Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 120

03/16/2009 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 102 UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 102(JUD) Out of Committee
*+ HB 15 BAN CELL PHONE USE BY MINORS WHEN DRIVING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 15(JUD) Out of Committee
+= HB 35 NOTICE & CONSENT FOR MINOR'S ABORTION TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 16, 2009                                                                                         
                           1:07 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Jay Ramras, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom, Vice Chair                                                                                      
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
Representative Lindsey Holmes                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 102                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to the Uniform Commercial Code,  to the general                                                               
provisions of the Uniform Commercial  Code, to documents of title                                                               
under  the Uniform  Commercial Code,  to  the Uniform  Electronic                                                               
Transactions Act,  and to  lease-purchases of  personal property;                                                               
amending  Rules  403  and  902, Alaska  Rules  of  Evidence;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 102(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 15                                                                                                               
"An Act  relating to prohibiting  the use of  cellular telephones                                                               
by  minors when  driving a  motor vehicle;  and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 15(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 35                                                                                                               
"An Act  relating to notice  and consent for a  minor's abortion;                                                               
relating to penalties  for performing an abortion;  relating to a                                                               
judicial bypass  procedure for an abortion;  relating to coercion                                                               
of  a  minor  to  have  an abortion;  relating  to  reporting  of                                                               
abortions performed  on minors;  amending Rule 220,  Alaska Rules                                                               
of  Appellate  Procedure,  and Rule  20,  Alaska  Probate  Rules,                                                               
relating to  judicial bypass for  an abortion; and  providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - BILL HEARING CANCELED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 102                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE                                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): LABOR & COMMERCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/30/09       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/30/09       (H)       L&C, JUD                                                                                               
02/13/09       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
02/13/09       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/13/09       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/16/09       (H)       L&C RPT 5NR                                                                                            
02/16/09       (H)       NR: LYNN, BUCH, NEUMAN, CHENAULT, OLSON                                                                
02/16/09       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
02/16/09       (H)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
03/16/09       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 15                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: BAN CELL PHONE USE BY MINORS WHEN DRIVING                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): GARDNER, TUCK                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
01/20/09       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/9/09                                                                                
01/20/09       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/20/09       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
03/16/09       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TERRY L. THURBON, Commissioner                                                                                                  
National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws                                                                      
(NCCUSL)                                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 102 on behalf of the sponsor,                                                               
the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM H. HENNING, Commissioner                                                                                                
National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws                                                                      
(NCCUSL)                                                                                                                        
Tuscaloosa, Alabama                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Assisted with the presentation of HB 102.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERTA GARDNER                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented HB 15 as one of  the bill's joint                                                             
prime sponsors.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
NOAH HANSON, Staff                                                                                                              
Representative Berta Gardner                                                                                                    
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Assisted with the presentation of  HB 15 on                                                             
behalf of one of the  bill's joint prime sponsors, Representative                                                               
Gardner.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MICHAELA RICE                                                                                                                   
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed disagreement with HB 15.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ALBERT JUDSON                                                                                                                   
Haines, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 15.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CINDY CASHEN, Administrator                                                                                                     
Highway Safety Office                                                                                                           
Division of Program Development                                                                                                 
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF)                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 15.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SHELDON E. WINTERS, Attorney at Law                                                                                             
Lessmeier & Winters                                                                                                             
Lobbyist for State Farm Insurance Company                                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 15.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ROY E. HOYT, JR.                                                                                                                
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 15,  and suggested  that  it  should be  altered  to apply  to                                                               
drivers of all ages.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JENNIE MORRIS                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 15, and  indicated a preference  for having the bill  apply to                                                               
drivers of all ages.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JOHN ULCZYCKI, Group Vice President                                                                                             
Research, Communications, and Advocacy                                                                                          
National Safety Council (NSC)                                                                                                   
Wilmette, Illinois                                                                                                              
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 15, and encouraged members to support the bill.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                      
Legal Services Section                                                                                                          
Criminal Division                                                                                                               
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Testified  in   support  of  HB  15,  and                                                             
responded to questions.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:07:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR JAY  RAMRAS called the  House Judiciary  Standing Committee                                                             
meeting  to   order  at  1:07   p.m.     Representatives  Ramras,                                                               
Gruenberg,  Holmes,  Dahlstrom,  Coghill, Gatto,  and  Lynn  were                                                               
present at the call to order.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HB 102 - UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:08:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 102, "An  Act relating to the  Uniform Commercial                                                               
Code, to the  general provisions of the  Uniform Commercial Code,                                                               
to documents of  title under the Uniform Commercial  Code, to the                                                               
Uniform Electronic  Transactions Act,  and to  lease-purchases of                                                               
personal property;  amending Rules 403  and 902, Alaska  Rules of                                                               
