Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

04/12/2010 01:00 PM House RESOURCES

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<Bill Hearing Rescheduled from 4/09/10>
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<Bill Held Over from 4/11/10>
                SB 144-MUSK OXEN PERMITS & FEES                                                                             
1:18:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON announced  that the next order of  business is CS                                                              
FOR  SENATE  BILL  NO.  144(FIN),  "An  Act  relating  to  hunting                                                              
permits and tag fees for musk oxen."                                                                                            
1:19:22 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM  BENINTENDI,   Staff,  Senator   Donny  Olson,   Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature, provided the following testimony:                                                                                  
     At its  core, Senate Bill  144 would authorize  a second                                                                   
     permit  hunt for  resident and  subsistence hunters  for                                                                   
     the taking of  musk ox.  It would double  the chances of                                                                   
     taking  an  animal, but  it  would  not change  the  bag                                                                   
     limit  which currently  stands at one  animal, either  a                                                                   
     bull or a  cow.  Nonresident hunters would  not qualify.                                                                   
     If a  hunter did not harvest  a musk ox under  the first                                                                   
     permit,  then  a  second permit  could  be  issued  upon                                                                   
     application  for  another  chance in  a  different  hunt                                                                   
     area  or in  a  different game  management  unit.   Musk                                                                   
     oxen are the  only game animals in Alaska  for which the                                                                   
     one permit  restriction still  applies.  There  are four                                                                   
     game management  units in the state where  these animals                                                                   
     are  found.   Unit  18 is  on  both Nunivak  and  Nelson                                                                   
     Islands,  Unit 22  and 23  are on  the Seward  Peninsula                                                                   
     and in the  Northwest, and Unit 26 is in  the Northeast.                                                                   
     The wild  musk ox population  is currently estimated  to                                                                   
     be at  4,400 animals; and  annually between 325  and 350                                                                   
     are  available for  harvest.   Wildlife  biologists  and                                                                   
     regulators  within the  Department of  Fish & Game  have                                                                   
     determined  that  the health  and  size of  the  state's                                                                   
     herd is  well past the  threshold for expanding  hunting                                                                   
     opportunities.   They estimate that a minimum  number of                                                                   
     permits will  be issued under  this bill and  perhaps 25                                                                   
     more animals might be harvested annually.                                                                                  
     Under  Senate Bill  144, the  Board of  Game would  have                                                                   
     the  authority to  reduce or  eliminate subsistence  tag                                                                   
     and  fee requirements.    And  because Senate  Bill  144                                                                   
     changes  a year  from a  calendar year  to a  regulatory                                                                   
     year,  which is July  1st to  June 30th, the  department                                                                   
     would  be  able  to  issue  permits  for  seasons  which                                                                   
     straddle  the calendar  year and  not have  to charge  a                                                                   
     hunter  twice  and  issue   two  permits  for  the  same                                                                   
     season.  If  passed, this legislation would  take effect                                                                   
     in August.   And  the bill carries  a zero fiscal  note,                                                                   
     has  the  support  of the  department,  support  of  the                                                                   
     hunting  community in  the  Northwest Alaska,  including                                                                   
     the  Northern   and  Southern   Norton  Sound   Advisory                                                                   
     Committees,   and   the   Seward   Peninsula   Musk   Ox                                                                   
     Cooperators Group.                                                                                                         
1:21:47 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BENINTENDI, in response to Co-Chair Johnson, stated that the                                                                
next committee of referral for SB 144 is the House Finance                                                                      
1:21:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON then  inquired as to how one  permit, rather than                                                              
two, can  be issued due to  straddling the year without  having an                                                              
MR. BENINTENDI  informed the committee  that currently there  is a                                                              
season  from August  until  March.   Currently,  the hunter  would                                                              
have to apply and  obtain a permit.  Assuming that  hunter doesn't                                                              
take an  animal by January  1st, that hunter  would have  to apply                                                              
for  the permit  again  and pay  again.   This  legislation  would                                                              
change the  year basis  upon which  that structure  is based.   In                                                              
further  response to  Co-Chair Johnson,  Mr. Benintendi  confirmed                                                              
that  there could  be a  negligible  revenue factor.   He  related                                                              
that  [the Alaska  Department of  Fish &  Game (ADF&G)]  estimated                                                              
that  under  the proposed  system  there  would  be less  than  50                                                              
permits.   However,  they estimate  that the  increased amount  of                                                              
animals taken will be about 25.                                                                                                 
1:23:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  related  his  understanding  that  hunters  will                                                              
still have  to purchase  a hunting license  each year,  [but under                                                              
SB 144] a  hunter who doesn't  harvest an animal will  continue to                                                              
have a  permit that  will carry through.   Co-Chair  Neuman opined                                                              
that there  wouldn't be  any fiscal impact  since the  hunter will                                                              
have to purchase  a hunting license the next year  in order to use                                                              
that  [tag] they  already have  [through the  permit they  already                                                              
1:24:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON clarified  that SB  144 only  extends the  tags,                                                              
not the hunting license through the permit period.                                                                              
MR.  BENINTENDI noted  his agreement.    He then  added that  this                                                              
doesn't impede  any of the Board  of Game's current  authority, in                                                              
fact it provides the board a bit more liberty.                                                                                  
1:24:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  surmised then  that a person  who purchases                                                              
a $500  resident tag  is entitled  to a  bag limit  of one.   That                                                              
person  can then  apply for  another  permit and  purchase it  for                                                              
another $500.   He  further surmised  that the  bag limit  for the                                                              
permit is  one, but  he questioned  whether the  bag limit  of the                                                              
season  is increased  to  as many  multiples  of the  $500 as  the                                                              
person purchases.                                                                                                               
MR. BENINTENDI replied  no, and added that the  person doesn't pay                                                              
a second  time.  If SB  144 passes, then  a person would  have the                                                              
