Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

04/19/2017 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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                HB 197-COMMUNITY SEED LIBRARIES                                                                             
1:04:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR  announced that the  first order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO.  197, "An  Act relating to  the duties  of the                                                               
commissioner of  natural resources; relating to  agriculture; and                                                               
relating to community seed libraries."                                                                                          
1:04:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JENNIFER JOHNSTON,  Alaska State  Legislature, as                                                               
the  sponsor, introduced  HB  197.   She  explained  that HB  197                                                               
brings forth  local issues related  to growing one's  own produce                                                               
to feed  family members.  The  idea for the bill,  she continued,                                                               
was  brought to  her  attention by  her  daughter-in-law who  was                                                               
looking  at heirloom  seeds and  researching the  restrictions on                                                               
the local exchange of seeds.                                                                                                    
1:06:27 PM                                                                                                                    
TERRANOVA  TASKER,   Staff,  Representative   Jennifer  Johnston,                                                               
Alaska State  Legislature, on behalf of  Representative Johnston,                                                               
sponsor, provided a sectional analysis of HB 197 as follows:                                                                    
     Section 1 would amend the  duties of the commissioner of the                                                               
     Department   of   Natural   Resources   (DNR)   to   include                                                               
     development  and regulation  of  noncommercial  seed use  in                                                               
     community seed libraries.                                                                                                  
     Sections 2 and 3 would  add subsection (b) to Alaska Statute                                                               
     (AS)  03.05.030 to  allow an  exemption  for seed  libraries                                                               
     from regulations governing commercial  seeds as long as they                                                               
     comply  with AS  03.20.[110], which  are the  guidelines for                                                               
     community  seed libraries,  and do  not violate  regulations                                                               
     that  pertain   to  patented  use  without   permission,  be                                                               
     misrepresented in  classification, or  be prohibited  by the                                                               
     department as a noxious (harmful) seed.                                                                                    
     Section  4   would  add  new  section   03.20.110  providing                                                               
     guidelines  for seed  libraries as  follows:   an individual                                                               
     can establish a  community seed library that  allows for 100                                                               
     grams of  [one variety  of] seed  [per person  receiving the                                                               
     seed per year],  and the packaging must be  labeled with the                                                               
     variety,  seller's  name  and address,  year  of  packaging,                                                               
     weight  of the  contents,  and a  disclaimer statement  that                                                               
     says  not  for commercial  use.    This section  would  also                                                               
     direct  the  department  to  create   a  seed  registry  for                                                               
     publication online.                                                                                                        
     Section  5   would  [add]  language  about   community  seed                                                               
     libraries  to  statute  regulating plant  materials  centers                                                               
     already  in  existence  within   the  University  of  Alaska                                                               
     Section 6  would amend AS  44.37.[030] to  include community                                                               
     seed libraries  in the information that  the department must                                                               
     publish online and in print.                                                                                               
     Section  7   would  amend  [AS   44.37.030]  to   include  a                                                               
     subsection that  allows the Department of  Natural Resources                                                               
     to  advise people  interested in  starting a  community seed                                                               
     library on  best practices and  to submit  information about                                                               
     their library without a fee.                                                                                               
1:09:13 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH drew  attention  to the  bill  on page  2,                                                               
lines 2-6 which read:                                                                                                           
     assist  prospective settlers  and others  [DESIRING] to                                                                    
     engage  in the  agricultural industry  in the  state by                                                                
     providing  [WITH] information  about [CONCERNING  AREAS                                                            
     SUITABLE  FOR  AGRICULTURE  AND OTHER]  activities  and                                                                    
     programs  essential to  developing the  [DEVELOPMENT OF                                                                
     THE] agricultural industry and  areas in the state that                                                            
     are suitable for agriculture;                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH said  the bill seems to  make a substantial                                                               
increase in the responsibilities of  the commissioner of [DNR] by                                                               
adding, "areas that are suitable for agriculture."                                                                              
MS.  TASKER  replied that  she  and  Rob Carter,  Manager,  Plant                                                               
Materials Center,  Division of  Agriculture, DNR,  have discussed                                                               
this and "suitable for agriculture"  is wording that both DNR and                                                               
the  sponsor like  to specify  whatever area  a community  garden                                                               
might  take,  whether that  be  someone's  backyard or  community                                                               
land.   Also, she noted,  the seed statutes haven't  been updated                                                               
since the 1980's, so some language  cleanup was done when she and                                                               
