Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

04/14/2010 09:00 AM RESOURCES


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09:36:49 AM Start
09:37:13 AM HB246
10:55:41 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Meeting Postponed to 9:15 am Today --
+= HB 246 SPORT FISH GUIDE LICENSES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 246(RES) Out of Committee
+ SB 294 SPORT FISH GUIDE LICENSES TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 14, 2010                                                                                         
                           9:36 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Craig Johnson, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Mark Neuman, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Kurt Olson                                                                                                       
Representative Paul Seaton                                                                                                      
Representative Peggy Wilson                                                                                                     
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 246                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating  to  the licensing  and  regulation  of  sport                                                               
fishing  operators and  sport fishing  guides  and licensing  and                                                               
registration  of  sport fishing  vessels;  and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 246(RES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 294(FIN)                                                                               
"An Act amending the termination date of the licensing of sport                                                                 
fishing operators and sport fishing guides; and providing for an                                                                
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 246                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SPORT FISH GUIDE LICENSES                                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) NEUMAN                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
04/19/09       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/19/09       (H)       FSH, RES                                                                                               
03/16/10       (H)       FSH AT 10:15 AM BARNES 124                                                                             
03/16/10       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/16/10       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/18/10       (H)       FSH AT 10:15 AM BARNES 124                                                                             
03/18/10       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/18/10       (H)       MINUTE(FSH)                                                                                            
03/19/10       (H)       FSH RPT 3DP 2NR                                                                                        
03/19/10       (H)       DP: KELLER, BUCH, EDGMON                                                                               
03/19/10       (H)       NR: JOHNSON, MUNOZ                                                                                     
03/19/10       (H)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER RES                                                                           
03/24/10       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/24/10       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/13/10       (H)       RES AT 9:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/13/10       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/14/10       (H)       RES AT 9:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JIM ELLIS, Staff                                                                                                                
Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 246 on behalf of                                                                            
Representative Neuman, sponsor.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES SWANTON, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Sport Fish                                                                                                          
Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G)                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During hearing on HB 246, answered                                                                       
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:36:49 AM                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR  MARK   NEUMAN  called  the  House   Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at  9:36 a.m.   Representatives Tuck,                                                               
P. Wilson, Olson, Edgmon, and Neuman  were present at the call to                                                               
order.     Representatives  Kawasaki,  Seaton,   Guttenberg,  and                                                               
Johnson arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
                HB 246-SPORT FISH GUIDE LICENSES                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:37:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN announced  that the  only order  of business  is                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 246,  "An  Act  relating  to the  licensing  and                                                               
regulation of  sport fishing operators  and sport  fishing guides                                                               
and  licensing and  registration  of sport  fishing vessels;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:37:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON moved  to adopt  CSHB 246,  Version 26-                                                               
LS0929\S, Kurtz/Kane,  4/12/10, as  the working document.   There                                                               
being no objection, Version S was before the committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:38:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JIM ELLIS,  Staff, Representative Mark Neuman,  explained that HB
246  extends Alaska's  sport fish  guide licensing  and reporting                                                               
program for two years.   The legislation also limits license fees                                                               
for a sport fishing operator  and sport fishing operator guide to                                                               
$50.   Mr.  Ellis specified  that the  program gathers  important                                                               
fisheries data  through the log book  program.  The data  is used                                                               
in  management  in  terms of  making  decisions  regarding  which                                                               
fisheries  are doing  well and  which are  not and  provides some                                                               
professional  standards  for  sport   fishing  guides  and  guide                                                               
operators.   Collecting this data  allows Alaska's  sport anglers                                                               
to be exempt from the  National Saltwater Angler Registry and its                                                               
requirement to  purchase an additional  tag as well as  a license                                                               
to fish.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:39:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN said  that the  legislation basically  addresses                                                               
the fees that  active guides pay the department  when they obtain                                                               
their guide  log books and  specifies a  new sunset date  for the                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELLIS  confirmed that  Version S changes  the sunset  date of                                                               
