Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

05/09/2019 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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Audio Topic
01:09:30 PM Start
01:09:50 PM SB75
01:53:42 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 75 COMMERCIAL VEHICLE LICENSING REQ'S TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 75 Out of Committee
--Testimony <Public & Invited> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
           SB  75-COMMERCIAL VEHICLE LICENSING REQ'S                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:09:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL announced that the only order of business is                                                                      
SENATE BILL NO. 75, "An Act relating to a license to drive a                                                                    
commercial motor vehicle."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:10:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOE   PLESHA,   Staff,   Senator  Mia   Costello,   Alaska   State                                                              
Legislature,  introduced   SB  75  on  behalf   of  Representative                                                              
Costello,  sponsor.     He  explained   that  after   speaking  to                                                              
stakeholders  in the  trucking  industry,  the sponsor  identified                                                              
two problems  the industry  is currently  facing:   1) the  demand                                                              
for drivers  in Alaska exceeds the  available workforce, and  2) a                                                              
federal statute  on interstate  freight mandates  drivers  must be                                                              
age  21  or  older  to carry  any  freight  that  originated  from                                                              
outside of  Alaska or  that is bound  for outside  of Alaska.   He                                                              
said SB 75 intends to help address these issues.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PLESHA explained  that SB  75  would change  the minimum  age                                                              
requirement  to obtain a  commercial driver's  license (CDL)  from                                                              
19 years  old to 18  years old, which  would increase the  pool of                                                              
available  drivers.  Because  of the  19-year-old age  restriction                                                              
for  a commercial  driver's license  the  industry cannot  recruit                                                              
young men and  women coming out  of high school.  By  lowering the                                                              
age  restriction for  a  commercial driver's  license  by a  year,                                                              
young  adults  who don't  want  to  or  who  can't seek  a  higher                                                              
education or  go to  trade school, could  move directly  into this                                                              
line of work.   Less than half of Alaska's students  go to college                                                              
currently.   By lowering  the age  restriction from  19 to  18, an                                                              
immediate career  option that  pays well can  be offered  to young                                                              
people.   This change  will increase  job opportunities  for youth                                                              
in Alaska and help Alaska's trucking industry meet its needs.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PLESHA further  explained  that  SB 75  would  also create  a                                                              
subsection  that would authorize  someone  who is currently  under                                                              
21, but 18 or  older, to drive interstate freight  or freight that                                                              
has originated from  outside of Alaska or is bound  for outside of                                                              
the state.   Federal  law currently  restricts drivers  across the                                                              
country from carrying  interstate freight if younger  than 21.  In                                                              
Alaska this law  is particularly cumbersome.  He  posed a scenario                                                              
in which a  trailer of cargo is  shipped from Seattle  to the Port                                                              
of  Alaska  and is  then  moved  through  the Alaska  Railroad  to                                                              
Fairbanks.  Once  that trailer is unloaded, federal  law says that                                                              
a 19-year-old  driver  cannot deliver  that cargo  two miles  away                                                              
because the cargo originated from outside of Alaska.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  PLESHA  argued  that this  overly  cumbersome  and  illogical                                                              
federal  law  restricts  job  opportunities   for  Alaska's  young                                                              
people  and  burdens the  state's  trucking  industry.   This  new                                                              
subsection would allow  for Alaskans who are 18 and  older and who                                                              
otherwise  fit the requirement  necessary  to obtain a  commercial                                                              
driver's  license,  to  operate  trucks  with  interstate  freight                                                              
dependent  on a change  in the  federal statute.   Including  this                                                              
subsection  in SB 75  does two  things.   First, if enough  states                                                              
make this  statute there will be  pressure on the federal  side to                                                              
make  the  change on  federal  books  as  well.   Second,  if  the                                                              
federal statute  does change,  Alaska will  be instantly  ready to                                                              
accommodate the  new federal law.   The sponsor  views SB 75  as a                                                              
potential  jobs  bill  that  is being  proactive  if  the  federal                                                              
statute for interstate freight does change.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:13:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  offered   her  understanding  that  when                                                              
freight comes  to the Port  of Anchorage from  a port on  the West                                                              
Coast  and  is then  transferred  to  vehicles within  Alaska  for                                                              
moving  around the  state, a  driver under  the age  of 21  cannot                                                              
drive that truck.   She speculated that would  apply to everything                                                              
because  almost everything  that comes  into the  state of  Alaska                                                              
comes  from some  place else.   She asked  whether  an 18- or  19-                                                              
year-old could  drive freight that  has been offloaded  within the                                                              