Evidence; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:08:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  moved to  adopt the  proposed committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB 102,  Version  26-LS0059\S,  Bannister,                                                               
2/24/09, as the work draft.   There being no objection, Version S                                                               
was before the committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG,  noting that HB 102  was introduced [by                                                               
the House Labor  and Commerce Standing Committee]  at the request                                                               
of  the National  Conference of  Commissioners  on Uniform  State                                                               
Laws  (NCCUSL),  explained  that   the  bill  proposes  technical                                                               
changes to  Alaska's statutes thereby reflecting  changes made to                                                               
Article 1 and Article 7 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:09:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TERRY   L.   THURBON,   Commissioner,  National   Conference   of                                                               
Commissioners on Uniform State Laws  (NCCUSL), explained that the                                                               
NCCUSL  has  identified   changes  to  the  UCC   that  would  be                                                               
beneficial for  states to  adopt, and  that the  changes proposed                                                               
via HB  102 pertain  to the statutes  that govern  the commercial                                                               
transactions occurring in  the state, reflect the  use of modern-                                                               
day  technology  for  such  transactions,  and  will  help  bring                                                               
Alaska's laws up  to date.  She mentioned that  she would only be                                                               
addressing the  sections in  Version S that  pertain to  the UCC,                                                               
and  would not  be speaking  to  the bill's  proposed changes  to                                                               
Title 9 or Title 34.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES noted  that  proposed AS  45.01.211(b)(15)                                                               
says,  "'defendant'   includes  a  person  in   the  position  of                                                               
defendant in a counterclaim,  cross-claim, or third-party claim;"                                                               
and questioned whether  the word "claim" ought to  be included as                                                               
part of that definition.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG explained  that AS  01.10.040(b) states                                                               
that when the words "includes" or  "including" are used in a law,                                                               
they shall  be construed as  though followed by the  phrase, "but                                                               
not limited to".  He  surmised, therefore, that the definition in                                                               
proposed AS 45.01.211(b)(15) already includes claims.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:18:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM   H.  HENNING,   Commissioner,  National   Conference  of                                                               
Commissioners  on Uniform  State  Laws  (NCCUSL), concurred  with                                                               
that  explanation,   adding  that  the  UCC   contains  the  same                                                               
definition as proposed AS 45.01.211(b)(15).                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  observed that  Version S's  proposed AS                                                               
45.07.302  -  regarding  through  bills  of  lading  and  similar                                                               
documents  of title  -  now  reflects current  federal  law.   In                                                               
response to a  question regarding the bill's  indirect court rule                                                               
changes,  he  explained  that   proposed  AS  45.01.303(g)  would                                                               
require that  if there is  evidence of a relevant  trade practice                                                               
offered by one  party, that party must give  sufficient notice to                                                               
the other party  so as not to surprise the  other party; and that                                                               
proposed AS 45.01.307 would establish  that documents required by                                                               
the  contract to  be issued  by a  third party  would be  what he                                                               
characterized  as  "self-authenticating."    Such  documents,  he                                                               
proffered, would be easier to  introduce [in court] and yet still                                                               
be subject to challenge.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. HENNING added that the  language of proposed AS 45.01.307 [is                                                               
identical  to  that  currently]  in the  UCC;  that  proposed  AS                                                               
45.01.303(g) contains language  that has always been  part of the                                                               
UCC,  and  is not  a  burden-shifting  mechanism; and  that  both                                                               
provisions are consistent with federal [court] rules.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  THURBON  in response  to  comments,  relayed that  [Alaska's                                                               
NCCUSL  commissioners  and  the   drafter]  took  a  conservative                                                               
approach  with regard  to including  language  that would  effect                                                               
indirect  court rule  changes, and  are therefore  not completely                                                               
certain that the  bill's proposed changes to the  UCC really will                                                               
result in  "standards that are  different than would  occur under                                                               
the  court rules  as  they stand,"  but  included the  provisions                                                               
authorizing  indirect  court  rule  changes in  order  to  update                                                               
Alaska's statutes even if indirect  court rule changes do result.                                                               
She  offered  her understanding  that  "these  provisions of  the                                                               
revised [UCC]  are consistent with  other uniform Acts  that [the                                                               
NCCUSL] has  developed except to  the extent some of  those might                                                               
not yet have been updated."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. THURBON, in response to  a question, relayed that with regard                                                               
to the UCC provisions, there is  wide support - nationally - from                                                               
the warehousing industries, and that  the business section of the                                                               
Alaska  Bar  Association  (ABA)  is  amenable  to  [the  proposed                                                               
changes  to state  law].   Therefore,  although it  might not  be                                                               
urgent that the state adopt the  proposed updates, doing so is in                                                               
order if Alaska  is going to stay  on track with the  rest of the                                                               
country, particularly with regard  to the warehousing provisions,                                                               
and  particularly given  that [almost  40  states either  already                                                               
have adopted or will be adopting  updates to the UCC].  Moreover,                                                               
from the  perspective of various  operators, a failure  to update                                                               
Alaska's warehousing  provisions could  make it a  little riskier                                                               
to do  business in Alaska.   In conclusion, she said  she doesn't                                                               
see a downside to the [updated] UCC provisions.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS agreed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:32:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  asked whether shipping rates  to Alaska                                                               
would be positively affected by the adoption of HB 102.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. THURBON declined  to venture whether such would  be the case,                                                               
but  suggested that  adopting the  bill might  make it  easier to                                                               
litigate excessive rates.   In response to  another question, she                                                               
relayed  that  the bill  is  not  intended  to fix  a  particular                                                               
problem  with Alaska  law, that  Alaska is  already behind  other                                                               
states with  regard to  updating its  commercial code  to reflect                                                               
the use of new technology, and  that the bill would conform state                                                               
law to what is already occurring.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. HENNING explained that during  the 1990s, through about 2001,                                                               