the program from January 1, 2011, to January 1, 2013.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:40:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON inquired  as to  how long  the existing                                                               
fishing  services license  fees have  been  in place.   She  also                                                               
inquired as to why [two of the fees] are being reduced.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELLIS responded  that he was unsure how long  these fees have                                                               
been in place.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  answered that  the fees have  been in  place for                                                               
four   years,  and   this  legislation   adds  two   more  years.                                                               
Originally,  the department  requested  that there  be no  sunset                                                               
date.   However, he opined  that it's important  for expenditures                                                               
to  the  guides  have  legislative oversight.    Co-Chair  Neuman                                                               
reiterated  that this  is an  important program.   The  guide log                                                               
books helps  establish a  record of fish  movement in  the state.                                                               
The reduction in  fees from $100 to $50 was  in response to sport                                                               
fish guides who  pay to collect the data; the  $50 fee seems more                                                               
appropriate, he remarked.   Co-Chair Neuman related  that he also                                                               
reviewed the federal funds that  [the Alaska Department of Fish &                                                               
Game]  receives for  federal restorations.   In  fact, this  year                                                               
there  is fish  and  wildlife  assistance in  the  amount of  $19                                                               
million.  He opined that he's  trying to help [fishing guides] as                                                               
best he can during this downturn in the economy.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:43:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES  SWANTON,  Director,  Division   of  Sport  Fish,  Alaska                                                               
Department  of  Fish  &  Game  (ADF&G),  explained  that  SB  246                                                               
basically specifies minimum guide  standards and data collection.                                                               
The department's preference  would be the Senate  version of this                                                               
legislation, which  extends the sunset  date to January  1, 2017,                                                               
or the House  Special Committee on Fisheries version  that has no                                                               
sunset.  With  regard to the fees, they have  been in place since                                                               
January 1, 2005.   The sport fishing operator  and business owner                                                               
combination license under Version M  is reduced from $100 to $50,                                                               
and  therefore the  fees for  a sport  fish operator,  sport fish                                                               
guide,  and sport  fish operator  and guide  combination are  all                                                               
$50.  If Version  S passes, a fiscal note will  likely have to be                                                               
constructed due to  the change in fees.  Mr.  Swanton opined that                                                               
the effect  of the reduction  of fees would  be $100,000-$150,000                                                               
reduction in  revenue.  The cost  of the program is  $437,600 per                                                               
year  and the  fees  from this  licensing generate  approximately                                                               
$240,000 and  the remainder  is made up  with ADF&G  funds, which                                                               
are resident and nonresident license fees.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[Co-Chair Neuman passed the gavel to Co-Chair Johnson.]                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:46:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON  inquired  as to  how  many  fishermen                                                               
obtain all three licenses.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON  answered that there's  an average of  1,647 business                                                               
licenses  are issued  and  1,882 sport  fish  guide licenses  are                                                               
issued.  Those are averages from 2005-2009.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:47:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P. WILSON noted that  ADF&G never has enough money                                                               
for to accomplish  all it needs to do.   Therefore, she expressed                                                               
concern about  decreasing the fee  revenue when the  previous fee                                                               
revenues didn't cover the costs.   Representative Wilson said she                                                               
likes the 2017  sunset date in the Senate  legislation, and asked                                                               
how the sponsor would feel about such an extension.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN related  concern that  currently there  are many                                                               
fisheries  in flux  in terms  of  their management,  such as  the                                                               
Alaska Yukon  [Delta] and the  Chitina dipnet fishery.   Having a                                                               
two-year sunset [provides some legislative oversight/review].                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:49:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON emphasized  that she is  very concerned                                                               
about  decreasing   the  fees  and  subsequently   funds  to  the                                                               
department.   Since  there  are problems  related  to not  having                                                               
enough fish, it  is all the more reason to  ensure the department                                                               
has enough  money to perform  the research it  needs to do.   She                                                               
highlighted  the  importance of  having  good  data, which  sport                                                               
fishermen likely realize  as well.  With fewer funds,  it will be                                                               
that  much  more  difficult  for the  department  to  ensure  the                                                               
research is done.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN reiterated  that there  was an  over $2  million                                                               
increase  in  federal  funds for  fish  and  wildlife  management                                                               
assistance and sport fish restorations.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:51:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG surmised that  folks are more likely to                                                               
