Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

02/19/2018 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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03:30:09 PM Start
03:30:46 PM Confirmation Hearing(s): State Assessment Review Board, Regulatory Commission of Alaska
03:59:01 PM SB164
04:50:41 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
- State Assessment Review Board
Mr. Bradley Pickett, Palmer
- Regulatory Commission of Alaska
Ms. Janis Wilson, Anchorage
Mr. Paul Lisankie, Anchorage
-- Public Testimony on Appointees --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        SB 164-CONFIDENTIALITY OF ANIMAL & CROP RECORDS                                                                     
3:59:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL announced  consideration of  SB 164,  sponsored by                                                               
the  Rules Committee  at the  request of  the Governor.  She said                                                               
Alita Bus  was at the table  and would manipulate the  slides for                                                               
those  speaking  on  line, Arthur  Keys,  Director,  Division  of                                                               
Agriculture,  Department of  Natural  Resources (DNR),  Christina                                                               
Carpenter,  Director* Division  of Public  Health, Department  of                                                               
Environmental  Conservation  (DEC),  and  Robert  Gerlach,  State                                                               
Veterinarian, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).                                                                   
CHRISTINA CARPENTER, Director,  Division of Environmental Health,                                                               
Department  of  Environmental  Conservation,  Anchorage,  Alaska,                                                               
said SB 164 amends AS 03.05 to  add a new section to make certain                                                               
animal  health and  crop  records held  by the  DEC  and DNR  are                                                               
confidential.  This has  been a  coordinated  effort across  both                                                               
departments,   but  the   request   is   coming  from   industry.                                                               
Agricultural producers  have contacted  them repeatedly  over the                                                               
last 10  years or so  requesting a  change in statute  that would                                                               
provide    Alaskan    agricultural   producers    with    similar                                                               
confidentiality   that  is   already  afforded   to  many   other                                                               
commercial  industries   in  Alaska.  For  example,   the  Alaska                                                               
Department  of  Fish   and  Game  (ADF&G)  has   a  statute  that                                                               
specifically  makes  commercial  fishing  records  held  by  them                                                               
confidential. That was  used as an example in  working with their                                                               
attorney to develop this bill.                                                                                                  
4:02:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CARPENTER   said  she  calls   this  the   Health  Insurance                                                               
Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)  for hogs and hay. She                                                               
opined that it would allow  the department to engage with Alaskan                                                               
producers earlier in  the event of a  suspected disease outbreak,                                                               
morbidity, or mortality circumstance,  to identify a threat early                                                               
on  and try  to limit  any sort  of disease  outbreak so  that it                                                               
wouldn't spread to  neighboring facilities or be  a public health                                                               
CHAIR  GIESSEL asked  her  to justify  why  having these  records                                                               
confidential protects  the public,  because that  is the  role of                                                               
these kinds of animal and crop testing procedures.                                                                              
4:04:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CARPENTER  replied  in  the  event  there  was  a  suspected                                                               
zoonotic disease outbreak  on a farm, but it  wasn't a reportable                                                               
disease,  the  department would  hope  that  producers and  their                                                               
private veterinarians  would engage  with them very  early before                                                               
the  outbreak  grew  and  got   off  premise  and  maybe  started                                                               
impacting some of their neighbors or members of the public.                                                                     
The department  believes that engaging  with farmers  early would                                                               
encourage better animal and public  health, because they would no                                                               
longer  be  reluctant  to  submit   their  animals  or  crops  to                                                               
voluntary  testing, and  the department  could respond  faster in                                                               
the event of a disease outbreak.                                                                                                
4:05:32 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT GERLACH,  State Veterinarian, Department  of Environmental                                                               
Conservation  (DEC),  Anchorage,  Alaska,   said  his  office  is                                                               
responsible  for  the  prevention, control,  and  eradication  of                                                               
animal  diseases for  livestock  and pets,  as  well as  diseases                                                               
livestock and pets  may carry that may be  transmitted to people,                                                               
as well  as food safety.  To do these  jobs they need  to collect                                                               
quite a  bit of data and  information from animal owners  - where                                                               
they obtained their animals, where  the animals are located, what                                                               
disease test  records they may  have, and what animals  are being                                                               
processed  to  other  farms  or  locations, so  if  there  is  an                                                               
outbreak, they would have access  to that information to do their                                                               
4:06:59 PM                                                                                                                    
