Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

03/23/2016 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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03:30:27 PM Start
03:30:47 PM HB137
04:56:12 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 137-HUNT/FISH/TRAP: FEES;LICENSES;EXEMPTIONS                                                                     
3:30:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  announced consideration  of HB 137  [CSHB 137(FIN)                                                               
am  was before  the committee]  saying this  is the  bill's third                                                               
hearing and it was last heard on February 29.                                                                                   
3:31:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  moved to  adopt SCS  CSHB 137(RES),  version 29-                                                               
LS0625\V, dated 3/23/16, as the working document.                                                                               
CHAIR GIESSEL objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                 
3:31:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO joined the committee.                                                                                          
JOSHUA  BANKS, Staff  to  Representative  Talerico, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  introduced himself  and  said he  was available  to                                                               
comment  on  SCS  CSHB 137(RES),  version  29-LS0625\V,  for  the                                                               
3:32:04 PM                                                                                                                    
AKIS  GIALOPSOS,   Staff  to  Senator  Giessel   and  the  Senate                                                               
Resources Committee, Alaska  State Legislature, explained Version                                                               
V, as  follows: 1. Page  1, Lines 1-5:  Changes the title  of the                                                               
bill by adding the following  semicolons: "An Act relating to the                                                               
powers  and  duties  of  the   commissioner  of  fish  and  game;                                                               
establishing  an intensive  management  surcharge; providing  for                                                               
the repeal  of the  intensive management  surcharge; establishing                                                               
an anadromous  sockeye salmon tag  for certain rivers;"  The rest                                                               
of the original title resumes after line 5.                                                                                     
2.  Page  2, Lines  2-9:  Adds  a new  Section.  1  of the  bill,                                                               
inserting legislative intent that  educational programs funded by                                                               
the Department  of Fish and  Game using  funds from the  fish and                                                               
game  funds  shall  include  a   component  on  the  history  and                                                               
principles of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model.                                                                   
3.  Page 2,  Lines 10-13:  Adds a  new Section.  2, adding  a new                                                               
paragraph (22)  to AS 16.05.050(a)  "Entitled: Powers  and Duties                                                               
of the Commissioner," which directs  the Commissioner of Fish and                                                               
Game  to   maintain  and  improve   land  used  to   access  both                                                               
subsistence and  personal use dipnet  fisheries, and  to maintain                                                               
and operate sanitary  facilities provided for the  use of dip-net                                                               
4. Page 3,  Line 5: Amends Section. 4 [Prior  Version Section. 2]                                                               
by raising  the listed age from  "62" to "65" years  of age; this                                                               
change in age will conform throughout the Committee Substitute.                                                                 
5. Page 5,  Line 1: Amends Section. 7 [Prior  Version Section. 5]                                                               
by raising the resident hunting  license from "30" dollars in the                                                               
previous version of the bill, to "40" dollars.                                                                                  
6. Page 5,  Line 3: Amends Section. 8 [Prior  Version Section. 6]                                                               
by raising  the resident hunting  and trapping license  from "45"                                                               
dollars in the previous version of the bill, to "60" dollars.                                                                   
3:34:41 PM                                                                                                                    
7. Page 5,  Line 5: Amends Section. 9 [Prior  Version Section. 7]                                                               
by raising  the resident  trapping license  from "20"  dollars in                                                               
the previous version of the bill, to "25" dollars.                                                                              
8. Page 5, Line 7: Amends  Section. 10 [Prior Version Section. 8]                                                               
by raising  the resident hunting  and sport fishing  license from                                                               
"45"  dollars  in the  previous  version  of  the bill,  to  "60"                                                               
9. Page 5, Line 9: Amends  Section. 11 [Prior Version Section. 9]                                                               
to conform to the changes in  Section. 10 by raising the resident                                                               
hunting  and  sport fishing  license  from  "54" dollars  in  the                                                               
previous version of the bill,  to "69" dollars. Also corrects the                                                               
amount  in  statute  that  is   being  removed,  because  of  the                                                               
legislation, from  "45" dollars  in the  previous version  of the                                                               
bill, to "60" dollars.                                                                                                          
10. Page 5,  Line 11: Amends Section. 12  [Prior Version Section.                                                               
10] by raising  the resident hunting, fishing,  and sport fishing                                                               
license from  "60" dollars in  the previous version of  the bill,                                                               
to "80" dollars.                                                                                                                
3:35:52 PM                                                                                                                    
11. Page 5,  Line 25: Amends Section. 13  [Prior Version Section.                                                               
11]  to conform  to the  changes in  Section. 12  by raising  the                                                               
resident hunting,  trapping and  sport fishing license  from "69"                                                               
dollars in  the previous  version of the  bill, to  "89" dollars.                                                               
Also  corrects  the  amount  in statute  that  is  being  removed                                                               
because of  the legislation,  from "60"  dollars in  the previous                                                               
version of the bill, to "80" dollars.                                                                                           
12.  Page  6,  Lines  5-6:  Amends  Section.  14  [Prior  Version                                                               
Section. 12] by raising the  nonresident sport fishing license by                                                               
the following provisions:                                                                                                       
     a. The  14 day license  is increased from  "60" dollars                                                                    
     in the previous version of the bill, to "75" dollars.                                                                      
     b.  The  seven  day  license  is  increased  from  "40"                                                                    
     dollars in  the previous version  of the bill,  to "45"                                                                    
13.  Page  6, Lines  12-13:  Amends  Section. 15  [Prior  Version                                                               
Section. 13] to conform to the  changes in Section. 14 by raising                                                               
the   nonresident  sport   fishing  license   by  the   following                                                               
     a. The  14 day license  is increased from  "69" dollars                                                                    
     in the previous  version of the bill,  to "84" dollars.                                                                    
     Also  corrects  the amount  in  statute  that is  being                                                                    
     removed because  of the legislation, from  "60" dollars                                                                    
     in the previous version of the bill, to "75" dollars.                                                                      
     b.  The  seven  day  license  is  increased  from  "49"                                                                    
     dollars in  the previous version  of the bill,  to "54"                                                                    
     dollars. Also  corrects the amount  in statute  that is                                                                    
     being  removed because  of the  legislation, from  "40"                                                                    
     dollars in  the previous version  of the bill,  to "45"                                                                    
14. Page 6,  Line 23: Amends Section. 19  [Prior Version Section.                                                               