[an  attorney  from]   Legislative  Legal  Services,  Legislative                                                               
Affairs  Agency,  were  going  through the  bill.    She  further                                                               
pointed out that the bill has a zero fiscal note.                                                                               
1:11:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  referred to  a letter  from Representative                                                               
Talerico that he  believed all committee members  had signed, and                                                               
which  stated  a bridge  should  be  built  to  an area  that  is                                                               
suitable for agriculture.  Representative  Parish said he doesn't                                                               
want the [Division]  of Agriculture itself being  an advocate for                                                               
bridge  building because  that is  outside the  [division's] main                                                               
area of purview.   Yet, he posited,  the aforementioned provision                                                               
would  seem to  add  some responsibility  to  the [division]  for                                                               
MS. TASKER deferred to DNR.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  returned attention to  page 2, line  6 and                                                               
further inquired whether it is  an increase in the responsibility                                                               
of  DNR to  assist all  the regions  of the  state in  developing                                                               
areas that are suitable for agriculture.                                                                                        
1:12:57 PM                                                                                                                    
ARTHUR KEYES,  Director, Division  of Agriculture,  DNR, answered                                                               
that the Division of Agriculture  sees the entire state as having                                                               
agriculture  potential  of some  form  or  another.   In  further                                                               
response   to  Representative   Parish,   he  said   it  is   the                                                               
responsibility of the  division to help all regions  of the state                                                               
develop  areas  which  are  suitable   to  agriculture,  but  not                                                               
necessarily in regard to infrastructure.                                                                                        
1:13:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  asked about the definition  of community                                                               
seed library and whether it is defined in statute.                                                                              
MS. TASKER responded that the  term "community seed library" does                                                               
not  currently exist  in statute.   The  bill would  carve out  a                                                               
space  in the  statute that  says seed  libraries can  exist, and                                                               
provides the guidelines  for labeling for seed  libraries.  Other                                                               
states going through similar processes  ran into the issue where,                                                               
because  of the  way the  statutes were  written, every  seed was                                                               
regulated  as  if  it  was  a  commercial  seed,  which  requires                                                               
extensive  labeling and  testing.   Nebraska  and Minnesota  went                                                               
through  their   statutes  and   specifically  added   the  words                                                               
"community seed  library" to carve  out space  for them so  it is                                                               
very clear  that community seed  libraries can exist even  if not                                                               
for commercial use purposes.                                                                                                    
1:14:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND surmised  that "community  seed library"                                                               
is  defined  somewhere in  the  bill.    She inquired  whether  a                                                               
community  seed   library  includes   the  seed   exchanges  that                                                               
gardeners around the state conduct each spring.                                                                                 
MS. TASKER  answered that [in  the bill  on page 3,  beginning on                                                               
line  20], Article  1A. Community  Seed Libraries,  lays out  the                                                               
guidelines for a  community seed library.  The  issue the sponsor                                                               
has  run into  is that  there are  some community  seed exchanges                                                               
happening   around   the   state,  Ester   being   the   largest.                                                               
Unfortunately,  she  said, because  of  the  way the  statute  is                                                               
written and  based on  the way the  regulations are  written, any                                                               
seed that is  used for any capacity in the  state must go through                                                               
that extensive  testing    germination percentages  and labeling.                                                               
Technically  speaking,  any seed  library  existing  today is  in                                                               
violation of the  code.  However, she related, she  has talked to                                                               
Rob Carter  and DNR thinks  seed libraries  are a great  idea and                                                               
therefore DNR  is not assessing  fees on current  seed libraries.                                                               
The  department likes  this bill  because it  would give  DNR the                                                               
authority to help and to promote seed libraries.                                                                                
1:16:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  asked  whether  this  means  that  seed                                                               
libraries currently  in existence  in Alaska are  doing something                                                               
illegal  and DNR  supports the  bill  in order  to control  [seed                                                               
libraries].  She said the intent  of the bill is unclear if there                                                               
are already community  seed libraries springing up  in an organic                                                               
local way.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  JENNIFER JOHNSTON  replied  that  the bill  would                                                               
strengthen seed libraries  and would give them  greater access to                                                               
doing  what they  do  best.   She warned  [the  state] "could  be                                                               
getting into federal problems if we don't do this."                                                                             
1:17:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND noted  that her  district has  a farmers                                                               