Every year  they are collecting  more and more data  from people,                                                               
because  of  animal  disease  certification  programs  and  other                                                               
marketing  programs  that  require  this  data  collection  which                                                               
includes import  data on  permits and  health records  of animals                                                               
coming into the  state and disease surveillance  records that are                                                               
kept to  ensure that  state and  international partners  that the                                                               
state is free of diseases (such as TB or rabies).                                                                               
MR. GERLACH explained  that a lot of these  programs are required                                                               
for access to certain markets;  some are required for importation                                                               
of animals  to the state  and some are  just for proof  of animal                                                               
health. Others are validation programs  that are used for farmers                                                               
to gain access  to markets and to be able  to promote and declare                                                               
the  quality  of  their  product  as a  marketing  tool.  As  the                                                               
department collects this  data, they would like to  be able share                                                               
it with their  partners who would be involved  with mitigating or                                                               
controlling  the spread  of disease  and keeping  animals healthy                                                               
and  food  safe,  and   not  necessarily  releasing  confidential                                                               
business data, proprietary,  or personal data that  may leave the                                                               
producer  vulnerable. It  would allow  the department  to collect                                                               
more  data and  have more  people participate  in these  programs                                                               
while   protecting   the   proprietary   information   from   the                                                               
4:09:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  remarked that the  header on slide 4  says "Office                                                               
of the  State Veterinarian" but  he is not the  only veterinarian                                                               
in state government.                                                                                                            
MR. GERLACH  said that  is true;  several veterinarians  work for                                                               
the state, but he is  the only veterinarian in statute classified                                                               
as  the  State Veterinarian  with  the  authority for  regulating                                                               
animal health,  collecting this data,  and being  responsible for                                                               
the control and mitigation to prevent the spread of diseases.                                                                   
CHAIR GIESSEL asked him to  clarify that the Department of Health                                                               
and Social Services (DHSS) has  at least one veterinarian and the                                                               
Department   of   Natural   Resources  (DNR)   has   a   wildlife                                                               
veterinarian  and  to describe  his  interaction  with the  other                                                               
state veterinarians.                                                                                                            
MR.  GERLACH  replied  that  his  interaction  with  those  other                                                               
veterinarians is  on a continual  basis regarding  disease issues                                                               
that would be important to  their particular function. Dr. Louisa                                                               
Castrodale in the Division of  Public Health in the Department of                                                               
Health and  Social Services (DHSS)  is involved with  food safety                                                               
and zoonotic disease issues as  well as the epidemiology of other                                                               
human diseases when  it comes down to  identifying or determining                                                               
an  outbreak or  a  contaminated product.  His responsibility  is                                                               
limited to control  of the animals and Dr.  Castrodale would work                                                               
with  public  health officials  to  control  and prevent  further                                                               
spread in the case of a zoonotic disease among human beings.                                                                    
In  regard to  the functions  of Dr.  Kimberly Beckman,  ADF&G is                                                               
looking  at hiring  a second  veterinarian and  the same  type of                                                               
cooperation  would  be used  to  control  a disease  outbreak  in                                                               
domestic  animals  from  spreading   to  wildlife  resources.  It                                                               
applies to  a disease that  could impact  the food safety  of the                                                               
meat   or   animals   that   are   harvested   for   subsistence,                                                               
recreational, or commercial use.                                                                                                
4:12:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL asked  how many  staff  are in  the dairy  program                                                               
(slide 5) and how many dairy farms are in Alaska.                                                                               
MR. GERLACH  replied that there  is one dairy farm  in production                                                               
of Grade  A milk  and a  second is gearing  up for  production. A                                                               
third  dairy  is  considering  participating   in  grade  A  milk                                                               
production  of   pasteurized  milk   for  commercial   sale.  The                                                               
department is  working with those two  dairies to get them  up to                                                               
speed to meet the facility  requirements for the care and feeding                                                               
of   animals,  sanitation   and   disinfection,  transport,   and                                                               
processing at  a pasteurization plant  to make sure that  the end                                                               
product meets the state requirements for Grade A milk.                                                                          