get  the combination  license because  it costs  the same  as the                                                               
single license.   He asked if  those who are eligible  to get one                                                               
license, either the  sport fishing operator license  of the sport                                                               
fishing guide license, are eligible to get the other license.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON explained that the  [sport fishing operator and sport                                                               
fishing guide] combination license is  an individual who owns the                                                               
business and is  also a guide.  Whereas an  owner of the business                                                               
who  doesn't  guide  would  only   purchase  the  [sport  fishing                                                               
operator license]  and have employees,  guides, who work  for the                                                               
owner and who hold the sport fishing guide license.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG pointed  out  that  the sport  fishing                                                               
operator license and the combination  license are both reduced to                                                               
$50  in Version  S.   Therefore,  the purchase  of a  combination                                                               
license is  a "two for  one," which  he opined was  the sponsor's                                                               
intent.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:53:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  surmised  that  HB 246  only  applies  to                                                               
commercial  sport   fish  operators  and  doesn't   apply  to  an                                                               
individual  who  is a  noncommercial  operator  that purchases  a                                                               
sport fishing license to fish for himself/herself.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON answered that to be correct.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  said he does  not support doing this.   He                                                               
opined that  a $50  or $100  fee isn't a  great amount  for these                                                               
commercial operations.   To transfer  this burden to  the state's                                                               
general  fund is  not good  public policy,  he stated.   He  then                                                               
announced  that he  will be  offering  an amendment  to keep  the                                                               
current fees  intact.   He clarified  that he  supports extending                                                               
the Alaska's  sport fish guide  licensing and  reporting program.                                                               
He  then  mentioned  how  costly it  is  to  forward  legislation                                                               
through the legislative  process, and thus he  questioned why the                                                               
extension wouldn't be for five years.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:56:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON   stated  that  for  every   corporate  jet  in                                                               
Representative  Edgmon's district  there is  a motor  home, a  15                                                               
horse power Yamaha  and a small boat with a  guide guiding people                                                               
down the  Deshka River.  These  are people for which  $50 or $100                                                               
matters.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  pointed  out  the  fee  is  a  deductible                                                               
expense  and he  would prefer  $100 deduction  rather than  a $50                                                               
deduction.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:58:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  reminded the committee  that the  department has                                                               
achieved some efficiency in managing  this program as the data is                                                               
now  electronically  processed.   He  then  related that  he  has                                                               
received  many  emails  regarding  the budget  and  the  cost  of                                                               
government.  Therefore,  if there are efficiencies,  it should be                                                               
passed on to the affected people.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:59:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  asked  how  many guides  are  also  the                                                               
owners of their own business.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWANTON, referring  to page  2  of the  Sport Fishing  Guide                                                               
Licensing Brief,"  informed the  committee that on  average about                                                               
1,647   sport   fishing    business   licenses,   which   include                                                               
owner/operator combination licenses have  been sold.  However, to                                                               
answer the question would require further research.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:01:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI then  asked whether  the 2010  Saltwater                                                               
Sport  Fishing  Charter  Trip  Logbook Page  has  been  put  into                                                               
electronic form.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON explained  that the sheet in the  committee packet is                                                               
the department's attempt at a  logbook sheet that can be scanned,                                                               
which will be  imposed for saltwater in 2010.   The same exercise                                                               
will occur for freshwater logbook  sheets, such that they will be                                                               
reviewed,   simplified,   obtain   public   input,   and   making                                                               
modifications.   The plan  is to have  a freshwater  logbook that                                                               
can be  scanned in 2011.   The logbooks that can  be scanned will                                                               
decrease  the current  eight  to  nine months  that  it takes  to                                                               
process data  to one to two  weeks.  Although the  timeliness and                                                               
accessibility of the data will  be better, the efficiency or cost                                                               
savings of  logbooks that  can be scanned  can't be  estimated at                                                               
this time.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  surmised  that  every  time  a  charter                                                               
operator takes  a person  out in  a boat,  one of  these logbooks                                                               
must be  filled out.  He  further surmised that if  an individual                                                               
takes another  individual out on  his personal boat,  he wouldn't                                                               