17] by  increasing the nonresident  hunting and  trapping license                                                               
from "350" dollars in the previous  version of the bill, to "375"                                                               
dollars - in reference to wolverines.                                                                                           
15. Page 7, Lines 1-2/Page  7, Lines 5-7/Line 15: Amends Section.                                                               
20  [Prior  Version  Section.  18] by  changing  the  amounts  of                                                               
various nonresident big game tags to include:                                                                                   
     a. Lowering  the black bear  tag from "600"  dollars in                                                                    
     the previous version of the bill, to "450" dollars.                                                                        
     b.  Lowering  the  brown or  grizzly  tag  from  "1200"                                                                    
     dollars in the previous version  of the bill, to "1000"                                                                    
     c.  Raises  the deer  tag  from  "275" dollars  in  the                                                                    
     previous version of the bill, to "300" dollars.                                                                            
     d.  Raises  the  elk  tag from  "575"  dollars  in  the                                                                    
     previous version of the bill, to "600" dollars.                                                                            
     e.  Raises  the goat  tag  from  "575" dollars  in  the                                                                    
     previous version of the bill, to "600" dollars.                                                                            
     f. Raises the  wolverine tag from "350"  dollars in the                                                                    
     previous version of the bill, to "375" dollars.                                                                            
3:38:41 PM                                                                                                                    
16. Page 7,  Line 25: Amends Section. 21  [Prior Version Section.                                                               
19] by  raising the  applicable age  from 60 years  of age  to 65                                                               
years of age.                                                                                                                   
3:39:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  interrupted to  say on  page 7,  line 15,  he just                                                               
read the wolverine tag was  raised from something to 375 dollars,                                                               
and it's supposed to be 350 dollars.                                                                                            
MR.  GIALOPSOS  said  she  was correct  and  apologized  for  the                                                               
misstatement. He continued to review the changes.                                                                               
17. Page 8,  Line 29 to Page  9, Line 5: Adds a  new Section. 25,                                                               
establishing a  "15" dollar fee  for the Chitina dip  net fishing                                                               
permit changing existing statute that charges a "0" dollar fee.                                                                 
18. Page 9,  Line 14: Amends Section. 26  [Prior Version Section.                                                               
23] by  raising the  applicable age  from 60 years  of age  to 65                                                               
years of age.                                                                                                                   
19. Page 10, Lines 2-28: Adds  a new Section. 28, establishing an                                                               
anadromous sockeye  salmon tag for  the Kenai and  Kasilof Rivers                                                               
under the same restrictions and  provisions as the statewide king                                                               
salmon  tag,  and fees  would  be  assessed under  the  following                                                               
     a. Residents would be charged "15" dollars                                                                                 
     b. Nonresidents would be charged:                                                                                          
     i. "15" dollars for a one day tag                                                                                          
     ii. "30" dollars for a three day tag                                                                                       
     iii. "45" dollars for a seven day tag                                                                                      
     iv. "75" dollars for a 14 day tag                                                                                          
     v. "150" dollars for an annual tag                                                                                         
3:40:40 PM                                                                                                                    
20.  Page 10,  Lines 29-31  to  Page 11,  Lines 1-8:  Adds a  new                                                               
Section. 29,  establishing an intensive management  surcharge for                                                               
the purpose  of funding the  intensive management of  the state's                                                               
game  populations under  AS 16.05.255(e).  The surcharge  will be                                                               
assessed on  hunting licenses in  the amount of "10"  dollars for                                                               
all  applicable  schedules.  Individuals  qualifying  for  a  "5"                                                               
dollar  license  or a  free  license  would  be exempt  from  the                                                               
21. Page 11, Line 30:  Amends Section. 31 [Prior Version Section.                                                               
26] by  raising the applicable  age from 62  years of age  in the                                                               
previous version of the bill, to 65 years of age.                                                                               
22. Page 14, Line 4: Adds  a new Section. 37, repealing the newly                                                               
created  Section. 29  (Intensive Management  Surcharge). This  is                                                               
part of  a sun-setting  process that will  be concluded  later in                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
23. Page  14, Lines  8-26: Amends Section.  39 by  conforming the                                                               
order of sections referenced; raising  the applicable age from 62                                                               
years of age in the previous version  of the bill, to 65 years of                                                               
age;  extends  the sunset  dates  from  January  1, 2019  in  the                                                               
previous version  of the  bill, to January  1, 2020;  and extends                                                               
the sunset dates  from December 31, 2018 in  the previous version                                                               
of the bill, to December 31, 2019.                                                                                              
3:42:08 PM                                                                                                                    
24.  Page 15,  Lines 5-7:  Amends Section.  41 by  conforming the                                                               
renumbered sections to the conditional  effects referenced in the                                                               
25. Page  15, Lines  8-10: Amends Section.  42 by  conforming the                                                               
renumbered sections to the  respective effective dates referenced                                                               
in Section. 41 of the legislation.                                                                                              
26.  Page 15,  Line  11:  Adds a  new  Section.  43, creating  an                                                               
effective date of December 31, 2020,  for Section. 37 of the bill                                                               
(the repeal language of the Intensive Management Surcharge).                                                                    
27. Page  15, Lines  12-13: Amends Section.  44 by  extending the                                                               
effective date  to all provisions not  otherwise designated prior                                                               
to January 1, 2017.                                                                                                             
3:43:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STOLTZE asked  the  fiscal impact  of  changing the  age                                                               
range for participants requiring a license.                                                                                     
MR. GIALOPSOS said  his office had not done  any fiscal analysis,                                                               
but perhaps the sponsor had.                                                                                                    
3:43:50 PM                                                                                                                    
JOSHUA  BANKS, Staff  to  Representative  Talerico, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,  said  their office  hadn't done  a                                                               
fiscal analysis, but the department probably had.                                                                               
SENATOR STOLTZE asked the policy  reason behind the bill, because                                                               
it doesn't have a fiscal reason.                                                                                                
MR. BANKS  replied the reason  behind lowering  the age to  16 in                                                               
the  \H  version  of  HB  137 (that  passed  the  House)  was  to                                                               