there was  a major effort to  revise the UCC generally,  with one                                                               
of  the  goals  being  to  create a  neutral  playing  field  for                                                               
technological  advancements such  as  electronic signatures,  for                                                               
example.   Of the  several revisions to  various articles  of the                                                               
UCC  that have  occurred  over  the last  several  years, HB  102                                                               
reflects some of the latest revisions  as well as aspects of "the                                                               
model that  was created by  the Uniform Transactions  Act," which                                                               
Alaska  has adopted.   Providing  for electronic  certificates of                                                               
title, for example, will help knit  the rest of the UCC together,                                                               
and will  bring Alaska up to  date with regard to  what's already                                                               
occurring in  the commercial community.   In conclusion,  he said                                                               
he couldn't  think of a  single negative aspect [to  adopting the                                                               
revisions to the UCC].                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RAMRAS, after  ascertaining  that no  one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 102.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:39:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM moved  to  report the  proposed CS  for                                                               
HB 102,   Version  26-LS0059\S,   Bannister,   2/24/09,  out   of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHB  102(JUD)  was                                                               
reported out of the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 15 - BAN CELL PHONE USE BY MINORS WHEN DRIVING                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:40:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 15, "An  Act relating  to prohibiting the  use of                                                               
cellular telephones by  minors when driving a  motor vehicle; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:40:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BERTA GARDNER,  Alaska State Legislature, speaking                                                               
as one  of the joint  prime sponsors of  HB 15, posited  that all                                                               
legislators have heard from constituents  who wish to see the use                                                               
of cellular  ("cell") phones  while driving  banned.   There have                                                               
been  a few  accidents in  her district,  she relayed,  and noted                                                               
that  this  has  engendered  a discussion  within  the  community                                                               
regarding [such a  ban].  She indicated that  she's been thinking                                                               
about this  [issue] for several  years, and proffered  that there                                                               
are several ways of approaching it.   One way would be to ban all                                                               
cell phone use  by drivers of motor vehicles,  though there might                                                               
be  significant opposition  to  such a  proposal.   Another  way,                                                               
which California  is attempting, would  be to ban cell  phone use                                                               
unless it was "hands-free."  She  opined, however, that it is not                                                               
using  one's hands  that causes  the problem,  but rather  having                                                               
one's brain engaged  in a way that's separate from  driving.  She                                                               
relayed that  she's recently heard  from a person who'd  been run                                                               
over by  a young person  talking on  a cell phone  while driving;                                                               
the  man  said he'd  made  eye  contact  with the  driver  before                                                               
stepping off  the curb but  she ran  over him anyway  because she                                                               
hadn't really  been paying attention  - she had  been preoccupied                                                               
with her phone conversation.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER offered  her belief that there  is a broad                                                               
consensus  to do  something about  [the problems  associated with                                                               
driving while  using a  cell phone],  said her  plan is  to start                                                               
with banning  minors from  using cell  phones while  driving, and                                                               
pointed out that there is a  lot of precedent for treating minors                                                               
differently  than  adults.    She   predicted  that  taking  this                                                               
approach,  rather than  banning  all persons  from  using a  cell                                                               
phone  while  driving,  would  garner  less  opposition,  thereby                                                               
increasing the likelihood that such  legislation would pass.  She                                                               
indicated  that members'  packets  contain statistics  regarding,                                                               
among other  things, the frequency  with which cell phone  use by                                                               
drivers has been implicated in motor vehicle accidents.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:43:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NOAH HANSON,  Staff, Representative  Berta Gardner,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  said  data he's  received  from  the Department  of                                                               
Transportation &  Public Facilities (DOT&PF) indicates  that from                                                               
2002  through 2006,  approximately one-third  of all  the vehicle                                                               
accidents  occurring  in Alaska  involving  cell  phone use  also                                                               
involved drivers  between the ages of  16 and 20; that  people in                                                               
this  age range  have  the  highest crash  fatality  rate in  the                                                               
nation;  and that  63 percent  of teenage-passenger  deaths occur                                                               
when other teenagers are driving.   These statistics are so high,                                                               
he surmised,  because young drivers  do not have the  skill level                                                               
or experience that older drivers  have.  When minors are learning                                                               
to drive, they need  to keep their focus on the  road in order to                                                               
drive properly, particularly given that  they already have a very                                                               
high accident  rate, as evidenced  by insurance costs as  well as                                                               
other available statistics.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. HANSON opined  that removing a minor's ability to  use a cell                                                               
phone  while driving  will decrease  the  likelihood that  he/she                                                               
will   cause  more   accidents;  research   indicates  that   the                                                               
overwhelming  majority  of  vehicle accidents  involving  teenage                                                               
drivers is  due to  their failure to  comply with  safe operating                                                               
techniques.   Banning cell phone  use by minors while  driving is                                                               
not uncommon, he remarked, and  offered his understanding that 17                                                               
states already have such a ban.   He too opined that it isn't the                                                               
act of  holding the cell  phone to  one's ear while  driving that                                                               
causes  the problem;  rather it's  the phone  conversation itself                                                               
that  creates  what  he  termed  a  cognitive  distraction.    In                                                               
comparison, when a driver is  having a conversation with a person                                                               
in the vehicle,  that person is able to see  that he/she needs to                                                               
stop  talking  so  that  the   driver  can  focus  on  the  road.                                                               
Furthermore, the U.S. military has  already banned cell phone use                                                               
by anyone driving a government vehicle on military property.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HANSON explained that under  the bill, a violation would only                                                               
constitute an infraction  - with a maximum fine of  $300 - and it                                                               
would be  a secondary offense  because a law  enforcement officer                                                               
would  not  necessarily be  able  to  determine whether  a  young                                                               