state and reloaded  onto a different trailer if the  freight is no                                                              
longer in its original container from the outside port.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. PLESHA stated  he is unsure specifically when  the cargo is no                                                              
longer considered  interstate freight.   He  deferred to  Mr. Aves                                                              
Thompson  to provide  an  answer.   He  said  that, currently,  as                                                              
described to him,  if the freight comes straight from  the Port of                                                              
Alaska, it  is still interstate  freight, and  if it is  bound for                                                              
outside of Alaska,  even if it just being driven  to Anchorage, it                                                              
is interstate  freight.  He  confirmed Representative  Drummond is                                                              
correct that most  of the freight in Alaska is  interstate freight                                                              
because it comes from outside of Alaska.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND offered  her  further understanding  that                                                              
if  the  freight  is originating  within  Alaska  but  is  heading                                                              
Outside, it  cannot be  driven within the  state by  a 19-year-old                                                              
driver even before it has left the state.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. PLESHA confirmed that is correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  stated she is trying to  determine when a                                                              
19-year-old can  drive freight within  the state and  whether that                                                              
would  be at  the point  where the  freight  is no  longer in  the                                                              
original  container from  Outside.   As  a  graphic designer,  she                                                              
said she buys printing  paper which comes in a  container from the                                                              
Seattle  area or  other  points.   This  paper  gets unloaded  and                                                              
delivered  to warehouses  in Anchorage,  and  from the  warehouses                                                              
the paper  is delivered  throughout the state.   She  assumed that                                                              
currently a  19-year-old driver could  drive the freight  from the                                                              
warehouse even though that paper originated from Outside.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. PLESHA  deferred  to Mr. Thompson  to provide  an answer,  but                                                              
said he believes it would be intrastate freight at that point.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:16:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN asked  whether  there is  any data  that                                                              
shows a  difference in the  number of car  accidents that  18- and                                                              
19-year-olds have.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. PLESHA  replied that  most of  the data  brackets 18-  and 19-                                                              
year-old drivers in  the same group.  A study by  the Highway Loss                                                              
Data  Institute  found  that  19-year-olds  get  in  accidents  at                                                              
higher  rates than  18-year-olds, but  he cannot  speak as  to why                                                              
that is.   He said  there isn't a  significant increase  in danger                                                              
in having 18-year-olds and 19-year-olds.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   RASMUSSEN   offered    her   understanding   that                                                              
obtaining a commercial  driver's license is expensive.   She asked                                                              
whether  a person  not  in a  trade program  or  a college  course                                                              
would have an opportunity to obtain a loan for getting a CDL.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. PLESHA  responded he is  not familiar  with any programs.   He                                                              
deferred to Mr. Thompson to provide an answer.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:18:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY asked  how  many other  states have  changed                                                              
the law  to let  18-year-olds drive.   She  further asked  whether                                                              
trucking  companies  would be  able  to  use these  drivers  given                                                              
insurance companies  may not provide  insurance until a  driver is                                                              
of a certain age or would charge a higher premium.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. PLESHA  answered that Hawaii,  Nevada, and New  Mexico require                                                              
a  person to  be  21 years  old  to obtain  a  CDL for  intrastate                                                              
freight.   Maine and South  Dakota require a  person to be  16 and                                                              
the  age for  Mississippi  is  17.   All  other states  require  a                                                              
person  to  be  18  years old  to  obtain  a  commercial  driver's                                                              
license  for intrastate  freight.   Regarding  insurance, he  said                                                              
insurance companies  do factor in  age when determining risk.   He                                                              
assumed  each company  would make  its own decision  based  on the                                                              
responsibility of the  driver as the company would  want to ensure                                                              
that  these  rigs  are driven  by  responsible  individuals.    He                                                              
surmised  there would  be  an increase  in  risk  the younger  the                                                              
driver under 21.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RASMUSSEN  commented that many  insurance companies                                                              
offer "good grace"  discounts.  Although she doesn't  know if that                                                              
is  something  that  would  apply  for  commercial  purposes,  she                                                              
suggested that  perhaps an  18-year-old fresh  out of  high school                                                              
with a  3.0 grade  point average  could qualify  for a  good grade                                                              
discount to show a responsibility.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:20:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL inquired  about the accident difference  between 18,                                                              
19, and  21-plus.   He surmised  that as  drivers get older  there                                                              
are less accidents  and perhaps that is why the  interstate law is                                                              
