Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/17/2003 11:16 AM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         HB 251-MARINE PILOT FOR FOREIGN PLEASURE CRAFT                                                                     
CHAIR  JOHN  COWDERY asked  for  a  motion  to adopt  the  Senate                                                               
committee substitute (CS) as the working document.                                                                              
SENATOR THOMAS  WAGONER made a  motion to  adopt SCS CSHB  251 \C                                                               
version  as the  working  document. The  motion  carried with  no                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE NANCY  DAHLSTROM, bill  sponsor, described  HB 251                                                               
as  an  effort  to  correct  a problem  in  the  marine  pilotage                                                               
requirements identified in a recent  legislative budget and audit                                                               
report. They recommend the Board  of Marine Pilots seek statutory                                                               
authority to  allow the discretion  to grant waivers  of pilotage                                                               
requirements for large pleasure craft.                                                                                          
She pointed out the letters of  support in the packets and opined                                                               
the legislation  would promote economic development  in Southeast                                                               
Alaska coastal communities.                                                                                                     
She provided the following sectional overview:                                                                                  
   · Section 1 - Imposes a $10,000 civil fine for violation of                                                                  
     the pilotage laws.                                                                                                         
   · Section 2 - Outlines the fee structure for a waiver                                                                        
   · Section 3 Exempts foreign flagged pleasure craft of 65 feet                                                                
     or less from pilotage laws.                                                                                                
   · Section 4 - Adds new subsections:                                                                                          
          (b) Outlines exemptions for foreign flagged pleasure                                                                  
               craft over 65 feet and less than 175 feet                                                                        
               exclusive of the waters of the Wrangell Narrows                                                                  
               and the water between Chatham Strait and Sitka                                                                   
               via Peril Strait                                                                                                 
          (c) Adds the use of a licensed Alaska agent for yachts                                                                
               over 65 feet and less than 125 feet in length.                                                                   
          (d) Mandates use of pilots on foreign flagged pleasure                                                                
               craft of more than 125 feet and less than 175                                                                    
               feet in length at the first pilot station into                                                                   
               the first port of call.                                                                                          
          (e) Defines "for hire" and "pleasure craft" according                                                                 
               to the U.S. Coast Guard definitions.                                                                             
11:35 a.m.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COWDERY  asked  whether  she  would  consider  a  friendly                                                               
amendment on  page 3, line  8 changing  "10 working days"  to "30                                                               
working days".                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM agreed.                                                                                                
CHAIR COWDERY asked for a motion to amend.                                                                                      
SENATOR THOMAS WAGONER made a motion to amend.                                                                                  
CHAIR COWDERY asked whether there were any questions.                                                                           
SENATOR  GEORGIANNA   LINCOLN  pointed  out  that   it  would  be                                                               
necessary to change "10" to "30" on line 9 as well.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM  asked  her staff  to  provide  further                                                               
explanation on subsection (b).                                                                                                  
REX SHATTUCK, staff to  Representative Dahlstrom, explained there                                                               
are probably  two issues that  should be addressed. The  time for                                                               
scheduling marine pilots  might need advance notice  and the time                                                               
to work  on the waiver  might need additional time.  He suggested                                                               
addressing the need  for more scheduling time  by inserting, "The                                                               
application for a waiver must be  submitted to the board at least                                                               
30 days before the vessel enters the state."                                                                                    
CHAIR COWDERY  said that  would accomplish  what he  intended. He                                                               
then questioned whether the 10 day approval period was adequate.                                                                
MR. SHATTUCK  replied the  intent is to  give 10  days processing                                                               
time, but  the 10  day period  for action  would be  suspended if                                                               
additional information were needed from the applicant.                                                                          
CHAIR COWDERY asked  if the others would stay  at 10. [References                                                               
to 10 days on page 3, lines 9 and 11]                                                                                           
MR. SHATTUCK  replied the 30 day  time for scheduling would  be a                                                               
separate  statement  and  application processing  time  could  be                                                               
either 10 days  or 30 days. Occupational  licensing indicated the                                                               
10 day period  for application processing was  acceptable and the                                                               
Marine Pilots  Association has indicated  that the 30  day notice                                                               
would be suitable for their  scheduling. "So leaving the existing                                                               
10 day period  for approval of the waiver appeared  to be okay as                                                               
far as  occupational licensing goes,  whereas 30 days  in advance                                                               
for  the  scheduling.  I  would  submit  that  30  days  for  the                                                               
processing  of  the waiver  would  be  acceptable, I'm  sure,  to                                                               
occupational licensing too."                                                                                                    
SENATOR LINCOLN  noted there is  reference to  a 10 day  limit on                                                               
line  11 as  well.  She  then requested  a  written  copy of  the                                                               
