Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

04/15/2009 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearing: TELECONFERENCED
Teresa Sager-Albaugh - Board of Game
Moved CSSJR 22(RES) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Scheduled But Not Heard
Heard & Held
Moved CSHJR 25(ENE) AM Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         SJR 22-FEDERAL PREEMPTION OF SALMON MANAGEMENT                                                                     
4:09:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE announced the consideration of SJR 22.                                                                            
SENATOR   WIELECHOWSKI   moved   to  adopt   proposed   committee                                                               
substitute (CS)  for SJR 22,  labeled 26-LS0866\R as  the working                                                               
document.  There being  no objection,  version R  was before  the                                                               
SENATOR HUGGINS,  sponsor of SJR  22, said his aide  will present                                                               
the  bill   and  describe  how   the  United  Cook   Inlet  Drift                                                               
Association (UCIDA)  has "grabbed  a tiger by  the tail"  in this                                                               
SHARON LONG, Staff  to Senator Huggins, said SJR 22  takes aim at                                                               
the  lawsuit filed  by the  United Cook  Inlet Drift  Association                                                               
(UCIDA).  The  complaint,  calling  for  the  return  of  federal                                                               
management,  is an  affront  to  this state.  It  was a  colossal                                                               
failure  of  federal salmon  management  that  largely drove  the                                                               
statehood  movement. UCIDA  fishers  participate  in gillnet  and                                                               
drift gillnet in  Cook Inlet and can keep an  unlimited number of                                                               
commercially caught fish for personal  use. Their goal is to have                                                               
the   state-managed   personal-use    dipnet   fishery   declared                                                               
unconstitutional and  preempted by  federal law.  SJR 22  seeks a                                                               
fair shake for Alaskans who  dipnet fish without commercial gear.                                                               
It  asks the  governor to  intervene  in defense  of the  state's                                                               
authority to responsibly manage its fisheries.                                                                                  
4:10:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH asked the source  of the "Whereas" clause relating                                                               
to the UCIDA's desire to outlaw personal dipnetting.                                                                            
MS.  LONG  said  UCIDA  claims  that they  are  harmed  by  state                                                               
regulations pertaining  to salmon  management in Cook  Inlet. The                                                               
relief  they ask  for is  to  declare that  the state  authorized                                                               
resident   only    salmon   fisheries    in   Cook    Inlet   are                                                               
unconstitutional and therefore preempted by federal law.                                                                        
SENATOR FRENCH said he would call that black and white.                                                                         
SENATOR HUGGINS added that his  neighbors and many of his friends                                                               
have been  very tolerant "over  the piece  of where you  live and                                                               
how you  get to  fish." The  salmon task  force talked  about the                                                               
sizeable number  of commercial fishers  in Cook  Inlet, residents                                                               
and non-residents  alike. Rod and  reel fishers would  likely say                                                               
those commercial fishers have almost  no limit. Now this group is                                                               
saying they want to preempt  his friends and neighbors who dipnet                                                               
because non-resident commercial  dipnetters can't dipfish. "There                                                               
is  something wrong  with  that." Hence  my  comment about  their                                                               
having a tiger by the tail, he said.                                                                                            
4:13:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WAGONER said his understanding  is that this started as a                                                               
petition to  the Secretary  of Commerce. It  was ignored  and the                                                               
time  ran out  on  the petition.  The lawsuit  was  filed out  of                                                               
frustration  and  was an  effort  to  get  the attention  of  the                                                               
Secretary  of  Commerce. However,  even  that  hasn't elicited  a                                                               
response or comment from the Secretary of Commerce.                                                                             
4:14:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS  said he  doesn't  disagree,  but  now it  is  a                                                               
lawsuit. The  beauty of  it is  that a number  of people  who are                                                               
commercial fishers  want to  sign on  to this  resolution because                                                               
this  is  against  Alaskans  and  the Alaskan  way  of  life.  He                                                               
predicts  others will  also  sign on  because  Alaskans will  not                                                               
allow this sort of thing happen.                                                                                                
ROD ARNO, Executive Director, Alaska  Outdoor Council (AOC), said                                                               
AOC represents  10,000 Alaskans and  advocates for  Alaskans that                                                               
participate in the harvest of  wild food. The dipnet fisheries in                                                               
Chitina and  the fisheries  in the Kenai  and Kasilof  rivers are                                                               
important  sources   of  wild  food  for   thousands  of  Alaskan                                                               