4:13:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL asked how many people are in the dairy section.                                                                   
MR.  GERLACH replied  that two  other  people work  in the  dairy                                                               
program: Dr.  Sarah Coburn, Assistant  State Veterinarian,  and a                                                               
dairy  sanitarian  who  does  the   farm  inspections  and  tests                                                               
equipment.  Dr.   Coburn  does   many  of  the   inspections  and                                                               
certification inspects and acts as  the communicator with the FDA                                                               
to  assure  that  the  state   program  is  meeting  the  federal                                                               
requirements for production of Grade A milk.                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  said she  assumed that the  dairies must  pay fees                                                               
that cover this program.                                                                                                        
MR. GERLACH replied  there is a permit fee to  initially become a                                                               
part  of the  program, but  the equipment  test, sanitation,  and                                                               
farm inspection  do not have  a charge, neither does  the testing                                                               
of raw  milk as well  as the processed  products that is  done at                                                               
the Environmental Health Laboratory in Anchorage                                                                                
4:15:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. GERLACH said slide 6  showed the increased number of imported                                                               
animals  in the  last  four  fiscal years  which  resulted in  an                                                               
increase in  import permits, demonstrating the  growing amount of                                                               
information  being  collected  from  a larger  number  of  people                                                               
throughout the  state. Keeping that information  confidential, it                                                               
protects  or business  data.  Because of  taking  primacy of  the                                                               
Produce   Food   Safety   Program    under   the   Federal   Drug                                                               
Administration's (FDA)  Food Safety Modernization Act,  the state                                                               
is also collecting data from  an increased number of agricultural                                                               
farms.  It requires  farms to  disclose financial  information as                                                               
well as product and inspection  information on their farms, which                                                               
is the business and proprietary data that he wants to protect.                                                                  
4:17:11 PM                                                                                                                    
He said  slide 7 lists some  of the disease outbreaks  in Alaska.                                                               
The point  is to  show that  they collect  a lot  of surveillance                                                               
data  to  maintain  a  large list  of  reportable  diseases  that                                                               
producers and veterinarians are required  to report to them. This                                                               
data is  used to  investigate morbidity  and mortality  events in                                                               
both wild  and domestic animals across  the state to get  an idea                                                               
of disease issues  and try to maintain animal  health and prevent                                                               
spread of  these diseases.  The number of  reports they  get each                                                               
year for this type of disease outbreak is increasing, as well.                                                                  
MR. GERLACH said they want  people to feel comfortable in sharing                                                               
their  data with  the department.  With  this bill  they want  to                                                               
collect  and   maintain  data   while  protecting   business  and                                                               
proprietary data that  can often be misused or  put that producer                                                               
in a vulnerable state.                                                                                                          
4:19:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL  asked if the  information gets disclosed  if there                                                               
is an outbreak.                                                                                                                 
MR.  GERLACH  answered  yes,  it   would  be  shared  with  their                                                               
partners.  Zoonotic or  food borne  disease information  would be                                                               
shared with the Department of  Health and Social Services (DHSS),                                                               
the  Food Safety  Sanitation  Division in  DEC,  the Centers  for                                                               
Disease  Control  (CDC)  and  the  FDA.  Data  from  an  outbreak                                                               
associated  with  a  disease  that might  impact  the  health  of                                                               
livestock or domestic pets, as  well as wildlife, would be shared                                                               
with the  DNR, the  Alaska Department of  Fish and  Game (ADF&G),                                                               
and  with the  U.S.  Department of  Agriculture  (USDA) so  their                                                               
resources could be  used to help his division do  a better job in                                                               
containing the disease and preventing the spread.                                                                               
4:20:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER  asked what prevents people  from importing animals                                                               
and then selling them as Alaska-grown.                                                                                          
MR.  GERLACH replied  as long  as  animal meet  both federal  and                                                               
state requirements  for importation into  the state, they  can be                                                               
used by the  importer for whatever purpose they  intend them for.                                                               
If  it's for  commercial sale,  the labelling  and marketing  are                                                               
regulated by  other entities.  If the  owner is  going to  make a                                                               
claim that it meets the  standards for Alaska-grown products, the                                                               
