Legislature(2011 - 2012)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/04/2012 01:30 PM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 289 LIQ. NAT. GAS STORAGE: TAX CREDIT/LEASE TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ HB 255 READING OR TYPING MESSAGE WHILE DRIVING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 255(JUD) Out of Committee
+ HB 294 POWER COST EQUALIZATION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 365 AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 212 PROVISIONAL DRIVER'S LICENSE STICKER TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 190 PFD ALLOWABLE ABSENCE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSSHB 190(FIN) Out of Committee
HOUSE BILL NO. 255                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act prohibiting the driver  of a motor vehicle from                                                                    
     reading  or typing  a text  message  or other  nonvoice                                                                    
     message  or  communication  on  a  cellular  telephone,                                                                    
     computer, or  personal data  assistant while  driving a                                                                    
     motor vehicle."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara testified  that the legislation restated                                                                    
the intention  of a  bill banning the  use of  video screens                                                                    
while driving that  had passed many years  ago. However, the                                                                    
original  bill  did  not specifically  mention  texting.  He                                                                    
detailed the importance that texting  be reinstated into the                                                                    
law.   He  accepted   that  the   definition  of   what  was                                                                    
distracting to  a driver was  changeable, but  stressed that                                                                    
texting  could be  clearly defined.  He said  that during  a                                                                    
four second text  message a car could advance  the length of                                                                    
a  football  field. He  said  that  studies had  shown  that                                                                    
texting while  driving raised  the risk of  a crash  or near                                                                    
collision twentyfold. He revealed  that one-third of drivers                                                                    
on the road were texting  while operating their vehicles. He                                                                    
expressed  concern  that  lives  would be  lost  because  of                                                                    
texting while  driving. He noted  that the  legislation took                                                                    
into  consideration  future  technological  advancements  to                                                                    
limit  typing while  driving or  viewing visually  displayed                                                                    
message.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule wondered about texting by voice.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara replied  that it was not  covered in the                                                                    
legislation. The word "typing"  was used in consideration of                                                                    
evolving   technology.   He   relayed  that   the   existing                                                                    
distracted  driving statute  was not  enough because  it did                                                                    
not make  texting while driving  a crime. He also  felt that                                                                    
jurors  would  sympathize  with   people  who  texted  while                                                                    
driving and  would not  consider it a  crime unless  it were                                                                    
labeled one under the law.                                                                                                      
Co-Chair  Stoltze noted  that  the phone  could  be used  as                                                                    
evidentiary on a texting case.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  agreed that the phone  would record the                                                                    
date and time of the text.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze asked if the  court would need a sopena for                                                                    
the cell phone.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  believed that  the accident  would give                                                                    
probable  cause   to  remove  evidence  from   the  car.  He                                                                    
reiterated  that juries  would  not  convict under  existing                                                                    
laws.  He  hoped  that  there  would  be  a  public  service                                                                    
campaign to educate  people of the dangers  of texting while                                                                    
driving. He pointed  out to the committee a  letter from the                                                                    
chief of police in member packets (copy on file).                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:16:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson directed attention  to page 2, lines 7                                                                    
through 11.  She understood that  the term  "visual display"                                                                    
pertained to  anything you would look  at like a GPS  or and                                                                    
OnStar map.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  replied no.  He explained that  line 20                                                                    
of  the  bill  contained  original  language  that  exempted                                                                    
mapping devices.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson understood that  a person could expect                                                                    
a misdemeanor  fine of approximately $300  for texting while                                                                    
driving.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  responded  only   if  the  driver  was                                                                    
texting while the car was in motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson pointed  out  that the  bill did  not                                                                    
distinguish  between a  driver  who might  swerve a  little,                                                                    
from a  driver who actually  hits another car or  person due                                                                    
to texting.  She understood that under  the legislation both                                                                    
actions would be considered a misdemeanor.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  relayed that the understanding  was not                                                                    
entirely correct. He  clarified that if the  driver was only                                                                    
texting, and did  not hurt anyone, it would  be considered a                                                                    
Class  A misdemeanor.  He furthered  that under  the current                                                                    
law if a  driver injures someone they would  be charged with                                                                    
reckless  or   negligent  driving.  He  stressed   that  the                                                                    
addition of texting  to the latter scenario  moved the crime                                                                    
up  a level.  He  asserted that  texting  while driving  was                                                                    
knowingly  dangerous, therefore  causing  an accident  while                                                                    
texting could be considered a premeditated act.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:20:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair   Fairclough   asked   about   taxi   cabs.   She                                                                    