market and she is getting  lots of feedback from her constituents                                                               
about  what this  bill means  for  the already-existing  informal                                                               
seed exchanges that  gardeners hold around the state.   She asked                                                               
what HB 197 means for existing seed exchanges.                                                                                  
ROB  CARTER,   Manager,  Plant  Materials  Center,   Division  of                                                               
Agriculture,  Department of  Natural  Resources (DNR),  explained                                                               
that the Plant  Materials Center maintains and  has the authority                                                               
to regulate  seeds, their transportation,  their sales,  and seed                                                               
lot sales  within the state  of Alaska.   In regard to  what this                                                               
bill would do  if seed exchanges are already there,  he said that                                                               
technically  seed libraries  or any  seed exchange  in Alaska  is                                                               
against the state's current regulations.   However, he continued,                                                               
it  is not  in  the  best interest  of  plant  diversity or  food                                                               
security in  the state for the  division to spend time  and money                                                               
harassing  community-oriented folks  who  are  sharing seeds  and                                                               
providing  opportunities for  food security  in a  region to  say                                                               
that they must  follow these regulations that  are really drafted                                                               
for commercial  use.   So, technically,  he reiterated,  the non-                                                               
commercial sharing  of seed -  under the prohibited  acts section                                                               
in [Alaska's] seed regulations - is outlawed.                                                                                   
MR. CARTER  pointed out that  this bill, like many  others around                                                               
the U.S., is identifying that  non-commercial use is as important                                                               
as any issue that [the  division] deals with in Alaska pertaining                                                               
to food security.  Crop  genetic diversity, one of the foundation                                                               
cornerstones  of community  seed sharing,  is the  most important                                                               
key  to  sustainable agriculture  and  to  food security  in  any                                                               
region of the  world, he added.   The intent behind HB  197 is to                                                               
put in  statute that  this is  a legal  activity and  ensure that                                                               
this non-commercial  seed sharing  activity is secured.   Whether                                                               
this  activity is  through  a  garden club,  a  fair,  or a  seed                                                               
library,  the  bill  is needed  before  other  larger,  non-state                                                               
entities  come into  Alaska and  start pushing  federal or  state                                                               
regulations against these practices.                                                                                            
1:20:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  inquired as  to how  this will  not cost                                                               
staff time  and money  for the Plant  Materials Center  to manage                                                               
these informal seed libraries that are already in existence.                                                                    
MR.  CARTER responded  as currently  written, the  bill says  DNR                                                               
"may"  and  does  not  direct  the  department  to  do  anything.                                                               
Community seed  library is  the legal language,  he said,  and HB
197 just  gives the  department the  opportunity to  promote seed                                                               
libraries and have a place  for them on the department's internet                                                               
site.   As a seed consumer  himself, he continued, he  would love                                                               
to see  a one-stop shop  in the  state that identifies  all these                                                               
seed sharing activities.                                                                                                        
1:21:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  asked  how the  division  will  contact                                                               
consumers in this regard.                                                                                                       
MR. CARTER answered  that it would be a  multi-faceted front like                                                               
many  of the  things the  department  does.   The department  has                                                               
great resources, such as utilization  of the Alaska Grown program                                                               
and all the individual gardeners  and commercial farmers that the                                                               
department works  with already.   Once individuals  identify that                                                               
the department has the ability  to help support and promote their                                                               
activities, he said, a simple web  page could be put out where an                                                               
individual could choose to be part  of that web page.  He related                                                               
that he talks  to many individuals who participate  in these non-                                                               
commercial  seed sharing  activities  and the  community is  well                                                               
versed that  this legislation  is out  there.   Some of  them, he                                                               
added, would  be happy to  contribute their location  and contact                                                               
phone numbers and dates for community events.                                                                                   
1:23:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH  inquired  as  to how  this  type  of  seed                                                               
collection  would be  different from  commercial seed  collection                                                               
for carrots in  the Matanuska-Susitna Valley as to  the source of                                                               
the seeds and how they are preserved and maintained.                                                                            
MR.  CARTER  replied  that  there is  very  limited  carrot  seed                                                               
production in the state of  Alaska because carrots are a biennial                                                               
plant and flower  in their second year of  growth.  Commercially,                                                               
he explained,  carrot seeds  are grown in  areas like  the Skagit                                                               
Valley  in Washington  and other  places around  the world  where                                                               
they  are harvested  with a  combine like  any other  large-scale                                                               