proposed amendment.                                                                                                             
MR. SHATTUCK said he recently  learned that not giving the marine                                                               
pilots  30  days  scheduling notice  could  be  problematic.  The                                                               
language  he  suggested  came  from a  previous  version  of  the                                                               
legislation and,  although he didn't  have copies  to distribute,                                                               
he would provide them in short order.                                                                                           
SENATOR LINCOLN  said she would  appreciate a copy.  Assuming the                                                               
proposed amendment is  inserted, she asked whether  he was saying                                                               
the three references to  10 days [page 3, lines 8,  9 and 11] had                                                               
to be changed or did not have to be changed.                                                                                    
MR.  SHATTUCK explained  30  days is  critical  for marine  pilot                                                               
scheduling and waiver processing could be either 10 or 30 days.                                                                 
CHAIR  COWDERY said  he  understood there  to  be three  separate                                                               
issues. He asked Mr. Shattuck to explain.                                                                                       
SENATOR  LINCOLN  said she  simply  wanted  clarification of  the                                                               
MR. SHATTUCK  said a  way of  dealing with the  time might  be to                                                               
have an  application requirement of  30 days prior to  the vessel                                                               
entering  the  state  to  cover marine  pilot  scheduling.  As  a                                                               
separate issue, it would be  appropriate that the time periods on                                                               
lines 8, 9 and 11 be the same.                                                                                                  
SENATOR WAGONER said the dates on  lines 8 and 9 are integral and                                                               
therefore must be the same.                                                                                                     
MR.  SHATTUCK  said   the  ten  day  processing   time  would  be                                                               
acceptable and  so the  other two  dates would have  to be  10 as                                                               
well. Thirty days  for scheduling purposes would  help the marine                                                               
CHAIR COWDERY asked  whether the amendment for 30 days  on line 8                                                               
and leaving  10 days on  line 9  was acceptable and  a reasonable                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM said that was correct.                                                                                 
SENATOR WAGONER said  he must not understand what  he was reading                                                               
because the  10 working days referred  to on line 8  was the same                                                               
10  working  days referred  to  on  line  9. Changing  one  would                                                               
automatically require a change of the other.                                                                                    
CHAIR COWDERY asked Senator Lincoln if  she wanted to add to that                                                               
statement or wait for a response from the sponsor.                                                                              
SENATOR LINCOLN said  the amendment would add  a separate section                                                               
to accommodate  the marine pilots 30  day scheduling requirement.                                                               
She made  it clear she  was not making  a motion before  she read                                                               
the language Mr. Shattuck proposed.  It said, "An application for                                                               
the exemption shall be submitted  to the marine pilot coordinator                                                               
at  least  30  days  before  the  vessel  enters  the  compulsory                                                               
pilotage water  of the  state." She  continued to  explain; after                                                               
that language  is inserted,  the three references  to 10  days on                                                               
page 3 lines 8, 9 and 11 would remain the same.                                                                                 
SENATOR WAGONER agreed  that made sense; they all have  to be the                                                               
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER said, "They don't."                                                                                        
SENATOR  WAGONER  disagreed  and restated  his  position  saying,                                                               
"This amendment  will make a  difference, but right  now, without                                                               
the amendment, they have to be the same."                                                                                       
SENATOR  LINCOLN  asked  the  Chair if  he  was  withdrawing  his                                                               
CHAIR COWDERY  said he withdrew  his request to amend,  which was                                                               
to change "10" days to "30" days on page 3, line 8.                                                                             
SENATOR LINCOLN made  a motion to amend. On page  3, line 7 after                                                               
"is issued." insert,  "An application for the  exemption shall be                                                               
submitted  to  the marine  pilot  coordinator  at least  30  days                                                               
before the  vessel enters  the compulsory  pilotage water  of the                                                               
CHAIR COWDERY  said, "That would go  down, starting on line  7 at                                                               
'The board' ending  on line 12 at 'applicant.'  We'd replace that                                                               
with the language you're talking about."                                                                                        
SENATOR  LINCOLN  clarified  she  was  proposing  to  insert  the                                                               
language after  the word  "issued." and it's  a new  sentence. It                                                               
would replace nothing.                                                                                                          
MR. SHATTUCK read (b) with the inserted language to clarify.                                                                    
CHAIR COWDERY asked if the  language was satisfactory and whether                                                               
everyone understood.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM agreed to the amendment.                                                                               
SENATOR LINCOLN asked for an at-ease.                                                                                           
11:37 a.m.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COWDERY called an at-ease.                                                                                                
11:43 a.m.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COWDERY reconvened the meeting.                                                                                           
There was no objection to amendment #1 and the motion passed.                                                                   
CHAIR COWDERY asked if anyone wanted to testify on the bill.                                                                    
ROBERT  WINTER  from  the  Southeast  Alaska  Pilots  Association                                                               
testified in support  of the current committee  substitute for HB                                                               