encourage young  hunters to participate  in hunting  and fishing.                                                               
The reason  for lowering the  age for the permanent  license from                                                               
65 to  62 was to match  with social security, and  the sponsor is                                                               
not opposed to those two changes.                                                                                               
SENATOR STOLTZE said  for a long period of time  the personal use                                                               
fisheries were  classified as subsistence  and the  board changed                                                               
that. Many  still consider  that a  subsistence fishery  he said,                                                               
and asked the philosophy behind the dip net fee.                                                                                
MR. BANKS deferred that to the department.                                                                                      
MR. GIALOPSOS  replied that this  bill came from the  Chitina Dip                                                               
Netters Association who  wanted to find a mechanism  by which the                                                               
Department  of Transportation  and Public  Facilities (DOTPF)  or                                                               
the Department of  Natural Resources (DNR), if  those duties were                                                               
transitioned to that agency, would be  able to be funded to clean                                                               
the toilet  facilities, maintain  the roads  for access  on state                                                               
land for the Chitina dip  netters, and also collect the requisite                                                               
garbage to be able to deal with the human health impacts there.                                                                 
SENATOR STOLTZE  asked if  this fee was  assessed whether  or not                                                               
one uses lands  or launches at a private facility,  as many folks                                                               
do  to access  the Copper  River  fisheries. In  other words,  he                                                               
asked  if  this  is  a   broad-based  tax  on  the  personal  use                                                               
subsistence fishery.                                                                                                            
3:47:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. GIALOPSOS said that was correct.                                                                                            
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked if  that  fee  would apply  to  fish                                                               
wheels on Chitina.                                                                                                              
MR. GIALOPSOS said he did not know.                                                                                             
SENATOR  STOLTZE  said fish  wheels  fall  under a  personal  use                                                               
fishery  and he  wondered why  the  term "dip  netting" was  used                                                               
instead of "personal use fisheries."                                                                                            
MR. GIALOPSOS  said their office  crafted that language  with the                                                               
Chitina Dip  Netters Association, but  if there was a  mistake in                                                               
editing, that was his own mistake.                                                                                              
CHAIR GIESSEL  responded that her communication  with the Chitina                                                               
Dip  Netting  Association  revealed  that folks  do  launch  from                                                               
private areas. They  may hire someone to take them  to a location                                                               
on  the river,  but regardless  they are  likely contributing  to                                                               
garbage issues  and would like  to see  the area kept  clean. And                                                               
there are  the folks  that would  like to be  able to  take their                                                               
four-wheelers back  there, but  because of  the condition  of the                                                               
road and  the continuing sluffing of  that slope, it needs  to be                                                               
cleaned  up each  year by  DOTPF, and  frankly, DOTPF  is getting                                                               
budget cuts.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STOLTZE  said he understands,  but he just wanted  to put                                                               
some of this on the record.                                                                                                     
3:49:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  remembered a  recent Supreme Court  case on                                                               
how gear  is identified  and asked  if they  can constitutionally                                                               
charge a fee  for dip netting (on the Chitina  River) but not for                                                               
using a fish wheel or a rod and reel.                                                                                           
MR. GIALOPSOS said he could not answer that.                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  said  the   Kenai  River  has  a  resident                                                               
anadromous sockeye  tag, and that  looks like it applies  only to                                                               
sport fishing  and not to  the small number of  subsistence users                                                               
in Kenai River or the dip netters.                                                                                              
MR. GIALOPSOS replied that is correct.  It does not cover the dip                                                               
netters, and  the Kenai River Sportfishing  Association said that                                                               
language could be modified if necessary.                                                                                        
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI clarified that he is not advocating that.                                                                  
CHAIR  GIESSEL  found  no  further   questions  and  removed  her                                                               
objection  and  announced that  SCS  CSHB  137(RES), version  29-                                                               
LS0625\V, was before the committee.                                                                                             
CHAIR GIESSEL  asked if  the sponsor had  any comments  about the                                                               
committee substitute.                                                                                                           
3:52:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANKS  responded that the  sponsor supported all  the changes                                                               
except  the grizzly  and black  bear tags  for non-residents.  He                                                               
believes there is high demand  from non-residents to hunt grizzly                                                               
bears and that $1200 is a  reasonable increase and that $500 is a                                                               
reasonable  increase  for   a  black  bear  tag.   He  still  has                                                               
reservations  about the  intensive management  surcharge, but  is                                                               
willing to have a $5  surcharge. He maintained his concerns about                                                               
further increases  to the resident  hunting and  fishing licenses                                                               
(changes 5-11).                                                                                                                 
SENATOR STEDMAN  commented that  a decade or  so ago  the license                                                               
fees were raised to pay back  bonds that were issued to build two                                                               
hatcheries, one  in Fairbanks  and one  in Anchorage,  which have                                                               
now been built. It would be nice  to have an update on the status                                                               
of  those bonds,  because as  he recalled,  eventually the  bonds                                                               
would be  paid off and that  was supposed to bring  the amount of                                                               
the license fee  back down. Now they are  talking about embedding                                                               
fees that are to pay off  the bonds and never repealing them. And                                                               
today they are  talking about raising the rates  again before the                                                               
bonds are even paid off. He said  it would also be nice to have a                                                               
geographical breakdown  of where in  the state people  are buying                                                               
these permits.  It was  kind of  surprising a  decade or  so ago,                                                               
when  they did  that  they found  that there  are  vast areas  in                                                               
Alaska  that had  very little  license fee  collection. Had  that                                                               
CHAIR  GIESSEL responded  that  ADF&G  suggested retaining  those                                                               
fees for maintenance and operations of the hatcheries.                                                                          
3:55:49 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE DALE,  Director, Division of Wildlife  Conservation, Alaska                                                               
Department  of  Fish  and  Game   (ADF&G),  Palmer,  said  Deputy                                                               