seed production.   They are cleaned  and tested to meet  both the                                                               
state and  federal regulations, he  said, and then they  are sold                                                               
through  brokers.   Most of  the  farmers planting  carrots on  a                                                               
commercial  scale in  Alaska order  the seeds  from a  very large                                                               
agri-business that  sells tons of  seeds at  a time.   Seeds that                                                               
are  sold commercially,  he continued,  have very  strict federal                                                               
and state  guidelines to ensure  that they follow both  the state                                                               
regulations and Federal Seed Act.                                                                                               
1:25:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH surmised that  when talking about regionally                                                               
adapted seeds  harvested from  plants grown  in-state, it  is not                                                               
necessarily a commercial operation.   It would be a framework for                                                               
monitoring and  permitting through  the internet the  exchange of                                                               
Alaska grown seeds.                                                                                                             
MR. CARTER responded  that the bill does not  have any monitoring                                                               
requirements, nor  does he think there  is a need for  any.  Non-                                                               
commercial use tends to be  relatively small scale, he explained.                                                               
It is individuals  or a group of individuals who  get together to                                                               
try to overwinter some carrots  and then replant them and collect                                                               
the seeds  to share amongst  themselves.  These normally  are not                                                               
hybrids, but  rather heirlooms or open  pollinated varieties that                                                               
have  been around  for  decades or  longer.   They  are in  small                                                               
quantities.   The real  key to  it, he  said, is  individuals who                                                               
find  a type  or variety  of seed,  or a  genus or  species of  a                                                               
vegetable  that produces  well in  their  region.   In turn  they                                                               
could  harvest  seed  off  that  and  legally  share  it  amongst                                                               
themselves, with  no ramifications  from either the  Federal Seed                                                               
Act or Alaska state seed  regulations, and not impede the state's                                                               
commercial seed producers and sellers.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH said it sounds like a reasonable proposal.                                                                 
1:27:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON related  a  story of  working  in a  gift                                                               
store as  a teenager and  selling packages of Alaska  seeds, with                                                               
the  fireweed seeds  being wildly  popular.   Then at  some point                                                               
these  seeds could  not be  sold anymore  due to  regulations and                                                               
that is why she was pleased to become a co-sponsor of the bill.                                                                 
1:28:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  remarked a  good proportion of  the plants                                                               
grown in  Haines came  from his grandmother's  garden.   He asked                                                               
where in statute seed sharing is illegal.                                                                                       
MS. TASKER pointed out page  2, lines [12-14], establish that the                                                               
department is  regulating seeds,  plants, and  vegetables whether                                                               
they are sold or not sold for use in the state.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH observed that is in statute.                                                                              
MS. TASKER responded yes.   Continuing her answer, she noted that                                                               
on  page 3,  lines 1-7  pertain to  the labeling  requirements so                                                               
that any product  that is being used, sold, or  exchanged must be                                                               
labeled.   Then, one must  go to the Alaska  Administrative Code,                                                               
Chapter 34,  she said.   This chapter  has two pages  of labeling                                                               
requirements  and sets  out the  germination  percentage and  the                                                               
weight.  Combining those two  parts together, she pointed out, is                                                               
makes it  almost impossible  for a seed  library to  exist, which                                                               
she has  confirmed with Mr.  Carter.  The statute  is complicated                                                               
and needs some updating, she added.                                                                                             
1:31:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH observed  that on page 3,  lines 1-2, state                                                               
that  the  commissioner  "may"   adopt  rules,  regulations,  and                                                               
procedures.   He offered his understanding  that the commissioner                                                               
has  adopted  rules  and  procedures  which  make  all  the  seed                                                               
libraries  in the  state and  all the  individuals sharing  seeds                                                               
right now, if not criminals,  then at least engaged in extralegal                                                               
MS.  TASKER answered  correct and  deferred to  Mr. Carter  for a                                                               
further response.                                                                                                               
1:32:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH directed  his question  to Mr.  Carter and                                                               
asked  whether  it is  a  regulatory  hurdle  that the  past  DNR                                                               
commissioner has put in place  that makes seed sharing by private                                                               
individuals and seed libraries technically illegal.                                                                             
MR. CARTER replied  that the biggest hurdle in  those states that                                                               
have come  down hard  on seed  libraries and  non-commercial seed                                                               
sharing is the interpretation of  the regulations and definitions                                                               
of  the words  "offered for  sale,"  "barter," and  "trade".   In                                                               
Alaska, he  continued, what really hinders  non-commercial use is                                                               
