A bill that removes a layer of bureaucracy from aquatic farmers cleared its final legislative hurdle this weekend, as the House of Representatives voted 37-3 to adopt the Senate version of House Bill 115.

HB115 expedites the lease renewal process by making it consistent with other DNR lease renewal processes. This lowers the risk of investment for farmers and reduces the state agency’s workload. The process would be shortened from 200 days to around 90 days, without sacrificing appropriate regulator oversight, public engagement, and appeal.

"I thank everyone who worked on this common sense solution, including my constituent who raised the issue, along with many others. HB115 will give more certainty to businesses participating in Alaska’s emerging aquatic industry," said Rep. Andi Story (D-Juneau), the bill's primary sponsor.

"One of the biggest things the State of Alaska needs to do is support small businesses, especially as we recover economically from the pandemic," added Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan). "Lowering the regulatory burden on our aquatic farmers will encourage new businesses to open and support the good work many are already doing."

The bill previously passed the Senate 20-0 and now heads to the desk of Gov. Mike Dunleavy for final approval.

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