Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

03/28/2017 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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Audio Topic
01:10:02 PM Start
01:10:34 PM HB82
02:10:42 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 82 RESTRICTED OFF HWY DRIVER'S LICENSE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
           HB 82-RESTRICTED OFF HWY DRIVER'S LICENSE                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:10:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL announced that the  only order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  82, "An  Act relating  to vehicle  registration;                                                               
relating to  off-highway restricted areas; and  relating to motor                                                               
vehicle liability insurance."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:10:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE    JOHNATHAN    KREISS-TOMKINS,    Alaska    State                                                               
Legislature,  introduced himself  and  advised that  this is  the                                                               
second committee of referral.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:11:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BERETT  WILBER, Staff,  Representative Johnathan  Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                               
Alaska State Legislature, introduced herself.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:11:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER  turned to the  PowerPoint presentation, "HB  82: Off-                                                               
Highway  Driver's  License,"   [difficulty  with  the  PowerPoint                                                               
audio.]                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:12:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 1:12 p.m. to 1:13 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:13:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER  turned to slide 1,  "What is an OHDL?"  and explained                                                               
that the  off-highway driver's license (OHDL)  program existed in                                                               
Alaska  prior  to  1984, and  that  294  off-highway  communities                                                               
currently qualify  for OHDL.   The  licenses, she  explained, are                                                               
designed  for rural  people in  off-road  system communities  who                                                               
perform a written  test and receive their  valid driver's license                                                               
through the  mail.  The  OHDL functions as a  provisional license                                                               
in  on-road communities,  and when  driving in  a non-off-highway                                                               
community the person  must be accompanied by a  licensed 21 years                                                               
of age  or older driver.   These 294 communities are  exempt from                                                               
registration and  insurance requirements  for cars  under current                                                               
law, she explained, and currently there are 1,120 OHDL drivers.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:14:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER turned  to slide 2, "294  off-highway communities" and                                                               
said  the  slide  depicts  all   of  the  qualifying  communities                                                               
throughout Alaska.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:14:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER  turned to  slides 3-4,  "Why do  we care?"  and "They                                                               
were confused  and frustrated"  respectively, and  explained that                                                               
the  residents of  Angoon, Kake,  and  Hoonah are  on the  Alaska                                                               
Marine  Highway  System (AMHS)  and  these  communities had  been                                                               
eligible  for off-highway  licenses since  the 1980s.   Suddenly,                                                               
she said,  in 2011, they were  told they were no  longer eligible                                                               
for  off-highway  licenses,   so  they  contacted  Representative                                                               
Kreiss-Tomkins.   Slide 4  depicts the  testimony of  the various                                                               
residents.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILBER turned  to slide  5, "Regulatory  History!" depicting                                                               
the regulatory history for off-highway  licenses and advised that                                                               
from 1984-2006, there  were no specific regulations  on the books                                                               
and  the  Division  of Motor  Vehicles  (DMV)  operated  off-road                                                               
licenses in  a common-sense  manner.   In 2006,  after informally                                                               
administering the OHDL  program for two decades,  the DMV drafted                                                               
regulations   due  to   a  push   toward  the   formalization  of                                                               
regulations by  the Palin administration.   These regulations had                                                               
two  requirements to  be  eligible, the  community  could not  be                                                               
connected to the road system, and  it could not have a DMV office                                                               
offering  road  testing,  which is  good  common-sense  criteria.                                                               
However, in 2011, the regulations  changed and rather than simply                                                               
being  about road  access, suddenly  the  new regulations  deemed                                                               
that communities with access to  the land connecting to the state                                                               
highway  system  were ineligible,  and  the  DMV interpreted  the                                                               
Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS)  as a highway.  Consequently,                                                               
it  meant that  for the  people of  Angoon, for  example, it  was                                                               
deemed  that even  though  no  DMV existed  in  Angoon, they  had                                                               
access  to  the Juneau  DMV  via  the  AMHS  and were  no  longer                                                               
eligible.  She  commented that HB 82, basically goes  back to the                                                               
2006 criteria.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:18:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER turned to slide 6,  "JKT office gets in touch with the                                                               
DMV" and said  she explained to the DMV the  cost of a round-trip                                                               
ferry  ride, food,  and at  least 1-2  nights on  the ferry,  and                                                               
asked the  DMV to revisit this  issue.  Ms. Wilber  stressed that                                                               
these  regulations  were   applied  inconsistently  because  many                                                               