21-plus, especially when dealing with big commercial trucks.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. PLESHA replied  he doesn't have that data.   He clarified that                                                              
the  data  he  previously  cited   wasn't  referencing  commercial                                                              
driving,  it was  only  referencing  18- and  19-year-old  drivers                                                              
across  the  country.    He  said he  doesn't  have  any  data  on                                                              
commercial drivers and accident rates.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL noted  that most states are 18 years  old.  He asked                                                              
about the  history of  Alaska's law  for age  19 and how  Alaska's                                                              
law came up with  age 19.  He pointed out that kids  still in high                                                              
school could be 18.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. PLESHA responded he doesn't know that history.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO  pointed out  that to become  approved for                                                              
a CDL  requires much more rigorous  testing compared to  a regular                                                              
driver's test, which  may help when it comes to  insurance.  Also,                                                              
there are several  different endorsements, such as  Class A, Class                                                              
B, and pulling double  trailers.  He further pointed  out that not                                                              
everybody passes  their CDL  test on the  first try.   He surmised                                                              
that having  a CDL  endorsement and  going through something  that                                                              
is much more rigorous, makes a difference.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:23:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL opened invited testimony.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:23:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AVES  THOMPSON, Executive  Director,  Alaska Trucking  Association                                                              
(ATA),  testified  in  support  of  SB  75.   He  said  ATA  is  a                                                              
statewide organization  representing the  interests of  its nearly                                                              
200 member companies from Barrow to Ketchikan.  He continued:                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Freight  movement   is  an  essential  element   of  our                                                                   
     economy and impacts  all of us each and every  day.  I'm                                                                   
     here  today to testify  in support  of SB  75.  The  ATA                                                                   
     believes  that  lowering  the  eligibility  age  for  an                                                                   
     intrastate CDL  will provide a  path for a young  man or                                                                   
     woman to start  on their way to a truck  driving career.                                                                   
     Both intrastate  and interstate  drivers are subject  to                                                                   
     the  same  driver  qualifications,   the  same  medical,                                                                   
     safety,  and  equipment  rules.   The  State  of  Alaska                                                                   
     adopts  the federal  rules  by reference  in the  Alaska                                                                   
     Administrative  Code.    I  might  also  call  ...  your                                                                   
     attention  to  the  fact  that  an  18-year-old  can  be                                                                   
     issued a  commercial pilot's  license.  Lowering  of the                                                                   
     intrastate  driver  age  requirement   to  18  allows  a                                                                   
     student to  go from school  right into training to  be a                                                                   
     professional truck  driver.  The CDL will  not instantly                                                                   
     create a  professional truck  driver but it  will create                                                                   
     an opportunity.   We think  this is a great  opportunity                                                                   
     for  our  young people  as  well  as building  a  larger                                                                   
     driver  pool to help  satisfy the  increased demand  for                                                                   
     commercial  vehicle  drivers.     Again,  to  reiterate,                                                                   
     there is  a commercial driver  shortage which  will only                                                                   
     get worse if  we begin a major project.   The passage of                                                                   
     SB   75  will  help   solve  the   problem  in   Alaska.                                                                   
     Subsequently,  when Congress passes  a law lowering  the                                                                   
     interstate  driving  age, Alaska  will  be ready.    The                                                                   
     Alaska  Trucking Association  urges  you to  move SB  75                                                                   
     with favorable recommendations.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:25:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON addressed  Representative  Drummond's paper  example                                                              
and  question about  when freight  becomes  intra- or  interstate.                                                              
He explained  that if Representative  Drummond was to  order paper                                                              
for her business  from her supplier and the supplier  must special                                                              
order it from Outside  for delivery to her shop,  that paper would                                                              
still be  interstate freight  when it  gets to her  shop.   If, on                                                              
the  other hand,  she  called her  paper  supplier  and placed  an                                                              
order, and  the supplier  had that  paper in  stock, then  that is                                                              
intrastate freight  because it has come into inventory  and is not                                                              
destined  for any  place  other  than that  store;  so moving  the                                                              
paper  from  that  store to  Representative  Drummond's  place  is                                                              
intrastate freight.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND replied that  that is approximately  what                                                              
she had assumed  - once it is delivered to the  paper warehouse in                                                              
Anchorage  and  then  distributed  from  that point,  then  it  is                                                              