251, but  advised that  some members  had reservations  about the                                                               
175 foot  exemption limit.  He explained the  focus is  to ensure                                                               
safety on the waterways.                                                                                                        
CHAIR  COWDERY asked  for confirmation  that  the bill  addresses                                                               
foreign flagged vessels only.                                                                                                   
MR. WINTER confirmed.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  COWDERY asked  how many  pilots  would be  required for  a                                                               
vessel that stays in Alaska waters for a week.                                                                                  
MR. WINTER  replied just one pilot  is typically sent to  a yacht                                                               
because most  yachts don't  run for  more than  eight hours  at a                                                               
time. He pointed  out that cruise ships have two  pilots on board                                                               
if  they run  more than  eight hours  so different  schedules are                                                               
CHAIR COWDERY asked how Alaska waters is defined.                                                                               
MR. WINTER  explained that for  pilotage purposes,  Alaska waters                                                               
are located inside the headlands.                                                                                               
CHAIR COWDERY asked who transports the pilots.                                                                                  
MR.  WINTER said  in Southeast  a  pilot boat  typically takes  a                                                               
pilot  to  a yacht,  but  a  charter floatplane  might  sometimes                                                               
provide transportation.                                                                                                         
CHAIR COWDERY asked who pays for the transportation.                                                                            
MR. WINTER  replied the  owner of  the yacht  pays, which  is the                                                               
same as for cargo and ore ships that require pilots.                                                                            
SENATOR WAGONER asked about boats for hire.                                                                                     
MR.  WINTER explained  the  intent  of this  bill  is to  address                                                               
pleasure craft and  not vessels that carry  passengers or freight                                                               
for hire.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked Mr. Winter  to be more specific  about any                                                               
safety concerns pilots may have as related to this legislation.                                                                 
MR. WINTER  said present statute  allows vessels up to  300 gross                                                               
ton, which  would be about 125  feet in length. Vessels  that are                                                               
175 feet  long may range  from 600 gross  tons up to  1,500 gross                                                               
tons, which is a small ship.  In the past these vessels have been                                                               
entering  Alaska waters  without  a pilot  and  the state  hasn't                                                               
enforced the pilot requirement.  He continued, "Under the present                                                               
statute, we  would be  exempting some  of those,  but there  is a                                                               
requirement for them  to take a pilot on initial  entry where the                                                               
pilot would provide them with navigational safety information."                                                                 
This  information would  include  fishing  openings, cruise  ship                                                               
schedules   and   other   pertinent   information   they   aren't                                                               
necessarily getting so this bill might increase safety.                                                                         
SENATOR WAGONER  brought up  the issue  of homeland  security and                                                               
asked  if there  was  any concern  associated  with foreign  flag                                                               
MR. WINTER  said that  is a  federal or  Coast Guard  concern and                                                               
this bill  isn't a big issue  to them. They are  already tracking                                                               
vessels of special interest.                                                                                                    
SENATOR  LINCOLN referred  to the  fiscal note  from occupational                                                               
licensing showing revenues of $102,000  and asked how much of the                                                               
new revenue would come from civil  fines and who would impose the                                                               
MR. WINTER  said the  way the law  stands currently,  those fines                                                               
are criminal in  nature and substantial at $15,000  for the first                                                               
infraction. Changing the  infraction to be civil  in nature would                                                               
make it  possible for  the board  to deal  with the  fines. Also,                                                               
length  is  a  more  definitive factor  than  gross  tonnage  for                                                               
identifying  the  vessels that  would  require  a pilot.  Because                                                               
foreign  yachts  are required  to  give  96 hours  notice  before                                                               
entering U.S. waters, the Coast  Guard or U.S. Customs data could                                                               
provide a  ready cross  check for which  vessels would  require a                                                               
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked how  much of the  $102,000 in  new revenue                                                               
might come from civil fines.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  said they  identified about  25 vessels                                                               
in the  65 foot to  175 foot range  that will probably  visit the                                                               
state and used  that information to come up  with the anticipated                                                               
fees.  She opined  that the  revenue generated  would be  greater                                                               
than projected.                                                                                                                 
MR. WINTER  said he  understood the revenue  would come  from the                                                               
projected waiver fees. If the  system works there wouldn't be any                                                               
CHAIR COWDERY asked for the will of the committee.                                                                              
SENATOR WAGONER asked that the  record reflect that the committee                                                               
substitute \C  version was adopted  as the working  document. The                                                               
first motion to amend the  committee substitute was withdrawn and                                                               
Senator Lincoln's amendment  #1 was inserted into (b)  on page 3;                                                               
it did not remove or substitute language in (b).                                                                                
SENATOR  WAGONER made  a motion  to move  SCS CSHB  251(TRA) from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
notes. There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                             

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