communities on the AMHS continued  to be eligible for OHDLs, such                                                               
as  Old  Harbor, Cold  Bay,  and  Sandy  Point, but  not  Angoon,                                                               
Hoonah, or Kake.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:19:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS, in  response  to Co-Chair  Wool's                                                               
question as to the DMV's  response to this discrepancy, said that                                                               
after directing  3-4 emails to  the DMV  with no response,  a few                                                               
months later  a new regulation was  issued by the DMV  that spoke                                                               
to this exact situation.  He  noted that his contact was not with                                                               
the current DMV leadership, and  it was a frustrating sequence of                                                               
events and he still has the emails.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL surmised  that  the  DMV did  respond  with a  new                                                               
regulation  explaining its  rationale having  to do  with traffic                                                               
counts and such.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS clarified that  he never received a                                                               
response from the DMV to his  3-4 emails, but then he happened to                                                               
see that a new regulation was  issued a few months later that may                                                               
have been a response to his emails.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL opined that perhaps it justified their rationale.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:21:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILBER returned  to slide  6  and offered  that rather  than                                                               
directly answering  the question  regarding whether  ferry access                                                               
to a DMV  counted as true access, the regulation  read that every                                                               
community with an average daily traffic  count of over 499 on any                                                               
segment  of road  in that  community no  longer qualified  for an                                                               
off-highway  driver's license.   Suddenly,  she expressed,  there                                                               
was  new   criteria  that   definitively  excluded   these  three                                                               
communities  due to  their traffic  counts  being over  499.   In                                                               
response  to Representative  Kreiss-Tomkins'  concern about  this                                                               
new regulation and  concern that a community, such  as Sand Point                                                               
with  twice the  population of  Angoon and  potentially a  larger                                                               
traffic count  was eligible,  the DMV advised  that there  was no                                                               
traffic  data available  for that  community and  its eligibility                                                               
status would not change, she said.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:23:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILBER turned  to slide  7, "Hello,  HB 82"  and noted  that                                                               
subsequent to  the DMV's response,  HB 82 was  drafted clarifying                                                               
the  laws   and  regulations  surrounding   off-highway  driver's                                                               
licenses.  This legislation changes  the criteria for off-highway                                                               
driver's licenses in a manner that  aligns with the intent of the                                                               
off-highway driver's  license program.   The traffic  count added                                                               
to regulation in  2014 was an arbitrary number, she  said, and in                                                               
2013  Angoon's traffic  count was  915 and  not eligible,  yet in                                                               
2015 its  highest traffic  count was 433,  and suddenly  it would                                                               
become  eligible.    She  described  that  the  flip-flopping  of                                                               
eligibility for  the off-highway  driver's license  program based                                                               
on  when the  Department  of Transportation  & Public  Facilities                                                               
(DOTPF) performs  a traffic  count in  a community,  doesn't make                                                               
sense.   For people living in  Angoon it doesn't matter  what the                                                               
traffic count is,  they can't drive to a DMV  and can't get their                                                               
driver's  licenses in  their community,  and that  should be  the                                                               
criteria that governs whether or  not a community is eligible for                                                               
off-highway driver's licenses.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:24:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  referred to 499 being  an arbitrary number                                                               
and noted that  DOTPF picked that number for a  safety reason and                                                               
asked  whether  the  sponsor  had  information  from  the  safety                                                               
officer at DOTPF as to the number.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER responded  that she had spoken with DOTPF  a number of                                                               
times about HB 82  and the traffic count, and it  did not see the                                                               
499-traffic count as a safety issue.   Rather, she related, it is                                                               
a  regulation  the DMV  essentially  borrowed  from federal  off-                                                               
highway commercial  regulations and decided  to apply it  to off-                                                               
highway  non-commercial driver's  licenses in  Alaska because  it                                                               
was convenient.   She explained that the response  from the DOTPF                                                               
staff she spoke  with do not feel that traffic  count is a metric                                                               
that says anything  meaningful as to whether a  community is off-                                                               
highway or  not.  There is  no meaningful safety difference  in a                                                               
community with a traffic count  of, for instance, 499 and another                                                               
community of 515, she said.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:26:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP referred  to  the 499  number and  explained                                                               
that that number  has been in state statute since  the 1970s, but                                                               