have to fill out one of these logbooks.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON responded that's correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:04:04 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  related   his  understanding  from  the                                                               
sponsor statement  that there is  value in collecting  this data.                                                               
However, he questioned  the true value of this data  to the Board                                                               
of Fisheries if only guides provided it.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON informed the committee  that the department has other                                                               
data  collecting mechanisms  similar to  the electronic  logbooks                                                               
that are used  for the average recreational  angler, whether it's                                                               
a  resident  or  nonresident.     Those  mechanisms  include  the                                                               
statewide harvest  survey program,  which has been  ongoing since                                                               
1977.   The  data from  the statewide  harvest survey  program is                                                               
used in  conjunction with the  logbook data.  For  some intensive                                                               
fisheries,  the  department  also  uses an  onsite  creel  survey                                                               
program  to collect  data.   Therefore, there  are multiple  data                                                               
collection   methods   in   order   to   provide   complete   and                                                               
comprehensive  coverage for  the  fisheries  statistics that  are                                                               
necessary to manage the fisheries.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI  requested  Mr.  Swanton  cite  specific                                                               
examples in  which, over  the last couple  of years,  the logbook                                                               
data was used for Board of Fisheries recommendations.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWANTON  answered  that  although  he  can't  cite  specific                                                               
examples, he's  almost positive  that the  logbook data  has been                                                               
included to the information provided to the Board of Fisheries.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:06:38 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  OLSON, in  regard to  changing the  license fees,                                                               
noted  his  agreement  with Representative  Guttenberg's  earlier                                                               
comments.    There isn't  an accurate  break down with  regard to                                                               
what  people  are willing  to  pay  for  these licenses  and  the                                                               
division isn't  being given  a tool to  determine the  numbers of                                                               
people in each class.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:07:29 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON asked if an individual  has to prove he/she is a                                                               
guide/owner prior to obtaining a license.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON answered  that an individual can't  simply say he/she                                                               
is a  guide and obtain a  license.  A myriad  of documentation is                                                               
required.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON pointed  out that  a guide  could prove  he's a                                                               
guide,  while the  owner/operator would  have to  have additional                                                               
[document] requirements.   Therefore, there is a  manner in which                                                               
to distinguish  an owner/operator versus  a guide.   Perhaps, the                                                               
purpose  behind  this  [reduction  in fees]  is  related  to  the                                                               
additional  costs  required  for an  owner/operator  versus  just                                                               
being an operator or  just a guide.  He noted that  to be a guide                                                               
on the Kenai one has to have training, go to college.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON informed the committee  that it's a separate program.                                                               
He specified that  the Kenai training doesn't  fall under ADF&G's                                                               
regulatory   authority.     Under  the   Department  of   Natural                                                               
Resources'  authority, guides  on the  Kenai are  required to  go                                                               
through a week-long guide college.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON clarified  that  his point  is  that there  are                                                               
other costs  in some fisheries.   The additional expenses  of the                                                               
owner/operator  may be  why the  decrease  in the  fees is  being                                                               
suggested.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:10:06 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  related his understanding  that [license                                                               
fees] have  to support receipts-supported  licensures.   He asked                                                               
if the licenses being discussed today are different.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON  pointed out the  fees being discussed today  are set                                                               
in statute  while those [receipt-supported licenses]  are covered                                                               
separately under occupational licensing.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:11:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  recalled that  in the  past the  legislature has                                                               
decreased the fee  for business licenses.   Co-Chair Neuman asked                                                               
if  the  reducing  funding  due  to  the  reduction  in  fees  is                                                               
something Mr. Swanton can live with.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON  answered that  if the  proposed decrease  in license                                                               
fees  was any  other  time,  in terms  of  sport fishing  license                                                               
sales, it  might be something  that could be absorbed.   However,                                                               
over  the past  couple of  years, sales  of nonresident  licenses                                                               
have decreased.   This reduction  has been primarily  occurred in                                                               
Southcentral and  Southeast Alaska.   The  reduction has  been in                                                               
the  amount of  about 70,000  licenses, which  has resulted  in a                                                               
substantial  decline in  ADF&G revenue.     The ADF&G  revenue is                                                               
used  to match  the  sport fish  restoration,  which are  federal                                                               
