Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/03/1996 02:30 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE BILL NO. 226 "An Act relating to biennial registration of motor vehicles; imposing biennial registration fees on motor vehicles and authorizing a scheduled biennial municipal tax on motor vehicles; relating to fees for motor vehicle emissions control programs; and providing for an effective date." TOM WILLIAMS, STAFF, SENATOR FRANK noted that Amendments 6, 7 and 8 were not been addressed during the House Finance Committee meeting on 3/29/93. Representative Mulder WITHDREW Amendment 6, 9-LS1452\K.8 (copy on file). Mr. Williams noted that Senator Frank is neutral in regards to Amendment 7, 9-LS1452\K.6 (copy on file). JUANITA HENSLEY, CHIEF DRIVER SERVICES, DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY stated that the 2 Department is not opposed to Amendment 7. She noted that the amendment cites AS 28.15.081(d) but relates to vehicle registration under AS 21.10. She maintained that the Division has the authority to issues contracts under AS 28.15. The Division currently issues contracts under AS 28.10. There is nothing in the statutes that provides that the Division can or cannot issue contracts under AS 28.15. She acknowledged that contract agents' revenues have been reduce due to the $10 dollar fee for walk-in transactions. The city of Craig collected $5,025 dollars in $10 dollar fees paid by persons that did not mail in their registration. Commissioned agents also receive 50 percent of driver's license fees and 15 percent of vehicle fees that they collect. The Division only contracts with police departments. In 1995, the city of Craig received $27.0 thousand dollars. This amount has increased by approximately $2.0 thousand dollars a year. Co-Chair Hanley questioned if the statutory reference should be changed. DAVE GRAY, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE spoke in support of Amendment 7. He emphasized that the drafter felt there would not be a problem with the citation to AS 28.15. He asserted that the $10 fee was added to alleviate traffic to urban offices of the Division of Motor Vehicles. He stressed that contract officers provide the same services to rural areas that are offered in urban areas. He observed that small communities must rely on contract agents. Co-Chair Hanley questioned if the statutory reference should be changed. Ms. Hensley stated that the Division has been contracting since before statehood. She did not think the statute reference would create a problem. Co-Chair Hanley noted that the amendment states that the $10 dollar fee for vehicle license registrations shall be waived under AS 28.15. He pointed out that AS 28.15 does not cover vehicle licensing. He asked if the citation would give the Division the authority to waive fees for license plate registration. He questioned the Division's statutory authorization. Ms. Hensley acknowledged that there is no specific language allowing the Division to contract for vehicle registration under AS 28.15. She stressed that the Division can waive fees to commissioned agents under current regulations. Mr. Gray noted that commissioned agents are currently performing title work, vehicle registration and other tasks. In response to comments by Representative Martin, Ms. 3 Hensley noted that there is only enough work in the city of Craig for a half-time position. Commissioned agents receive 50 percent of driver licensing fees. Representative Brown summarized that the income of contract agents was reduced. Mr. Gray agreed that the $10 dollar walk-in fee has reduced contract agent services. In response to a question by Co-Chair Hanley, Ms. Hensley clarified that there is no additional fee for driver's licenses. She noted that driver's licensing fees were recently increased. Commissioned agents also receive 50 percent of all the commercial driver's licenses. Representative Brown questioned the fiscal impact to the State. Ms. Hensley stated that there would be a negative fiscal impact to the State. She could not estimate the loss of revenues. She observed amounts collected by commissioned agents. Co-Chair Hanley summarized that the State would lose 85 percent of the $31.0 thousand dollars collected by contract agents. Representative Brown noted that the intent of the amendment is to encourage individuals to register their vehicles in person. Co-Chair Hanley noted that under current law if 5 individuals registered in person they would each pay a $10 fee for a total of $50 dollars. Fifteen percent of the fee would go to the contract officer and the rest would go to the State. The amendment would waive the fee. The State would have to pay 15 percent of the amount paid to contract agents. Ms. Hensley added that the State paid contract agents $128.0 thousand dollars in FY 90 and $174.0 thousand dollars in FY 95. She pointed out that the Division still has to administer the paper work involved. Mr. Gray emphasized that state services can only go to small communities through similar contract arrangements. He stressed the need to maintain these services. He acknowledged the cost to the State. In response to a question by Co-Chair Hanley, Ms. Hensley noted that emissions testing centers do not charge the State for the services they render. In addition, they perform the paper work and data entry involved. Only 5 of the 13 paid contract agents register vehicles. Representative Therriault noted that emissions center provided services in order to attract business. They normally charge the customer a $10 fee. 4 Co-Chair Hanley reiterated concerns that the Division does not have statutory authority for contract agents. SB 226 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.