Representative Louise Stutes-House District 32-Proudly Serving Kodiak, Cordova, and Yakutat.
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MARCH 27, 2017
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I am proud to announce that HB 87, my conflict of interest bill for the Board of Fisheries and the Board of Game, passed the House today by a vote of 27-11.
Currently, Board members must divulge a familial or financial conflict of interest; at that point, they can no longer offer input as a member of the Board and cannot vote on the matter at hand.
This bill allows the conflicted member to offer input, while still not allowing them to vote. Allowing members with expertise in particular fields to deliberate will help the Board make better informed decisions and lead to stronger fisheries management statewide. The bill is now going to the Senate for consideration
The House Finance Committee will be hearing public testimony onHB 115 “Income Tax; PFD Credit; Permanent Fund Income” on Wednesday, March 29th. Kodiak and Cordova testimony at the Legislative Information Offices (LIO) will begin at 5:30 p.m. Those of you without access to an LIO can call in at the 1:00 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. meeting. Please call (907) 465-4648 to receive the call-in number.
This bill would institute an income tax and restructure the Permanent Fund to utilize part of the Earnings Reserve Account to close the state’s fiscal gap.
Written testimony may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your testimony will be distributed to committee members and added to the official record.
Fisheries This Week:
Tomorrow, March 28th, at 10 a.m. the Special Committee on Fisheries will be holding confirmation hearings for the Board of Fisheries and the Fishermen’s Fund Advisory Panel. The appointments up for confirmation for the Board of Fisheries are: John Jensen, Reed Morisky, and Fritz Johnson. Clay Benezek is also up for confirmation for the Fishermen’s Fund Advisory Panel.
The committee will also be hearing the following bills and resolutions at tomorrow’s 10 a.m. meeting:
HCR 8-Kodiak Seafood & Marine Science Center *PUBLIC TESTIMONY*
This resolution urges the Alaska State Legislature to strongly support the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, formerly the Fishery Industrial Technology Center, as a statewide hub for research, training, and technical assistance efforts to support fisheries across the entire state and urges the University of Alaska to find a solution that keeps the center operating and stable.
I expect this to move from committee with no opposition.
Those looking to testify can do so at their local LIO. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to the start time at 10 a.m. If you are unable to access an LIO, please call (907) 465-4648 for a call-in number.
HB 76-Mariculture Revolving Loan Fund
This bill amends the existing Alaska Mariculture Revolving Loan Fund to allow up to 40% of the fund to be used for loans to permitted shellfish hatcheries or enhancement projects for planning, construction, and operation. It would amend the program to shift its focus and eligibility from individual mariculture farmers to include shellfish hatcheries that would market stock to local Alaskan mariculture farmers.
HB 128-Shellfish Enhance. Projects; Hatcheries
This bill allows qualified non-profits to pursue enhancement and/or restoration projects involving shellfish species including red and blue king crab, sea cucumber, abalone, and razor clams. It creates a regulatory framework with which the Alaska Department of Fish & Game can manage shellfish enhancement projects and outlines criteria for issuance of permits. It sets out stringent safety standards to ensure sustainability and health of existing natural stocks.
In addition, the legislation sets the application fee for a shellfish enhancement project at $1,000 and amends the application fee for a salmon hatchery permit, increasing the fee from $100 to $1,000.
Remember to file your PFD application!
The deadline to file for your PFD is in 4 days on March 31st and approaching fast. If you have not applied yet, be sure to visit the Permanent Fund Dividend Division and fill out your application now!
Transportation This Week:
Tomorrow, March 28th, at 1:00 p.m. the House Transportation Committee will be hearing HB 82-Restricted Off-Hwy Driver's Licenses.
This bill creates more logical criteria to determine eligibility for off-highway licenses and allows residents of off-highway communities to become legally licensed to drive without the time and expense of traveling to DMV offices for services other Alaskans can get at home.
HB 60-Motor Fuel Tax; Transportation Maint. Fund:
I was not thrilled about this bill, but I was able to pass an amendment in the House Transportation Committee allowing a 3 cent per gallon rebate for commercial fishermen. Commercial fishing was the only sector that was afforded a rebate in the legislation.
HB 60 is currently awaiting a hearing in the House Finance Committee. Your testimony can keep the commercial fishing rebate in the bill. Please have your voice heard and submit your written comments to email@example.com. I will send an update when oral public testimony is scheduled. In the meantime, please contact my office at (907) 465-3271 for any questions on this legislation.
Please reach out to me with any suggestions or concerns you have. Whether your thoughts are on the budget, new revenue, fisheries or transportation issues, or something that is important to you and your family, I’m here for you and will always endeavor to work on your behalf.
State House Representative for District 32
Proudly Serving Kodiak, Cordova, and Yakutat