pass-through dollars.   Mr. Swanton  concluded that  this further                                                               
decrease  in  fees,  while  not crippling,  would  have  a  major                                                               
impact.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:13:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI  noted that  one must report  what he/she                                                               
has harvested  in the Chitina dip  netting fishery.  He  asked if                                                               
any  thought has  been given  to collecting  the data  in another                                                               
manner, rather than placing the burden on the charter operator.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON remarked that the  Chitina dip net [reporting] is not                                                               
all  that different  than the  logbook sheets,  it's just  coming                                                               
from a different  source and there's substantially  more of them.                                                               
The technology to directly transfer  the data electronically from                                                               
the guide at this point doesn't exist.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:15:11 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON inquired as to  the number of sport fishing                                                               
guide licenses referred to by  Co-Chair Johnson would be captured                                                               
by the fee referenced on page 1, line 10.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON  estimated that it  would be a smaller  fraction, but                                                               
noted that  he doesn't have a  way to calculate that  without the                                                               
statistics before him.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  clarified that he is  trying to understand                                                               
whether the  small operators Co-Chair Johnson  referenced earlier                                                               
have  to pay  the existing  $100 for  the sport  fishing operator                                                               
license of the combination license.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWANTON answered  that he  was  unsure whether  he has  that                                                               
information with him.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:17:20 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON  asked if  using  cruise  ship taxes  has  been                                                               
considered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON  opined that he  was unsure whether moving  into that                                                               
realm would be simple.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON  remarked that  he partially asked  the question                                                               
in jest,  but then opined that  if "we can support  a bison ranch                                                               
in  Anchorage, I  don't  know  why we  can't  support fishing  in                                                               
Southeast."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:18:31 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  reminded the  committee that  the Division                                                               
of Sport  Fish is charged with  monitoring sport fish as  well as                                                               
personal  use fisheries.   The  Division  of Sport  Fish has  had                                                               
inadequate  funds to  monitor  the personal  use  fishery on  the                                                               
Kenai River.   In fact, there  has been almost no  enumeration of                                                               
the  number of  participants other  than by  the 33,000  who have                                                               
applied for licenses.  Furthermore,  there's almost no monitoring                                                               
of the  catch or  the export of  fish by FedEx.  If funds  to the                                                               
Division  of Sport  Fish are  reduced by  reducing these  license                                                               
fees,  would  that  further restrict  the  division's  monitoring                                                               
ability, he asked.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON replied that at this  point it would be premature for                                                               
him  to speculate  what would  or would  not be  eliminated as  a                                                               
result  of the  revenue reduction  proposed in  this legislation.                                                               
The  information Representative  Seaton  presented  on the  Kenai                                                               
personal  use  fishery  is  somewhat simplified.    In  fact,  he                                                               
related that he personally spent  six hours last summer reviewing                                                               
permits  and  checking  and   verifying  catches,  licenses,  and                                                               
permits in the  Kenai River fishery.  Therefore, to  so say there                                                               
is virtually no monitoring is a simplification of the process.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:21:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  OLSON, noting  that  he has  lived  on the  Kenai                                                               
River for in excess of 15 years  and lived near it for another 15                                                               
years, took exception  to some of the comments.   He related that                                                               
from  his house  he  can  see a  mile  stretch  of the  mid-river                                                               
section   of  the   Kenai  River,   where  utilization   is  down                                                               
considerably compared to  15 years ago.  He  noted agreement that                                                               
the pressure on  the Kenai River is  at the mouth of  it, but not                                                               
the total river system.   Representative Olson told the committee                                                               
that he  sees the division's  boats and  the park's boats  go by.                                                               
He opined  that there is  more enforcement  on the river  than in                                                               
the past  when he  would see  only the morning  boat go  down the                                                               
river at the  time the guides entered the  river.  Representative                                                               
Olson added that  although pressure on the middle  portion of the                                                               
Kenai  River  has decreased  and  enforcement  has increased,  he                                                               
didn't believe [enforcement] was adequate.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:23:10 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON clarified that  he wasn't talking about the                                                               
middle  river,  but  rather  if  funds  to  the  department  were                                                               
reduced.  The department has the  duty to review the lower end of                                                               