Division  of Agriculture  is responsible  for validation  of that                                                               
program and would approach that  producer to get information that                                                               
would  assure that  the product  they are  selling does  meet the                                                               
Alaska-grown program requirements.                                                                                              
CHAIR  GIESSEL said,  so you  must regulate  animals as  they are                                                               
imported and  asked if he  would share that information  with the                                                               
Division of Agriculture.                                                                                                        
MR. GERLACH  replied not necessarily.  The import  information is                                                               
maintained to keep  track of animals that come into  the state to                                                               
make sure  they are not  threatening the health of  other animals                                                               
whether  domestic or  wild. That  data is  not shared  with other                                                               
entities.  As slide  6 indicates  they give  reports to  the Farm                                                               
Bureau and  producers as  well as  the Alaska  Veterinary Medical                                                               
Association and the  USDA to inform them of the  animals that are                                                               
being imported and the work the department is doing.                                                                            
4:23:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP asked  if  most  of the  imports  come via  truck                                                               
through Canada and what the impound timeline is.                                                                                
MR. GERLACH  answered in the  past, most animals came  up through                                                               
the land port  at the Alaska-Canada Highway or  down into Haines.                                                               
Recently that  changed with the animal  transport restrictions in                                                               
Canada  for sheep  and  goats. Now  many of  the  sheep and  goat                                                               
producers are shipping  animals up by airline. He  said they have                                                               
been working  with the  Canadians and the  USDA to  resolve those                                                               
issues to  provide better service  for the producers who  want to                                                               
bring  up new  animals  for increasing  the  efficiency of  their                                                               
production and  broadening genetic stock. Probably  a minority of                                                               
animals are moved up through the ferry system.                                                                                  
SENATOR BISHOP asked  if the animals are impounded  when they get                                                               
MR. GERLACH replied no. The ports  don't have a person that would                                                               
have the authority  to do that. State import  regulations are set                                                               
so  that people  are assured  animals are  healthy and  safe when                                                               
they come  through the border  and to the final  destination. One                                                               
of the reasons  they want to provide this  confidentiality to the                                                               
producers is  if the animals  do have a  problem, they will  do a                                                               
follow-up  report  to  his office.  Some  animals  imported  from                                                               
Canada directly are  impounded at the destination  until the USDA                                                               
veterinarian  can   inspect  them.  Often  his   office  sends  a                                                               
representative with him.                                                                                                        
4:26:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. CARPENTER said slide 8 was a brief sectional analysis as                                                                    
     Section  1:   Makes  certain  animal  and crop  records                                                                    
     maintained   by   the  Departments   of   Environmental                                                                    
     Conservation  and  Natural  Resources exempt  from  the                                                                    
     Alaska Public Records Act if they                                                                                          
      1) are importation records  that identify a particular                                                                    
     animal, crop, business, or individual;                                                                                     
      2)  contain animal  or crop  test  results if  certain                                                                    
     conditions are met; or                                                                                                     
      3)  are  trade  secrets  or  proprietary  business  or                                                                    
     financial information.                                                                                                     
     Allows the Departments to  disclose the above described                                                                    
     records  in the  case  that  the Departments  determine                                                                    
     that there  is a threat to  the health or safety  of an                                                                    
     animal, crop, or the public.                                                                                               
     Provides the definition of "varietal".                                                                                     
     Section  2:  Allows  the Departments  of  Environmental                                                                    
     Conservation   and    Natural   Resources    to   adopt                                                                    
     regulations  to implement  the Act.  She  said at  this                                                                    
     time,  DEC   does  not   see  a   need  to   adopt  any                                                                    
     Section  3: Provides  for an  immediate effective  date                                                                    
     for Section 2.                                                                                                             
Slide 9 recapped the benefits captured with passage of SB 164:                                                                  
     Routine  surveillance  testing   may  encourage  better                                                                    