intrastate freight.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  posed a  scenario in  which Representative  Drummond                                                              
goes  to a furniture  store  and sees  a red chair  but wants  the                                                              
chair  in  green.    He explained  that  if  the  furniture  store                                                              
special ordered  a green chair under  her name to be  delivered to                                                              
her home, it would  be interstate freight.  Had  she instead taken                                                              
the red  chair and the  store delivered it  to her home,  it would                                                              
be intrastate freight.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:27:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  posed a scenario  in which  he orders a  chair that                                                              
is in stock  at the Fairbanks  furniture store.  He  surmised that                                                              
the store's  delivery  truck could  bring the  chair to his  house                                                              
and a 19-year-old could deliver it.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON replied correct.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL then  posed a scenario in which he  special orders a                                                              
chair, the  chair comes  from a Seattle  warehouse, and  the chair                                                              
goes to  the same  Fairbanks furniture  store.   He surmised  that                                                              
under current law  the same 19-year-old driving  the same delivery                                                              
truck would be unable to deliver the chair.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  responded correct,  because  the chair has  Co-Chair                                                              
Wool's name and delivery address on it.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND remarked  that that  absolutely makes  no                                                              
sense.  She opined  that almost every stick of  furniture or sheet                                                              
of  paper sold  in Alaska  is manufactured  Outside  and comes  to                                                              
Alaska.   She  offered  her opinion  that  a special-order  chair,                                                              
once delivered to  the furniture warehouse in Fairbanks,  and then                                                              
delivered  to  Co-Chair  Wool's  place,  would  become  intrastate                                                              
freight.  She presumed,  however, that if she ordered  a pallet of                                                              
goods  from Ikea  in  Tacoma and  Lyndon  Transport brought  those                                                              
goods  from  the  Anchorage  port  directly  to  her  house,  that                                                              
freight would  not have left Lyndon's  purview and so  would still                                                              
be  interstate freight  when drop-shipped  to her  driveway.   She                                                              
said she thinks  that once an item changes hands  inside the state                                                              
of Alaska and changes  locations and is moved from  one vehicle to                                                              
another, or  from an  interstate vehicle to  a warehouse  or store                                                              
in  Alaska, then  from that  point it  becomes intrastate  freight                                                              
because it  can be delivered  anywhere else  in Alaska as  long as                                                              
it hasn't changed out of its original vehicle.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON answered  that Representative Drummond  would have to                                                              
take that scenario  up with the U.S. Department  of Transportation                                                              
since it is the agency that makes the rules.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:29:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN said the  State of  Alaska has  adopted the                                                              
federal   regulations  about   commercial   trucking  into   state                                                              
regulation.  He  asked whether this means that  today, even though                                                              
Alaska's  law  says  19,  everyone who  is  driving  a  commercial                                                              
vehicle needs to be 21 because the federal regulation says 21.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.   THOMPSON  replied   no,  it   means  that   anyone  who   is                                                              
transporting interstate freight must be 21.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN  requested an example of  intrastate freight                                                              
with a tractor and  trailer that is being moved  within Alaska and                                                              
that doesn't involve things that started in Seattle.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON responded  that examples of intrastate  would be sand                                                              
and gravel  to a construction project,  fuel from a  fuel terminal                                                              
to  a  delivery  location,  coal  from  the  Healy  plant  to  the                                                              
University  of Alaska Fairbanks  - bulk  products and  things that                                                              
are made in Alaska and delivered in Alaska.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON added  that once something is brought  into a general                                                              
inventory  it loses  its identity  in federal  parlance.   Once it                                                              
loses its identity it then becomes intrastate freight.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL,  in response, offered  his understanding  that that                                                              
is why  the chair, if  it's in a  box with his  name on it  and it                                                              
goes  through the  furniture store  and  is delivered  by a  local                                                              
smaller truck,  remains interstate  - it wasn't incorporated  into                                                              
the general inventory.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON answered correct.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:32:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  noted  that under  federal  Department  of                                                              
Transportation  regulations there  is a  lot of  drug and  alcohol                                                              
testing,  particularly testing  to marijuana.   He  asked if  that                                                              
would apply  with the state driving  regardless of whether  it was                                                              
intrastate or interstate.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON responded  that the  same drug,  alcohol, and  other                                                              
testing requirements apply to intrastate and interstate drivers.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN said  he  knows the  aforementioned is  not                                                              