highlighted that  some taxi's had  an electronic  screen for                                                                    
communicating with dispatch.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara replied that  a section for dispatch had                                                                    
been written  into the original  legislation. He  cited page                                                                    
3, line  3, which allowed  the viewing of a  dispatch screen                                                                    
for use  of passenger transport.  He though a case  could be                                                                    
made to  remove the  provision, but  noted that  the removal                                                                    
could negatively impact businesses. He  said that the he had                                                                    
not seen  evidence that  the dispatch  screens were  a major                                                                    
danger.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough accepted why  the provision was there.                                                                    
She warned that technology was advancing quickly.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara noted  that  even  law enforcement  had                                                                    
internal  manuals  that   were  followed  concerning  visual                                                                    
screens while driving.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair  Fairclough clarified  that  it would  not be  an                                                                    
illegal  act  if  a person  were  texting  while  completely                                                                    
stopped.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara agreed. He discussed  that it was only a                                                                    
crime if a  vehicle was moving. He stressed  that the intent                                                                    
of the bill was not to throw innocent people in jail.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:24:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas  opined the reality of  people being injured                                                                    
or killed because  of texting while driving.  He shared that                                                                    
he pulled  over to look  at any  texts that he  received. He                                                                    
did not  believe officers  should have  the ability  to text                                                                    
while   driving.  He   offered   strong   support  for   the                                                                    
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough  MOVED to adopt  CS HB 255  (JUD), 27-                                                                    
LS1165\T as a working document before the committee.                                                                            
Representative    Doogan   directed    attention   to    the                                                                    
indeterminate  fiscal  note.  He  noted  that  indeterminate                                                                    
fiscal notes  made the committee's  job much  harder because                                                                    
they know  what was  being agreed  on in  terms of  cost. He                                                                    
believed  that people  should even  not talk  on their  cell                                                                    
phones when driving. He urged support for the legislation.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thomas  asked  the   committee  to  zero  out  the                                                                    
indeterminate fiscal note from the Public Defender Agency.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough MOVED to  zero out the Public Defender                                                                    
Agency fiscal note (OMB component  number 1631). There being                                                                    
NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Costello had  signed on as a  sponsor and was                                                                    
in strong support of the bill.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:30:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas OPENED public testimony.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair   Fairclough   addressed    the   fiscal   notes:                                                                    
Department  of  Law,  Department  of  Administration,  Court                                                                    
System, and Department of Corrections.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thomas  MOVED  to  report CS  HB  255  (JUD),  27-                                                                    
LS1165\T  out of  committee with  individual recommendations                                                                    
and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CSHB  255(JUD) was  REPORTED  out of  committee  with a  "do                                                                    
pass" recommendation and with one  zero fiscal note from the                                                                    
Department of  Law, one zero  fiscal note for  Department of                                                                    
Administration  by the  House  Finance  Committee and  three                                                                    
previously  published  zero  fiscal notes:  FN1  (ADM),  FN2                                                                    
(COR), FN3 (CRT).                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 255 Teen Texting Before Fatal Crash 2.10.12.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 Sectional Analysis.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 NCSL Texting Law by State.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 NCSL Legisbrief Addressing Distracted Driving.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 Letter of Support - State Farm.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 Letter of Support - Anchorage Fire Department.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 AS 28.35.161.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 12.27.11 News Miner Editorial.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 12.22.11 KTUU article.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 12.9.11 ADN article fatal hit-and-run.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 1.10.12 Empire Opinion.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 1.26.11 Newsminer Head-on Crash.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB294 Support Letters.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB294 Endowment Projections.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 11 PCE_Report_Gov_Blue_ribbon_2-1-991.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 10 Leg Research 09 200.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 09 Leg Research 06 016.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 08 Leg Research 00 022.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 07 Leg Research 99 086.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 05 Existing PCE Statutes.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 03 PCE Endowment Existing Statutes.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
CSHB294 (ENE) Sponsor Statement (1).pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 365 Support Letters.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365
HB 365 Sponsor Statement.docx HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365
HB 365 explanation of changes between versions.docx HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365
Dvex Presentation by UAS 1 23 12.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365
CSG Capitol Ideas feature article on Aquatic Invasive Species.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365
HB 255 Summary of Changes from HB 255 to CSHB 255(JUD).pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 Letter of Support - Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 212 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB 212 PowerPoint Jessica Luiken.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB 212 Explanation of Changes 04032012.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB255 06.25.09 Article - Texting And Driving Worse Than Drinking and Driving.docx HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB365 Amendment 1 Edgemon.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365