driver seen  using a cell phone  is still a minor.   Furthermore,                                                               
AS  11.81.320 provides  for  an exemption  -  via an  affirmative                                                               
defense  - in  instances involving  necessity.   He relayed  that                                                               
although  drivers between  the  ages 16  and  20 constitute  only                                                               
about  7.5 percent  of the  drivers  on Alaska's  road, they  are                                                               
involved in roughly  35 percent of the  vehicle accidents wherein                                                               
cell phone use [contributed to] the accident.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:49:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAELA RICE  said she disagrees  with the bill,  surmising that                                                               
it would take  away a teenager's freedom to talk  on a cell phone                                                               
while driving.   If the perceived problem stems  from using one's                                                               
hands to talk on the cell  phone, that same issue arises when one                                                               
eats  or drinks  while  driving; furthermore,  many other  things                                                               
going on in  the car can be  just as distracting or  even more so                                                               
than talking  on a  cell phone, such  as driving  with squabbling                                                               
children in the  car, for example, or listening to  the radio, or                                                               
using a  Global Positioning  System (GPS).   Another  concern she                                                               
has, she  relayed, is that the  bill doesn't define what  a minor                                                               
is, the  sponsor statement refers  to people between the  ages of                                                               
16 and  24, and  the aforementioned  statistic seems  to indicate                                                               
that two-thirds of all the  vehicle accidents in Alaska involving                                                               
cell phone use  involved drivers over the age of  20.  She opined                                                               
that if  HB 15  is passed,  it ought to  apply to  everybody, not                                                               
just teenagers, because adult drivers can be "just as bad."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  RICE noted  that  some people  who support  HB  15 are  more                                                               
supportive of a  ban on all cell phone use  while driving, rather                                                               
than just  on cell phone  use by  minors while they  are driving;                                                               
and  that a  June  30, 2008,  article in  the  Los Angeles  Times                                                             
referenced a study  which indicates that using  a hands-free cell                                                               
phone while driving  is just as cognitively  distracting as using                                                               
a hand-held cell phone.  She  also mentioned that when her father                                                               
has to  drive long distances,  her family  calls him on  his cell                                                               
phone to make sure  he's okay.  Again, cell phone  use is not the                                                               
most distracting  thing that drivers face,  and if a ban  on cell                                                               
phone  use  while  driving  is instituted,  it  should  apply  to                                                               
everyone, she concluded.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  indicated disfavor with the  bill's focus on                                                               
teenagers.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. RICE, in response to a  question, indicated that she might be                                                               
more supportive of  the bill if it applied to  everyone, but said                                                               
that she  would prefer  the law to  remain as is  so that  if she                                                               
were home alone  and a bad situation arose, she  would be able to                                                               
call her parents  even if they were driving  somewhere where they                                                               
couldn't pull over.   She also pointed out that  the bill doesn't                                                               
specify  whether   hand-free  cell  phone  use   would  still  be                                                               
permissible.  In response to  another question, she surmised that                                                               
better education efforts  at home could reduce  the accident rate                                                               
of teenage drivers.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:01:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
[Chair Ramras turned the gavel over to Vice Chair Dahlstrom.]                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ALBERT JUDSON  said he is opposed  to HB 15 because  its focus is                                                               
only on  minors even though  it is the  use of cell  phones while                                                               
driving that's  the problem.   He offered his  understanding that                                                               
it is  already against the law  to drive with only  one hand, and                                                               
suggested that  the bill be amended  such that it would  apply to                                                               
anyone using a cell phone while  driving.  Cell phone use takes a                                                               
driver's focus off driving, thus  creating a hazard, not only for                                                               
the driver, but  also for everyone else in  his/her vicinity such                                                               
as passengers,  other drivers, and  pedestrians.  He  mentioned a                                                               
report in  Reader's Digest indicating  that cell phone  use could                                                             
have  adverse  health  effects  as   well.    In  conclusion,  he                                                               
indicated that  he is questioning  why there is such  an emphasis                                                               
on minors, and suggested that an  undue burden is being placed on                                                               
minors without a compelling reason.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
[Vice Chair Dahlstrom returned the gavel to Chair Ramras.]                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  offered her  belief that having  only 7.8                                                               
percent of  the drivers  on Alaska's roads  being involved  in 35                                                               
percent of the  accidents is a compelling reason;  that number is                                                               
just  too disproportionate,  and has  become a  safety issue  for                                                               
everyone  on the  road.   With regard  to the  comment about  the                                                               
seeming discrepancy between the age  groups listed in the sponsor                                                               
statement and the age group  the bill would affect, she explained                                                               
that  the  age groups  listed  in  the sponsor  statement  simply                                                               
reflect  various  statistics   garnered  from  different  studies                                                               
conducted around  the country.   She  said that  the rule  in her                                                               
house was that her children  couldn't use the phone while driving                                                               
the family  car, but she  acknowledged that some  families either                                                               
don't have such  a rule or are  unable to enforce it  if they do.                                                               
She offered her hope that  when it's the latter situation, having                                                               
a law making  it illegal to use a cell  phone while driving could                                                               
help those parents enforce such a family rule.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER said there are  some very good reasons for                                                               
having a ban  on cell phone use while driving  apply to everyone,                                                               
but acknowledged  that there  would be opposition  to that.   She                                                               
suggested  that the  best  approach, therefore,  would  be to  at                                                               
least make the roads  a little bit safer for a  small part of the                                                               
population, and  then perhaps  revisit the issue  in a  few years                                                               
when the impact of the bill could be seen.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:07:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  questioned whether  the concept  embodied in                                                               
the  bill could  be  incorporated  into the  first  stage of  the                                                               
state's graduated driver's licensing requirements.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  offered her  understanding that  doing so                                                               
would only provide  for a very small period of  time - six months                                                               