part of SB  75, but that he was  curious to know.   He offered his                                                              
understanding  that  if SB  75  becomes  law  it would  mean  that                                                              
drivers could get  out of high school and start  learning to drive                                                              
coal trucks  or gas  delivery trucks  at age  18; today,  however,                                                              
they cannot start driving until age 19.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON replied correct.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:33:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL inquired  as to the likelihood of  Congress changing                                                              
the  law to a  lower age.   He  said it  seems most  of the  other                                                              
states have  lowered their age and  he doesn't think  Alaska doing                                                              
the same  will add any  impetus to changing  the federal law.   He                                                              
inquired as to how the [proposed] federal law is going.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON concurred  that  Alaska  probably won't  break  that                                                              
logjam.   Currently before  Congress, he  said, is the  Developing                                                              
Responsible  Individuals for  a Vibrant Economy  Act (DRIVE  Act),                                                              
which would  provide for pilot  programs for younger  drivers, 18-                                                              
year-olds.   The Act would  set minimum training  requirements and                                                              
set  equipment  requirements.     For  example,  an  automatic  or                                                              
automated  assist transmission  in the trucks,  and several  other                                                              
things that  ensure that  the training is  proper and  adequate to                                                              
meet  the  needs.    He  stated  that  a  prudent  common  carrier                                                              
business person is  not going to send some kid out  on the highway                                                              
with a  half-million-dollar tanker,  or a $65,000  straight truck,                                                              
without knowing  in their mind that  the driver is safe,  is going                                                              
to get  the freight  where it belongs,  and is  going to  get home                                                              
safely.  Even though  it may not be this year or  next, he said he                                                              
thinks the Act is coming.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL stated  he  can see  the  federal  law requiring  a                                                              
driver to  be 21 to drive  across the [contiguous]  United States,                                                              
but that  an 18-year-old  could drive  within a  state.   He asked                                                              
whether  that  is  something  that  would  allow  Alaska  to  have                                                              
drivers under the age of 21 who drive only within Alaska.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  answered that during  its consideration,  the [2015]                                                              
Fixing America's  Surface Transportation  Act (FAST  Act) included                                                              
a provision that would have provided for a pilot program for 18-                                                                
year-old  drivers.   The  ATA  approached  Alaska's  Congressional                                                              
Delegation asking if  an exemption could be carved  out for Alaska                                                              
and Hawaii because  of the high rate of interstate  freight.  Most                                                              
everything  in Alaska has  come from  someplace else,  which means                                                              
it  is  all  interstate  freight   when  it  is  delivered.    The                                                              
intrastate field is  limited to the bulk commodities  such as coal                                                              
and sand.   The  Alaska Congressional  Delegation  took a  shot at                                                              
it,  but   it  didn't   go  anywhere.     The  American   Trucking                                                              
Association is  now looking  at this and  is supporting  the DRIVE                                                              
Act,  which  will  provide  for 18-year-old  drivers  on  a  pilot                                                              
program with the training requirements he previously mentioned.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:37:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN inquired  whether  there is  a limit  on                                                              
the number  of times  a person can  take the CDL  test in  a given                                                              
timeframe if he or she fails the first time.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  replied he thinks  there is  a timeframe of  five or                                                              
ten days, but he isn't sure and shouldn't be quoted.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN   asked  whether  there   is  a  current                                                              
requirement to have  a diploma or General  Educational Development                                                              
(GED) credential as part of a person's CDL.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON responded that there is not.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:37:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL asked why the law is for age 19 as opposed to 18.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  answered he  doesn't know.   He  said ATA  has asked                                                              
the question of  the Division of Motor Vehicles  and there doesn't                                                              
seem to be any history on why it is 19 instead of 18.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  inquired whether people  in the military  who drive                                                              
big machines and  trucks must be 19 and have a  CDL or whether the                                                              
military is a different program.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON replied  that a person driving a  military vehicle on                                                              
active  duty is  governed by  military federal  rules, which  bear                                                              
similarities but are not the same.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  asked whether  this would be  the same if  they are                                                              
driving big trucks on state roads.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON responded they would still be on military rules.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:39:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND surmised  this  creates a  lot of  issues                                                              
for local suppliers  in Alaska.   She posed a scenario  in which a                                                              