families. AOC  is opposed to  the lawsuit  and in support  of SJR
22. The  idea of  having this  suit going  to the  federal court,                                                               
preempting state rights and the  Submerged Lands Act is dangerous                                                               
for the state of Alaska.                                                                                                        
4:17:23 PM                                                                                                                    
RON SOMERVILLE, Territorial Sportsmen  board member, Juneau, said                                                               
if  the  lawsuit  were  successful it  would  target  nearly  all                                                               
resident-only  fisheries. The  lawsuit addresses  Cook Inlet  but                                                               
there is a Jenson case in  Cordova that is identical. "Where does                                                               
it stop?" The state should be  interested, but can't just file an                                                               
amicus brief. If  the governor will not do  that, the legislative                                                               
council  should  consider  the  options.  It  is  an  affront  to                                                               
Alaskans  to  try  to  preempt state  management;  that  was  the                                                               
essence of seeking statehood.                                                                                                   
4:19:05 PM                                                                                                                    
RICKY  GEASE,   Executive  Director,  Kenai   River  Sportfishing                                                               
Association,  Soldotna,  said  KRSA  is  a  fishery  conservation                                                               
organization.  He   agrees  with  previous  two   testifiers.  He                                                               
suggested expanding  the scope of  the resolution to  include the                                                               
similar  Jensen  lawsuit.  It  is  important  for  the  state  to                                                               
intervene  in  both lawsuits  in  case  there  are out  of  court                                                               
settlements,  he  said.  The lead  attorney  for  these  lawsuits                                                               
indicated  they are  seeking out  of court  settlements, such  as                                                               
personal use  dipnet fishing  on the  Kenai River  only occurring                                                               
after the  upper end  of the escapement  goal has  been achieved.                                                               
Predictability is  important for people  to plan vacations  to go                                                               
dipnetting. The  association supports an out  of court settlement                                                               
that  involves oversight  by  the Board  of  Fisheries and  ADF&G                                                               
BYRON   HALEY,   President,   Chitina   Dipnetters   Association,                                                               
Fairbanks, stated  strong support for SJR  22. Commercial fishers                                                               
have been  trying to close this  dipnet fishery for a  long time.                                                               
This is another tool they are using.                                                                                            
4:21:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE  closed public testimony and  asked Senator Huggins                                                               
if he wanted to offer an amendment.                                                                                             
SENATOR HUGGINS replied he would need to do the research.                                                                       
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI   said  he  would  support   expanding  the                                                               
resolution to include the Jenson  case and others. He suggested a                                                               
conceptual amendment.                                                                                                           
SENATOR HUGGINS moved conceptual  Amendment 1 to incorporate into                                                               
SJR 22  the essence of  the [Herbert T.] Jensen  lawsuit. Hearing                                                               
no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                          
CHAIR  MCGUIRE   said  a  neighbor  recently   reminded  her  how                                                               
important dipnetting  is to his  feeding his large family  in the                                                               
winter. If affects Alaskans.                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI moved to report CS  for SJR 22, version R as                                                               
amended,  from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and                                                               
attached fiscal note(s).                                                                                                        
SENATOR  WAGONER  objected saying  that  he  would like  to  hear                                                               
testimony from  the people who  wrote the lawsuit. He  noted that                                                               
it has been said that the process  in this committee is to hear a                                                               
bill and  to move  it the  next hearing.  If that's  the standard                                                               
procedure then it should be followed. He removed his objection.                                                                 
CHAIR MCGUIRE said fair enough.                                                                                                 
4:25:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. LONG noted that the  legislative drafters said this was filed                                                               
on March  7 and according  to court rules intervention  should be                                                               
done by early to mid-May.                                                                                                       
CHAIR  MCGUIRE  said she  is  aware  of  that and  the  committee                                                               
generally  moves  expeditiously.  Finding no  further  objection,                                                               
CSSJR 22(RES) moved from committee.                                                                                             

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