Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 120

03/31/2006 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 415(JUD) Out of Committee
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled from 03/29/06>
Heard & Held
HB 347 - MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE & NOTICE                                                                                     
3:09:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON  announced  that   the  final  order  of                                                               
business  would  be HOUSE  BILL  NO.  347,  "An Act  relating  to                                                               
mandatory  motor  vehicle  insurance,  license  suspensions,  and                                                               
notices  relating  to  motor  vehicles  and  driver's  licenses."                                                               
[Before the committee was CSHB 347(STA).]                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GARA,  speaking as  one of  the prime  sponsors of                                                               
HB 347, relayed  that HB  347 attempts  to correct  an unintended                                                               
result  in which  people are  charged with  not having  insurance                                                               
when, in fact, they do have insurance.                                                                                          
3:10:55 PM                                                                                                                    
DUANE  BANNOCK,  Director,  Division  of  Motor  Vehicles  (DMV),                                                               
Department  of Administration  (DOA), began  by relayed  that the                                                               
DMV  supports  HB 347.    He  highlighted  that the  division  is                                                               
involved  with the  legislation due  to Section  3.   As the  law                                                               
reads  today, the  DMV is  directed to  notify the  customer when                                                               
there  are  issues  pertaining to  mandatory  insurance  and  the                                                               
potential suspension that follows if  there is no insurance.  The                                                               
division, he  explained, is  required to  notify the  customer at                                                               
the address provided to DMV.   However, since people obtain their                                                               
drivers' license once  every five years, they  often don't notify                                                               
the DMV of address changes.                                                                                                     
MR. BANNOCK  explained that furthermore, the  police report which                                                               
is  causing  the action  to  be  generated has  the  individual's                                                               
current address, but by law the  DMV has to send the notification                                                               
to [the address  on file with the DMV].   This legislation allows                                                               
the  DMV   to  provide   better  [service].     In   response  to                                                               
Representative  Anderson,  Mr.  Bannock specified  that  the  law                                                               
requires an individual to inform  the DMV of his/her new address,                                                               
but doesn't  require that  the individual  obtain a  new drivers'                                                               
license.  Therefore, it's possible  that a drivers' license would                                                               
specify one  address while  the DMV's  records would  specify the                                                               
correct address.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA asked if Mr.  Bannock is aware of individuals                                                               
being charged  with the crime  of not having insurance  when they                                                               
really did.                                                                                                                     
MR. BANNOCK replied yes.                                                                                                        
3:13:35 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM McGRATH  opined that in  Alaska, about 50 percent  of drivers                                                               
don't  have  [automobile] insurance,  and  in  Anchorage, when  a                                                               
police officer stops  a motorist, the officer may or  may not ask                                                               
for proof  of insurance.  However,  the individual who is  hit by                                                               
an  uninsured motorist  uses  his/her insurance  to  pay for  the                                                               
repair of  his/her vehicle, which  drives up his/her costs.   The                                                               
fine  proposed  in  Section  1  is not  to  exceed  $300  for  an                                                               
infraction, he noted, much less than the cost of insurance.                                                                     
MR.  McGRATH characterized  the  aforementioned  as providing  an                                                               
incentive  for  people not  to  have  insurance.   Therefore,  he                                                               
suggested that  CSHB 347(STA) be  modified such that  a reference                                                               
to  AS 28.22.041,  AS 28.22.019,  and  AS 28.22.091  be added  to                                                               
Section 4.   With the aforementioned change, if  an individual is                                                               
caught  without   a  drivers'   license,  insurance,   or  proper                                                               
registration, the  vehicle is removed  from the street  until the                                                               
individual rectifies  the situation.   He further  suggested that                                                               
the fine under Section 1 should  be changed to a mandatory $1,000                                                               
fine.   Under  AS 28.01.015,  he  recommended that  the "may"  be                                                               
changed  to "shall"  so that  the municipality  must impound  the                                                               
vehicle  when the  individual doesn't  have  a drivers'  license,                                                               
proper registration, or insurance.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  explained that the fine  proposed in Section                                                               
1 only pertains to whether the  individual informed the DMV of an                                                               
address change, not whether the individual has insurance.                                                                       
MR. McGRATH suggested that there  is probably some place in Title                                                               
28 where a  larger fine can be implemented  for those individuals                                                               
driving without insurance.                                                                                                      
3:19:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA   said  that  Mr.  McGrath's   comments  and                                                               
concerns  warrant  further  consideration.   Representative  Gara                                                               
emphasized that he  shares Mr. McGrath's concerns  with regard to                                                               
those  driving without  insurance, and  thus the  original intent                                                               
was to  try to develop a  way to enforce the  mandatory insurance                                                               
law.    However, he  couldn't  find  a  way  to do  that  without                                                               
requiring the  department to invest  in new computer  systems and                                                               
additional staff, which would necessitate a large fiscal note.                                                                  
[CSHB 347(STA) was held over.]                                                                                                  

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