Legislature(1995 - 1996)

05/05/1995 01:10 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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             
 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           
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if this was not mandating to a                    
 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.                              

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