not in  regulation.  In  the event a community's  average traffic                                                               
count  is   less  than  499,   it  is  not  subject   to  vehicle                                                               
registration   requirements   that   apply  to   on-road   system                                                               
communities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:27:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILBER  turned  to  slide   8,  "What  should  matter?"  and                                                               
described  that traffic  count as  a difficult  metric to  decide                                                               
whether  or not  communities should  be eligible  for off-highway                                                               
licenses.  Currently, she said,  there is no systematic manner in                                                               
which the  DOTPF shares traffic  count data with  the DMV.   As a                                                               
result, there is  friction if the DOTPF decides to  run a traffic                                                               
count in an off-highway eligible  rural community because there's                                                               
no systematic manner  for the DOTPF to give that  data to the DMV                                                               
to then  decide whether or  not a community  should be on  or off                                                               
the list.   Traffic count is an arbitrary metric  and by removing                                                               
it  from  the  eligibility  standards  for  off-highway  driver's                                                               
license, the  DMV would  be saved  the hassle  of going  back and                                                               
checking  every  year  to   determine  whether  communities  have                                                               
traffic counts over 499, she said.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:28:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL  asked whether  Ms.  Wilber  said that  the  DOTPF                                                               
performs a traffic count analysis,  but there was not a mechanism                                                               
to then inform  the DMV that a community was  ineligible for off-                                                               
highway driver's licenses.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILBER answered  yes, she  said that  this is  a fairly  new                                                               
regulation  and  the  list of  off-highway  eligible  communities                                                               
already  exists.    At  this point,  she  explained,  if  someone                                                               
applies for an  off-highway driver's license, the  DMV performs a                                                               
"kind of,  on a one-off basis"  check of the DOTPF  traffic count                                                               
data and  in the event  a community is  over 499, the  DMV denies                                                               
that  person the  off-highway license  and removes  the community                                                               
from the eligibility list.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:29:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL asked whether there  are traffic counts from all of                                                               
the off-highway driver's licenses  communities.  For example, the                                                               
communities on  the ferry system  that were still  eligible, such                                                               
as Sand  Point, and whether  there are traffic count  studies for                                                               
those communities, as well.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER answered that many  of the communities do have traffic                                                               
count studies, it is the  DOTPF responsibility to run the traffic                                                               
count program  in all  communities, and the  DMV then  uses those                                                               
traffic counts  for this program.   She stated that the  DMV does                                                               
not request  traffic counts, and  the counts were  never intended                                                               
to say  anything meaningful  about whether  or not  someone could                                                               
apply  for a  driver's license.   At  the time  of drafting  this                                                               
legislation,  she was  told that  DMV just  did not  have traffic                                                               
count data for  the other still eligible  communities.  Although,                                                               
in speaking  with the  DOTPF and  reviewing an  extensive traffic                                                               
count map,  she said, to  her, and  from a DOTPF  perspective, it                                                               
does appear there is traffic count data for those communities.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:31:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER  turned to slides  9, "Metrics" and commented  that by                                                               
attaching  traffic  count data  to  the  eligibility criteria  of                                                               
whether or  not a  person should be  eligible for  an off-highway                                                               
driver's  license  unnecessarily   bars  rural  communities  from                                                               
accessing the  off-highway driver's license program.   Therefore,                                                               
she explained,  people living  in rural  communities just  do not                                                               
apply for driver's license because  it is prohibitively difficult                                                               
and expensive,  so they drive illegally.   The goal of  this bill                                                               
is to  change that  problem and  allow the DMV  to return  to the                                                               
2006  regulation  common  sense  system  and  make  the  criteria                                                               
logical and  simple.  There are  two questions asked under  HB 82                                                               
in order to qualify for  an off-highway driver's license program,                                                               
if the  community is off the  road system, and whether  a DMV was                                                               
not located in the community, she explained.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER  described that slide  9 offers  the results if  HB 82                                                               
were  to   become  law,  and  noted   the  information  regarding                                                               
communities' currently eligible,  newly eligible communities, and                                                               
OHDL towns with ferry access.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:35:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL questioned the methodology  when there may be other                                                               
factor  such  as,  the  number  of  registered  vehicles  or  how                                                               
isolated  the community.    Obviously, he  said,  Ms. Wilber  was                                                               