the river,  which has been a  burgeoning fishery.  He  noted that                                                               
the fishery  fluctuates widely  depending on  the number  of fish                                                               
coming in  on the tide.   Therefore, he clarified that  his point                                                               
is that reducing the funds  available for monitoring all of sport                                                               
fishing  will  reduce the  funds  available  for all  monitoring,                                                               
including fisheries that require an increase in monitoring.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   OLSON  asked   if   Representative  Seaton   was                                                               
referring to  the portion of the  Kenai River from the  bridge to                                                               
the mouth.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON replied yes.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:24:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  related  his understanding  that  a  tremendous                                                               
amount of Pittman-Roberts money came into the state.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWANTON agreed,  but  highlighted  that the  Pittman-Roberts                                                               
funds go  to the Division  of Wildlife.   He then  clarified that                                                               
sport fish restoration funds are  pass-through monies from excise                                                               
taxes on boat  fuels, equipment, et cetera and those  funds go to                                                               
the Division of Sport Fish.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN opined  that the commissioner has  the ability to                                                               
move funds where  needed.  He then asked if  federal funds from a                                                               
portion  of the  purchase of  a fishing  rod or  hooks go  to the                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWANTON clarified  that  [the excise  tax  on] boats,  fuel,                                                               
fishing rods, hooks,  gear, et cetera is  distributed amongst the                                                               
states through  the sport  fish restoration  program.   A similar                                                               
program  exists for  the  wildlife side,  he  reiterated.   Those                                                               
funds  are   fairly  specific  with  regard   to  the  particular                                                               
activities that can be funded with those funds.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN maintained  that the overall funds  to ADF&G have                                                               
increased considerably this year.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
10:28:00 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  surmised that  if the proposed  lower fees                                                               
are passed, the  lack of funds will have to  come from elsewhere.                                                               
Furthermore,  the  [proposed  lower   fees]  will  have  negative                                                               
impacts in  regard to federal  matching funds.   He asked  if the                                                               
aforementioned is, in fact, the case.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWANTON concurred  with Representative  Edgmon's assessment,                                                               
but noted that he doesn't know  the extent of the negative impact                                                               
with regard to federal matching funds.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON inquired  as to  how much  in federal  matching                                                               
funds are received currently and at what percentage.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. SWANTON, from the top of  his head, he estimated that it's an                                                               
average  of  $16-$18  million in  sport  fish  restoration  funds                                                               
annually and  an average  of $13-$14 million  in ADF&G  funds, in                                                               
terms of the match requirement.  The match requirement is 75:25.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:29:15 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON  inquired as to  how much federal funds  will be                                                               
lost with the passage of the proposed reduction in fees.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWANTON posed  a  scenario  in which  there  was  a loss  of                                                               
$150,000, which would  result in a potential loss  of $450,000 in                                                               
federal funds that could not be matched.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:29:59 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  pointed out  that  the  cells for  the  federal                                                               
receipts and general fund match on the fiscal note are blank.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SWANTON  related   that  no  federal  funds   are  for  this                                                               
particular program.   However, if there isn't a  reduction in the                                                               
revenues  ADF&G  takes  in,  license   sales  funds  from  angler                                                               
licenses would  have to be used  for this program and  thus those                                                               
funds would be  removed from being able to be  used for a federal                                                               
match.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:31:32 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON  opened public  testimony.   There being  no one                                                               
wishing to testify, he closed public testimony.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:32:19 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  noted  his   appreciation  for  what  the                                                               
sponsor is attempting to do in  terms of public policy.  Although                                                               
the fees are nominal to  begin with, Representative Edgmon opined                                                               
that there  is merit, especially  in comparison to  other sectors                                                               
of the fishing industry, to  returning the fees to their original                                                               
cost.   [Returning  to the  original fees]  is further  supported                                                               
given the impact of reduced fees  on the division and its ability                                                               
to support the program and attract federal dollars, he stated.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:33:34 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  moved Conceptual Amendment 1,  which would                                                               
return  the fee  structure on  page  1, lines  9 and  12, to  its                                                               
existing rates of $100.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KAWASAKI  objected   and  related   a  different                                                               
