Legislature(1995 - 1996)
05/05/1995 01:10 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 6 AM - SUSPEND DRIVERS LIC./TRAFFIC OFFENSES Number 700 JOE AMBROSE, Legislative Assistant to Senator Robin Taylor, introduced SB 6. The intent of this legislation is to encourage individuals to pay some of the 25,000 traffic citations for moving violations that go uncollected each year. SB 6 is designed to provide the court system with additional leverage in collecting fines. It would also apply to an individual who fails to appear in court. SB 6 would be a valuable tool for use by the courts addressing problems created by those who choose to ignore the law, especially those who fail to make court ordered appearances, or pay fines. The bill is based on statutes from other states. The experience in the state of Washington indicates that over 50 percent of those who receive notice for possible sanctions clear up outstanding matters within one week. SB 6 allows the courts to suspend the driver's license of anyone who fails to make an appearance or pay a fine. It also includes the provision for putting an offender on notice, that under existing law, their permanent fund dividend could also be attached. The bill would actually generate revenue from some of these outstanding fines. Secondly, by the reinstatement of fees that would be collected by the Division of Motor Vehicles. This does have a positive fiscal note. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if this is a problem in Wrangell. MR. AMBROSE answered that the problem generating the bill actually came out of Ketchikan. While there is not supposed to be communication between the two branches of government, he assured him that in the time it has taken to get the bill this far, the (indisc.) retire from the bench. It seems to keep running into a small problem in Anchorage with the Parking Authority. It has nothing to do at this moment with parking. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN offered an amendment for discussion, described by Karen Brand below. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY thought the implications are more than the motion indicates. It seems this would make it somewhere between difficult and impossible for privatization of this service, which is a very laudable goal in management of our municipal services. CHAIRMAN PORTER asked what Amendment Number 1 does. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said Senator Donley's staff member could describe it. KAREN BRAND, Legislative Assistant to Senator Donley, explained that Amendment Number 1 does three things. It simply requires the municipality, the Anchorage Parking Authority to comply with state citation forms set out in AS 12.25. It requires them to adopt a similar appeals process for people who get a traffic citation and want to appeal the process. Three, it requires that non-peace officers, in other words, Parking Authority employees, when they issue citations, they can only fine up to one half of the amount set by that municipality. Peace Officers can still write full fine tickets. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if this was not mandating to a municipality. CHAIRMAN PORTER answered yes. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if the offense is the offense, then why would the fine vary, depending upon who writes the ticket? That sounds a little bit punitive of the parking authority. CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if this amendment was offered in the Senate. MS. BRAND answered that yes it was discussed at quite length in Senate Finance, and was adopted. It was incorporated into the Senate Finance version, and then taken out in the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee version. To address Representative Bunde's question, the Parking Authority personnel have often times had a lot less training than a police officer. CHAIRMAN PORTER said he has no knowledge of this particular subject, and wished he had, but he used to be in charge of parking enforcement in Anchorage as a sergeant. When you get to a point of having enough people to do a good job, then all of a sudden you are the most hated individual or entity in the world. That is where the parking authority is right now. They have finally organized, gotten funding, and gotten an ordinance to the extent that they do a darn good job. And guess who is complaining? Those people who are getting those tickets. He does not have any sympathy for that or for this amendment, quite frankly. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN withdrew the amendment because he agrees with Chairman Porter's comments. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to move SB 6 (AM) out of committee with individual recommendations and its positive fiscal notes. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.