saying that, at most, it would  be just under 10 percent and that                                                               
was the  highest in some of  these communities.  The  low is .55,                                                               
but that was only 15 cars in  a village of 1,000 people, and that                                                               
may be the reason for the low number.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILBER asked  that the  committee  keep in  mind that  those                                                               
currently eligible  communities such as, Sand  Point, Hooper Bay,                                                               
Gustavus, are  currently exempt  from registration  and insurance                                                               
requirements.    Therefore,  it   is  difficult  to  compare  the                                                               
registered  vehicles between  exempt  communities and  non-exempt                                                               
communities.     In  terms  of   the  average   having  imperfect                                                               
methodology, she said she absolutely  agrees, it was not meant to                                                               
be any type of scientific  analysis, but rather to illustrate the                                                               
fact that  the bill would  add a small  number of people  to this                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:37:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP commented that  AS 28.10.011 lists exceptions                                                               
to  "vehicles and  communities that  do have  to have  registered                                                               
vehicles" and subparagraph (10) read as follows:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          (10)  being   driven  or   moved  on   a  highway,                                                                    
     vehicular way, or  a public parking place  in the state                                                                    
     that is  not connected by  a land highway  or vehicular                                                                    
     way to                                                                                                                     
               (A) the land-connected  state highway system;                                                                    
     or                                                                                                                         
               (B)  a  highway  or  vehicular  way  with  an                                                                    
     average daily traffic volume greater than 499;                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  referred to a 1988  Attorney General Opinion                                                               
and said it  was construed to be in the  conjunctive and that the                                                               
notes read as follows:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          Vehicles that are driven  on roadways removed from                                                                    
     the  main   land  connected  highway  system   must  be                                                                    
     registered and must have  insurance unless, in addition                                                                    
     they  are  only  driven  on a  road  system  consisting                                                                    
     solely of  lightly traveled, or less  than 500 vehicles                                                                    
     per day road.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  opined that  the thinking  at that  time was                                                               
that  large communities,  such as  Bethel,  should have  driver's                                                               
licenses.  The  lightly traveled roads spoke to  the safety issue                                                               
which  is  where the  499-threshold  originated,  the numbers  of                                                               
vehicles that  would be  in close  proximity, the  possibility of                                                               
vehicle  accidents with  injuries, property  damage, and  whether                                                               
insurance should be required.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:39:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  surmised that the  500 count was in  statute prior                                                               
to ...                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP interjected that  it's been there since 1980,                                                               
but that is as far back as he went.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  said that meant  the pre-existing  regulation from                                                               
the DMV was ...                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP interjected, based on statute.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL agreed,  and he said to Ms. Wilber  that within the                                                               
first period she  referred to in her  presentation there actually                                                               
was  a statute  and asked  whether it  was just  unenforced.   He                                                               
noted that  within the  regulation, the 499  number did  not just                                                               
appear when she started making inquiries.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:40:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILBER  agreed  that   Representative  Kopp  was  absolutely                                                               
correct  about  the  499  number being  in  statute  for  vehicle                                                               
registration exemption  and insurance  exemptions.   However, the                                                               
traffic count  of 499 was never  in statute relating to  the off-                                                               
highway driver's  license program, which  is what she  meant when                                                               
she said  that in 2011 "they  borrowed" those, but they  are also                                                               
in regulation  governing off-highway  commercial licenses  at the                                                               
federal level and  the number does appear in  other provisions in                                                               
statute.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL  agreed, but  he  said  that  this is  state,  not                                                               
federal, and not  about commercial licenses.  He  related that it                                                               
is more about registration and insurance  at the state level in a                                                               
community  with  less  than  500  traffic  count  exemption  from                                                               
registration  and  insurance,  nothing  to  do  with  off-highway                                                               
driver's licenses.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER answered in the affirmative.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:41:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SULLIVAN-LEONARD  referred to the fiscal  note and                                                               
said it  appears there  is an "anticipated  increase in  costs to                                                               
process   --   anticipation    of   increase   off-road   vehicle                                                               
