Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/05/2004 09:04 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 366(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to animal classic charitable gaming; and                                                                  
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Co-Chair  Wilken  stated  this  bill,  sponsored  by Representative                                                             
Stoltze, "addresses an  attorney general's legal opinion that stated                                                            
certain traditional games of chance were illegal."                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE BILL STOLTZE  testified that this bill is a gambling,                                                            
gaming  measure  with  a specific  focus,  which  would  affect  the                                                            
following  events and activities:  the Tanana  Valley State  Fair in                                                            
Fairbanks, the  Alaska State Fair, the Alaska State  Fair's rat race                                                            
booth sponsored by the  Palmer Elks Lodge, and an event for Soldotna                                                            
Progress Days involving  chicken scatology sponsored by the Veterans                                                            
of Foreign Wars (VFW).                                                                                                          
Senator  Bunde  asked if  there  is evidence  of  individuals  being                                                            
addicted to rat racing or chicken scatology.                                                                                    
Representative  Stoltze  replied  that any  addiction  would not  be                                                            
detrimental  because  the  cost to  participate  in  the  activities                                                            
referenced averages  between 25 to 50 cents and the  activities only                                                            
occur for a few weeks out of the year.                                                                                          
KEN AXEMAKER,  House Committee Chair,  Palmer Elks Lodge,  testified                                                            
via teleconference  from Mat-Su that the common title  "rat race" is                                                            
inaccurate  because the  activity does  not consist  of a race,  nor                                                            
does it involve rats. The  rat race is a serious charity fundraising                                                            
activity that  takes place at a booth during the Alaska  State Fair.                                                            
The fundraising  event  has taken  place  for nearly  50 years.  The                                                            
booth  is  staffed  entirely  by volunteers,   and all  of  the  net                                                            
proceeds  are  used  for Elk's  Lodge  charity  work.  Thousands  of                                                            
dollars  have  been  collected  from  this  fundraising  effort  and                                                            
distributed  to  scouting  programs,  veteran's  programs,  senior's                                                            
programs,  cancer  societies,  community  beautification   programs,                                                            
community  food banks,  the Hospice  of Mat-su,  the Red Cross,  the                                                            
Grange,  handicapped programs,  the  Boy's and  Girl's Club,  school                                                            
activities,  sports teams, and many  Elk's Lodge specific  programs.                                                            
The  Palmer Elk's  Lodge now  faces  losing this  vital fundraising                                                             
effort.   Mr.  Axemaker   urged  the  Committee   to  support   this                                                            
Co-Chair  Green reiterated  that the rat race  activity has  been in                                                            
existence for many years.                                                                                                       
Co-Chair  Green  moved  to  report  the  bill  from  Committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal note.                                                                        
There being no objection,  CS HB 366 (FIN) MOVED from Committee with                                                            
zero fiscal note #1 from the Department of Revenue.                                                                             

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