Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/19/2001 01:10 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 67 - MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION/INSURANCE                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2046                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 67, "An  Act requiring proof of  motor vehicle                                                               
insurance in order  to register a motor vehicle;  and relating to                                                               
motor  vehicle liability  insurance for  taxicabs."   [Before the                                                               
committee  was CSHB  67(L&C)  and  proposed committee  substitute                                                               
(CS)  for HB  67, version  22-LS0299\J, Ford,  4/4/01, which  was                                                               
pending  adoption as  a  work  draft at  the  adjournment of  the                                                               
meeting on 4/18/01.]                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG  asked whether  the committee  still had  to adopt                                                               
Version J as a work draft.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2063                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JANET  SEITZ, Staff  to  Representative  Norman Rokeberg,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature, stated  her recollection  that the  committee                                                               
had adopted  Version J at the  previous meeting.  There  being no                                                               
objection to this statement, Version J was before the committee.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ went  on to explain, with regard to  the question about                                                               
taxicab insurance  availability, that  according to  local Juneau                                                               
insurance  providers,  the  rates   mandated  in  Version  J  are                                                               
manageable  and  the  coverage  is available.    She  added  that                                                               
according to  the Division  of Insurance,  there are  over 19,000                                                               
"direct  premiums  written"  for commercial  auto  "no-fault  and                                                               
liability," which is the classification  that most taxicabs would                                                               
fall under.   She  also explained  that the  new rates  listed in                                                               
Version J  address the concerns  of a Fairbanks  taxicab operator                                                               
who  wrote  a letter  of  complaint  regarding the  higher  rates                                                               
listed in a previous version of HB 67.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ noted that included in  the members' packets is a chart                                                               
detailing the  specific local ordinance requirements  for taxicab                                                               
insurance.  She added that  she had received word from Dillingham                                                               
that  its  local government  had  tried  to create  an  ordinance                                                               
regarding taxicabs  but had  not succeeded.   She  then concurred                                                               
that there is  no state requirement that  taxicabs have insurance                                                               
coverage other than personal liability insurance.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ  asked, "How  much will  this cost?   In                                                               
other words, how  much will the insurance  companies benefit from                                                               
imposing these requirements statewide?"                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS SEITZ said she did not know.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG,  speaking  as  the sponsor,  remarked  that  "it                                                               
should  be zero."   He  then asked  Ms. Seitz  whether Version  J                                                               
would "raise any of the existing limits anywhere."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ  said not in  the local  areas, except in  Bethel where                                                               
they are  hearing a new  ordinance that would raise  their limits                                                               
anyway.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ  noted  that according  to  the  chart,                                                               
Barrow only had a "$100,000 for  people who die, and $300,000 for                                                               
injuries."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG opined  that these  amounts  are consistent  with                                                               
Version J.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 2240                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SEITZ  clarified that  in  Version  J,  the limits  for  the                                                               
coverage are  set at $100,000 for  the bodily injury or  death of                                                               
one  person in  one  accident  (in CSHB  67(L&C)  it  was set  at                                                               
$300,000); at $300,000  for the bodily injury or death  of two or                                                               
more  persons in  one accident  (in CSHB  67(L&C) it  was set  at                                                               
$500,000);  and  at  $50,000  for injury  to  or  destruction  of                                                               
property (in CSHB 67(L&C) it was set at $100,000).                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   BERKOWITZ   asked    whether   there   are   any                                                               
communities,  via  local ordinance,  that  are  trying to  impose                                                               
limits  different from  those proposed  on a  statewide basis  in                                                               
Version J.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG offered that there  are only local ordinances that                                                               
set the limits higher; none are trying to set the limits lower.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ clarified  that some communities such  as Kotzebue [and                                                               
Fairbanks  and  Bethel] have  set  the  limit  for injury  to  or                                                               
destruction of property at $25,000.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG  noted  that   the  Municipality  of  Anchorage's                                                               
ordinances  "don't  follow  the  state  format"  with  regard  to                                                               
limits.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated  his concern that if  most of the                                                               
communities are already doing this,  then, in essence, [the bill]                                                               
is supplanting  local control  for state  control, and  is adding                                                               
another layer of state bureaucracy.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG replied  no, Version  J is  not creating  another                                                               
bureaucracy.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ, in response,  pointed out that somebody                                                               
at  the state  level  has to  make sure  that  "these folks"  are                                                               
complying.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ  explained that  the Division  of Motor  Vehicles (DMV)                                                               
has submitted a zero fiscal note  based on the assumption that it                                                               
would be just  like a person's automobile insurance.   "We have a                                                               
state  law that  requires us  to carry  automobile insurance  but                                                               
there's  no real  check  to  it, except  when  you  sign on  your                                                               
registration  - you  sign that  you're  carrying your  automobile                                                               
insurance," she added.  She also  pointed out a person who has an                                                               
accident  has to  show proof  of insurance  when filling  out the                                                               
accident report.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ  asked what  will happen  if there  is a                                                               
failure  to comply  with  Version  J.   He  opined  that it  will                                                               
require  some  form of  state  enforcement  as opposed  to  local                                                               
enforcement, and that there is going to be a cost to the state.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  ROKEBERG commented  that  he does  not  believe Version  J                                                               
warrants  any   kind  of  a   fiscal  note  or  "that   type"  of                                                               
enforcement.  He also noted that  his concern is that there would                                                               
be [taxicab] firms that don't have adequate insurance.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES  asked whether  there are any  "taxicabs out                                                               
there  that  just  call  themselves a  taxicab  and  they're  not                                                               
licensed in any particular community."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ responded by saying, "Gypsy cabs."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR ROKEBERG  added that  he assumes that  until HB  67 becomes                                                               
law,  these types  of taxicabs  don't  have any  rules; they  are                                                               
operating "against municipal ordinances."   He also added that he                                                               
thinks HB  67 is merely setting  a floor on the  insurance level,                                                               
not supplanting local control.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MEYER  noted that the taxicab  industry is heavily                                                               
regulated  in Anchorage  through  the "transportation  director,"                                                               
and all taxicabs must get permits;  hence there are no gypsy cabs                                                               
in Anchorage.   He then asked  for an explanation of  the changes                                                               
between CSHB 67(L&C) and Version J.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-66, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 2481                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. SEITZ  explained that the  only difference is that  Version J                                                               
contains lower limits for coverage.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 2479                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MEYER  moved  to  report  CSHB  67,  version  22-                                                               
LS0299\J,  Ford,   4/4/01,  out  of  committee   with  individual                                                               
recommendations  and the  accompanying zero  fiscal note.   There                                                               
being  no objection,  CSHB 67(JUD)  was reported  from the  House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                

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