Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 120

02/10/2012 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 216 REGULATIONS: INFORMATIVE SUMMARY/BILLS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 255 READING OR TYPING MESSAGE WHILE DRIVING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 255(JUD) Out of Committee
+= HB 296 CRIME OF ESCAPE/DEF. OF CORRECT. FACILITY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 299 CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUND TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 299(JUD) Out of Committee
+= HB 303 SUSPENDED IMPOSITION OF SENTENCE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
        HB 255 - READING OR TYPING MESSAGE WHILE DRIVING                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:06:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO announced  that the first order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 255, "An  Act prohibiting  the driver of  a motor                                                               
vehicle from reading  or typing a text message  or other nonvoice                                                               
message or  communication on a  cellular telephone,  computer, or                                                               
personal data assistant while driving  a motor vehicle."  [Before                                                               
the  committee  was  a proposed  committee  substitute  (CS)  for                                                               
HB 255,  Version 27-LS1165\D,  Gardner,  2/2/12,  which had  been                                                               
adopted  as the  work draft  and amended  on 2/8/12;  included in                                                               
members' packets was a new proposed CS for HB 255, Version 27-                                                                  
LS1165\X, Gardner, 2/8/12.]                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  mentioned that a  forthcoming amendment  in members'                                                               
packets addresses a definition in the bill.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:07:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB   255,  Version  27-LS1165\X,  Gardner,                                                               
2/8/12, as the working document.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES  explained that Version X  incorporates the                                                               
amendments that were adopted during the bill's previous hearing.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER removed his objection.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO, remarking  that there  were no  further objections,                                                               
announced that Version X was before the committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:08:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG made  a  motion to  adopt Amendment  1,                                                               
labeled 27-LS1165\X.1, Finley/Gardner, 2/9/12, which read:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 13, following "vehicle":                                                                                      
          Insert ", whether removable or permanently                                                                        
     installed,"                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 17:                                                                                                           
          Delete "(1)"                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, lines 18 - 20:                                                                                                     
          Delete ";                                                                                                         
               (2) "installed" means equipment in an                                                                        
     emergency vehicle, whether permanent or removable"                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  referred to an  accompanying memorandum                                                               
in members' packets from Legislative  Legal and Research Services                                                               
dated  February 9,  2012, and  indicated that  Amendment 1  would                                                               
clarify the  language [of Version X's  proposed AS 28.35.161(d)].                                                               
Representative   Gruenberg   offered   his   understanding   that                                                               
Representative Gara, [one  of HB 255's joint  prime sponsors,] is                                                               
amenable to the adoption of Amendment 1.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO  indicated  that  Amendment  1  would  clarify  that                                                               
proposed AS  28.35.161(d)'s exemption for equipment  in emergency                                                               
vehicles  applies to  all  [authorized]  equipment regardless  of                                                               
whether it is permanently installed.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES removed her objection.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO,  after  ascertaining  that there  were  no  further                                                               
objections, announced that Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:11:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY MILLER, Director,  Tribal Transportation Department, Central                                                               
Council  of  the  Tlingit  and  Haida  Indian  Tribes  of  Alaska                                                               
(CCTHITA), relayed  simply that the  CCTHITA supports HB  255 and                                                               
the intent to  provide greater safety for the  public with regard                                                               
to  driving and  driver attention,  supporting those  things that                                                               
will improve public safety on Alaska's roadways.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO closed public testimony on HB 255.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER said  he  objects to  moving  HB 255  from                                                               
committee,  expressing  a  reluctance  to  have  reading  a  text                                                               
message while driving be a crime.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN,  expressing agreement,  questioned  whether                                                               
enforcement would even be possible.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT  mentioned possibly  having the  bill apply                                                               
only  when  a person  who  is  texting  while driving  causes  an                                                               
accident.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:18:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD  SVOBODNY,  Deputy   Attorney  General,  Central  Office,                                                               
Criminal  Division, Department  of Law  (DOL), in  response to  a                                                               
question, clarified that in discussions  he's had with the Public                                                               
Defender  Agency   (PDA),  he  had  indicated   that  there  were                                                               
communities  in  Alaska  in  which the  crime  of  texting  while                                                               
driving is  not being  prosecuted.  Further  research by  him, he                                                               
relayed, has  indicted that in  some instances that is  the case,                                                               
and  that  in  other  instances, different  judges  in  the  same                                                               
community are making  differing rulings - with  some treating the                                                               
behavior as illegal and others  not.  Therefore, it's not correct                                                               
to say  that the existing  law isn't being enforced,  because law                                                               
enforcement officers  are still  charging people with  the crime,                                                               
but  rather   that  the  crime  isn't   always  being  prosecuted                                                               
depending on who the judge is  in a particular case.  In response                                                               
to comments  and a question, he  indicated that the state  has no                                                               
right to appeal a dismissal  by the court except in extraordinary                                                               
circumstances, and what occurred in  State v. Adams wasn't such a                                                             
circumstance.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG posited  that  passage of  Section 1  -                                                               
which would add a statement of  purpose in uncodified law - would                                                               
clarify for the  court that it is and has  been the legislature's                                                               
intent all  along that  the conduct of  texting while  driving be                                                               
illegal.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO, noting that the  bill now has an immediate effective                                                               
date, surmised that  once the bill is passed it  will clarify the                                                               
law immediately for everyone.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:22:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES  moved  to  report  the  proposed  CS  for                                                               
HB 255, Version 27-LS1165\X, Gardner,  2/8/12, as amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
A roll call  vote was taken.   Representatives Pruitt, Gruenberg,                                                               
Holmes, Lynn, and Gatto voted  in favor of reporting the proposed                                                               
CS for HB 255, Version  27-LS1165\X, Gardner, 2/8/12, as amended,                                                               
from  committee.     Representative  Keller  voted   against  it.                                                               
Therefore, CSHB  255(JUD) was reported  from the  House Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee by a vote of 5-1.                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 255 Legislative Legal Services Memo.pdf HJUD 2/10/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 CS X version.pdf HJUD 2/10/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
CSHB 255(JUD) Amendment X 1.pdf HJUD 2/10/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
HB 216 AM CS (JUD)_T2.pdf HJUD 2/10/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 216