     animal husbandry  and crop  management, resulting  in a                                                                    
     higher   quality  product   for   sale  and   increased                                                                    
     production efficiency.                                                                                                     
     Early  identification  and  testing  of  sick  or  dead                                                                    
     animals  and crops  decreases  the  potential for  more                                                                    
        serious outbreaks and spread of disease to other                                                                        
     farms, plants or wildlife.                                                                                                 
     [Confidentiality  of proprietary  data prevents  unfair                                                                    
     advantage   to    a   competitor    regarding   product                                                                    
     development, marketing  strategy, and source  of animal                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  asked what has  to be done  immediately, because                                                               
the confidentiality issue could  impact business practices. Is it                                                               
a welcome relief or a yank in the system?                                                                                       
MR. GERLACH  replied that  it is a  welcome relief  for producers                                                               
knowing  that the  personal  and business  data  from the  animal                                                               
owners and the  agricultural farms that are  participating in the                                                               
Produce Food Safety Program will be kept confidential.                                                                          
4:30:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL said  once that happens, he would  need some kind                                                               
of alert  that is  not in  place now and  asked what  practice he                                                               
would have to institute.                                                                                                        
MR. GERLACH replied  that they already have  a communication plan                                                               
for  response  to  disease  outbreaks as  part  of  an  emergency                                                               
response plan. It  is very important for just  the daily function                                                               
of doing their job.                                                                                                             
4:31:10 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL said  he anticipated usage would go  up and would                                                               
that involve a fiscal note.                                                                                                     
MR. GERLACH replied there wouldn't  be any increase in the number                                                               
of reports  as just  part of  the department's  normal functions;                                                               
there would be no fiscal note.  For a disease outbreak they would                                                               
normally  release  only the  appropriate  data  pertinent to  the                                                               
threat  at hand.  A good  example may  be a  disease outbreak  of                                                               
Tuberculosis on  a farm.  They would  contact their  other animal                                                               
health participants  about it and  the DHSS  because Tuberculosis                                                               
from  animals  can be  transmitted  to  people. Then  they  would                                                               
contact the farms adjacent to the  outbreak farm to see if any of                                                               
their  animals had  been exposed.  Then  they would  go back  and                                                               
determine from the animal records  where those animals originated                                                               
to determine where the disease  may have been introduced, whether                                                               
from a  new import of  animals or  the possibility that  a worker                                                               
came to the  farm who actually had tuberculosis  and infected the                                                               
animals (which  has happened  in other  states). Then  they would                                                               
look at  the animal movement records  to see if any  animals were                                                               
moved  from that  farm to  another farm,  and then  contact those                                                               
individuals, test  and do surveillance  on their farms to  see if                                                               
the disease may have spread.                                                                                                    
4:33:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said he was  trying to determine the meaning                                                               
of "varietal" on page 1. The  definition on the next page says it                                                               
means  "characteristic  of  or  forming  a  distinct  variety  of                                                               
organism," which seemed odd.                                                                                                    
MS.  CARPENTER said  she would  defer that  question to  the DNR,                                                               
because that definition was added at their request.                                                                             
ARTHUR KEYES,  Director, Division  of Agriculture,  Department of                                                               
Natural  Resources  (DNR),  Palmer, Alaska,  explained  that  the                                                               
Plant Material  Center has  over 230  varieties of  potatoes. So,                                                               
variety is broad definition of different varieties of crops.                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL summarized that Mr.  Keyes was saying "varietal" is                                                               
a term of  art for various varieties of  particular vegetables or                                                               
other plants.                                                                                                                   
MR.  KEYES said  that was  a good  way to  put it.  For instance,                                                               
everyone knows what a red delicious  apple is, but there are over                                                               
50 different  varieties of red  delicious apple. That  holds true                                                               
for a lot of crops.                                                                                                             
4:36:34 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  said he  just wanted to  bring it  to their                                                               
