Changes to big game hunting regulations, Permanent Fund Dividend donations and Alaska’s refineries tax breaks were finalized Tuesday as Gov. Sean Parnell continues his bill-signing tour of the state.
Elected officials, representatives of organizations and companies as well as affected members of the public gathered together to see Parnell sign three bills into law on the Kenai Peninsula.
Parnell visited the Snowshoe Gun Club along the Kenai Spur Highway between Kenai and Soldotna in the morning to autograph Senate Bill 77 and House Bill 75. In the afternoon he made his way to Tesoro Corp.’s Nikiski refinery to sign HB 287.
The gun club was a fitting setting for the signing of SB 77, which encourages big game hunting with children. The bill allows for the Alaska Board of Game to establish annual seasons when only Alaska resident children between the ages of 8 and 17 can take big game when hunting with their resident parents, grandparents or legal guardians.
Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, was one of the sponsors of the bill. He said he became interested in the bill because of the Teens on Target program offered by the gun club.
“In this time where we’re having reduced access to public lands and we’re seeing less and less young people being interested in hunting, I think it was an extremely important bill,” Micciche said.
Giving to Pick. Click. Give.
Parnell signed HB 75, which made some amendments to Pick. Click. Give., a program that allows Alaskans to donate a portion of their PFDs to non-profit organizations.
Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, a sponsor of the bill. He said previously the program required organizations with a budget of more than $250,000 a year to be audited.
“Which meant that for those groups that were just above that range, they had to spend more to get the audit than they would get in donations,” he said.
The bill removed that requirement. It also allows Alaskans to donate a portion of their PFD to sustain the program, so now it doesn’t require state money, he said.
Parnell signed HB 287, which he introduced to lawmakers, to extend Tesoro’s contract with the State of Alaska to purchase royalty oil. The bill also aids in-state refineries by allowing for a tax credit of 40 percent or $10 million for infrastructure investment.
“This bill is a very important step forward in making sure that we have a more healthy in-state refining industry, a lot more jobs for Alaskans and provide that level playing field where every company can take advantage of the tax credit so that we can make sure that we have a healthy refining industry not just here, in Nikiski on the Kenai, but across the state as well,” Parnell said.
House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said HB 287 is a productive piece of legislature.
“The royalty issue is the issue that concerned the folks (at Tesoro) in this facility,” Chenault said. “We were able to add a couple other pieces that helped (Alaska) refineries.”