under 11  AAC 34.075, ["Prohibited  acts"], which reads,  "(a) No                                                               
person may  sell, offer for  sale, expose for sale,  or transport                                                               
for use  in planting in  the state any agricultural  or vegetable                                                               
seed  that    [in part]  (5) has  not been  tested within  the 18                                                               
months preceding  the sale,  offering, or  exposure for  sale, or                                                               
transportation".  The seed libraries  are not selling or offering                                                               
seed  for sale,  he said,  but  the key  to this  is the  testing                                                               
within the 18 months preceding.   So, technically, any individual                                                               
who is  moving seed  in the  state of Alaska,  whether it  is one                                                               
seed  or  a  million,  who  doesn't  have  the  current  labeling                                                               
requirement  of  testing  within   the  18  months  preceding  is                                                               
breaking the state's  current regulations.  In  Alaska and around                                                               
the country, that language is  utilized to ensure that seed being                                                               
moved around  doesn't have invasive weeds  in it and that  is why                                                               
that  testing requirement  has  always been  followed.   That  is                                                               
really  the tripping  hurdle    anyone who  is transporting  seed                                                               
with the intended  use to plant that doesn't  have testing, which                                                               
is  required  by the  labeling  requirements  in Chapter  34,  is                                                               
breaking Alaska's regulations.                                                                                                  
1:34:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  inquired why the problem  cannot be solved                                                               
by  regulation.    For  example,  he  continued,  regulation  for                                                               
transportation of over  100 pounds of seed.   He further inquired                                                               
why there  isn't a  lower boundary on  the applicability  of that                                                               
because people have been doing seed  sharing for as long as there                                                               
has been agriculture.                                                                                                           
MR.  CARTER agreed  and said  [DNR]  has full  intent to  review,                                                               
update, and  modernize the regulations.   He advised  most people                                                               
do  not  realize  that  Alaska  has  a  lot  of  commercial  seed                                                               
production, and  DNR would rather  see those exemptions  made for                                                               
non-commercial  use than  to modify  things  that may  jeopardize                                                               
seeds being transported  for sale or offered for  sale within the                                                               
state that  do not meet  the state's regulation  requirements, he                                                               
said.     [The  department]  wants   to  avoid   loopholes;  seed                                                               
regulations are not  there to stop someone  from doing something,                                                               
he  explained, but  rather for  consumer protection  so that  the                                                               
seed really is  what the label says it is  for germination and no                                                               
noxious weeds.   Further, if he - in his  role as plant materials                                                               
manager - changed the regulations  so that non-commercial use and                                                               
seed libraries are not impeded,  the regulations could be changed                                                               
again  by  another  manager. Therefore,  putting  a  policy  into                                                               
statute protects this type of activity for generations to come.                                                                 
1:36:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH suggested  that perhaps  Mr. Carter  could                                                               
amend   the  {statue   and  regulation]   by   adding  the   word                                                               
"commercial"  or "for  commercial purposes"  so someone  wouldn't                                                               
have to  go through a  seed library to  legally be able  to share                                                               
seeds with neighbors.   He then observed that the  section of the                                                               
bill  for community  seed libraries  states  that someone  cannot                                                               
give more than  100 grams of one variety to  an individual within                                                               
12  consecutive months  [page 3,  lines 26-29].   He  pointed out                                                               
that some  seeds, such  as cherry pits,  would reach  that weight                                                               
limit quickly.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  JENNIFER JOHNSTON  responded she  has forthcoming                                                               
amendments to offer.                                                                                                            
1:38:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH commented  that the  labeling requirements                                                               
seem a bit  stringent for what would normally be  handed off in a                                                               
Ziploc bag.                                                                                                                     
MS.  TASKER answered  that  the bill  has  five requirements  for                                                               
labeling, which  is a downgrade  from the [current] two  pages of                                                               
labeling requirements.  Based on  her talks with Mr. Carter about                                                               
the  requirements, she  said  there  is some  wiggle  room.   For                                                               
example,  someone could  have a  sign within  the space  with the                                                               
statement  "not authorized  for  commercial use"  rather than  on                                                               
every package.  The seller's name  and address could be kept in a                                                               
binder and not necessarily be on  the package of seed.  Something                                                               
as simple as  "purple flower" would be a  reasonable request, she                                                               
continued, as well  as the weight of the package  for purposes of                                                               
tracking the weight  limit requirement.  She  offered her opinion                                                               
that these requirements are limited  but the sponsor will address                                                               
any issues.                                                                                                                     