attention and  if everyone is  fine with it,  he is, too.  He had                                                               
another question on page 2, lines 7-11, where it says:                                                                          
     (b) Notwithstanding  (a) of this  section, DEC  and DNR                                                                    
     may  disclose  any records  that  are  subject to  this                                                                    
     section if  they find  there is a  threat to  health or                                                                    
     safety of an animal, crop, or the public.                                                                                  
He asked how that works in  reality, because this is a Freedom of                                                               
Information Act provision.  Is there a right of  appeal? He noted                                                               
that language says "may" not "shall" disclose....                                                                               
MR. GERLACH replied  information that would be  released would be                                                               
at  the  discretion  of  the  Office  of  State  Veterinarian  in                                                               
consultation  with   the  director  and  commissioner.   Not  all                                                               
information would be  released. For instance, for  an outbreak of                                                               
a disease at  a farm, only the information that  was pertinent to                                                               
the threat either to other animals  or the public, or an issue of                                                               
food  safety  would  be  released.  They  would  not  necessarily                                                               
release the total  number of animals that are on  the farm or the                                                               
fact  that  the  farmer  owned  chickens (if  it  was  a  disease                                                               
outbreak in cattle) unless that  disease would affect those other                                                               
animals  and raise  concern  about those  other  species being  a                                                               
source of spreading it.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI pointed  out they  are making  DEC and  DNR                                                               
complete  gatekeepers of  these records,  and  that is  a lot  of                                                               
power. It's a policy call that makes him a bit uncomfortable.                                                                   
MR. GERLACH said  they are bound by  professional and interaction                                                               
requirements of  the USDA  and other  public health  officials to                                                               
disclose that information.  So, if there is a threat,  it must be                                                               
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI   asked  for   a  copy  of   any  statutes,                                                               
regulations, or ethical requirements  that would bind somebody in                                                               
DNR and DEC to disclose that information.                                                                                       
CHAIR  GIESSEL  asked   the  Department  of  Law   if  any  other                                                               
information might be helpful.                                                                                                   
4:40:56 PM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER  CURRIE, Alaska  Department of  Law, Anchorage,  Alaska,                                                               
said that Dr. Gerlach had addressed  when he would be required to                                                               
disclose  information   and  she  imagined   circumstances  might                                                               
require  some of  this information  remain  undisclosed, but  she                                                               
wasn't 100 percent sure.                                                                                                        
CHAIR GIESSEL asked if she heard  the concern about the term "may                                                               
disclose" and  wondered if this particular  section was patterned                                                               
after  other confidential  information  and disclosure  language.                                                               
Why does it say "may?"                                                                                                          
MS. CURRIE answered that she  didn't draft this language based on                                                               
any  other  disclosure statutes,  adding  that  she would  review                                                               
CHAIR  GIESSEL said  that  would be  helpful.  She opened  public                                                               
4:42:51 PM                                                                                                                    
AMY  SEITZ,  Executive  Director,   Alaska  Farm  Bureau,  Kenai,                                                               
Alaska,  supported SB  164. Allowing  confidentiality of  certain                                                               
personal and business  records for farmers will  afford them some                                                               
security in their business and keeping animals healthy, she                                                                     
     In  order  to  comply  with  state  and  federal  laws,                                                                    
     farmers have  to provide certain information  to DEC or                                                                    
     DNR. There  are also situations  where a farmer  may be                                                                    
     required to submit test results  or want to participate                                                                    
     in voluntary disease testing. Records  that DEC and DNR                                                                    
     maintain can be very  specific to particular animals or                                                                    
     crops,  information  on  our  farmers'  businesses  and                                                                    
     results  from  testing,  and under  current  law  these                                                                    
     records are not protected.                                                                                                 
     We want  our farmers  to feel comfortable  working with                                                                    
     state  agencies  in  maintaining   the  health  of  our                                                                    
     animals and crops, and also  the public health. Knowing                                                                    
     that  someone  could  access specifics  on  these  test                                                                    
     results - who tested, where  they are located, and what                                                                    
