UFA Legislative Update: February 22, 2019

    UFA Legislative Update – February 22, 2019
    **Correction: In Legislative update sent earlier this morning, it stated UFA opposes SB 61 – Commercial Fishermen’s Fund: Vessel Owner Claims.  UFA SUPPORTS SB 61. **

    Dear UFA Members and Friends,

    In this issue:

    • House of Representatives Organize
    • Hatchery Comments for Upcoming BOF Hatchery Committee Meeting
    • Sitka Herring Lawsuit Update
    • UFA Endorses Robert Ruffner for Alaska Board of Fisheries
    • UFA Seeking Nominations/Applications for At-Large UFA Board Members
    • **Legislative Happenings from this Week**
    • **Legislative Meetings of Interest for Next Week**
    • How to Testify, Watch, or Listen to a Hearing
    • Bills Related for Fisheries, and other Bills of Interest to Fishermen

    House of Representatives Organize
    With the election of Representative Bryce Edgmon last week, the House was able to make committee assignments this week. Elected to House Fisheries are Stutes (chair), Edgmon, Kopp, Kreiss-Tomkins, Tarr, Vance, and Pruitt. Other committee assignments may be found here.

    Hatchery Comments for Upcoming BOF Hatchery Committee Meeting
    The Board of Fisheries will be holding a public Hatchery Committee meeting in Anchorage on March 8. The deadline for on-time comments has passed, but there is still an opportunity to submit comments to the BOF for consideration on the importance of hatcheries to our state. You may fax comments (up to 10 pages single-sided) to the BOF at 907-465-6094 or you may deliver them 21 copies at the meeting. Don’t have a fax? Use a free online faxing service like Fax Zero.

    UFA Endorses Robert Ruffner for Alaska Board of Fisheries
    At UFA’s annual Spring Meeting, the board of directors voted to endorse BOF member Robert Ruffner for reappointment to the BOF. Mr. Ruffner has a proven track record of carefully researching and weighing each issue before the board. He has taken great efforts to listen to all sides of the arguments with an open mind, and is known for making the resource the priority—using science to make informed decisions. Ultimately, UFA believes Mr. Ruffner is an ideal candidate for the BOF and will represents all sides fairly.

    Sitka Herring Lawsuit Update
    On Wednesday, Judge Schally denied the Sitka Tribe’s request for a preliminary injunction on the upcoming Sitka herring fishery. The tribe still has the option to take the issue to the Supreme Court.Read More…

    **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



    Legislation – Happenings from this week on fishery related bills we are tracking. (February 18-22)

    SB 61– Commercial Fishermen’s Fund: Vessel Owner Claims – “An Act relating to claims against protection and indemnity insurance policies of vessel owners.” Introduced by Senator Stevens on February 18.  This bill was referred to Labor & Commerce and Senate Finance and read the first time on February 18.   UFA supports this bill.

    SB 63– Fish Tax: Repeal Muni Refunds/Rev. Share -“An Act repealing the fisheries business tax allocation to municipalities; repealing the refunds to local governments of fisheries business taxes; repealing revenue sharing for the fishery resource landing tax; providing for an effective date by amending the effective date of sec. 36, ch. 61, SLA 2014; and providing for an effective date.”  Introduced by Senate Rules at the Request of the Governor on February 18.  This bill was read the first time on February 18 and referred to the Community and Regional Affairs and Finance Committees.  You may watch the first hearing here: February 18, Senate Finance MeetingUFA Opposes this bill.

    HB 35– Conflict Of Interest: Board Fisheries/Game -“ An Act relating to participation in matters before the Board of Fisheries and the Board of Game by the members of the respective boards; and providing for an effective date”  Introduced by Rep. Stutes.  This bill was read the first time on February 20 and referred to the House Special Committee on Fisheries and the Resources Committee.  UFA Supports this bill.

    HB 41– 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”  Introduced by Rep. Ortiz.  This bill was read the first time and referred to the House Special Committee on Fisheries and the Finance Committee. UFA Supports this bill.

    HB 65– Fish Tax: Repeal Muni Refunds/Rev. Share -“ An Act repealing the fisheries business tax allocation to municipalities; repealing the refunds to local governments of fisheries business taxes; repealing revenue sharing for the fishery resource landing tax; providing for an effective date by amending the effective date of sec. 36, ch. 61, SLA 2014; and providing for an effective date”  Introduced by House Rules by Request of the Governor.  This bill was read the first time and referred to the House Special Committee on Fisheries and the Community & Regional Affairs and Finance Committees. UFA Opposes this bill.


    Legislative Meetings of interest for this weekend and the week of February 25 – March 1, 2019.

    Tuesday, February 26- 10 a.m.
    House Fisheries Committee– Gruenberg 120
    Presentation by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s (ASMI) Interim Executive Director, Jeremy Woodrow, about ASMI itself, a market update, as well as an analysis of the harvest value, volume, and competition in relation to the Alaska seafood industry.

    At this time, none of the bills we are currently tracking are scheduled for hearings this coming week- but this may change.  Please feel free to track bills in The Bill Tracking Management Facility (BTMF).

    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.

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

    SB. 22  – Shellfish Enhance. Projects; Hatcheries (Stevens- Senate Finance- UFA Supports) Referred to Senate Finance with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    SB 51  – Natl. Res. Water Nomination/Designation (Senate Resources – UFA Supports) Currently in Senate Resources with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    SB 61  – Commercial Fishermen’s Fund: Vessel Owner Claims (Stevens – UFA Supports)
    SB 63  – Fish Tax: Repeal Muni Refunds/Rev. Share (Senate Rules by Request of the Governor- UFA Opposes)
    HB 35 – Conflict Of Interest: Board Fisheries/Game (Stutes – UFA Supports)
    HB 41 – Shellfish Enhance. Projects; Hatcheries (Ortiz – UFA Supports)
    HB 65 – Fish Tax: Repeal Muni Refunds/Rev. Share (House Rules by Request of the Governor – UFA Opposes)

    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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