Commissioner Brooks would address that issue.                                                                                   
KEVIN BROOKS, Deputy Commissioner,  Alaska Department of Fish and                                                               
Game (ADF&G),  Juneau, Alaska, explained that  the hatchery bonds                                                               
will be  paid off no later  than 2023. There had  been some early                                                               
payment of the  debt, because license sales have  started to pick                                                               
up. So, that  date could move up as early  as 2021. House Finance                                                               
increased  the surcharge  to  $9  once the  bonds  are paid  off.                                                               
Currently,  that surcharge  sunsets on  Dec  31 in  the year  the                                                               
bonds are paid.  They have a variable rate with  some of the non-                                                               
resident licenses  having a higher  amount. That changes to  a $9                                                               
increase across the board in the bill that passed the House.                                                                    
3:57:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN recalled that the  Southeast region paid about 27                                                               
percent of the  revenue needed for those hatcheries  and got very                                                               
little benefit.  Now he is  concerned about embedding  those fees                                                               
in the system,  and it should be discussed as  a policy decision.                                                               
Once the  fees are embedded,  they would  never go away.  He does                                                               
not know  the current  status of those  hatcheries, but  he hopes                                                               
they are functioning better than they were several years ago.                                                                   
3:58:50 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BROOKS  said that  both hatcheries are  operating at  full or                                                               
near full production. Some growth  capacity was built in. He said                                                               
he would  be glad to  provide license  purchase data back  to the                                                               
committee using zip codes or by community.                                                                                      
SENATOR STEDMAN said  he would like to see some  of the fees that                                                               
they talk about sunsetting getting  taken out instead of becoming                                                               
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI asked  if the  sockeye salmon  fee for  the                                                               
Kenai River applies to tributaries like the Russian River.                                                                      
4:00:34 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM  BROOKOVER, Director,  Sportfish Division,  Alaska Department                                                               
of Fish and Game, Anchorage,  replied that the resident tag would                                                               
be  required for  the  Kenai  and Kasilof  Rivers,  and while  it                                                               
doesn't specifically say  main stem or tributaries,  they tend to                                                               
view that  type of categorization  as the drainage for  the whole                                                               
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  said for clarity  if you go to  the Russian                                                               
River Sanctuary  you are fishing in  Kenai and you can  move five                                                               
feet  and  be  in the  river.  Is  that  how  they are  going  to                                                               
interpret it?                                                                                                                   
MR. BROOKOVER  replied that  they would  interpret it  by default                                                               
for that  drainage as a whole,  and it would include  the Russian                                                               
River.  There would  be no  demarcation between  the Russian  and                                                               
Kenai Rivers.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  COSTELLO said  75 percent  of department's  income comes                                                               
from non-resident fees, and she  asked how these fee changes will                                                               
affect that percentage.                                                                                                         
MR.  BROOKS answered  that they  had  done an  analysis for  each                                                               
version  of  the  bill  that  breaks the  fees  out  by  hunting,                                                               
fishing, resident, and non-resident, and  they would work up that                                                               
same analysis for  any CS. She is correct that  a large amount of                                                               
the revenue comes from non-residents.                                                                                           
4:02:54 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO asked how long these fees will be in effect.                                                                   
MR. BROOKS replied  that fees have not been changed  for about 20                                                               
years. Once they are set they tend to stay a long time.                                                                         
SENATOR  COSTELLO asked  how Alaska's  resident  fees compare  to                                                               
those of other states.                                                                                                          
MR.  BROOKS replied  that comparisons  have  been done  primarily                                                               
with  the western  states,  because  a lot  of  the licenses  are                                                               
similar.  Generally  speaking, Alaska's  fees  are  low for  both                                                               
residents and non-residents.                                                                                                    
SENATOR STOLTZE asked if the sockeye  tag is intended to apply to                                                               
the personal use fishery and the subsistence fishery.                                                                           
4:04:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BROOKOVER responded  that it would not apply  to the personal                                                               
use  fishery, because  the  language says:  "A  resident may  not                                                               
engage in  sport fishing on  the Kenai or Kasilof  Rivers without                                                               
having a current year's sockeye salmon tag."                                                                                    
SENATOR STOLTZE asked if it  is his interpretation that this will                                                               
only apply to anglers.                                                                                                          
MR. BROOKOVER said that is his original interpretation.                                                                         
SENATOR STOLTZE asked  for him to let the committee  know if that                                                               
interpretation evolves.                                                                                                         
SENATOR   STEDMAN  said   one  of   his  favorites   subjects  is                                                               
hatcheries, because  he has quite a  few in his district,  and he                                                               
wanted  the department  to  get back  him on  the  status of  the                                                               
hatchery bonds and if there  had been any discussion to privatize                                                               
them to get rid of the  maintenance issue. He also wanted to know                                                               
if any general fund monies had gone to the hatcheries.                                                                          
MR. BROOKS  said he  would get  a bond  repayment table  from the                                                               
Department of  Revenue and  that no general  fund money  is being                                                               
used  to  run the  two  sportfish  hatcheries, the  William  Jack                                                               
Hernandez Hatchery in Anchorage and  the Ruth Bernard Hatchery in                                                               
Fairbanks. Fish  & Game  funds and  federal Dingle  Johnson funds                                                               
are used to run those.                                                                                                          
He explained that for several  years the appropriation bill had a                                                               
provision  for all  state agencies  to get  some money  due to  a                                                               
"fuel trigger"  when oil  was over  $100/barrel, and  that hasn't                                                               
happened for  a while. But  at that  point in time  general funds                                                               
were  used,  because  a  lot   of  the  heat  production  at  two                                                               
hatcheries was from fuel purchases.                                                                                             
SENATOR STEDMAN  said he  was concerned  with the  funding source                                                               
game-change in the finance committees.                                                                                          
MR. BROOKS said he would provide information that is required.                                                                  