-  during which  a minor  would be  precluded from  using a  cell                                                               
phone while  driving, and  characterized doing  so for  just that                                                               
short period of time as pretty meaningless.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES asked whether the  bill would also apply to                                                               
minors driving snow machines or all terrain vehicles (ATVs).                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HANSON offered his belief  that the bill possibly could apply                                                               
depending  on the  particular roadway  or  pathway, but  surmised                                                               
that it  would be very  difficult to talk  on a cell  phone while                                                               
operating a  snow machine or an  ATV anyway because of  the noise                                                               
level associated with such machines.   In response to a question,                                                               
he  pointed out  that the  language in  the bill  specifies motor                                                               
vehicles, and thus it would not apply to bicycles.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM, with  regard  to  an earlier  comment,                                                               
clarified that  federal law states that  a cell phone may  not be                                                               
used by anyone  driving on a government  military base regardless                                                               
of whether the vehicle is government owned.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES sought confirmation  that the bill wouldn't                                                               
apply to a driver whose car was parked.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER said the bill  is intended to address cell                                                               
phone use while driving.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  questioned whether the bill  is intended to                                                               
apply to any  device capable of allowing the driver  of a vehicle                                                               
to speak to someone not in the vehicle, such as a walkie-talkie.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  said her intention  was to have  the bill                                                               
only  apply to  cell  phones,  though she  would  be amenable  to                                                               
having  it  address  other  such   devices  as  well  should  the                                                               
committee choose.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS, citing  a familiarity with teenage  drivers and the                                                               
accident statistics regarding  drivers under the age  of 24, said                                                               
he  is supportive  of HB  15, but  expressed discomfort  over the                                                               
concept of  it being just  a first step towards  banning everyone                                                               
from  using  a  cell  phone   while  driving.    He  offered  his                                                               
understanding that  California has a  ban, and that New  York, by                                                               
enforcing its  ban, recently brought in  approximately $1 million                                                               
in fine revenue.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:14:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CINDY CASHEN,  Administrator, Highway Safety Office,  Division of                                                               
Program  Development,  Department   of  Transportation  &  Public                                                               
Facilities (DOT&PF),  explained that the policy  statement of the                                                               
National  Highway Traffic  Safety  Administration (NHTSA),  which                                                               
provides  the state  with  federal  transportation funding,  says                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The primary responsibility of the  driver is to operate                                                                    
     a motor vehicle  safely.  The task  of driving requires                                                                    
     full attention and focus.   Cell phone use can distract                                                                    
     drivers from this task, risking  harm to themselves and                                                                    
     others.  Therefore,  the safest course of  action is to                                                                    
     refrain from using a cell phone while driving.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. CASHEN relayed that the  NHTSA encourages states to pass laws                                                               
that ban  the use of  cell phones [while driving],  and indicated                                                               
that  [the  NHTSA's  web  site   in  part  also  says]  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Research shows  that driving while  using a  cell phone                                                                    
     can pose  a serious  cognitive distraction  and degrade                                                                    
     driver  performance.    The data  are  insufficient  to                                                                    
     quantify   crashes    caused   by   cell    phone   use                                                                    
     specifically,   but   NHTSA   estimates   that   driver                                                                    
     distraction from all sources  contributes to 25 percent                                                                    
     of all police-reported traffic crashes. ...                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The available  research indicates that whether  it is a                                                                    
     hands-free  or  hand-held  cell  phone,  the  cognitive                                                                    
     distraction   is  significant   enough  to   degrade  a                                                                    
     driver's performance.  This can  cause a driver to miss                                                                    
     key visual and audio cues needed to avoid a crash. ...                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     As a general rule, drivers  should make every effort to                                                                    
     move to  a safe place  off of  the road before  using a                                                                    
     cell phone.  However,  in emergency situations a driver                                                                    
     must use  their judgment  regarding the urgency  of the                                                                    
     situation and the  necessity to use a  cell phone while                                                                    
     driving. ...                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Any  activity a  driver engages  while driving  has the                                                                    
     potential to distract the driver  from the primary task                                                                    
     of  driving.   Some  research  findings comparing  cell                                                                    
     phone  use to  passenger  conversations while  driving,                                                                    
     show each to  be equally risky, while  others show cell                                                                    
     phone use to  be more risky.   A significant difference                                                                    
     between  the  two is  the  fact  that a  passenger  can                                                                    
     monitor  the driving  situation along  with the  driver                                                                    
     and  pause  for,  or alert  the  driver  to,  potential                                                                    
     hazards,  whereas a  person  on the  other  end of  the                                                                    
     phone line is unaware of the roadway situation. ...                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. CASHEN indicated that with regard  to the risk posed by other                                                               
behaviors  while driving,  [the  NHTSA's web  site  in part  also                                                               
says] [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     The  current research  does  not  provide a  definitive                                                                    
     answer  as  to  which  behavior   is  riskier.    In  a                                                                    
     controlled  study,  comparing  eating and  operating  a                                                                    
     voice-activated cell phone  to continuously operating a                                                                    
     CD player,  it was found  that the CD  player operation                                                                    
     was more distracting  than the other activities.   In a                                                                    
     test  track  study  conducted  by  NHTSA,  the  results                                                                    
     showed that manual dialing was  about as distracting as                                                                    
     grooming/eating, but  less distracting than  reading or                                                                    
     changing CDs.   It  is also important  to keep  in mind                                                                    
     that some  activities are  carried out  more frequently                                                                    
     and  for  longer periods  of  time  and may  result  in                                                                    