1:39:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR  related that the  100-gram limit and  the labeling                                                               
were   concerns  expressed   to  her.     She   asked  what   the                                                               
differentiation is  between someone  collecting seed from  his or                                                               
her own  backyard and gifting  it to a friend  versus individuals                                                               
participating in a seed library.                                                                                                
MR. CARTER  replied the intent  of the bill, in  his professional                                                               
opinion,  is  the  bill  pertains  to  community  seed  libraries                                                               
defined as a place where individuals  can go and use those seeds.                                                               
The sponsor and  her staff have identified that  the bill doesn't                                                               
provide  an  exemption so  that  two  persons could  individually                                                               
share seeds  with one another.   That would  be easy to  put into                                                               
Article 1,  he said, but the  amendments need to be  heard before                                                               
it can be discussed much further.                                                                                               
CO-CHAIR  TARR urged  that  this  differentiation be  considered.                                                               
She pointed out that people  who collect seed for contributing to                                                               
a seed library  are going to want to include  the genus, species,                                                               
or variety information.  This type  of person is one step up from                                                               
folks who just buy a few plants  and have a pot in front of their                                                               
house,  she  said, and  therefore  the  committee might  want  to                                                               
segregate that.                                                                                                                 
1:41:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON noted  that some  of the  letters in  the                                                               
committee packet state  that the bill is alarming.   She said she                                                               
thinks some of the concerns  could be based on misinformation and                                                               
urged for further discussion of the concerns.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON responded  yes and  asked Ms.  Tasker to                                                               
discuss the forthcoming amendments.                                                                                             
1:43:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR  asked Ms. Tasker  to address amendments  about the                                                               
labeling concerns, the 100-gram  limit, the requirement for being                                                               
grown in-state, and treated seeds.                                                                                              
MS. TASKER related  that the sponsor is working  on amendments in                                                               
response to talks  with the seed libraries.  She  also noted that                                                               
some miscommunication about  what the bill does  has been brought                                                               
to the  attention of  the sponsors, so  the sponsors  are working                                                               
with stakeholders to explain what the bill really does.                                                                         
MS. TASKER  said one forthcoming  amendment addresses  seeds that                                                               
are  grown outside  Alaska.   For example,  seed libraries  often                                                               
receive seed donations from The  Home Depot or other entities and                                                               
the libraries  have said they  would like  to be able  to include                                                               
these  seeds.   This makes  sense,  she said,  because the  seeds                                                               
traveling from  out of  state have  already undergone  a labeling                                                               
process as part of the federal interstate commerce rules.                                                                       
MS. TASKER  stated the second  forthcoming amendment  responds to                                                               
the concern about  the weight limit and would  increase the limit                                                               
to one pound, which Mr. Carter  has agreed is a limit that should                                                               
cover most seed.                                                                                                                
MS. TASKER  explained the  third forthcoming  amendment addresses                                                               
the  marijuana  seed  issue.     This  amendment  would  prohibit                                                               
marijuana seeds from the seed library exchange.                                                                                 
MS.  TASKER,  in  regard  to  Mr.  Carter's  discussion  about  a                                                               
personal exemption,  said she would  work with  Legislative Legal                                                               
Services on language for an amendment to address those concerns.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH requested an  explicit [exemption] be given                                                               
for personal non-commercial seed sharing.                                                                                       
1:46:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  TARR stated  that  this type  of  legislation has  been                                                               
passed by California, Nebraska,  Illinois, and Minnesota, and she                                                               
will post the  California legislation on the web  site for people                                                               
to  view.   She  said  the  aforementioned amendments  cover  the                                                               
issues that she  is concerned about.  She asked  Mr. Carter if he                                                               
would like to add anything about the forthcoming amendments.                                                                    
MR. CARTER  answered he  doesn't see  any issues  with increasing                                                               
the weight  limit.  He related  that he has heard  concerns about                                                               
potatoes and root  cuttings, but pointed out this  is a formality                                                               
with  the  state's  regulations because  the  regulations  define                                                               
bulbs,  straps, corms,  and other  such things  as plants  and so                                                               
those are  not regulated under  the state's seed  regulations and                                                               
would have  no weight restrictions.   He  said he feels  the seed                                                               
weight  limit could  be in  the one-pound  area without  directly                                                               
impacting anything and still providing the opportunity.                                                                         