SENATOR  STOLTZE asked  if there  is  an urgency  to making  this                                                               
change  now, because  the issue  will  sunset and  be before  the                                                               
legislature in five years.                                                                                                      
4:10:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BROOKS  answered that there  is no  urgency since there  is a                                                               
window before  the bonds  are paid off.  Neither the  sponsor nor                                                               
the department  was involved in bringing  that amendment forward,                                                               
but the  department would implement  the bill however  it finally                                                               
comes out.                                                                                                                      
4:10:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BANKS added that the sponsor  said the change was made in the                                                               
House Finance  Committee, and he was  fine with it, but  he would                                                               
also be fine if the committee took those sections out.                                                                          
SENATOR STOLTZE  asked if he  could tell the  committee something                                                               
about the provenance of the amendment.                                                                                          
MR. BANKS replied  that he didn't know which member  in the House                                                               
Finance Committee offered it.                                                                                                   
SENATOR STOLTZE asked  if it was in a committee  substitute or an                                                               
MR. BANKS replied that it was in a committee substitute.                                                                        
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked the differences  between section 5 and                                                               
section 6 on page 4. It  looks like section 5, AS 16.05.340(a)(1)                                                               
is amended  to read  that the  fishing license  goes from  $15 to                                                               
$20. Then it looks like section 6 amends section 5 to go to $29.                                                                
MR. BROOKS  said Section  6 has a  different effective  date that                                                               
would kick  in when the  bonds are paid off.  That is how  it was                                                               
done  in each  case where  there is  an increase  in license  fee                                                               
resulting from the conversion of a $9 surcharge.                                                                                
4:13:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said he was trying  to figure out how much a                                                               
sport  fishing  license  is  going  to  cost  and  asked  if  the                                                               
effective date in this bill is 2017.                                                                                            
4:14:48 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BROOKS  said, yes, and he  explained that Section 5  would go                                                               
into effect  on January  1, 2017,  and Section 6  is tied  to the                                                               
full pay-off of  the bonds in roughly 2022 or  2023. That similar                                                               
construct is used throughout.                                                                                                   
MR. BROOKS addressed an earlier  question about the fiscal impact                                                               
of raising  the age for  obtaining the permanent license  from 60                                                               
to 65  years and raising the  age of requiring a  license from 16                                                               
years  to 18.  He  said  there was  an  analysis  of the  earlier                                                               
version of the bill.                                                                                                            
4:15:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL thanked Mr. Brooks and opened public testimony.                                                                   
4:15:36 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
4:16:40 PM                                                                                                                    
AL BARRETTE,  representing himself,  Fairbanks, said he  has been                                                               
following this bill  since its inception, and he had  heard a lot                                                               
of good questions today. One he  really wanted answered is if the                                                               
Board  of  Fisheries  (BOF)  has   the  authority  to  require  a                                                               
sportfishing license  for a personal  use fishery.  AS 16.05.330,                                                               
which declares  a person has  to have  a license for  hunting and                                                               
sport  fishing,  does  not  mention   subsistence.  That  is  why                                                               
subsistence fishers are  not required to have a  license. That is                                                               
not in  the bill, but  neither does the  bill say a  personal use                                                               
fishery needs  a license, but  the BOF  seems to think  they have                                                               
the authority to require that.                                                                                                  
MR.  BARRETTE said  that  page  2 of  the  bill  talks about  the                                                               
principals  of the  American Wildlife  Conservation Model  and he                                                               
would be reluctant to have  that language in there without adding                                                               
trapping. In  fact, it discourages  the sale of game  animals and                                                               
that  is what  trappers  do.  Also, this  bill  only talks  about                                                               
providing education for hunters and  sport fishers, and again, he                                                               
is a trapper and supports trapping and fellow trappers.                                                                         
Next,  he said,  the  low  income license  is  for  a "family  or                                                               
household,"  and they  should realize  that there  are households                                                               
with  two or  three families  in  them, and  this language  would                                                               
greatly deprive  them from combining  all their incomes  into one                                                               
household. Furthermore,  new language for the  low income license                                                               
really doesn't do anything, because  in order to receive state or                                                               
federal subsidies, most, if not  all, of those programs are based                                                               
on the federal poverty guidelines.  If you are getting federal or                                                               
state subsidies now,  it's because you fall  within those poverty                                                               
guidelines. So,  at least 20,000  Alaskans will get  that license                                                               
and the fee hasn't been raised as the others have been.                                                                         
4:19:50 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  TINKER, Alaska  Wildlife  Conservation Association,  Ester,                                                               
Alaska, said HB 137 needs more work.  He did point out that a lot                                                               
of work  had already  been done  it showing  the interest  in it.                                                               
However, the  definitions need more  work to reflect some  of the                                                               
orientations  that  the  senators  and Mr.  Barrette  had  talked                                                               
He  surmised  that Wildlife  Conservation  would  get about  $5.4                                                               
million more, but assuming a 10  percent drop in sales because of                                                               
the new rates,  that would come down to  $4.86 million. Sportfish                                                               
at about $6.25 million may come  up with only about $5.5 million.                                                               
The  trap  is that  Pitman  Robertson  funds  are capped  at  $25                                                               
million and  the present use  is around $20 million.  That leaves                                                               
them $5  million. So, $1.6  million is  needed in order  to reach                                                               
the cap and  every dollar raised over that doesn't  get a federal                                                               
match.  People shouldn't  think that  because all  this money  is                                                               
being  created that  the state  is also  going to  get a  3 to  1                                                               
MR.  TINKER  said from  his  experience,  the non-resident  3-day                                                               
license in Washington  is just what Alaska's is going  to be. The                                                               
Alaska  hunting  license  with  the surcharge  is  going  up  100                                                               
percent  and for  non-residents up  44  percent. This  will be  a                                                               