procedural route the committee could take.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON stated  that there is already a  motion to adopt                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN objected.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:34:50 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  related that  this is an  issue he  has followed                                                               
closely  for years  and  Version  S is  in  response  to what  is                                                               
occurring in  Representative Edgmon's  district as well  as other                                                               
issues in  the state.   Co-Chair Neuman  opined that [one  of the                                                               
goals with  HB 246]  is to become  more efficient  in government,                                                               
which would be  achieved by using documents that  can be scanned.                                                               
The  aforementioned results  in a  small reduction  of labor  and                                                               
thus costs  savings, which  he indicated should  be passed  on to                                                               
the people.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:37:30 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  told the committee  four to five years  ago, the                                                               
legislature  appropriated $1  million  to perform  a tagging  and                                                               
retagging and  fish wheel program.   The legislature appropriated                                                               
another  $500,000 to  obtain an  opinion regarding  the value  of                                                               
sport caught fish.   He requested a copy of  the draft version of                                                               
that opinion,  which was  paid for by  the legislature  through a                                                               
capital appropriation.  However, he was  told he could not have a                                                               
copy of  the opinion, which  he charged is  a public record.   He                                                               
then  asked Legislative  Legal Services  to  provide an  opinion,                                                               
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     As   I  understand   the   facts,   the  Alaska   State                                                                    
     Legislature   appropriated  $500,000   to  the   Alaska                                                                    
     Department of Fish  & Game for a study  of the economic                                                                    
     value of sport  fish.  The Alaska Department  of Fish &                                                                    
     Game  issued   a  request  for  proposals,   which  was                                                                    
     awarded.  The Alaska Department  of Fish & Game has now                                                                    
     received the report,  but does not want  to disclose it                                                                    
     because it  wants to edit it  to make it clearer.   The                                                                    
     report  fits the  definition of  a public  record under                                                                    
     Alaska  Statute, as  a writing  that is  received by  a                                                                    
     public   agency   and   it   is   preserved   for   its                                                                    
     informational value.   In addition, of  course, was the                                                                    
     subject of a  specific appropriation, which strengthens                                                                    
     it  statute   as  a  public   record.     The  specific                                                                    
     legislative   appropriation   for  this   report   also                                                                    
     eliminates any  argument that the report  is subject to                                                                    
     the deliberative process privilege.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  surmised  then  that  this  opinion  is  public                                                               
information.     Co-Chair   Neuman  emailed   [Legislative  Legal                                                               
Services' opinion].  Upon meeting  with the director regarding HB
246,  the director  said that  he hadn't  opened the  attachment.                                                               
Therefore,  Co-Chair Neuman  provided the  [commissioner] a  hard                                                               
copy, which  the commissioner  did not  read at  that time.   Co-                                                               
Chair Neuman interpreted this as  a blatant illustration that the                                                               
commissioner  didn't want  to review  this.    In  a more  recent                                                               
discussion with  the commissioner, Co-Chair Neuman  discussed the                                                               
issue again.   During that  discussion, Co-Chair  Neuman reminded                                                               
the director  that legislators are  elected officials,  the voice                                                               
of  the  public.   He  further  reminded  the director  that  the                                                               
legislature sets  policy and the administration  administers that                                                               
policy.   Co-Chair  Neuman stated  his dismay  with such  lack of                                                               
response.  He echoed his  earlier comment regarding his desire to                                                               
pass on  efficiencies to the  public, but  added that he  is also                                                               
trying  to  establish  an  example  that  the  authority  of  the                                                               
legislature  is  respected and  that  the  voice of  legislator's                                                               
constituents  matter and  have a  say with  regard to  how public                                                               
funds  are spent.   Ultimately,  Co-Chair Neuman  questioned what                                                               
tools the legislature has [to obtain such public information].                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN concluded  by reminding  the committee  that the                                                               
department has  received a  lot of  extra money  this year.   The                                                               
department,  he  opined,   won't  be  substantially  [negatively]                                                               
impacted by  [Version S].   The reduction in fees  merely amounts                                                               
to a $200,000.   Co-Chair Neuman opined that the  principle is to                                                               
ensure  that the  public's  information is  protected.   He  then                                                               
maintained his vehement objection to Conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  JOHNSON  requested a  copy  of  the earlier  referenced                                                               
[opinion from  Legislative Legal  Services] to be  distributed to                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:44:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON,  in  rebuttal, highlighted  that  HB  246                                                               
