UFA Legislative Update: April 22, 2016

From UFA President Jerry McCune:
The Alaska legislature has been focused on broader issues this week, with little or no movement on fisheries legislation we have been tracking. It is not clear how long they will continue to meet in the extended session.
What has happened and current status:

1. Fishing industry taxes:
House Finance Committee heard public testimony last Friday evening (4/15) on CSHB249  which combines HB251 Fisheries TaxesHB  253 mining taxes, and HB 249 Motor Fuel Tax, as well as income tax bill HB 250 .
Thanks to the many fishermen and families that called in to testify.

Related news coverage:
Package of tax hikes on fishing, mining and fuel stalls
By: DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce, Wed, 04/20/2016

The House Finance committee had scheduled these for Saturday 4/16 but those hearings were cancelled and they have not scheduled them since, focusing instead on new legislation HB 379 regarding state pay increases and SB 91 regarding criminal law and procedures. Both were heard through the week and are scheduled for House Finance tomorrow, Saturday April 23.

2. Broader Fiscal Issues: 
On Wednesday Governor Walker invited all 60 legislators to a presentation and question-and-answer session about the finance committee substitutes for the Permanent Fund Protection Act bills.  If you missed it, the video is archived on Gavel Alaska archives – direct link is http://www.360north.org/gavel/video?clientID=2147483647&eventID=2016041274

Related news coverage:
Legislative leaders say budget work is progressing behind scenes
Nathaniel Herz, ADN, April 20, 2016

3. Budgets in Conference Committee:
The House and Senate Conference Committee has met throughout the week for reconciliation between House and Senate versions of HB 256 operating budget bills. Final reconciliation results are not yet posted. The conference committee has meetings scheduled for Saturday 4/22 at 9:00 AM and Mondayat 3:00 PM – see video stream live or archived at Gavel Alaska archives .

4. Other Fisheries related legislation:

HB41 which re-establishes fees for sport guides ($100) and sportfishing operators ($200) passed the House and Senate and awaits transmittal to the Governor. The licenses were required but fees had not been collectible since they sunsetted in 2011.  An amendment by Senator Dunleavy exempted freshwater guides. Guides must register their boats with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the fees will sunset in 2019.
Related news coverage: Muñoz gets three bills through Legislature – Juneau Empire, April 19, 2016

We have not seen any movement or hearings on these fisheries related bills this week, and we do not expect further action.

Shellfish Mariculture
HB 300 regarding Shellfish Mariculture was passed by House Finance and is currently in House Rules Committee, awaiting scheduling for a floor vote. It would then need to be passed by the Senate.  Senate Companion bill SB 172 is currently in Senate Finance committee.

Commercial Fishery Entry Commission
HB 112 concerning CFEC was last heard in House Resources committee on April 4. Representative Stutes introduced an amendment HB 112 ver N.pdf .  We do not expect further action on this at this time.

HB 241 Nonresident Surcharge Commercial Fishing

SB 172 Fish/Shellfish Hatchery/Enhance. Projects

CSHB 286(RES) – Fish and Game Violations (Governor’s)
SB 164 Fish and Game violations (Governor’s – Senate version)

HB 365 Income tax alt. (Seaton) was heard in House Finance on April 7.

HB 366 Community Permit Bank

HB 220  Fisheries enhancement permit

SB 163 – Outstanding National Resource Waters
HB 283 – Outstanding National Resource Waters –

AK legislature home page: www.akleg.gov .
Inclusion of an item does not mean that UFA endorses or agrees.

To support UFA by joining or renewing your membership, visit: www.ufafish.org/become-a-member/

Compiled by staff of United Fishermen of Alaska
PO Box 20229
Juneau AK 99802
(907) 586-2820