Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120
03/28/2017 03:00 PM STATE AFFAIRS
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HJR 15-OPPOSE FEDERAL ID REQUIREMENTS [Contains discussion of HB 74.] 3:11:52 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 15, Encouraging repeal of the REAL ID Act of 2005. 3:12:44 PM REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON presented HJR 15, as prime sponsor. She stated that the proposed joint resolution encourages the U.S. Congress and executive branch [of the federal government] to repeal the REAL ID Act of 2005. She explained that HJR 15 represents the reinstitution of the endorsed committee substitute (CS) for House Joint Resolution 19, which was introduced in 2008 during the Twenty-Fifth Alaska State Legislature, 2007-2008. She relayed that this previous proposed resolution was co-sponsored by 15 Representatives and 12 Senators. She maintained that HJR 15 does not represent a partisan issue, but rather a states' rights issue that needs to be addressed on a national level before full implementation ensues. REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON explained that the REAL ID Act of 2005 makes the state-issued motor vehicle license a federally recognized piece of identification (ID), with the cost of implementation being imposed on all citizens living in REAL ID compliant states. She asserted that she introduced the proposed legislation due to her respect for the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the importance of identity security. She added that she also introduced HJR 15 because of the number of constituent phone calls she has received from people who are concerned about the implementation of a system not voted for by Alaskans and forced upon the State of Alaska through the REAL ID Act of 2005. She asked for committee support for HJR 15. 3:15:26 PM SHEA SIEGERT, Staff, Representative DeLena Johnson, noted that every person who has spoken or written in favor of Alaska being compliant with REAL ID did so based on the penalties that would ensue for noncompliance rather than the original intent of the Act: to prevent terrorists from taking asylum in the United States; to prevent terrorism from occurring; and to secure the national border. He added that those favoring compliance testified that the cost of $1.5 million to the State of Alaska would be less of a burden than those penalties. He indicated that the proposed resolution creates an opportunity for discussion regarding the actual benefits of the REAL ID Act of 2005. 3:17:47 PM REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP asked what the consequences of noncompliance would be for Alaska, if HB 74 did not pass. MR. SIEGERT responded that the consequences would be that people without a federally recognized ID would not be allowed access to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints, military bases, and federal buildings requiring a federally recognized ID. REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP asked what the mechanism would be for verifying alternative IDs on site. He asked, "Do people really need to worry about travel and accessing ... sites? Will they be able to do it with the alternative forms of ID?" MR. SIEGERT asked Representative Knopp if he is referring to the circumstances in which the State of Alaska has not become REAL ID compliant. REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP answered yes. MR. SIEGERT stated that he believes there is a mechanism [for verifying alternative IDs], but he added that the problem is that Alaska does not have the list of recognizable permissible IDs. 3:21:32 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked if there is any information that the intent of the REAL ID Act includes the desire to have a national ID card for the citizens of the country. MR. SIEGERT responded that he did not find that in any of the conveyable intent of the REAL ID Act. He stated that currently there is a federally recognized piece of ID, which is a passport card. He mentioned that the literature describing the original intent of the REAL ID Act does not mention the desire for a national piece of identification. REPRESENTATIVE WOOL commented that the passport is nationally recognized but is more for international travel. He said he did not know the percentage of people who have passports. He offered his belief that it is less than half. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK responded that Alaskans have the highest percentage of passports per capita at 65 percent. REPRESENTATIVE WOOL suggested that nationally less than 50 percent of the population have passports. 3:24:23 PM REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH asked if the passport is a suitable replacement for REAL ID to access airplanes and military bases. MR. SIEGERT answered that to the best of his knowledge, yes. He said that he defers to the Department of Administration (DOA) for a definitive answer. He mentioned that DOA testified in its presentation that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not issued the list of recognizable federal pieces of identification. 3:26:13 PM REPRESENTATIVE TUCK moved to adopt Amendment 1 to HJR 15, labeled 30-LS0570\A.1, Martin, 3/20/17, which read: Page 1, line 11: Delete "will" Insert "may" Page 1, line 12: Delete "punishing" Insert "illegally attempting to punish" Delete "for the actions of the state" CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS objected for the purpose of discussion. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK stated that under Amendment 1, page 1, lines 11-12 would read: "Whereas noncompliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005 may result in the federal government illegally attempting to punish". On page 1, line 12, "for the actions of the state" would be deleted. He explained that his reason for deleting "for the actions of the state" is because he does not believe the federal government's actions are being affected by Alaska's actions. REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON stated that she fully supports the proposed amendment. REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX, in considering the proposed substitution of "may" for "will" under Amendment 1, suggested that Amendment 1 be amended to state "illegally punishing" on page 1, line 12, rather than "illegally attempting to punish", as proposed under Amendment 1. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK stated that he would accept an amendment to Amendment 1 that inserts "illegally" before "punishing". He agreed that was his intent and offered that the wording of the proposed amendment was from Legislative Legal and Research Services. 3:30:12 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX moved to adopt Amendment 1 to Amendment 1, to replace "attempting to punish" with "punishing" so that page 1, line 12 would read "illegally punishing". REPRESENTATIVE TUCK clarified that Amendment 1 to Amendment 1 would: remove line 6, as numbered on Amendment 1, which reads "Delete 'punishing'"; remove "attempting to punish" on line 7, as numbered on Amendment 1; and insert "illegally" after "government" on page 1, line 12 of HJR 15. REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX withdrew her Amendment 1 to Amendment 1. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK moved to adopt Amendment 1 to Amendment 1 as follows: delete line 6, as numbered on Amendment 1; insert "illegally" after "government" on page 1, line 12 of HJR 15; and delete "attempting to punish" in line 7, as numbered on the Amendment 1. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS stated that there being no objection, Amendment 1 to Amendment 1 was adopted. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS indicated that Amendment 1, as amended, was on the table. REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked for Amendment 1, as amended, to be read to the committee. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS stated that Amendment 1, as amended, would: delete "will" and insert "may" on page 1, line 11; insert "illegally punishing" on page 1, line 12; and delete "for the actions of the state" on page 1, line 12. REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON read page 1, lines 11-13, of HJR 15, as amended, as follows: "Whereas noncompliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005 may result in the federal government illegally punishing individual Alaskans by placing limitation on state residents' freedom of travel and access to federal facilities." CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS withdrew his objection. He stated that there being no further objection, Amendment 1, [as amended], was adopted. 3:34:21 PM REPRESENTATIVE TUCK moved to adopt Conceptual Amendment 2, which after the correction of a typographical error ("typo") read: ADD AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature opposes any interference by the Federal government with the right of Alaska residents to travel and freedom of movement, including travel by air; AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature calls on the Governor and the Attorney General of the State of Alaska to challenge any proposed Federal interference with the right of Alaskan residents to freedom of movement including travel by air, and to vigorously defend Alaskan residents against any attempted interference with these rights. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS objected for the purpose of discussion. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS withdrew his objection. He stated there being no further objection, Conceptual Amendment 2 was adopted. 3:36:49 PM REPRESENTATIVE TUCK moved to report HJR 15, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no further objection, CSHJR 15(STA) was reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee. HB 74-DRIVER'S LICENSE & ID CARDS & REAL ID AC 4:29:35 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS announced that the final order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 74, "An Act relating to the implementation of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005; and relating to issuance of identification cards and driver's licenses; and providing for an effective date." 4:30:31 PM The committee took a brief at-ease at 4:30 p.m. 4:31:06 PM CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS mentioned that two amendments had been prepared for adoption. 4:31:28 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL stated that the amendment he is proposing would increase the fee for REAL ID from $5 to $10. He cited the costs listed on the fiscal note: $528,000 for implementation of the REAL ID program and additional costs for a total of $1.5 million. He explained that the increase in the fee would generate enough revenue to make the REAL ID program self- supporting. 4:33:26 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL moved to adopt Amendment 1, [labeled 30- GH1781\A.1, Martin, 3/20/17], which read: Page 5, line 7: Delete "$5" Insert "$10" CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS objected for the purpose of discussion. 4:33:33 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX stated that she supports the concept but wants to find out from the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if doubling the fee will support the program as intended. 4:34:22 PM LESLIE RIDLE, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Administration (DOA), stated that assuming 50 percent of the population obtains a REAL ID, the $10 [fee] would allow DOA to pay for the REAL ID program in about five years. REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX asked what fee would be needed for DOA to pay for the program concurrently, making the fiscal note zero. MS. RIDLE said she would provide that information. 4:35:24 PM REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP suggested that a $20 fee would pay for the program in one year. MS. RIDLE answered that she assumes that to be correct. 4:35:58 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked if the program would be profitable after 10 years. MS. RIDLE responded yes, unless DOA reduced the fee. She said the capital project would have been paid off, and DOA would continue to pay to state money from the fees. REPRESENTATIVE WOOL suggested that his first REAL ID would cost $10, but his second REAL ID might only cost $5. MS. RIDLE attested that DOA would need to request a fee change from the legislature; it cannot unilaterally make that change. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS asked if it is possible to include a "sunset" date for the fees in the proposed legislation. MS. RIDLE answered, "Probably." CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS removed his objection to Amendment 1. He stated that there being no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. 4:37:58 PM REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH moved to adopt Amendment 2 [labeled 30- GH1781\A2, Martin, 3/27/17] which read: Page 3, line 18: Delete "shall" Insert "may [SHALL]" Page 3, line 20: Delete "shall" Insert "may [SHALL]" REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH explained that Amendment 2 inserts "permissive" language on page 3, lines 18 and 20, by replacing "shall" with "may". He cited, as justification for the language change, a letter from a constituent describing the following situation: The constituent's wife is a Japanese national with permanent resident status holding an alien registration ID green card without an expiration date. She has been a fulltime resident of Alaska since 1982. Since the green card has no expiration date, it's validity is indefinite. The constituent added that this places a significant burden on his wife requiring her to renew her driver's license annually. The constituent requested that "shall" be replaced with "may" so that decisions for unique situations can be made at the DOA application review level and to avoid having to make statutory changes in the future. 4:39:43 PM MS. RIDLE responded that DOA agrees with Amendment 2. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK stated his understanding that currently DOA is limited to issuing yearly driver's licenses to foreign nationals with indefinite visas. He said that the statute currently states that DOA shall issue a license for the period of the authorized stay; if the period of the authorized stay is indefinite, DOA shall issue a license with a validity of one year. He offered that someone with a driver's license for an indefinite stay must renew it annually. MS. RIDLE expressed her understanding that current practice is that for a person of "indefinite stay," a five-year driver's license is issued. She indicated that changing "shall" to "may" would give DOA the flexibility to accommodate the person referred to in the constituent letter. 4:42:26 PM MARLA THOMPSON, Director, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Administration (DOE), stated that currently DMV issues a driver's license for the period of authorized stay [of the foreign national] or for five years for those with a permanent card having no expiration date. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK stated that since DMV is currently acting contrary to the law, the law should be changed to agree with the current practice. He said that he supports Amendment 2. 4:43:22 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX cited page 3, lines 19-20, of HB 74, which read, "If the period of authorized stay is indefinite, the department shall issue the license with a validity of one year." She opined that changing "shall" to "may" does not give [DMV] the authority to issue the license for longer than one year. She stated that "may" could mean that a license may be issued with a validity of one year or possibly may not be issued at all. She stated that she appreciates the issue brought forth by the constituent and the desire to address it, but that changing "shall" to "may" on page 3, line 20, would not accomplish that. MS. RIDLE responded that it was the opinion of the assistant attorney general that this change would address the issue, but she said that she would bring up Representative LeDoux's concern with him for further consideration. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS withdrew his objection to Amendment 2. REPRESENTATIVE WOOL mentioned that he agreed with Representative LeDoux's comments, and the use of "may" would make the language in the proposed legislation ambiguous. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS again objected to Amendment 2. REPRESENTATIVE WOOL stated that he does not understand the logic behind "one year" in the proposed legislation. REPRESENTATIVE TUCK relayed that the intent is for DOA to issue a driver's license for the period of an authorized stay, if known. He said that if an individual has an indefinite period of stay, the committee wants DOA to issue a driver's license as it would for any other Alaskan. He suggested that page 3, line 18, should read, "Unless an authorized stay is indefinite, the department may issue the license for the period of the authorized stay." 4:47:25 PM REPRESENTATIVE WOOL offered that a person with an indefinite stay could leave the country with his/her valid license. He suggested that DOA may wish to limit the duration of the license to avoid that situation by requiring the reissue of a license every year. REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP stated that green cards are issued for ten years; J1 visas are issued for a two- to three-month period; and other licenses may be issued for a minimum of one year. He suggested that there is ample time for the assistant attorney general to address this issue and the bill language. CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS withdrew his objection to Amendment 2. REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX stated that she objects to Amendment 2 based on her belief that an opinion from Legislative Legal and Research Services or the assistant attorney general is needed to ensure that the amendment accomplishes that which is intended. She recommended that the amendment be held pending this opinion. REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH said his intent is to address his constituent's concern and he supports additional legal review of Amendment 2. REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH withdrew his motion to adopt Amendment 2. [HB 74 was held over.]