problem for  some people and  the same  goes for the  King salmon                                                               
stamp  that is  going  up  50 percent  and  30  percent for  non-                                                               
residents. Alaska statutes require  that license revenues benefit                                                               
the purchasers  and this is  an area where the  subsistence users                                                               
are possibly in trouble.                                                                                                        
4:23:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHUCK   DERRICK,  President,   Chitina  Dipnetters   Association,                                                               
Fairbanks, noted that Section 220 refers to improving state-                                                                    
owned land  accessing subsistence  and personal  dipnet fisheries                                                               
and to maintain sanitary facilities,  but nothing refers directly                                                               
to Chitina.  The association is  only concerned with  the Chitina                                                               
dipnet  permit, and  has  tried  to find  a  way  to designate  a                                                               
special account  within the  fish and game  fund that  the dipnet                                                               
permit fees could  go to pay for the three  things concerning the                                                               
Chitina  dipnet fishery:  garbage, toilets,  and maintaining  the                                                               
trail  that runs  along the  canyon,  which is  the major  ground                                                               
access  to  the fishery  and  totally  unsafe for  four-wheelers.                                                               
Their intent was not for subsistence or other dipnet fisheries.                                                                 
MR.  DERRICK  said  HB  137 directs  the  ADF&G  commissioner  to                                                               
maintain land  used to access  both subsistence  and personal-use                                                               
dipnet fisheries and to maintain  and operate sanitary facilities                                                               
for  dipnet  fishing.  Again,  it   generalizes  all  the  dipnet                                                               
fisheries  and  even includes  subsistence.  He  asked if  dipnet                                                               
permit fees are going to be  used to maintain roads for all other                                                               
fisheries.  He said  he  appreciated all  the  work everyone  has                                                               
done, but he hoped his concerns would be addressed.                                                                             
CHAIR GIESSEL noted that "subsistence" was on page 2, lines 11-                                                                 
13, and thanked him for bringing it to their attention.                                                                         
4:26:59 PM                                                                                                                    
RICKY  GEASE,   Executive  Director,  Kenai   River  Sportfishing                                                               
Association  (KRSA),  Kenai,  Alaska,  said  KRSA  has  asked  to                                                               
include  the  sockeye salmon  stamp  for  the Kasilof  and  Kenai                                                               
Rivers for  both the  sport fish and  personal use  licensing. He                                                               
suggested that  page 10,  line 5, includes:  "a resident  may not                                                               
engage  in  sport  and/or personal  use  fishing  for  anadromous                                                               
salmon....," and that family members  need just one license (if a                                                               
family member has  the sockeye salmon stamp,  then other members,                                                               
while they are engaged in  dipnetting, would not). So, the person                                                               
getting the  dipnet permit  would be the  person required  to get                                                               
the sockeye salmon stamp.                                                                                                       
MR.  GEASE  said  the  Kenai has  the  two  largest  personal-use                                                               
fisheries  in Cook  Inlet-the Kenai  and  Kasilof Rivers.  Budget                                                               
reductions  means  that funding  is  needed  for enforcement  and                                                               
management infrastructure, especially on  the Kasilof River where                                                               
a  municipality does  not collect  fees. It  needs porta-potties,                                                               
trash  pick-up,  and  fisheries  management,  but  overall,  KRSA                                                               
supports the legislation.                                                                                                       
4:29:10 PM                                                                                                                    
TED  WELLMAN,  President,  Kenai River  Special  Management  Area                                                               
Advisory  Board,  Kenai,  Alaska,  said the  advisory  board  was                                                               
created in statute  when the park was created. It  has 17 members                                                               
and includes the public and  the municipalities. It also includes                                                               
state and federal agencies as non-voting members.                                                                               
He  expressed support  for  the sockeye  salmon  stamp, and  that                                                               
support  goes way  back  to the  1997  Comprehensive Plan,  which                                                               
discussed  having  a  user  fee  on  the  Kenai  River  to  cover                                                               
enforcement.  He  said  the  impacts  to  the  Kenai  River  have                                                               
increased  substantially in  the  last few  years,  and money  is                                                               
needed for  enforcement, bank  protection, and  rehabilitation on                                                               
the  river  - as  many  people  use the  Kenai  River  as a  bank                                                               
MR. WELLMAN said the board  has always considered this assessment                                                               
going to the personal use  fishery, as well, because the personal                                                               
use fishery uses substantial facilities  inside the park. This is                                                               
a good  way to  provide extra  funds for  the agencies  until the                                                               
pipeline is built when even far more people will use the area.                                                                  
4:31:09 PM                                                                                                                    
JOE   CONNORS,  sportfishing   lodge  owner,   Sterling,  Alaska,                                                               
supported HB  137 as well  as including the sockeye  salmon stamp                                                               
language.  He said  he had  lived there  for 45  years, and  both                                                               
residents  and  non-residents  will   help  defray  the  cost  of                                                               
providing for this fishery.                                                                                                     
4:32:15 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUG  VINCENT-LANG,  representing  himself,  Anchorage,  said  he                                                               
supported  an adequately  funded department,  but he  had several                                                               
concerns  with  HB  137.  First is  the  lack  of  accountability                                                               
towards ensuring  that the increased fees  would actually benefit                                                               
the department. Also,  there has been no  significant outreach to                                                               
representative user  groups to determine  priorities and  how the                                                               
increased revenues  would be spent  to benefit  fishers, hunters,                                                               
and trappers.  For this reason  he suggested not moving  the bill                                                               
now and  asking the  department to  develop a  detailed five-year                                                               
spending plan in  consultation with the users who  will be paying                                                               
the increased fees.                                                                                                             
He  also suggested  that the  committee closely  examine what  an                                                               
adequately-funded  department is,  in light  of the  department's                                                               
reluctance to defend its right  to manage federal lands. They are                                                               
willing to  cede authority to  over two-thirds of the  state, and                                                               
one  has  to  question  whether  increased  revenues  are  really                                                               
needed. This  failure to  defend the state's  right to  manage is                                                               
highlighted  by the  state's failure  to oppose  the US  Fish and                                                               
Wildlife  Service regulations  at the  recent Anchorage  hearing,                                                               
despite being in attendance.                                                                                                    