MR. CARTER  pointed out  that agronomically  all seeds  cannot be                                                               
produced  in Alaska,  so  individuals get  seed  from friends  or                                                               
family in other  states, or purchase seed from  outside of Alaska                                                               
that   they  want   to  use   for  non-commercial   seed  sharing                                                               
activities.  That  exemption is needed, he said,  and Article 1A,                                                               
Community Seed Libraries,  could easily be amended  to provide an                                                               
exemption for  non-seed library seed sharing  activities to allow                                                               
for one person to give another  person a package of seeds for his                                                               
or her garden.                                                                                                                  
MR. CARTER  stated it  would be  up to the  bill sponsor  for the                                                               
language that  is required  on packaging.   He  said that,  as he                                                               
reads the bill's  current language, this could be done  by a seed                                                               
library  with  a single  sign  written  on cardboard  [displayed]                                                               
above  the  library's  seed  sharing  activities  or  within  the                                                               
library's seed  sharing opportunities that just  states these are                                                               
seeds  grown  for non-commercial  use  and  that would  meet  the                                                               
requirements of the bill.                                                                                                       
MR. CARTER offered his opinion  that this is important; Alaska is                                                               
lucky  because  it   has  isolation  and  does   not  have  large                                                               
agriculture that  tends to push  a little heavier on  these types                                                               
of regulations.  The opportunity  for non-commercial use and seed                                                               
libraries, he  said, is  what is going  to provide  for long-term                                                               
sustainability and  self-reliance in the state  because people in                                                               
both remote  and non-remote  areas may not  have access  to seed,                                                               
but they  may have access  to seed that  has been grown  in their                                                               
region.  Having  an agricultural system that is  adapted to these                                                               
community environments to  be self-reliant is a  large portion of                                                               
sustainable agriculture in a state like Alaska, he advised.                                                                     
1:50:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR TARR opened public testimony.                                                                                          
1:51:06 PM                                                                                                                    
GRACE JOHNSTON  testified in  support of  HB 197.   She  said she                                                               
feels passionately  about this  bill because  she is  invested in                                                               
Anchorage gardening and loves how  a summer garden provides fresh                                                               
and nutritious food  for her family.  The longer  that produce is                                                               
on the  shelf, she explained,  the more the nutrition  decays, so                                                               
it  is important  to her  to be  able to  pick directly  from the                                                               
garden to table.   She stated she is also  firmly invested in the                                                               
future of  gardening in Alaska  through her young daughter.   She                                                               
would like  for her  daughter to be  able to grow  up in  a state                                                               
where the  specialized seeds that  can flourish in  Alaska, those                                                               
that  are cold-  and sun-adapted,  are readily  available because                                                               
these  seeds   are  not  commercially  viable   for  larger  seed                                                               
producers in the  Lower 48 or around the world.   It is therefore                                                               
important to  ensure that Alaskans  can legally and  widely share                                                               
these seeds throughout the state,  she said.  Explicitly allowing                                                               
for seed libraries  will ensure that that legacy  remains for the                                                               
present as well as future generations.                                                                                          
1:53:18 PM                                                                                                                    
PATRICIA  TREYDTE  testified  in  support of  HB  197,  but  with                                                               
reservations as  she has some concerns.   She stated that  if the                                                               
subject hadn't been brought up it  wouldn't need to be done.  One                                                               
of her concerns, she pointed out,  is that the bill says "seller"                                                               
as  the person  giving out  the  seeds.   She questioned  whether                                                               
"seller"  is  the  correct  term  or whether  a  term  should  be                                                               
invented, such as "exchanger" or "sharer".                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR  TARR  observed  that "seller's  name  and  address"  is                                                               
included as one  of the five [labeling] requirements  [on page 4,                                                               
line 2].   She related that the sponsor and  her staff are taking                                                               
note of this concern.                                                                                                           
MS.  TREYDTE reiterated  that she  doesn't know  what the  proper                                                               
term would be, but that she doesn't think it should be "seller".                                                                
MS. TREYDTE said another of  her concerns is the 100-gram [weight                                                               
limit], which  would not go  far, particularly if  someone wanted                                                               
to grow  a quarter acre  of grain for  feeding to chickens.   She                                                               
urged that this be addressed.                                                                                                   
MS. TREYDTE pointed out that  Alaska has a viable commercial seed                                                               
potato industry and expressed her  concern that the bill does not                                                               
address potatoes  in either start  or seed form.   She recognized                                                               
that seed potatoes would not be  included in the bill, but warned                                                               
