Juneau Update 03-25-02
I recently attended the Business of Seafood Conference in Anchorage, a meeting of seafood suppliers from around the world. The World Trade Center of Alaska put this conference together to bring the markets for our fish in closer contact with Alaskan suppliers. I think it was a very positive meeting, and I'm glad it is going to be an annual event. It will continue to give those of us who are involved in the fishing industry an opportunity to develop business relationships with new markets. I strongly encourage fishermen and processors to take part in next year's Business of Seafood Show.
On March 14th and 15th the North Pacific Council's Gulf Rationalization Committee met in Anchorage. The proposed changes in the Gulf groundfish fisheries are obviously of great interest to our island, so I sent my fisheries aide, Ian Fisk, to attend the meetings. My main concern is that Kodiak comes through the process with a groundfish industry that continues to benefit the community as a whole. The committee agreed that a Gulf-wide approach to rationalization is the best angle to take, and that jig fisheries should not be included in the process. There was discussion of the qualifying years to be used and a determination that two options should be explored: 1996-2000 and 1997-2001. I hope that rationalization of the Gulf Pollock can happen very soon. But because of the complexity of Gulf fisheries, final implementation is probably several years away. When the Council decides on this matter, Kodiak will be affected more than any other community in the Gulf, so I encourage you to let the Council know your opinions.
The Fish Caucus recently took up the issue of federal subsistence management and some of the problems it causes the State of Alaska. I am very concerned that proposals such as the major changes to halibut subsistence regulations will have negative impacts on commercial fisheries. I think we can provide reasonable subsistence harvests without harming other user groups, but I believe the state is best able to manage our resources. Federal management will continue to create serious problems for us, so we must do what it takes to regain control by Alaskans.
CDQ ownership of salmon permits
The Senate Resources Committee recently held a hearing on SB 329, Senator RickHalford's bill about CDQ ownership of salmon permits. Many good questions were raised about the legality of the idea, though there was overall sympathy with the idea of protecting Alaskan ownership of permits. This bill was held in committee for more work. The committee also heard HB 206, a bill dealing with vessel limited entry permits and held the bill for a hearing at a later date. I'd like to thank the Kodiak residents who participated in the process by testifying on these bills.
As many of you have heard, Senator Ted Stevens has called for a salmon summit to be held in Kodiak on April 4th. I will take part in this summit and I hope it provides some useful ideas which we can add to the list of topics I will address in my Legislative Salmon Task Force. That working group will be a smaller and more focused effort that will begin meetings before salmon season and continue in the fall in order to recommend specific ways the industry can be improved.
I plan on coming to Kodiak April 4th through April 7th in order to participate in ComFish. I am looking forward to meeting with everyone at my booth, and also at the many functions and events that are held concurrently with this major fishery show in the state.
Please contact Ian Fisk in my office for information regarding our ComFish plans at 1-800-865-2487. I hope you will stop by and talk to me and my staff about your ideas.
Amendment to Correctional Facilities Bill
Senate Community and Regional Affairs met this week to hear SB 231, "An Act relating to correctional facilities," sponsored by Senator Lyda Green. I proposed an amendment, which passed, that included the construction of a new jail facility in Kodiak with 25 beds. The amendment also included three other communities with similar jail expansion or replacement needs similar to Kodiak's.
Under the provisions of SB 231, local governments would finance the construction of new prison facilities and additional beds at facilities and the State of Alaska would enter into long-terms leases and operate the facilities as part of the state correctional system. This financing mechanism allows the state to acquire facilities with no upfront capital costs.
The City of Kodiak will be able to bond for the facility and pay back the bond with the payments from the state lease. This bill made it through Senate CR&A and is headed for Senate Judiciary. City manager Linda Freed gave compelling testimony and city police chief T.C. Kamai also voiced support of the bill. I appreciate their participation at the hearing.
I will continue to monitor this bill as it moves through the process.
Public Comment Period Extended
The time within which the public may comment to the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) on a land use permit authorizing the establishment and maintenance of a seasonal commercial recreation camp, used in conjunction with sportfishing, on state land has been extended until April 5th.
The property in question is in the popular Saltery Cove area. The use permit involves ten acres for five years. Detail of the proposed use can be obtained from Michael Stevens at DNR; his number is (907) 269-8546. You could also check with the Kodiak Island Borough. If you want to comment on this proposal, the comments must be received by his office by April 5th.
The new Immigration Office can be reached at 465-3234. This office, headed by Mario Lim, is one more way for new citizens and those who want to be citizens to find answers to questions. The office, which is part of the Legislative Affairs Agency, is headquartered in Juneau. It will provide assistance throughout the state on immigration services, employment, legal services, medical services, housing, educational opportunities, and the court system.
Juneau Intern Opportunities
The Legislative Internship Program is a wonderful program through the Alaska University system. This is a great way to earn credits and learn more about government first hand. A student can earn 12 undergraduate or 9 graduates credits. Applications for next session are due October 15th for the spring semester.
All majors are accepted. It is open to juniors, seniors, and graduate students of UAA, UAF, UAS, APU and SJC. There is a relocation allowance for students outside of Juneau. There is also a $5,000 full-session stipend while a student works on a legislator's staff in Juneau. I have sent more information to the Legislative Information Office in Kodiak, 112 Mill Bay Road. You can also get more information online at www.uas.alaska.edu/internprogram. I feel very fortunate to have sponsored two different interns over the past eight years.
Recent visitors to my office were Will and Deb Milam, Allen Panamaroff Sr., Alex Panamaroff, Mike Carlson, Fred Katelnikoff, Lorna Steelman, Gabriela Alvarez, Robin Cassidy, Barbara Zimmerman, Molly Carver, Emma Helligso, Dave Jones, Bonnie Aulabaugh, Willie Heinrichs and Betty Walters.
Remember, my door is always open.
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