builder  orders  kitchen  cabinets from  Seattle  through  Spenard                                                              
Builders Supply, the  builder's name is on the  cabinets when they                                                              
arrive in  Alaska, they  are offloaded  into the Spenard  Builders                                                              
facility   in  Anchorage,   then   they  are   reshipped  to   the                                                              
construction site.   She asked whether these  kitchen cabinets are                                                              
still considered  interstate freight and must therefore  be driven                                                              
from the  Spenard Builders facility  to the construction by  a 21-                                                              
year-old driver.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON answered yes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  posed  a  scenario  in  which  the  same                                                              
builder  buys  kitchen  cabinets   that  are  already  in  Spenard                                                              
Builders'  inventory and  from  the same  Outside  supplier.   She                                                              
surmised these cabinets  can be delivered by a  19-year-old driver                                                              
within  Alaska  because  the  cabinets   became  part  of  Spenard                                                              
Builders' general inventory before they were sold.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON replied yes.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  remarked that  that  sounds  like a  big                                                              
headache for  Spenard Builders  Supply.  She  said she  would like                                                              
to hear  from someone in  the business  as to whether  this really                                                              
is  a problem  right now  and whether  the  legislature should  be                                                              
working on this in addition to this general license change.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  responded that these  interstate rules have  been in                                                              
place since the  railroad days in the 1800s and  were incorporated                                                              
into  the  1935  Interstate  Commerce   Act  that  set  rules  for                                                              
trucking.   Over the  years the trucking  industry has  learned to                                                              
live with  the rules  and knows  that some  loads are  interstate,                                                              
some  loads  are  intrastate,  and the  interstate  load  must  be                                                              
driven  by an  interstate CDL  driver.   In  the Spenard  Builders                                                              
Supply scenario  there could be two  trucks side by side  - one is                                                              
being  delivered out  of the  inventory  and one  is the  special-                                                              
order delivery,  so an interstate CDL  is required for  one and an                                                              
intrastate  CDL for the  other.   It doesn't  make much  sense but                                                              
that's the way it is.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:41:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  asked whether this  law is enforced and  whether an                                                              
18-  or 19-year-old  has ever  been fined  or cited  for having  a                                                              
couch in his or her truck that originated in Seattle.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON answered  that if it's an intrastate  carrier that is                                                              
handling interstate  loads, the likelihood  is low.  But  if it is                                                              
an  interstate carrier  that  is regulated  by  the Federal  Motor                                                              
Carrier  Safety Administration,  that  kind of  activity might  be                                                              
caught in  an audit.   He added that there  is rarely any  kind of                                                              
roadside enforcement of that rule.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  surmised that if  Spenard Builders had a  couple of                                                              
trucks going  out on any particular  day, one wouldn't  be labeled                                                              
interstate  and the  other  intrastate and  that  one driver  must                                                              
drive a particular truck.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  replied he thinks  that Spenard Builders  does [keep                                                              
them separate], but occasionally a mistake might be made.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:43:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY observed  from the  bill's zero fiscal  note                                                              
that only  33 of the  [31,267] CDL drivers  in Alaska  were issued                                                              
to applicants under the age of 21.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  surmised that  most drivers  at most companies  are                                                              
probably over  21 and  that perhaps some  companies have  a policy                                                              
of a minimum  age.  He  inquired whether trucking  companies often                                                              
have an age policy in place.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  responded that often  it is driven by  the insurance                                                              
company.   He  said some  insurance companies  like drivers  older                                                              
than  25,  some like  them  older  than  30,  and some  like  them                                                              
younger.   The premiums are probably  a little higher  the younger                                                              
the driver.  It  is a business decision made by  the motor carrier                                                              
as to whether  he or she is  willing to pay that because  a driver                                                              
is needed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:44:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DON ETHERIDGE, Lobbyist,  Alaska AFL-CIO, testified  in support of                                                              
SB 75.  He  stated that many of his organization's  apprenticeship                                                              
programs require  a CDL in  the first 2,000  hours.  If  a company                                                              
has someone  just out of high  school who joins  an apprenticeship                                                              
program and reaches  that 2,000 hours, he or she  is on hold until                                                              
getting that  CDL and is not allowed  to move forward  with any of                                                              
his or her  training.  That is  a main reason why the  Alaska AFL-                                                              
CIO  supports the  bill -  so apprentices  can  get through  their                                                              