recipients,"  and the  fiscal note  requests  a Customer  Service                                                               
Representative  1 and  asked  whether the  DMV  could absorb  the                                                               
costs as opposed to adding staff.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILBER  advised  that  Representative  Sullivan-Leonard  was                                                               
reviewing an  "old fiscal note" and  that the DMV had  now zeroed                                                               
out the note.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:42:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SULLIVAN-LEONARD  referred   to  the  letters  of                                                               
support  for HB  82, and  asked  whether anyone  was against  the                                                               
legislation, and if so, who and why.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER responded that no one  had come out against this bill,                                                               
and  they have  worked closely  with the  DMV, the  Department of                                                               
Public Safety (DPS), and the DOTPF  to make sure the language fit                                                               
their  requirements  and  make   this  program  functional  in  a                                                               
meaningful and realistic manner.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:43:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL opened public testimony on HB 82.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:43:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GEORGINA DAVIS-GASTELUM  said she was  speaking in support  of HB                                                               
82,  and  on  her  own  behalf.    The  residents  of  the  rural                                                               
communities  that  are  not   considered  off-highway  have  many                                                               
obstacles to overcome in order  to obtain a driver's license, and                                                               
because there  is not a  DMV office in  Kake they must  travel to                                                               
Juneau, Sitka,  Wrangell, or Petersburg  to take the  written and                                                               
road tests.  She pointed out  that the Sitka DMV only administers                                                               
road tests on Tuesdays, and  if the ferry schedule coincided with                                                               
that schedule, the  people would pay at least $100  one way, plus                                                               
hotel, plus food,  but if it did not coincide,  flying in a small                                                               
airplane  would cost  at least  $300 roundtrip,  plus hotels  and                                                               
food, and  if the person  was storm bound,  add $150 per  day for                                                               
expenses plus  time away from work.   Moreover, in order  to take                                                               
the road  test, drivers must  borrow a car,  rent a car,  or take                                                               
their own vehicle  on the ferry at  a cost of $240  one-way.  Add                                                               
to those issues, if young children  are in the family, child care                                                               
was also involved and finding a babysitter for several days.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GASTELUM  advised that  the  DMV  website lists  third-party                                                               
testers,  independent  businesses  that  administer  road  tests,                                                               
except Kake,  Angoon, and Hoonah  are not included,  only Juneau.                                                               
She related  that some rural  drivers only  wish to drive  in the                                                               
village,  herself  included.   She  reminded  the committee  that                                                               
Kake's unemployment rates at times  have exceeded 80 percent, and                                                               
it would  be less of a  financial burden if the  written test was                                                               
solely required  rather than  paying the  $700 expense,  plus the                                                               
expense of  taking the  road test.   She  urged the  committee to                                                               
consider  HB 82,  and to  once  again include  Kake, Angoon,  and                                                               
Hoonah   as  locations   authorized   for  off-highway   driver's                                                               
licenses.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:46:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAUL  D. KENDALL  Anchorage,  Alaska,  said he  is  not a  public                                                               
employee or  a retired public employee,  is a member of  a union,                                                               
and represents no conflict of  interest.  He offered concern that                                                               
people do  not understand  there is "nowhere  to run,  you cannot                                                               
run anywhere,  they will come up  river, they will look  for you,                                                               
there are  laws that apply."   He said  that "we are  now" seeing                                                               
signs that say, "It's your  responsibility to know the rules" and                                                               
there is  an unbelievable  assault on "us  little people."   This                                                               
legislation appeared  to be another  means of  revenue generation                                                               
which doubly concerned him because  there are the clashes between                                                               
cultures and society.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL advised  that  this is  a  bill about  off-highway                                                               
driver's licenses.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KENDALL said  he  was aware,  but the  bill  appeared to  be                                                               
another  means of  revenue streaming  which disconnects  the body                                                               
where "we're  trying to make  it work out  here and you  folks --                                                               
you public servants seem to be --  seem to be a different type of                                                               
class and some type of a confrontation or something ...                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL  explained  that  this   bill  is  not  a  revenue                                                               
generator and it  will not charge anyone any  money for anything,                                                               
and that  Mr. Kendall appeared to  be off topic about  the actual                                                               
bill regarding off-highway driver's licenses.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. KENDALL  said that  the folks in  Anchorage are  watching the                                                               
legislature  and complaining  about  the length  of the  session,                                                               