     greater risk.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CASHEN pointed  out  that motor  vehicle  accidents are  the                                                               
leading   cause  of   death  for   teenagers  because   of  their                                                               
inexperience,  risk-taking behavior,  and greater  risk exposure.                                                               
When those factors are combined  with cell phone usage, even with                                                               
a hands-free  unit, national, state,  and local  data illustrates                                                               
that teenagers are over represented.   In response to a question,                                                               
she too  pointed out that  the bill provides  that it would  be a                                                               
secondary  offense, and  so  police would  have  to have  another                                                               
reason  to  pull  someone  over   before  citing  him/her  for  a                                                               
violation of this proposed law.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL raised the issue of enforcement.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. CASHEN concurred  that enforcement is key and  would serve to                                                               
encourage teenage drivers to drive  more carefully, and indicated                                                               
that Alaska's  current law regarding graduated  driver's licenses                                                               
would be upgraded to reduce  distractions through banning the use                                                               
of cell  phones.  According  to data collected for  the Strategic                                                               
Highway Safety Plan  (SHSP), over the past five  years in Alaska,                                                               
there were  an average  of 86 fatalities  and 880  major injuries                                                               
sustained due to cell phone use by drivers ages 16-20.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS,  citing an example,  offered his belief  that young                                                               
drivers face myriad distractions.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO questioned  whether the  term "driving"  is                                                               
interchangeable with the term "operating".                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. CASHEN said  she is sure they are not,  but surmised that the                                                               
representative  from the  Department of  Law (DOL)  could address                                                               
that issue further.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
[Chair Ramras turned the gavel over to Vice Chair Dahlstrom.]                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. CASHEN, in response to a  question, pointed out that the bill                                                               
would only apply to drivers under the age of 18.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. HANSON,  in response  to another  question, surmised  that no                                                               
one training to  be - or volunteering as -  a first responder, or                                                               
operating a commercial vehicle would be  under the age of 18.  In                                                               
response to  a comment,  agreed to  research that  issue further.                                                               
In response to a question, he  explained that the bill applies to                                                               
any use of  the cell phone while driving, whether  to make a call                                                               
or when receiving a call, except in emergency situations.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:30:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHELDON  E.  WINTERS,  Attorney  at  Law,  Lessmeier  &  Winters,                                                               
Lobbyist  for  State Farm  Insurance  Company,  said that  as  an                                                               
attorney,  he  has  been involved  with  hundreds  of  automobile                                                               
accidents, and that he has two  teenagers living at home, both of                                                               
whom use cell phones.  He  offered his belief that the statistics                                                               
provided  in  members'  packets   regarding  cell  phone  use  by                                                               
teenagers while  driving are  understated.   In 2006,  State Farm                                                               
Insurance Company performed a nationwide  survey in alliance with                                                               
The  Children's  Hospital  of Philadelphia,  with  a  statistical                                                               
sampling representing  the 10.6  million teenagers in  the public                                                               
school  system in  the  U.S.;  nine out  of  every  ten of  those                                                               
teenagers  said  that  cell  phone use  while  driving  was  very                                                               
common, and seven  out of every ten of those  teenagers said they                                                               
had observed  other teenagers  using a  cell phone  while driving                                                               
and while also being very emotionally upset.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINTERS  said he'd questioned  whether the bill would  do any                                                               
good  given  that the  behavior  it  addresses  would only  be  a                                                               
secondary offense.  He added,  though, that although his children                                                               
might do  what he tells them  only about 50 percent  of the time,                                                               
they do obey  the law, and so  that's where a bill such  as HB 15                                                               
could  come  into  play.    For  example,  another  question  the                                                               
aforementioned survey asked was  what would motivate the teenager                                                               
to not use a cell phone  while driving, and the primary motivator                                                               
was  that  it was  against  the  law to  do  so  and there  would                                                               
therefore be  consequences.  Although the  statistics in members'                                                               
packets  regarding   teenage  accident  rates  are   telling  and                                                               
compelling, they  don't give members  a sense of just  how tragic                                                               
an accident involving  children can be.  House Bill  15 will save                                                               
some lives,  he opined, and  noted that such legislation  is part                                                               
of a nationwide trend.  Moreover,  if the bill is not passed now,                                                               
it will simply  come up again in the future,  but meanwhile, some                                                               
people's teenagers will  have died in an accident.   He therefore                                                               
encouraged  the  committee to  pass  the  bill now,  rather  than                                                               
later.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINTERS,  on the  issue of  why the focus  here should  be on                                                               
teenagers,  recalled that  when  the  state's graduated  driver's                                                               
licensing  law  was being  debated,  there  were studies  brought                                                               
forth which showed that teenagers  aren't like adults:  teenagers                                                               
have  immature brain  development, and  they get  distracted more                                                               
often and  more easily.   Bills  like HB  15, therefore,  are not                                                               
picking on  teenagers but instead protecting  them; teenagers are                                                               
society's  prized possessions,  and they  are the  ones who  need                                                               
saving via  a bill  such as HB  15.  He  noted for  example, that                                                               
after the state's graduated  driver's licensing requirements were                                                               
instituted,  the  number  of motor  vehicle  accidents  involving                                                               
teenage drivers dropped dramatically.   On the issue of insurance                                                               
rates, he  explained that accident  claims drive rates,  and that                                                               
young drivers  between the  ages of  16 and  21 have  the highest                                                               
accident  rates,  and  therefore  the  highest  insurance  rates.                                                               
House Bill 15 is not  about reducing insurance rates; instead, it                                                               
is about saving lives, and  for that reason, "we" would encourage                                                               
the committee to pass HB 15, he concluded.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
VICE CHAIR  DAHLSTROM asked Mr.  Winters whether he  would prefer                                                               
for the  bill to ban  all drivers from  using a cell  phone while                                                               
driving.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. WINTERS  said State  Farm Insurance Company  does not  have a                                                               