apprenticeship training  with their  CDLs and continue  with their                                                              
training that way.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. ETHERIDGE  shared that in a  previous life he was  chairman of                                                              
the board  for Saga, a  training group  for at-risk youth  that is                                                              
very  helpful  at  keeping  kids  busy, out  of  trouble,  and  in                                                              
school.  Saga  works with the kids in housebuilding,  trails work,                                                              
and  such.   This  bill  would give  some  of  these kids  a  life                                                              
lesson.   Many  of  these kids  go  back to  school  to get  their                                                              
diplomas  after  working  for  a   year  and  many  are  put  into                                                              
apprenticeship programs and begin a career.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. ETHERIDGE  said another  good thing about  kids with a  CDL is                                                              
that if they  are working the CDL  they must be under  random drug                                                              
testing.   Knowing that they  could lose  their CDL keeps  many of                                                              
these kids paying  attention to what is going on.   A CDL isn't an                                                              
easy license  to get  - it takes  time, work, and  study to  get a                                                              
CDL.   He has  tutored many people  in getting  their CDLs  and he                                                              
has carried a CDL for about 25 years.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:48:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN stated  he believes  SB 75  is a good  bill                                                              
and an  illumination of the complex  world in which  trucking goes                                                              
on.   He posited that  all kinds of  materials are  crossing state                                                              
borders  in the  Lower 48;  for  example, all  kinds of  materials                                                              
would  be  crossing  the  border  between  Portland,  Oregon,  and                                                              
Washington.   So, the big change  would come with a change  in the                                                              
federal  law.  He  concurred that  an 18-year-old  getting  his or                                                              
her  CDL is  going to  be under  much more  rigorous training  and                                                              
that much  more careful  decisions will  be made  by the  owner of                                                              
that  equipment before  an  18-year-old is  allowed  to drive  the                                                              
equipment.  He related  that years ago he was  driving a passenger                                                              
vehicle  on one  of  the roads  where  Usibelli  Coal Mine  drives                                                              
enormous  trucks and  he cannot  imagine that  the mine would  put                                                              
anyone  who  is 18  years  old  into driving  those  massive  dump                                                              
trucks without being  100 percent confident that  that 18-year-old                                                              
knew exactly what  he or she was doing.  He posited  that there is                                                              
a difference  in risk  for car drivers  under the  age of  25, but                                                              
that for  those holding CDLs  the age difference  probably doesn't                                                              
show much  meaningful difference in  risk because the  training is                                                              
much more  extensive.   He said he  is therefore very  comfortable                                                              
with what SB 75 does and applauds the sponsor.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY stated  that  she, too,  has been  reassured                                                              
about the requirements  of having a CDL and that  it would be good                                                              
for employment for younger people and good for the business.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO echoed  Representative Claman's  remarks.                                                              
He  shared that  in  the past  [while  working  for Usibelli  Coal                                                              
Mine] he  provided training for quite  a few people under  the age                                                              
of  20.   He  explained  that trucks  are  easier  to move  around                                                              
because  most have  automatic  transmissions,  but  a little  more                                                              
difficult  because they  are anywhere  from 12-19  feet wide.   He                                                              
pointed  out  that  18-  and  19-year-olds   have  a  much  faster                                                              
response time  than he now does,  which is critical  when handling                                                              
equipment  like that.    It is  much  different  than a  passenger                                                              
vehicle.  When he  was 19 driving a car was fun,  but hauling coal                                                              
and dirt  was his job  so there was  a different mental  aspect to                                                              
it because there was a responsibility.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:51:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  opened public testimony.   After ascertaining  that                                                              
no one wished to testify he closed public testimony.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  stated he thinks  SB 75 is  a good bill.   It would                                                              
get  people into  the job  world sooner  while in  high school  or                                                              
just  out of  high school  instead  of waiting.   The  21-year-old                                                              
interstate  limitation   isn't  necessarily   [the  legislature's]                                                              
battle to fight.   He will let the insurance  companies handle who                                                              
gets into more accidents at what age.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:52:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:52:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN moved  to  report SB  75  out of  committee                                                              
with individual  recommendations and the accompanying  zero fiscal                                                              
note.   There  being no  objection, SB  75 was  reported from  the                                                              
House Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB075 Supporting Document-Support Letters 5.1.19.pdf HTRA 5/9/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 75
SB075 Fiscal Note DOT&PF-DMV 5.1.19.pdf HTRA 5/9/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 75
SB075 ver A 5.1.19.PDF HTRA 5/9/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 75
SB075 Sponsor Statement 5.1.19.pdf HTRA 5/9/2019 1:00:00 PM
SB 75