MR.  VINCENT-LANG  also requested  lower  fee  increases for  the                                                               
general  resident  and  non-resident hunting  license,  replacing                                                               
that with a  larger intensive management surcharge  that can only                                                               
be used  to fund  projects approved  by Board  of Game  under the                                                               
state's intensive management  statute. He said the  fee should be                                                               
$15 for  residents and $45  for non-residents. If  surcharge fees                                                               
are  only  used  for  intensive   management,  he  suggested  the                                                               
creation of  a subaccount within  the fish and game  fund modeled                                                               
after  the  sportfish  hatchery   surcharge,  so  that  deposited                                                               
surcharge fees only  be used to fund intensive  management as set                                                               
out under  AS 16.05.255(e).  These projects  have a  proven track                                                               
record in benefiting hunters.                                                                                                   
MR.  VINCENT-LANG  also  suggested recommending  to  the  Finance                                                               
Committee  that  they  use  CIP budgets  to  direct  spending  of                                                               
increased  revenues  generated  from   these  funds  rather  than                                                               
increase  the operating  budget  where the  agency  has too  much                                                               
discretion and flexibility to  adjust priorities and expenditures                                                               
within broad missions and goals,  some of which are not supported                                                               
by the hunting community.                                                                                                       
Finally,   he  related   that  he   was  closely   involved  with                                                               
establishing  the  sport fish  hatchery  surcharge  and both  the                                                               
department  and  the  bill's sponsor,  Senator  Seekins,  made  a                                                               
commitment to anglers  and user groups that  this surcharge would                                                               
go away  when the bonds are  paid off. "I made  that commitment,"                                                               
he  said.  To  keep  this   surcharge  and  remove  the  language                                                               
dedicating the  collected fees to hatchery  bond repayment breaks                                                               
a promise  and a commitment  made to anglers. If  the legislature                                                               
wishes to  turn the  surcharge into a  general license  fee, they                                                               
should  make it  clear that  this is  their intention  and do  so                                                               
after  the  surcharge  and hatcheries  are  paid  off.  Otherwise                                                               
future  bond  surcharges  will be  viewed  with  skepticism,  and                                                               
rightfully so.                                                                                                                  
In  closing, Mr.  Vincent-Lang said  he supported  an adequately-                                                               
funded  department,  but  he  urged  an  assessment  of  what  is                                                               
adequate to  provide greater accountability for  moving this bill                                                               
forward,  especially   in  terms  of  the   intensive  management                                                               
4:35:26 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY  HILLSTRAND, representing  herself,  Kachemak Bay,  Alaska,                                                               
said she owns  a fish processing business on the  Homer Spit. Her                                                               
customers  are fishermen,  wildlife watchers,  photographers, and                                                               
commercial photographers. She  lives in the Bush  and commutes by                                                               
boat,  and  she collects  firearms,  so  she contributes  to  the                                                               
Pitman Robertson  and the  Dingle Johnson  funding to  the state.                                                               
She  would  like   to  purchase  a  license   that  reflects  her                                                               
utilization of wildlife, and presently  she is not represented or                                                               
able to contribute to ADF&G directly.                                                                                           
MS. HILLSTRAND said she sent  the committee a paper entitled "How                                                               
to Prospect For  A New ADF&G Funding Mechanism,"  saying the 2015                                                               
Tourism, Fishing, and Mining Report  from the Institute of Social                                                               
and  Economic Research  (ISER) indicated  that tourism  in Alaska                                                               
has a return for the maximum  benefit of its people. The economic                                                               
importance of Alaska's wildlife, which  was published by ADF&G in                                                               
2014, further  clarifies that maximum use  consistent with public                                                               
interest. Their report  indicated that $1.2 billion  was spent by                                                               
non-residents to observe wildlife,  and the hunting non-residents                                                               
spent only $150  million, and that money is  significant. For the                                                               
fiscal  health  of Alaska,  it  is  important to  recognize  this                                                               
additional $1 billion spent by  wildlife viewers, along with $230                                                               
million in  revenue to the  government and $976 million  in labor                                                               
income from this viewing constituency.                                                                                          
MS. HILLSTRAND  said she  supported adding a  $5 license  fee for                                                               
both residents and  non-residents on top of the $20  emblem and a                                                               
mandatory license for photographers:  $10 for resident commercial                                                               
viewing guides and commercial photographers and $20 for non-                                                                    
resident commercial guides or commercial photographers.                                                                         
In closing, she  said she is hoping they can  do something to add                                                               
a  larger  constituency to  pay  into  the  fish and  game  fund,                                                               
because  obviously with  close to  700,000  people utilizing  our                                                               
wildlife,  some means  of tying  them into  some type  of payment                                                               
should be included for management  of fish and game. For example,                                                               
there are  900,000 cruise ship people,  most of whom want  to see                                                               
wildlife, and  if each passenger  paid $5 included in  the cruise                                                               
ship taxes, that would bring in an additional $4.5 million.                                                                     
4:39:00 PM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD   BISHOP,  representing   himself,  Fairbanks,   said  he                                                               
appreciated everyone's efforts in  bringing this to the attention                                                               
of the  legislature and  the public. He  agreed that  trapping be                                                               
included as part of the North American Conservation Model.                                                                      
MR. BISHOP said he supports,  in particular, the intention behind                                                               
the  surcharge, the  Chitina  permit fee,  and  the increases  in                                                               
resident licenses and  tag fees. He also supports  the higher age                                                               
criteria for permanent  licenses. The revision of  the low income                                                               
license  standard seems  to be  appropriate.  He said  he is  not                                                               
particularly concerned  with prior  non-resident license  and tag                                                               
fees  negatively affecting  the sales  or the  amount of  income,                                                               
because Alaska will continue to draw non-resident hunters.                                                                      
CHAIR GIESSEL thanked him for  his testimony and updated him that                                                               
today the  new Version V  was introduced,  and he was  looking at                                                               
Version X, which was the version right before it.                                                                               
4:42:10 PM                                                                                                                    
THOR  STACEY, lobbyist,  Alaska Professional  Hunters Association                                                               