that potato,  tomato, and eggplant  seeds can carry  late blight.                                                               
Tomato seeds,  she continued,  are one of  the most  precious and                                                               
often exchanged seeds  because they are easy to save.   She asked                                                               
whether this  is something that  needs to be addressed  since the                                                               
potato industry needs to be protected.                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR  TARR offered  her understanding  that  the purchase  of                                                               
certified seed  potatoes is required.   She requested  Mr. Carter                                                               
to  address  Ms.  Treydte's concern  about  potato,  tomato,  and                                                               
eggplant seeds.                                                                                                                 
1:56:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. CARTER replied  that the purchase of  certified seed potatoes                                                               
is required for commercial use.                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR  TARR   inquired  whether  Mr.  Carter   thinks  tomato,                                                               
eggplant,  and  other  seeds like  that  should  be  specifically                                                               
mentioned or differentiated in the bill.                                                                                        
MR. CARTER  responded that if it  the subject was live  plants he                                                               
would  say yes,  but the  bill is  only talking  about seeds  and                                                               
therefore he doesn't think it  is necessary.  Within that family,                                                               
the easiest  thing for seed  savers is  that they don't  look for                                                               
plants  that have  disease or  that biologically  aren't in  good                                                               
shape.   They are allowing  the fruit to  go to maturity  so that                                                               
the  seeds mature.    A  late blight  infected  tomato plant,  he                                                               
advised, would  be a very poor  performer and it would  not be in                                                               
the best interest  of anyone to maintain it or  collect seed from                                                               
it.  He  said the department currently has  registration for live                                                               
tomato  plants being  shipped  into  the state,  as  well as  for                                                               
potatoes and  within that family, but  within this non-commercial                                                               
seed sharing use he doesn't feel it is necessary.                                                                               
CO-CHAIR TARR observed that Section  6 discusses the department's                                                               
duties and  gives DNR  the ability  to publish  information about                                                               
seed  libraries.   She suggested  that  perhaps this  information                                                               
could direct  seed libraries to be  careful in terms of  the kind                                                               
of information  that is shared  with participants so  things like                                                               
that could be prevented.                                                                                                        
MR. CARTER  answered that currently  the department  doesn't have                                                               
the authority to  spend any time or effort working  with the non-                                                               
commercial use  of seed.  He  said he therefore believes  HB 197,                                                               
and that section specifically, would  provide DNR the opportunity                                                               
to not regulate, but to  help promote and identify non-commercial                                                               
seed sharing activities, and he is very comfortable with that.                                                                  
1:59:06 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID OTNESS testified  in support of HB 197.   He stated that as                                                               
a gardener  he wants  to see anything  that would  facilitate the                                                               
transfer  of seeds  and  provide  agricultural awareness  because                                                               
people growing their own food  is something that has really taken                                                               
off.   Anything to make  [seed transfer]  not illegal would  be a                                                               
good thing, he  added.  Drawing attention to page  2, line 25, he                                                               
asked why the bill includes regulating the farming of elk.                                                                      
CO-CHAIR TARR replied that that  is an existing statute under the                                                               
current duties  of the DNR  commissioner and therefore it  is not                                                               
something  that is  being  added or  changed by  the  bill.   She                                                               
explained that  when a  section of statute  is amended  the whole                                                               
section shows up in the bill.                                                                                                   
2:01:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  TARR, after  ascertaining that  no one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
2:01:57 PM                                                                                                                    
HB 197 was held over.                                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 197 Sponsor Statement.pdf HRES 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 5/1/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Version J 4.5.2017.pdf HRES 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 5/1/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Sectional Analysis ver J 4.6.2017.pdf HRES 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 5/1/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Fiscal Note - DNR-PMC 4.7.17.pdf HRES 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 5/1/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 197
HB197 Supporting Document - Article. Seed Bill 4.9.17.pdf HRES 4/10/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/12/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/17/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 5/1/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 197
HB 107 Sponsor Statement 2.8.17.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/26/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107
HB 107 Ver O 2.8.17.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107
HB 107 CS (FSH) WORK DRAFT version U 3.6.2017.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107
HB 107 CS (FSH) Explanation of Changes 3.6.2017.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107
HB 107 Sectional Analysis 2.8.2017.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107
HB107 Fiscal Note DFG-DCF 2.24.17.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107 Additional Documentation Egg to Fry survival rates.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107 Additional Documentation. Considerations for Salmon Restoration Planning.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 107 Additional Documents - Fish Enhancement in AK History.pdf HRES 4/19/2017 1:00:00 PM