opportunity  to have a  second permit.   The  Board of  Game would                                                              
determine the fee structure.                                                                                                    
1:25:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  pointed out that  on page 2, line  5, of SB
144  the language  "a person  is not  eligible for  more than  one                                                              
musk oxen permit  a year." is being eliminated.   He asked if that                                                              
means a  person can take  two or three  musk oxen.   "The question                                                              
is can a person,  at the same time, hold more  than one permit and                                                              
get one animal on  the bag limit for that permit,  if we eliminate                                                              
lines 5-6, ... on page 2," he asked.                                                                                            
MR. BENINTENDI  related that his  understanding is no.   He opined                                                              
that a  person is allowed  one animal per  year regardless  of the                                                              
number of attempts or location.                                                                                                 
1:26:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  P. WILSON,  referring to  the sectional  analysis,                                                              
surmised  that  SB 144  would  allow  an  individual who  holds  a                                                              
permit but  didn't harvest  an animal to  have another  chance [to                                                              
harvest an animal.                                                                                                              
MR.  BENINTENDI replied  yes, the  legislation  would provide  one                                                              
more chance.                                                                                                                    
1:27:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  that he understands  the intent,  but                                                              
he expressed concern  with deleting the language on  page 2, lines                                                              
5-6, because it's  essentially saying a person can  have more than                                                              
one musk ox permit a year.                                                                                                      
MR.  BENINTENDI responded  that  would likely  still  fall to  the                                                              
Board of Game  to regulate.  He  related that he hasn't  heard any                                                              
concern for the taking of multiple animals.                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  pointed out  that the  regulations for  each game                                                              
management  unit can  be different  and  can be  changed [per  the                                                              
Board of Game].                                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON   remarked  that   although  he  believes   [the                                                              
legislation]  would do  what  Representative  Seaton is  concerned                                                              
about, he indicated that it's a decision for the Board of Game.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  explained that he raised the  issue because                                                              
the language  was in  statute to  ensure there  wasn't a  multiple                                                              
safari hunt  or multiple game animals  [harvested].  He  said that                                                              
although he didn't  want to hold the legislation,  he did want the                                                              
sponsor  to  make sure  what  the  legislation achieves  prior  to                                                              
being forwarded to the House Finance Committee.                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON  requested  that  Mr. Benintendi  pass  on  this                                                              
concern to the sponsor.                                                                                                         
1:31:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI expressed  concern that  portions of  the                                                              
sponsor's statement  seem ambiguous.  He opined  that he's unclear                                                              
as to whether Representative Seaton's concern is correct.                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON  reiterated  that  he  has  asked  the  sponsor,                                                              
Senator  Olson,   to  clearly   spell  out   the  intent   of  the                                                              
legislation.     He   related  his   intention   to  forward   the                                                              
legislation with the aforementioned caveat.                                                                                     
1:33:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BENINTENDI remarked  that it's a valid question  that deserves                                                              
an answer, which he could forward to the committee.                                                                             
1:33:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  opined that  it  seems implicit  that  the                                                              
Board of Game is  being given another tool through  SB 144.  There                                                              
are four  far flung  game management  units and  animals that  are                                                              
likely  growing  beyond  their  threshold.    In  the  event  it's                                                              
necessary to  allow harvesting more  than one animal,  there would                                                              
be the authority to do so.                                                                                                      
1:33:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON  remarked that  although he believes  [the taking                                                              
of  more than  one  animal]  should be  an  option,  it should  be                                                              
1:34:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN pointed  out that  there  are many  areas in  the                                                              
state where  multiple animals  can be  harvested, it depends  upon                                                              
the  population  in  a  given  area.    The  aforementioned  is  a                                                              
decision  for  the Board  of  Game  to  make and  the  legislation                                                              
clearly refers to the regulations.                                                                                              
1:35:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  remarked that he wouldn't  have a problem                                                              
moving SB  144 if he's  assured that it  will be forwarded  to the                                                              
House Finance Committee with a zero fiscal note.                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON said that  SB 144  does have  a referral  to the                                                              
House Finance Committee because it involves fees.                                                                               
MR. BENINTENDI  interjected that  the sponsor isn't  interested in                                                              
waiving SB 144 from the House Finance Committee.                                                                                
1:35:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  remarked  that   although  he   has  full                                                              
confidence  in  the  Board  of   Game,  the  board  may  not  have                                                              
addressed this  in the  regulations because  the statute  says not                                                              
more than one  animal a year can  be taken.  Therefore,  he wanted                                                              
to raise  the issue so  that the Board of  Game will be  on notice                                                              
that its regulations may not address this.                                                                                      
1:36:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON,  upon determining  no  one wished  to  testify,                                                              
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
1:36:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  clarified that SB  144 would allow people  to use                                                              
their permit  to harvest game when  that game is  still available,                                                              
the season  is still  open, [and the  person didn't  harvest under                                                              
their initial permit].                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  commented that  other units, such  as the                                                              
Central Arctic herd, have similar rules and regulations.                                                                        
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON surmised  that this legislation  is in  response                                                              
to a constituent who came forward with a problem.                                                                               
1:38:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   EDGMON  moved  to   report  CSSB  144(FIN)   from                                                              
committee.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 144 Bill Packet.pdf HRES 4/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
SB 144
SB 301 Bill Packet.pdf HRES 4/12/2010 1:00:00 PM
SB 301