[difficult to decipher]  and offered concern about  people in the                                                               
village having to buy a ticket for a license and fining them.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:50:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL closed public testimony on HB 82.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:50:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  asked  Marla Thompson,  Division  of  Motor                                                               
Vehicles, how this bill would  apply to the Bristol Bay community                                                               
of  King  Salmon and  Naknek  and  the 15-mile  Alaska  Peninsula                                                               
Highway connecting  the two communities.   This bill  deletes the                                                               
499-traffic count  threshold, he  related, and that  community is                                                               
not connected  to the state  highway system  other than it  has a                                                               
state highway by itself with  a total population of approximately                                                               
1,500 during the winter, and  over 25,000 during the summer, with                                                               
a traffic count probably in excess  of 10,000 per day from June 1                                                               
to  July 31.   He  said there  are significant  safety situations                                                               
going  on in  those  two months  and asked  how  this bill  would                                                               
affect that community.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:51:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARLA THOMPSON, Director, Division  of Motor Vehicles, Department                                                               
of Administration,  answered that  the DMV's goal  is to  make it                                                               
simple for  folks and  the DMV  to implement  this process.   The                                                               
goal  is to  also  have many  business  partners, and  commission                                                               
agents such as city offices  and such, that provide DMV services.                                                               
Currently,  she said  that  DMV services  are  available at  King                                                               
Salmon  through a  contract  agent operated  by  the Bristol  Bay                                                               
Borough.   In the event  the Bristol  Bay Borough decided  not to                                                               
provide those services any longer, the  DMV would go out and find                                                               
another entity to  help out and offer those services.   This bill                                                               
makes clear there is an option  for Alaskans to obtain a driver's                                                               
license, which  is more of  a permit if  you drive within  a non-                                                               
off-highway area,  but there are  only 1,800  licenses currently,                                                               
which is less  than .3 percent of drivers.   She related that the                                                               
DMV  wants to  make it  simple for  people and  make it  a simple                                                               
process for  the DMV  and not  waste a lot  of tax  payer dollars                                                               
creating processes.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:53:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP commented  that it is good  for the committee                                                               
to consider that not all  rural communities are similar, and some                                                               
have traffic volumes and counts  that would approach decent sized                                                               
towns seasonally, which  is a policy call  in those environments.                                                               
He described  the spirit and intent  of the bill as  being "right                                                               
on,"  and that  he  was trying  to think  of  examples where  the                                                               
committee could craft better legislation.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:54:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP,  in response to Co-Chair  Wool, advised that                                                               
he is from Bristol Bay.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  surmised that Representative Kopp  was saying that                                                               
the community was  rural with not much traffic  except during the                                                               
summer when thousands of cars show up on the ferry.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  said  to   include  fishermen  and  cannery                                                               
workers, but  those cars  are actually  there year-round  and are                                                               
activated for those few months.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL surmised that the  traffic counts goes well up, and                                                               
they  are not  incoming cars  that  would be  driven by  licensed                                                               
registered insured drivers but are  dormant cars until the summer                                                               
busy  season.   He  further surmised  that Representative  Kopp's                                                               
question,  in  general,  was  that  if all  of  these  cars  were                                                               
activated in the  summer, the traffic count would  be fairly high                                                               
in a fairly large community.   Except, he said, the committee was                                                               
told that  the community did have  a DMV office, so  it would not                                                               
be exempt and was required to have licenses.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:55:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL asked Ms. Thompson  whether Bristol Bay, with a DMV                                                               
office, would be  non-exempt and the residents  would be required                                                               
to obtain a regular driver's license.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. THOMPSON responded yes, she  said the residents would have to                                                               
obtain  a regular  driver's  license because  any  area with  DMV                                                               
services would not be eligible for off-highway driver's license.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL   asked  whether  when  Ms.   Thompson  said  "DMV                                                               
services"  she was  also including  the road  test which  is cost                                                               
prohibitive for some of the people in rural communities.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. THOMPSON  agreed, and she  said in some of  these communities                                                               
that road tests would be difficult to perform anyway.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:56:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   NEUMAN  offered   a   scenario  in   off-highway                                                               
communities  where someone  was prone  to getting  into accidents                                                               
