Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/09/1994 01:30 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  HB 61     An  Act  relating to  the  offense of  operating a                 
                                                                               
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            motor  vehicle,  aircraft,  or   watercraft  while                 
            intoxicated; and providing for an effective date.                  
                                                                               
            HB   61  was   held   in  Committee   for  further                 
            discussion.                                                        
  HOUSE BILL 61                                                                
                                                                               
       "An  Act relating to  the offense of  operating a motor                 
       vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft while intoxicated; and                 
       providing for an effective date."                                       
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE  JIM NORDLUND  explained  that  HB  61  would                 
  reduce the legal definition of intoxication for the crime of                 
  driving while intoxicated  from .10%  to .08% blood  alcohol                 
  content which would mean it would be illegal for a person to                 
  be in  control of a  motor vehicle, aircraft,  or watercraft                 
  with a blood alcohol level of .08% or greater.                               
                                                                               
  Five states have  already lowered their legal  definition of                 
  intoxication  to  .08%.   All  of  Canada has  a  .08% blood                 
  alcohol threshold, and all European nations prohibit driving                 
  with a .08% or lower blood alcohol level.                                    
                                                                               
  Scientific  evidence  has  established that  the  risk  of a                 
  driver being involved in a serious of fatal  crash increased                 
  as  the alcohol concentration  in the body  increased.  Many                 
  studies have shown  that measurable impairment to  operate a                 
  motor vehicle begins in most drivers  at or below .05% blood                 
  alcohol level, and that all drivers  are impaired at a blood                 
  alcohol level of .08%.                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative  Nordlund  explained  that  establishing  the                 
  allowable blood  alcohol level  at .08%  would increase  the                 
  probability of  obtaining  convictions  for  drunk  driving.                 
  Because the law  will increase the certainty  of conviction,                 
  it would be more  effective than current law to  deter drunk                 
  driving and to reduce the number of alcohol related crashes.                 
                                                                               
  In  addition to  the  inherent  benefits  of the  bill,  the                 
  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has  notified                 
  the State that Alaska currently receives $688,000 in federal                 
  funds  annually  for  Highway  Safety  Planning and  may  be                 
                                                                               
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  eligible for a 30% or more increase if House Bill 61 passes.                 
  If similar legislation  had passed  last year, Alaska  would                 
  have already received the benefits of the increase.                          
                                                                               
  Representative Nordlund  provided the Committee with  a copy                 
  of two amendments.  (Copies on file).                                        
                                                                               
  JOSEPH DIMANTIO, DIRECTOR, ALASKA COUNCIL FOR THE PREVENTION                 
  OF  DRUG AND ALCOHOL  ABUSE, (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE),                 
  ANCHORAGE, spoke in support of the proposed legislation.                     
                                                                               
  SANDRA  RAY, EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR  OF  MOTHERS AGAINST  DRUNK                 
  DRIVING, (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE), ANCHORAGE, spoke in                 
  support of HB 61.                                                            
                                                                               
  LYNDA  ADAMS,  ALASKANS FOR  DRUG  FREE USE,  (TESTIFIED VIA                 
  TELECONFERENCE), KETCHIKAN, spoke in support of the proposed                 
  legislation.                                                                 
                                                                               
  CHERI  DAVIS,  ALASKANS FOR  DRUG  FREE USE,  (TESTIFIED VIA                 
  TELECONFERENCE), KETCHIKAN, spoke in support of HB 61.                       
                                                                               
  DIANE   SCHENKER,   SPECIAL    ASSISTANT,   DEPARTMENT    OF                 
  CORRECTIONS,  explained that  the Department  of Corrections                 
  will revise last year's  fiscal note to reflect  the expense                 
  incurred.                                                                    
                                                                               
  MARGO KNUTH, ASSISTANT  ATTORNEY GENERAL-CRIMINAL  DIVISION,                 
  DEPARTMENT OF LAW, noted that the Department of Law strongly                 
  supports the  proposed  legislation.   She  emphasized  that                 
  alcohol  is  Alaska's  number  one  crime  problem  and  the                 
  legislation would help to address that concern.                              
                                                                               
  Discussion   followed   regarding   the   accuracy  of   the                 
  Intoximeter 3000 reading.  The  intoximeter is calibrated at                 
  least  every sixty days  and has been  proven to have  a one                 
  percent margin of error.                                                     
                                                                               
  HB 61 was HELD in Committee for further discussion.                          

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