(APHA),  Fairbanks, said  he very  much  supported a  well-funded                                                               
department and  Version V of  the bill. He said  the professional                                                               
hunters have a big stake  in the game regarding sustainability of                                                               
the  wildlife  populations and  access  to  those resources.  The                                                               
increase  of 100  percent for  black  and grizzly  bear fees  are                                                               
pretty significant, he noted, and  he wanted to see the increases                                                               
be consistent from species to species.                                                                                          
4:43:17 PM                                                                                                                    
EDDIE  GRASSER,  lobbyist,   Safari  Club  International,  Alaska                                                               
Chapter, Juneau, Alaska,  supported SCS CSHB 137(  ), version \V.                                                               
He  said they  had  worked with  the  Territorial Sportsmen,  the                                                               
Alaska  Outdoor  Council,  and APHA  to  support  legislation  to                                                               
adequately fund the  department, and they believe  version V goes                                                               
a long way towards that.                                                                                                        
One  thing his  group insists  upon,  since they  didn't get  tag                                                               
fees, is that  there be an IM surcharge and  their support of the                                                               
bill is  tied to that. Along  with Mr. Tinker, they  also believe                                                               
that  AS 16.05.100  needs  to be  amended to  set  up a  separate                                                               
account  for the  money  to  go into,  similar  to the  sportfish                                                               
hatchery section.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  STOLTZE  said  that some  of  his  constituents  support                                                               
adjusting the license  fees but have an inherent  mistrust of the                                                               
department's philosophical  directions on a number  of issues and                                                               
think there should  be some quid pro quos about  changing some of                                                               
the environmental leaning versus Alaska's hunting community.                                                                    
MR.  GRASSER  responded  that  the   reason  for  supporting  the                                                               
surcharge has  nothing to do with  what he just said.  Of greater                                                               
concern is  the fact that  administrations come and go,  and some                                                               
in the room  remember the 90s when management  for hunting within                                                               
the structure  of the department  "kind of went down  the tubes."                                                               
So  they feel  strongly  that the  IM  surcharge helps  alleviate                                                               
those concerns. It's  imperative that is in the bill  for them to                                                               
support it.                                                                                                                     
4:46:30 PM                                                                                                                    
RON  SOMERVILLE, lobbyist,  Territorial  Sportsmen, Juneau,  said                                                               
his group  appreciates all the  effort put into this  bill. Their                                                               
whole approach, as explained by  Mr. Grasser, has been to produce                                                               
enough money  not only to  make up for  the 23 years  since there                                                               
has been an increase in wildlife  fees, but also looking 10 or 15                                                               
years  ahead  when  the  state  is not  going  to  get  any  more                                                               
increases, especially if the fiscal situation remains the same.                                                                 
He  said  that  one  of  the really  important  things  from  the                                                               
standpoint of this  coalition is the IM  sunset provision because                                                               
of the distrust  around it. The sunset does one  thing: it allows                                                               
residents to  decide to continue  it or not  if the money  is not                                                               
being used appropriately.                                                                                                       
MR. SOMERVILLE  said he  always tries to  explain to  people that                                                               
they have the  authority to "harass you people,"  that the budget                                                               
has an  oversight, and  that mechanisms exist  to make  sure that                                                               
those distrusts  are addressed. He  said they are happy  with the                                                               
bill; it will provide adequate  funds to carry the department for                                                               
a while and  do the things that are expected.  He reminded people                                                               
that inflation since  1993 is 65 percent, and  they have proposed                                                               
a license  increase for  residents of only  60 percent.  So, it's                                                               
still a good deal.                                                                                                              
4:49:24 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUG LARSON,  Territorial Sportsmen, Inc. (TSI),  Juneau, Alaska,                                                               
thanked  the sponsor  for  bringing this  issue  forward and  the                                                               
committee and staff  for all their hard work.  Their efforts have                                                               
coalesced and  that speaks  to the legitimacy  and need  for this                                                               
measure.  No  tag fees  are  included  in  these changes  and  he                                                               
doesn't advocate for  that at this point, but  since there aren't                                                               
any, when one looks at what  Alaskans pay ($40 license fee in V),                                                               
they  can kill  four and  in some  places, six  deer a  year, one                                                               
moose, a sheep, a goat, several  black bear (in some parts of the                                                               
state), and  a brown bear-a  pretty amazing cadre of  species for                                                               
$40. "It's a  steal." By comparison, in other  states the license                                                               
fee, itself,  would be substantially  more than $40. But  then on                                                               
top of that,  for each of those deer they  pay another fee, maybe                                                               
$50-100 for one deer, and more for  a moose and a bear. All those                                                               
fees are added in other states.                                                                                                 
CHAIR  GIESSEL said  the Territorial  Sportsmen is  an intriguing                                                               
name because she and Senator  Coghill call themselves Territorial                                                               
kids,  having  been born  here  before  statehood, and  asked  if                                                               
that's where the title came from.                                                                                               
MR. LARSON  answered yes; it  came from the territorial  days. He                                                               
also is a Territorial child.                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL,  finding  no   further  comments,  closed  public                                                               
testimony  on HB  137 and  said the  committee would  continue to                                                               
accept written  testimony. She  asked for  amendments to  come to                                                               
her office by tomorrow at 5 p.m. and held HB 137 in committee.                                                                  
SENATOR STOLTZE said he wanted to  know how the family unit being                                                               
a  household member  or several  members of  households that  are                                                               
fishing together  on a  boat is interpreted  and enforced  in the                                                               
personal use fishery.                                                                                                           
CHAIR GIESSEL agreed  that that might need  further definition in                                                               
the bill, and  she also wanted to  see a budget plan  for the use                                                               
of the increased fees.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB137-Comments-Doug Vincent-Lang.pdf SRES 3/23/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
HB137-Comments-Resident Hunters of Alaska.pdf SRES 3/23/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
HB137-Version V.pdf SRES 3/23/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
HB137-Explanation of Changes-Version V.pdf SRES 3/23/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137
HB137-Comments-Nancy Hillstrand.pdf SRES 3/23/2016 3:30:00 PM
HB 137