and  damaging  property, yet  they  were  not required  to  carry                                                               
insurance.  He asked the consequences for that person.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  advised he would speak  briefly to                                                               
the previous  committee discussion  and said  that Representative                                                               
Kopp  brought  into  focus  an  important  awareness  issue,  for                                                               
example, similar to King Salmon,  Metlakatla is currently an off-                                                               
highway eligible community.  Each  year, during the first week of                                                               
August,  its Founders  Day, the  population  probably triples  or                                                               
quadruples with  many cars arriving  on the ferry that  becomes a                                                               
"hopping little  place," and a  traffic strip count would  be off                                                               
the charts.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  related that there  are definitely                                                               
fluxuating  levels  of  traffic  in different  communities.    In                                                               
speaking to  the broader policy  consideration, he said,  the old                                                               
regulatory  criteria are  the same  criteria this  bill seeks  to                                                               
restore.   He described  that at  the time  a community  is large                                                               
enough  to  be  kicked  off  the  off-highway  eligible  list  is                                                               
basically the  time the DMV  decides the community is  big enough                                                               
to either  establish an  office in that  community or  offer road                                                               
tests on a regular basis.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:58:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS,  in  response  to  Representative                                                               
Neuman's question as to the  consequences for the person prone to                                                               
accidents  and  damaging  property  without  the  requirement  of                                                               
insurance, said that he has spent  a lot of time in Angoon, Kake,                                                               
and Hoonah,  "bouncing around town" and  he could not think  of a                                                               
similar instance  identified in  the question, although  he could                                                               
picture that  person in his  mind.  This  may be a  good question                                                               
for the Department  of Public Safety (DPS) in  its Village Public                                                               
Safety  Officer (VPSO)  program,  he suggested,  and assumed  the                                                               
off-highway driver's license could be  revoked, and if the person                                                               
continued to  drive without a  license, they would be  subject to                                                               
the same sanctions as anyone driving without a driver's license.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:59:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN offered concern  as to whether there should                                                               
be an allowance  for local VPSOs to have the  authority to remove                                                               
these types of licenses for a  person prone to accidents and just                                                               
does not care.  He said  that these people could be using alcohol                                                               
and/or drugs and getting into  accident and there was no language                                                               
in  the bill  allowing  a  local community  to  have  any say  in                                                               
whether "they want to do this," or  how to deal with that type of                                                               
situation.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  commented that Representative Neuman  was touching                                                               
on basic law  enforcement and the issue was not  only whether the                                                               
person was  getting into  accidents, but what  if the  person was                                                               
driving drunk in a small community without a trooper in a car.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:01:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  advised  there is  a  sanctionable  offense                                                               
provision addressing  a person having  any moving violation  or a                                                               
history  of bad  behavior within  five years,  wherein they  will                                                               
either forfeit the license or they  are not eligible in the first                                                               
place for an off-highway driver's license.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  asked who would  assign the moving violation  in a                                                               
community without a police presence.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:02:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  THOMPSON responded  that she  will perform  research, but  a                                                               
person  can  receive  a  ticket   driving  in  a  non-off-highway                                                               
community  when not  driving with  an  over 21-year-old  licensed                                                               
driver.  Her office will get back to the committee, she said.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL quiered  as to  whether  the off-highway  driver's                                                               
license is essentially  a learner's permit wherein  the person in                                                               
a licensed community must drive with  a driver over 21 years, but                                                               
if   in   an  off-highway   community   the   person  can   drive                                                               
unaccompanied.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS.  THOMPSON answered  that an  off-highway driver's  license is                                                               
definitely  a learner's  permit.   She  offered  the scenario  of                                                               
someone going  from Metlakatla to  Juneau and renting a  car, the                                                               
person would  be required to  have a regular driver's  license to                                                               
rent that car.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL  pointed  out  that the  language  does  not  read                                                               
learner's  permit and  asked  whether a  learner's  permit has  a                                                               
shorter shelf life.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. THOMPSON  agreed, and she  said they have actually  looked at                                                               
the  design to  make certain  it says  something similar  to "for                                                               