position on that issue, but he  himself would be in favor of such                                                               
a ban.   In response  to a question,  he offered to  research how                                                               
many accidents  result in injury  compared to how many  result in                                                               
death.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
[Vice Chair Dahlstrom returned the gavel to Chair Ramras.]                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  asked whether insurance rates  for teenagers                                                               
would go down at all due to the passage of HB 15.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WINTERS said  he  simply couldn't  say,  but proffered  that                                                               
doing  everything  that can  be  done  to  reduce the  number  of                                                               
accident claims would have a positive impact on insurance rates.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES  questioned whether  the accident  rate for                                                               
teenage drivers  has increased over  the years due to  cell phone                                                               
use becoming more prevalent.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WINTERS  offered  his  belief  that  there  have  been  more                                                               
accidents due  to cell  phone use simply  because such  usage has                                                               
become more prevalent, but he  doesn't yet have a specific number                                                               
to provide the committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:41:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROY E.  HOYT, JR., after relaying  that has been both  a licensed                                                               
driver and airplane pilot since  1942, said he doesn't think that                                                               
HB 15  goes far enough, that  it should instead apply  to drivers                                                               
of  all ages.   For  example, in  Homer, he  relayed, drivers  in                                                               
their 30's have caused more accidents  due to cell phone use than                                                               
teenagers,  adding  that  he rarely  sees  teenagers  using  cell                                                               
phones anyway.   He also  suggested that the bill  should specify                                                               
that it  applies when the  motor vehicle is in  motion, surmising                                                               
that there is always an opportunity  to pull over in order to use                                                               
the phone  - drivers can  simply let  their cell phone  ring, and                                                               
then, when  it is  safe to  pull over, they  can call  the caller                                                               
back.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:43:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JENNIE MORRIS  relayed that she  has been  run over twice  in the                                                               
last few years  by drivers who were using their  cell phones.  In                                                               
response to a  question, she said that one of  the drivers was 24                                                               
and the  other was 19.   However, kids  are starting to  use cell                                                               
phones at much  younger ages, she pointed out, so  the problem is                                                               
only going to  get worse, and she therefore thinks  that the bill                                                               
should apply to  drivers of all ages.   She said she  is tired of                                                               
being hit  by drivers using  cell phones,  and is afraid  for her                                                               
family  and  friends; something  needs  to  be done  because  the                                                               
problem is  not getting any  better, and  it's not fair  or right                                                               
that  responsible drivers  and pedestrians  have  to pray  before                                                               
even leaving  the house  that they  will make it  back home.   In                                                               
conclusion,  she  said she  would  appreciate  anything that  the                                                               
legislature could  do to  address this  situation even  though it                                                               
might be difficult - simply consider  which loved one it might be                                                               
that next gets hit by someone using a cell phone while driving.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:47:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  ULCZYCKI, Group  Vice President,  Research, Communications,                                                               
and Advocacy,  National Safety Council  (NSC) -  after mentioning                                                               
that  the  mission of  the  NSC  is  to  save lives  and  prevent                                                               
injuries,  and that  the NSC  is a  non-governmental organization                                                               
with a  membership of approximately  20,000 member  companies and                                                               
organizations representing  a cross section of  American business                                                               
and industry -  said the NSC was the  first national organization                                                               
to ask  that state legislatures  across the country ban  all cell                                                               
phone use by  all drivers while operating a motor  vehicle.  This                                                               
policy proposal, he  relayed, was arrived at after  many years of                                                               
research and after reviewing over  50 studies, all of which found                                                               
that  some  measure of  driver  performance  is affected  by  the                                                               
cognitive distraction caused  by cell phone use.   The effects of                                                               
cell phone  conversations are varied; they  may include decreased                                                               
reaction  times,   increased  deviations  within   driver  lanes,                                                               
increased steering wheel movements, and over-steering.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ULCZYCKI said  that  the bottom  line is  that  for all  age                                                               
groups, cell  phone use while  driving increases a  person's risk                                                               
of  being  in  a  crash  fourfold.   Regardless  that  a  massive                                                               
educational  effort  is   needed  in  order  to   get  people  to                                                               
understand the risks,  speaking on a cell phone  while driving is                                                               
much  more   dangerous  than  many   of  the   other  distracting                                                               
activities   people  engage   in  while   driving;  those   other                                                               
activities pose a  miniscule risk of being implicated  in a crash                                                               
compared with cell phone use.   [Lawmakers and policymakers] must                                                               
focus on  the most  serious distraction -  that being  cell phone                                                               
use.    And  while  there  are other  activities  that  are  more                                                               
dangerous  than  talking  on  a  cell while  driving  -  such  as                                                               
reading, reaching  into the  back seat, and  putting on  makeup -                                                               
far  fewer people  engage in  those three  higher-risk activities                                                               
and engage in them for much smaller periods of time.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ULCZYCKI said  the NSC  estimates  that there  are over  100                                                               
million people engaged  in cell phone use  [while driving]; there                                                               
are 270 million  cell phone subscribers in the U.S.,  and over 80                                                               
percent of them  admit to talking on a cell  phone while driving.                                                               
Cell phone  use is now part  of the culture, and  so changing the                                                               
laws to totally ban adults from  using a cell phone while driving                                                               
is  going to  be very  difficult, he  acknowledged, because  most                                                               
Americans don't understand the magnitude  of the risk they assume                                                               
when they  talk on  the phone  [while driving].   It is  going to                                                               
require a  culture change, but the  NSC is up for  the challenge.                                                               
He noted that back in the  1970s, drunk driving wasn't thought of                                                               
in  the same  way that  it is  today; people  used to  think they                                                               
could drink  6-8 beers and drive  safely - that was  just part of                                                               
the culture  - whereas  people have now  come to  understand that                                                               
