UFA Legislative Update: February 15, 2019

    Dear UFA Members and Friends,

    In this issue:

    • Governor Dunleavy Releases FY20 Alaska State Budget
    • House of Representatives Elects Speaker of the House
    • UFA Seeking Nominations/Applications for At-Large UFA Board Members

    Budget:
    The Governor’s Budget was released on Wednesday with $1.8 billion in state spending cuts, including many restructuring changes.  Here are the highlights and concerns that impact commercial fisheries.

    • Forthcoming legislation will reorganize and consolidate the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) and move it into the ADF&G Commercial Fisheries Division.
    • $4.6 million reduction (2%) in the DFG operating budget and $1.2 million reduction in Unauthorized General Funds (2%).  There is a $1.64 million cut to the Division of Commercial Fisheries.  This seems like a lot, but given that education was cut 26%, Alaska Marine Highway was cut 69%, Health and Social Services were cut 26%, and University of Alaska was cut 41%, ADF&G budget proved to fair the cuts better than most.
    • All state Departments received a 50% travel budget cut.  This will hit ADF&G (particularly the Boards Support/Board of Fisheries) and ASMI hard due to the amount of travel required in these departments.
    • ASMI did not receive any cuts to their budget since it was already at zero, but the 16.3% increase they were hoping was not given so they will be working with a F19 budget.
    • Alaska Marine Highway General fund cut 69%, fuel cut 81%, and routes eliminated between Alaska and Washington and Kodiak to Unalaska.
    • Over 600 job losses statewide with increases in positions to Office of Management and Budget. ADF&G to lose two Division Director positions (Subsistence and Habitat).  ASMI will lose no positions.
    • State-owned rural airports being considered for closure.

    United Fishermen of Alaska will be holding our Annual Spring Meeting next week and discussing the budget in our Statewide Committee section. Once legislation comes out to implement these cuts and reorganization, we will be able to provide more information on how we are going to approach things.

    House Organization:
    Yesterday, after 31 days in session, the House organized elected Representative Bryce Edgmon (D) as Speaker of the House.Committee Chairs and members are still be formalized at the time of this update.

    **Call for Nominations UFA At-Large Members**
    UFA’s Nominations are now open for UFA Board for At-Large Members!If you are an individual and Lifetime members and would like to apply, please visit our website and fill out a nomination form.  Deadline for Nominations is Friday, March 1!

    -Frances Leach, Executive Director

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    Contents:

    1. Legislation – happenings from this week…
    2. Legislative meetings of interest for next week
    3. To testify, watch or listen in to a hearing
    4. Bills related to fisheries, and others that may be of interest to fishermen

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    1. Legislation – happenings from this week on fishery related bills we are tracking. (February 11-15)

    SB. 22 – Shellfish Enhance. Projects; Hatcheries- “An Act relating to management of enhanced stocks of shellfish; authorizing certain nonprofit organizations to engage in shellfish enhancement projects; relating to application fees for salmon hatchery permits; and providing for an effective date” a bill introduced by Senator Stevens on January 16. The bill had a second hearing in Senate Resources on February 11 where an amendment with new language was introduced to include the BOF to hold an annual public hearing/meeting regarding the status of shellfish enhancement projects, shellfish hatcheries, and mariculture industry in the state.  The amendment carried and the bill was referred to Senate Finance and has not been assigned a hearing as of yet.
    You may watch the hearing here: February 11, 2019 Senate Resource Meeting

    SB. 51 – Natl. Res. Water Nomination/Designation- “An Act requiring the designation of state water as outstanding national resource water to occur by law; relating to the authority of the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Department of Fish and Game, and the Department of Natural Resources to nominate water for designation as outstanding national resource water; relating to management of outstanding national resource water by the Department of Environmental Conservation; and providing for an effective date” a bill introduced by Senate Resources and first heard on February 11.

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    2. Legislative meetings of interest for this weekend and the week of February 18-22, 2019.

    With the house getting organized today, there will likely be House committee meetings held next week that are not yet scheduled.  Please check the Committee Calendar for more information.

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    3. To testify, watch or listen in to a hearing …To testify it’s best to go to a Legislative Information office – see them online at http://akleg.gov/lios.php . If you can’t get to an LIO you can call in to listen in or testify through the following numbers – call & ask for the specific committee hearing:

    • From Anchorage based phones call 907-563-9085;
    • From Juneau based phones or outside Alaska call 907-586-9085;
    • From other areas of Alaska, call toll-free 844-586-9085…and ask for the specific hearing.

    To watch hearings online go to legislative home page at http://w3.akleg.gov/  at the time of the hearing, and click on the “Live Now” tab, and then select the meeting.

    To watch floor sessions and other hearings see Gavel to Gavel archives.

    To find your legislators and contact info see http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/  – see “WHO REPRESENTS ME?” in the lower right corner of the page.

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    4. Bills related to fisheries, and others that may be of interest to fishermen.

    SB. 22  – Shellfish Enhance. Projects; Hatcheries (Stevens- Senate Finance- UFA Supports)
    SB. 51 – Natl. Res. Water Nomination/Designation (Senate Resources)

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    Please support our business members – see links on our website
    To join UFA see http://www.ufafish.org/become-a-member/

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    This update is made possible by the support of our Group, Business, Individual and Crew members.
    To join UFA see http://www.ufafish.org/become-a-member/

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