     the test  results were  - does  not afford  farmers the                                                                    
     security  necessary for  them to  participate in  these                                                                    
     testing    for    diseases.   Having    more    farmers                                                                    
     participating in  testing could help us  produce higher                                                                    
     quality   products   and   increase   efficiencies   in                                                                    
     production. It  could also help  as an  early detection                                                                    
     of  a  possible outbreak  of  diseases,  and our  state                                                                    
     agencies  having this  information could  help them  be                                                                    
     ready in the event of a health concern.                                                                                    
     Our farmers  should also have  the security  of knowing                                                                    
     that   certain   import   and  business   records   are                                                                    
     confidential. These records  that identify a particular                                                                    
     animal,  crop,  business,  or individual  shouldn't  be                                                                    
     public information,  especially when we are  looking at                                                                    
     new rules  like the Federal Produce  Safety Rule coming                                                                    
     on line.  If our  farmers are going  to be  required to                                                                    
     submit  financial  records   to  state  agencies,  they                                                                    
     should be  afforded the protections that  those records                                                                    
     are   going  to   be  confidential.   Other  commercial                                                                    
     industries are already afforded those securities.                                                                          
     For  recent examples:  right now,  some of  our farmers                                                                    
     are  dealing  with  the  sheep  and  goat  issue  where                                                                    
     Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae is of  concern and they opened                                                                    
     up a  voluntary testing  program to  find out  what the                                                                    
     prevalence  is here  in the  state. Once  the producers                                                                    
     learned that  there was not confidentiality  within the                                                                    
     Office of  the State Veterinarian,  there was a  lot of                                                                    
     concern to participate.  We did work around  it, but it                                                                    
     made a little  more of a hassle not being  able to have                                                                    
     it go through one office.                                                                                                  
     Also, we  have discussed  the option of  a Disease-free                                                                    
     Certification Program  for people  who want to  do goat                                                                    
     packing, but  again, once  producers learned  there was                                                                    
     not confidentiality of these  records within the Office                                                                    
     of  the   State  Veterinarian,  there  was   a  lot  of                                                                    
     reluctance to participate in something like that.                                                                          
     SB  164 would  add a  lot protection  for our  farmers'                                                                    
     businesses, but  it would still  allow, if there  was a                                                                    
     health  or safety  threat,  that  information could  be                                                                    
     released so the appropriate  agencies could protect the                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL asked  her if  she could  better explain  the term                                                               
MS.  SEITZ answered  that Mr.  Keyes did  a good  job of  talking                                                               
about what  it means.  Even within  one crop there  are a  lot of                                                               
different sub-varieties.                                                                                                        
CHAIR GIESSEL asked why that would have to be kept confidential.                                                                
MS. SEITZ replied that a lot  of decisions about what to grow are                                                               
business decisions.  For instance,  one farmer may  discover they                                                               
are really good at growing a  specific variety of potato and they                                                               
may not want  to share where they  get the seed start  for it. An                                                               
animal  farmer  could  find  out  where  a  particular  breed  is                                                               
purchased and beat out the original farmer.                                                                                     
4:50:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL said  she would  leave public  testimony open  and                                                               
hold SB 164 in committee awaiting further information.                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Senate Resources Agenda - 2 - 19 - 2018 .pdf SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
Appointments - Fact Sheet - State Assessment Review Board - 2 - 19 - 2018 .pdf SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
Appointments - Resume - Bradly Pickett to SARB.pdf SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
Appointments - Fact Sheet - Regulatory Commission of Alaska - 2 - 19 - 2018 .pdf SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
Appointments - Resume - Paul Lisankie to RCA.pdf SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
Appointments - Resume - Janis Wilson to RCA.pdf SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB164 Ver A.PDF SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB164 Transmittal Letter.pdf SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB164 - Presentation from ADEC - 2 - 19 - 2018.pdf SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB164 Fiscal Note-DEC-EHL-01-25-18.PDF SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB164 Additional Documentation - DEC Letter re Alaska Grown.pdf SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB164 Supporting Documents - Homer Swift Creek Ranch 2.8.2018.pdf SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB164 - Letter of Support - Tina Judd.pdf SRES 2/19/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 164