Plan for funds for fisheries subsistence, habitat to OMB axed

A subcommittee of the Alaska House Fisheries Committee on March 19 voted down an effort to grab funding for the directors of the subsistence and habitat divisions in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to fund two new positions in the Office of Management and Budget.

Under Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 operation budget funds for the both division directors would have been moved to OMB, said Matt Gruening, chief of staff for Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, who chairs the House Fisheries Committee.

That action came on the heels of a letter from Shauna Hegna, president of Koniag Inc., the regional Alaska Native corporation on Kodiak Island, voicing opposition to such a transfer of fisheries funding.

“Both divisions provide a vital function for the state of Alaska and service to the public,” said Hegna, who urged the legislators to protect funds for both division directors.