that's just  not true.  He  predicted that in the  future, people                                                               
will wonder  why everyone was  so slow to understand  the science                                                               
[behind the risk of using a cell phone while driving].                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. ULCZYCKI  said a change  in social norms is  what's required.                                                               
For example,  most people  today would insist  on driving  when a                                                               
friend or spouse has  had too much to drink to  be able to drive,                                                               
but not many would insist on  taking control of the car because a                                                               
friend or spouse is putting everyone  at four times the risk of a                                                               
crash by using a cell phone  while driving.  When the social norm                                                               
changes,  it will  be  easier  to change  the  laws  as well,  he                                                               
remarked, and  expressed appreciation of the  legislature's focus                                                               
on the  most at-risk drivers  - teenagers - via  the introduction                                                               
of HB 15.   The statistics for Alaska are  comparable to those of                                                               
the  nation:   teenagers are  involved in  fatal crashes  at much                                                               
higher rates than any other age  group.  Nationally, 6 percent of                                                               
licensed drivers are  teenagers, but they account  for 14 percent                                                               
of  fatal  crash involvement,  with  the  two main  causes  being                                                               
driver inexperience and distractions.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. ULCZYCKI said  that's why many states  have enacted graduated                                                               
driver's  licensing   laws  that  require  teenagers   to  obtain                                                               
significant  experience driving  with  their parents  in the  car                                                               
before they can  drive unsupervised; that's why  many states have                                                               
enacted  passenger restrictions  for  teenage drivers  - to  keep                                                               
teenage drivers  from being distracted;  and that's why  18 other                                                               
states have  the kind of  teenage-driver cell-phone ban  that the                                                               
legislature is  considering today.  A  bill such as HB  15 is not                                                               
discriminatory, he  opined, given  that teenage  drivers comprise                                                               
the group thought of  as most likely to be in a  crash - they are                                                               
the  highest risk  group as  well as  the group  most willing  to                                                               
engage in  this dangerous  behavior.   A national  public opinion                                                               
survey, for  example, found  that 60  percent of  teenage drivers                                                               
use a  cell phone while  driving; even more alarming,  though, is                                                               
that 40 percent regularly text message while driving.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ULCZYCKI encouraged  the committee  to  pass HB  15, and  to                                                               
support  law enforcement  officers  as they  enforce it,  because                                                               
what's been  found in  other states is  that enforcement  of this                                                               
kind of  law is  critical.   If people  think that  a law  is not                                                               
going to  be enforced,  then they  are more  likely to  engage in                                                               
breaking that  law.  For example,  why do people speed?   Because                                                               
they can.  This  will also be true with regard  to cell phone use                                                               
while driving.   In  states that have  enacted bans  against cell                                                               
phone use  by teenagers while  driving, studies by  the Insurance                                                               
Institute for  Highway Safety (IIHS)  have found  that compliance                                                               
with the law increased and  decreased almost proportionately with                                                               
the level of  enforcement applied; if a law  is visibly enforced,                                                               
and  people -  in  this case  teenagers -  believe  they will  be                                                               
caught, then their behavior changes.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER relayed  that the  Department of  Law has                                                               
suggested  a change  to HB  15, that  being to  replace the  term                                                               
"probable  cause"   on  page  1,   lines  9-10,  with   the  term                                                               
"reasonable suspicion".                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:55:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNE  CARPENETI,  Assistant   Attorney  General,  Legal  Services                                                               
Section, Criminal  Division, Department  of Law (DOL),  said that                                                               
the administration  supports HB  15, and  that she  is suggesting                                                               
only the aforementioned  change.  In response to  a question, she                                                               
offered her  understanding that the  term "operating"  is broader                                                               
than the  term "driving",  and includes sitting  in a  parked car                                                               
with the  engine running, and so  HB 15 wouldn't apply  in such a                                                               
situation because the bill uses  the term "driving".  In response                                                               
to another question,  she assured the committee  that the defense                                                               
of necessity could be raised  if a minor found himself/herself in                                                               
an  emergency situation  and therefore  used a  cell phone  while                                                               
driving.   She  surmised, though,  that law  enforcement officers                                                               
and prosecutors  would exercise  discretion before  attempting to                                                               
charge/prosecute  a  minor for  using  a  cell  phone in  such  a                                                               
circumstance.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES  asked whether a  violation of HB  15 could                                                               
be used as proof of negligent driving.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENETI said  she doesn't  think that  a violation  of the                                                               
bill would  provide a  presumption that  a minor  is guilty  of a                                                               
misdemeanor.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR RAMRAS closed public testimony on HB 15.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN noted that by  definition, the act of driving                                                               
itself requires multitasking; therefore,  if one can't multitask,                                                               
perhaps one shouldn't be driving to begin with.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:02:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM made  a motion to adopt  Amendment 1, to                                                               
replace the words  "probable cause" on page 1,  lines 10-11, with                                                               
the  words "reasonable  suspicion".   There  being no  objection,                                                               
Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  noted that  when his son  was a  minor, his                                                               
son disapproved of such a ban, but  now that his son is no longer                                                               
a minor, his son is in favor of it.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:03:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM moved  to report HB 15,  as amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying  fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection,  CSHB                                                               
15(JUD)   was  reported   from  the   House  Judiciary   Standing                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:03:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:03 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 15 Backup.pdf HJUD 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 15
HB 15 Bill version E.pdf HJUD 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 15
HB 15 Letters of Support.pdf HJUD 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 15
HB 15 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 15
HB15 letters of support 2.pdf HJUD 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 15
HB102BillPacket031609.pdf HJUD 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 102
HB102BillPacket031609II.pdf HJUD 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 102
Letter of Support Allstate.pdf HJUD 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB015-DPS-DET-03-17-09.pdf HJUD 3/16/2009 1:00:00 PM
HB 15