applies to commercial operators in  the sport fishing sector, not                                                               
noncommercial operators.   In terms of efficiencies  and the cost                                                               
to run the  programs, he questioned why one small  portion of the                                                               
array of  fees and  licenses in an  industry is  being addressed.                                                               
Again, he stated  that these fees are nominal.   [Version S] goes                                                               
above   and  beyond   what  the   Senate  companion   legislation                                                               
addresses.   In essence,  a decrement is  being applied  to sport                                                               
fishing.  The funds not obtained  due to the reduced license fees                                                               
will have  to come  from somewhere, and  furthermore the  lack of                                                               
funds  won't  be   present  to  attract  federal   dollars.    In                                                               
conclusion,  Representative Edgmon  said  he  stands firmly  with                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:46:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  agreed that  the  fees  are nominal.    For                                                               
example,  his electrician's  license  cost $280  and requires  16                                                               
hours  of continuing  education  prior to  each  renewal of  that                                                               
license or  passage of a test.   Furthermore, he had  to attend a                                                               
five-year apprenticeship program to  even acquire his electrician                                                               
license.   Representative Tuck reminded  the committee  that some                                                               
of the  reasons for licenses  are to  protect the public  and the                                                               
health of the practitioners.  In  this case, it is to protect the                                                               
resource  by  having  accurate  data to  determine  how  best  to                                                               
protect it.   Representative Tuck related his  desire to maintain                                                               
the existing fees  and extending the licenses for  two more years                                                               
in order  to continue to  acquire data.  The  reporting procedure                                                               
seems fairly simple and allows  trends to be tracked, although he                                                               
acknowledged  the nine-month  lag.   Representative Tuck  related                                                               
his support for Conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:48:29 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG related  his  understanding that  with                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1, the intent is  return the fees on page 1,                                                               
lines 9 and 11 to $100.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON agreed that to be the intent.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:49:04 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN  offered an amendment to  Conceptual Amendment 1,                                                               
such that the fee  on page 1, line 9, stays at  $50 while the fee                                                               
on page 1, line 11, is returned to $100.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:49:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  objected  to the  proposed  amendment  to                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1.  He  then reminded the committee that two                                                               
years  ago  the  Commercial  Fisheries  Entry  Commission  (CFEC)                                                               
stated that the  fees for commercial licenses  wouldn't keep pace                                                               
with  increased  expenses.   The  aforementioned  resulted in  an                                                               
increase  in   operator  license  fees.     The  intent   of  the                                                               
legislature,  he   opined,  was  for  the   fees  for  commercial                                                               
operations to cover the expenses of  the program.  He opined that                                                               
the fees  in [Version S] should  cover the expenses, but  they do                                                               
not.    Representative  Seaton related  that  although  he  isn't                                                               
offering  an amendment  to  raise these  fees,  he can't  support                                                               
reducing  them  and  creating an  unfunded  mandate  through  the                                                               
amendment to Conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:52:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON stated  that in the spirit  of compromise he                                                               
would support the amendment to Conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON maintained his objection.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:52:43 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Olson, Kawasaki,                                                               
Neuman,  and  Johnson   voted  in  favor  of   the  amendment  to                                                               
Conceptual  Amendment  1.     Representatives  Tuck,  P.  Seaton,                                                               
Edgmon, Guttenberg, and  P. Wilson voted against  it.  Therefore,                                                               
the amendment to  Conceptual Amendment 1 failed to  be adopted by                                                               
a vote of 4-5.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:53:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON  announced then that Conceptual  Amendment 1 was                                                               
now before the committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN maintained his objection.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:53:56 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote was  taken.   Representatives Seaton,  Edgmon,                                                               
Guttenberg,  Tuck, and  P. Wilson  voted in  favor of  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment  1.    Representatives   Olson,  Neuman,  Johnson,  and                                                               
Kawasaki  voted against  it.   Therefore, Conceptual  Amendment 1                                                               
was adopted by a vote of 5-4.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:55:41 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE P.  WILSON moved to report  the proposed committee                                                               
substitute  (CS) for  HB  246,  Version 26-LS0929\S,  Kurtz/Kane,                                                               
4/12/10,   as  amended,   out   of   committee  with   individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being                                                               
no objection, CSHB 246(RES) was reported from the House                                                                         
Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 10:56 a.m.                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 246 CS v. S.pdf HRES 4/14/2010 9:00:00 AM
HB 246