off-highway use only."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:04:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN related that  he believes in local controls                                                               
and asked  whether the local  council could have  some authority.                                                               
Previously, he  said, he represented  a community wherein  if the                                                               
community  did  not  have  a  law  enforcement  agency,  a  local                                                               
official could stand in that position.   He commented that he was                                                               
unsure whether  that was something  Representative Kreiss-Tomkins                                                               
would want to pursue, but this aspect should be addressed.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS answered that  in concept he agrees                                                               
with  Representative  Neuman,  although local  control  has  many                                                               
different sides,  but in  this particular  instance it  does make                                                               
sense  that it  becomes  a community-by-community  decision.   He                                                               
said he pauses because the  off-highway driver's license has been                                                               
around for a  couple of decades and he said,  "between the two of                                                               
us, we probably know about as  much of OHDL policy and regulation                                                               
as maybe anyone  with a pulse."  To his  knowledge, he said, they                                                               
have not  come across any community  that has had a  problem with                                                               
the program or  advised it wants the option to  keep OHDLs out of                                                               
their community.   Theoretically,  he commented, it  makes sense,                                                               
but his initial reaction is that he hasn't seen it in reality.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:05:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILBER related that she  specifically asked the Department of                                                               
Public Safety  (DPS) if  it had  received complaints  or concerns                                                               
from  off-highway  communities  about   the  use  of  off-highway                                                               
driver's licenses, and its response  was that it had not received                                                               
safety concerns.  Although, people  may contact DPS and expressed                                                               
their concerns as to why they  were not eligible for the program,                                                               
she said.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL  referred  to another  concept  described  by  Ms.                                                               
Thompson that was the sort of  itinerant DMV person that shows up                                                               
in a community  once or twice a year to  perform testing and then                                                               
leaves  town.   He  asked whether  that would  make  the town  or                                                               
village ineligible for the off-highway driver's license program.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. THOMPSON replied that there  had been a discussion, which may                                                               
be  included in  the committee  substitute, whether  the DMV  was                                                               
going to  provide driver's services,  meaning road tests,  once a                                                               
year which would help in areas  where it was difficult finding an                                                               
employee.  The  intent is to "get  out there as fast  as we can,"                                                               
but it  would allow  the DMV to  come in and  offer a  road test.                                                               
Except, she  reiterated, some communities  are so small  they are                                                               
not even road test qualified because  there is not enough road or                                                               
curve or whatever might be necessary.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:08:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SULLIVAN-LEONARD noted  that it  is important  to                                                               
hear from local  communities and asked whether  the sponsor would                                                               
consider  tapping into  the Alaska  Municipal  League with  Kathy                                                               
Wasserman and  asking her to  "send an e-blast out"  to determine                                                               
whether there were concerns.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:09:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS   answered  that   her  suggestion                                                               
sounded like  reasonable due diligence  and he would be  happy to                                                               
reach out to Ms. Wasserman.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  underscored  a  comment  by  Representative                                                               
Kreiss-Tomkins  and  said that  the  current  law allowing  rural                                                               
communities to  have unregistered  and uninsured vehicles  on the                                                               
highway has  been in place for  many decades.  He  clarified that                                                               
it has always  been a balance of risk versus  liberty in allowing                                                               
people to drive and  that there is a risk in  any freedom, but it                                                               
has  been on  the  books for  a  number of  years  and this  bill                                                               
narrowly  expands eligible  communities by  removing the  minimum                                                               
daily traffic count.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
[HB 82 was held over.]                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB82 Supporting Document-Letters 3.21.2017.pdf HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB82 Supporting Documents - Power Point Overview 3.21.2017.pdf HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB82 Supporting Document-Testimonials 3.21.2017.pdf HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB82 ver A 1.25.17.PDF HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB82 ver D 2.27.17.pdf HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB82 Fiscal Note DOA-DMV 3.21.2017.pdf HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB82 Sectional Analysis 3.21.2017.pdf HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB82 Sponsor Statement 3.21.2017.pdf HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB82 Additional Documents-Legal Memo 3.21.2017.pdf HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB82 Summary of Changes ver A to ver J 3.21.2017.pdf HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
CSHB82 ver J (STA) 3.21.17.PDF HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB82 Supporting Document - Article KBBI 3.28.2017.pdf HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB82 Fiscal Note DOA-DMV 3.28.2017.pdf HTRA 3/28/2017 1:00:00 PM
HB 82