Legislature(2003 - 2004)
02/24/2004 08:03 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 447-2004 REVISORS BILL Number 2512 CHAIR WEYHRAUCH announced that the next order of business was HOUSE BILL NO. 447, "An Act making corrective amendments to the Alaska Statutes as recommended by the revisor of statutes; and providing for an effective date." The committee took an at-ease from 9:00 a.m. to 9:03 a.m. Number 2494 PAM FINLEY, Revisor of Statutes, Legislative Legal Counsel, Legislative Legal and Research Services, told the committee that the purpose of [HB 447] is to "clean up the statutes on matters where the policy has already been decided." She indicated that there should be no policy changes in the proposed legislation. She explained that most of the changes in the bill have to do with two executive orders from last year, which "didn't make certain technical changes that needed to be made." Those changes, she explained, have been discussed with the executive branch. Ms. Finley noted that there is a sectional included with the bill. She offered to answer questions. Number 2443 MS. FINLEY began discussion of what became Amendment 1. She said the Department of Law has asked for a change as follows: On page 7, line 6 Delete "and restoration" MS. FINLEY explained that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says it is not doing restoration. Number 2387 REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG suggested, "When we're talking about whether DNR ... chooses to do restoration, that may be a policy issue." MS. FINLEY responded that it would be [a policy issue] if that section of the bill "told people to do things." She clarified, "What this section of the law is, is a list of state activities that can be considered in determining the differential in fees between residents and nonresidents for fishing." She continued as follows: So, what it basically says is that you may consider the cost incurred by the state for direct operating expenditures in regulation of the commercial ... fishing industry, including -- and then there's this long laundry list. And actually, even if it weren't in this list, I think if it's met the basic definition of a commercial fishing activity, you could still consider it. I think this list was passed, probably in response to a court decision where they were trying to spend the fee differential, and they wanted as much as they could put in it. So, if this were a statute that says, "DNR shall do 'x,' 'y,' or 'z,'" I would agree with you - it would be a policy matter and I wouldn't touch it. ... This is a list of things we're doing that you could consider in the fee differential and, actually even if it's not in this list, you could still consider it. So, I don't really have any objection to making DNR happy on this point. Number 2260 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked the following: If DNR were to engage in restoration - which, since they've assumed most of the functions of [the Alaska Department of Fish & Game], they ought to - would removal of this language preclude a differential? MS. FINLEY said she doesn't think so, because the language specifies the Department of Natural Resources, "including" the Alaska coastal management program and habitat program. She explained that the use of the word "including" does not mean "these are the only things." She opined that it's nice to have [and restoration] in the list, which she explained is why she included it; however, if DNR decided to do restoration, she said she thinks the department could still argue that as long as it had something to do with commercial fishing, it could be included. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked if that language was removed at the request of someone. MS. FINLEY noted that she had received a call from Janet Burleson-Baxter, [Department of Natural Resources], who asked her to [remove the language], whereby she deferred Ms. Burleson- Baxter to [Deborah Behr, Assistant Attorney General]. Then Ms. Behr called her and asked her to take the language out. She said, "We agreed that since this was just an including provision, both in [the Alaska Department of Fish & Game] and in DNR, ... in some ways it didn't matter at all." Number 2181 CHAIR WEYHRAUCH asked if there was any objection to adopting the foregoing Amendment 1. There being none, it was so ordered. Number 2135 MS. FINLEY, in response to a query from Chair Weyhrauch, offered the following history: She said there was a time when the advisor's bill just went to the House Judiciary Standing Committee and the Senate Judiciary Standing Committee. At some point, she noted, it got a referral to "State Affairs in one house and then in the next." Ever since then it has been heard by both the House State Affairs Standing Committee and the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee. Number 2112 CHAIR WEYHRAUCH noted that there has been some grumbling by some that [the revisor's bill] should not get a referral to [the House State Affairs Standing Committee or the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee]. He opined, "I think it's fine if another pair of eyes looks at it." He noted that sometimes "people pick things up that aren't picked up in one committee." Number 2092 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ remarked that he thinks that's why it's generally preferable that bills - particularly substantive bills - get at least two committees of referral. He stated that he knows that the speaker [of the House of Representatives] is "not always of the same opinion." Number 2064 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL turned to [page 6, line 4], and asked for an explanation of the change in language from "[PRIMARY]" to "general". MS. FINLEY explained that at one point nominating petitions were done for the primary election. That was changed in 2001, so that the nominating petitions only applied to general elections. She added, "And we did it in all the other statutes and we missed this one." She clarified that the language that Representative Coghill asked about is just conforming language. Number 2015 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL moved to report HB 447, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations [and the accompanying fiscal note]. Number 2007 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ objected to say that he has noticed that a substantial portion of the bill came about because executive orders were not "carefully vetted"; they didn't do what they should have done. He said this highlights the problem of when the administration acts without doing a thorough job regarding executive orders. He said that it highlights the danger of using executive orders as opposed to going through legislation to conduct the state's business. He noted that it is not the legislature's mistake that is being fixed, but the governor's. That said, Representative Berkowitz withdrew his objection. Number 1959 There being no further objection, CSHB 447(STA) was reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.