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Legislature Updates Big Game Commercial Services Board (HB 229)

HB 229 expands boards’ authority, clarifies statutes & guide rules

Saturday, April 14, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – The state regulatory body that oversees big game guides and service providers won broader statutory authority to better administer its mission thanks to a bill that passed the Alaska Legislature today.

House Bill 229, sponsored by Resources Committee Co-chair Eric Feige, comes after more than a year’s worth of work with the State of Alaska, Big Game Commercial Services Board, representatives from both caucuses, and industry.

“I am thankful to my colleagues in the other body for their swift consideration and passage of this bill. We collaborated with all parties to craft this package of improvements to the Board,” Feige, R-Chickaloon, said. “We take the stewardship of our game resources very seriously. They’re a world class asset and HB 229 will allow the Board to better regulate and manage guides to keep them that way.”

The bill does four things:

-      It expands the regulatory authority of the board so it can create necessary regulations to carry out its purpose: regulating the activities of providers of commercial services to big game hunters.

-      Recognizes the importance of the guide profession in our state by adding a provision to statute allowing those that have retired from the profession as a licensed guide to be recognized as such.

-      Clarifies provisions in statue that allow employment between guides and how guide outfitters supervise guides working in their employment.

-      Changes a provision in statute to allow a judge to have discretion to order the board to suspend the license of a professional guide for minor violations, such as procedural violations of game laws, if the court sees fit, instead of requiring the court to order the suspension of a license.

HB 229 was sponsored at the request of the Board to address concerns it had over the regulation and licensing activities of providers of commercial services to big game hunters.

HB 229 now goes to the governor for signature.

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