Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/01/2004 09:05 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 295                                                                                                        
     "An Act extending the termination date of the Navigable Waters                                                             
     Commission for Alaska; and providing for an effective date."                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ZACH WARWICK,  Staff  to Senator  Gene Therriault,  stated that  the                                                            
Joint  Federal and  State Navigable  Waters Commission  for  Alaska,                                                            
which would  consist of seven State  and seven federal members,  was                                                            
established by  the Legislature in 2002 "to expedite  the process of                                                            
acquiring  legitimate  title  to the  State's  submerged  lands;  to                                                            
determine which bodies  of water are navigable or non-navigable; and                                                            
to  provide recommendations  to  the  State and  federal  government                                                            
concerning  ways  to improve  the  process  of  making navigability                                                             
determinations  in ways to  acquire title  to the State's  submerged                                                            
lands  judiciously and  expeditiously."  He informed  the  Committee                                                            
that  while  the  Alaska  Commission  members  were  appointed,  the                                                            
accompanying federal  legislation was not adopted  and therefore, no                                                            
federal  members   were  appointed.   Continuing,  he  stated   that                                                            
extending the life of the  Commission until September 16, 2006 would                                                            
provide  an opportunity  for Alaska's  Congressional  delegation  to                                                            
further  the  effort  for the  creation  and  authorization  of  the                                                            
Commission on the federal level.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde asked the fiscal impact of the legislation.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Warwick  responded  that while  an  indeterminate  fiscal  note                                                            
accompanies the legislation,  it is estimated that, were the federal                                                            
authorization  approved,  the  fiscal  impact  would  range  between                                                            
$180,000 and $200,000.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  asked why this legislation is limited  to extending                                                            
the  years of  the Commission  rather  than including  a  resolution                                                            
requesting Alaska's Congressional  delegation to further the federal                                                            
legislation efforts.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Warwick  understood  that a  separate resolution,  sponsored  by                                                            
Senator Ralph  Seekins, is currently  in the Senate Rules  Committee                                                            
and would be  advanced to the Senate  floor session. He stated  that                                                            
while the State's  delegation is discussing  the issue, the  federal                                                            
Commission legislation  has not advanced beyond the one hearing that                                                            
was conducted in 2002.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green summarized  that this legislation  would extend  the                                                            
termination date.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DICK MYLIUS,  Deputy Director, Division  of Mining, Land  and Water,                                                            
Department of  Natural Resources, testified via teleconference  from                                                            
an offnet site  regarding the indeterminate  fiscal note.  He stated                                                            
that no  expenses would  be incurred  at the State  level until  the                                                            
Commission  is established at the  federal level. He noted  that the                                                            
amount  of  State  funding  required  at that  time  would  also  be                                                            
dependent  upon  the  level  of federal  funding  allocated  to  the                                                            
Commission.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
RON SOMERVILLE, Resource  Consultant to the House of Representatives                                                            
and Senate  Majority, testified  via teleconference  from an  offnet                                                            
site. He agreed that the  key to the establishment of the Commission                                                            
is dependent on the federal  government participation as well as the                                                            
Commission's  addressing of  the issues outlined  by Mr. Warwick  in                                                            
his opening remarks.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Dyson  moved  to  report  the  bill   from  Committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal note.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection, SB 295  was REPORTED from Committee  with                                                            
indeterminate  fiscal   note  #1 from  the  Department   of  Natural                                                            
Resources.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                

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