that if the  committee's desire is                                                               
to have  this comparison, he  would suggest that the  director of                                                               
boards  and  commissions speak  to  the  committee.   In  further                                                               
response, he clarified  that he is not making  a specific request                                                               
in this regard.                                                                                                                 
2:16:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN opened public testimony.  After ascertaining                                                                    
that no one wished to testify, he closed public testimony.                                                                      
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN held over HB 41.                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 41.pdf HRES 2/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 41
HB 41 Sponsor Statement.doc HRES 2/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 41
HB 41 Fiscal Note.pdf HRES 2/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 41
HB 41 Additional Information.pdf HRES 2/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 41
HB41BoardVoteAbstentions.PDF HRES 2/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 41
HB41FamilyDefinitions.PDF HFSH 2/5/2009 10:00:00 AM
HRES 2/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 41
HB 41 BBS report (2 05 09).pdf HRES 2/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 41
HB 41 Letters of Support.pdf HRES 2/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 41
HB 41 BBS Report 2.12.10.pdf HRES 2/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 41
HB 41 Board Disclosure Info.pdf HRES 2/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 41