Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/15/1995 09:07 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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       SENATE BILL NO.  6                                                      
       "An Act relating to registration of a motor vehicle and                 
       suspension of a driver's license  for failure to appear                 
  in   court or failure to pay a fine."                                        
                                                                               
  Senator Halford announced Joe Ambrose from  Senator Taylor's                 
  office and asked  him to  join the committee.   Mr.  Ambrose                 
  stated that  Senator Taylor  is the sponsor  of SB 6.  It is                 
  designed  to provide  the  court  system and  municipalities                 
  throughout Alaska with additional leverage in the collection                 
  of fines relating  to moving  vehicle citations and  parking                 
  offenses.  He also  stated that it applies to  an individual                 
  who fails to appear  in court as ordered.   This legislation                 
  passed the Senate last year on a 17 - 3 vote as SB 166.   SB                 
  6  would  be a  valuable  tool  for  use  by the  courts  in                 
  addressing  the  problems  created by  those  who  choose to                 
  ignore the  law, especially  those who  fail  to make  court                 
  ordered appearances  or to pay  fines imposed by  the court.                 
  The  bill  is based  on  statutes  from other  states.   The                 
  experience in the  State of  Washington indicates that  over                 
  50% of those who receive notice of possible sanctions, clear                 
  up outstanding matters  within a week.   SB 6 ties  together                 
  the  failure  to  settle moving  violations  to  the drivers                 
  license,  and parking  violations  to vehicle  registration.                 
  This mirrors the California law.  A new fiscal note from the                 
  Department  of  Public  Safety, Division  of  Motor Vehicles                 
  indicates a change  for additional  leased office space  for                 
  $10.0.   The bill  continues to  be a  generator of  revenue                 
  based on the renewal fees for a suspended license.                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Co-chair Halford noted that the change from $104.8 to $114.6                 
  is reasonable.                                                               
                                                                               
  Senator Phillips noted  a situation that involved  a Chugiak                 
  resident who received a ticket and  was to appear before the                 
  court.  He  claims that he did not receive  notice to appear                 
  before court due to an incorrect address.                                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Ambrose responded that this is  an option for the court,                 
  it  is  not mandatory.   He  mentioned  that there  are over                 
  25,000 outstanding moving violations fines  in a given year.                 
  The  court  system  was  working   on  the  assumption  that                 
  approximately 10% of those would fall into  this system.                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Ambrose stated that Senator Taylor's office has received                 
  a response  from  the  parking  ferries.   There  have  been                 
  several POM's  generated.   The  opposition  is not  to  the                 
  overall thrust of  the bill, but  rather to Section 2  which                 
  applies  to unpaid  parking  fines and  would  lead to  non-                 
  renewal of the vehicle registration.  The area of concern is                 
  in  Anchorage, and  in  particular,  the  Anchorage  Parking                 
  Authority.    Section  2  was  included  last  year  at  the                 
  suggestion of several municipal attorneys.  The sponsor does                 
  not take great  ownership in  this section, and  if it  were                 
  deleted he would not be upset.                                               
                                                                               
  Senator  Rieger  supports the  amendment  and asked  what it                 
  would do to the fiscal  note.  He stated that the  Anchorage                 
  Parking Authority cites for improper placement or tagging of                 
  license plates. Senator  Donley stated that  he has a  draft                 
  amendment, and recommended holding the  bill. He stated that                 
  there is  a problem when  ticketed by the  Anchorage Parking                 
  Authority,  in  that  there  are   no  appellate  rights.  A                 
  prohibitive fee is  required to  challenge the ticket.  When                 
  ticketed by a peace officer or a state trooper, one has  the                 
  right to go to  court and defend themselves. He  stated that                 
  when people are ticketed, based  on state rules, they should                 
  be  provided  with  the  same  due  process that  the  state                 
  provides.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Senator Zharoff asked if Alaska  would have reciprocity with                 
  other states  regarding the  parking and moving  violations.                 
  Mr.  Ambrose  responded that  he  didn't know  about parking                 
  violations,  but  that  there  is  an  existing  arrangement                 
  whereby,  if the State runs a  records check and there is an                 
  outstanding warrant, out-of-state, it can be executed.                       
                                                                               
  Senator  Zharoff  then quoted  Section  3, "When  the person                 
  appears in court or pays the  required fine, the court shall                 
  terminate  the suspension imposed  under this subsection and                 
  provide the department and the person with written notice of                 
  the termination."  He noted that  this process is very slow.                 
  He stated that  what should take minutes, often  takes weeks                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  or months.   He asked  if this particular  problem could  be                 
  remedied?  Mr.  Ambrose stated  that he could  not fix  that                 
  problem in this bill.                                                        
                                                                               
  Mr. Ambrose reiterated that the intent of the legislation is                 
  to  give  the court  additional  leverage.   If  there  is a                 
  failure to appear in court, the court at this time can issue                 
  a warrant.  The fact remains that there are so many of these                 
  cases that it does not happen.                                               
                                                                               
  Senator  Donley issued  his  proposed amendment.    Co-chair                 
  Halford asked if there was conflict in his amendment insofar                 
  as removing Section 2  from SB 6.  Senator  Donley responded                 
  there  was  no conflict.  Senator  Phillips moved  to delete                 
  Section  2  from SB  6.  No  objection having  been  raised,                 
  Section  2  has  been deleted  from  the  bill  and will  be                 
  reflected in a CS.                                                           
                                                                               
  Discussion was had on Senator  Donley's proposed amendment.                  
  Co-chair Halford asked that Senators Zharoff and Donley work                 
  with Senator Taylor in redrafting  the bill.  The  committee                 
  agreed to hold the  bill to the next meeting,  Friday, March                 
  17th.                                                                        
                                                                               

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