Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/22/2004 09:03 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 213(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to a provisional driver's license and to                                                                  
     issuance of a driver's license; and providing for an effective                                                             
     date."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was  the second  hearing for  this bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken reminded  that this bill,  "implements a  graduated                                                            
driver's license system."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH,  Sponsor, noted he was available to answer                                                            
any questions.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Amendment  #1: This  amendment  deletes "for  the  first six  months                                                            
after   receiving   a  provisional   driver's   license"   from   AS                                                            
28.15.057(b)(1) amended  in Section 3 on page 2 line 20. The amended                                                            
language reads as follows.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                (1) operate a motor vehicle that is carrying any                                                                
     passengers                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken moved for  adoption and objected for an explanation.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch stated  this is  a technical amendment  in                                                            
that  the   six-month  provisional   driver's  license  is   already                                                            
addressed in Section 2.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken removed  his objection and the amendment was ADOPTED                                                            
without objection.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Amendment #2:  This amendment inserts a new bill section  on page 1,                                                            
following line 3 to read as follows.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1. AS 28.05.095(e) is amended to read:                                                                             
          (e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a peace                                                               
     officer  may not stop  or detain a motor  vehicle to  determine                                                            
     compliance with (a)  of this section, or issue a citation for a                                                            
     violation of (a) of this section, unless                                                                                   
           (1) the driver has a provisional license; or                                                                       
                (2) the peace officer has probable cause to stop or                                                           
     detain the motor vehicle other than for a violation of (a) of                                                              
     this section.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     New Text Underlined [DELETED TEXT BRACKETED]                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde moved for adoption.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken objected for discussion purposes.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  assured this amendment is not intended  to make "life                                                            
difficult" for those with  provisional driver's licenses, but rather                                                            
to stress  the  importance of  wearing  seat belts  and to  creating                                                            
habits for rest of the driver's life.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch did not object to the amendment.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson  noted that a peace  officer could not stop  a vehicle                                                            
for  this  offense  unless  the  driver  has  provisional   driver's                                                            
license.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  replied that  the peace officer  could recognize  the                                                            
younger age of the driver.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson surmised this would encourage profiling.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde remarked that  if successful  in increasing  seatbelt                                                            
use, such profiling would be acceptable.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dyson expressed, "Pragmatists scare me."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  predicted that the  efforts required to enforce  this                                                            
law could encumber  peace officers,  in that it would divert  energy                                                            
from higher priorities.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green  asked if this provision would apply  to all licensed                                                            
drivers in the State.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  replied that  any driver in  this age group  could be                                                            
affected. He pointed  out that State law requires  seat belt use and                                                            
the only "nuance"  is that for older  drivers, seat belt  violations                                                            
could only be issued as a secondary offense.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green referenced  other  pending legislation  would  allow                                                            
seat belt use  violations to be issued  as a primary offense  to all                                                            
drivers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  affirmed, but noted  that this other legislation  has                                                            
yet to pass the House of Representatives.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  asked  if  that  legislation  passes  whether  this                                                            
provision is necessary.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde answered that it would not.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  posed  a  situation  of  an  older  vehicle  without                                                            
installed  seatbelts,  and asked  what  assurance drivers  of  those                                                            
vehicles have that they would not be issued citations.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde remarked that Alaska law requires seatbelt use.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson   qualified  that   vehicles  without  manufacturer-                                                             
installed seatbelts are exempt.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde  informed that 30 years  ago he was able to  install a                                                            
seatbelt in a vehicle and he surmised this could still be done.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  contended  that  installation   standards  are  more                                                            
stringent today than 30 years ago.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken  removed  his  objection  to the  adoption  of  the                                                            
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green objected to the adoption of the amendment.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman asked  about issuing  citations  to a driver  seven                                                            
months after  receiving  a driver's license,  essentially  one-month                                                            
after completion of the provisional driver's license term.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde replied that no primary citation would be issued.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Senator  B.   Stevens  requested   the  sponsor's  opinion   on  the                                                            
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Weyhrauch  reiterated that he would not object to the                                                            
amendment.  He  understood  from  conversations  with  Alaska  State                                                            
Troopers  that  they  stop  teen  drivers  without  hesitation  upon                                                            
observation  of driving violations.  He surmised  that witnessing  a                                                            
young driver with  several young passengers in the  vehicle would be                                                            
probable  cause for a peace  officer to stop  the vehicle and  check                                                            
whether the driver has  a provisional driver's license. He commented                                                            
that helmet  use is required of teen  drivers of motorcycles,  while                                                            
not required  of adult  drivers, and therefore  the distinction  has                                                            
been established for higher safety requirements based on age.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Wilken understood  sponsor did not  oppose the  amendment,                                                            
but   would  prefer   that   a  Senate   committee   substitute   be                                                            
uncontentious   and   receive    concurrence   in   the   House   of                                                            
Representatives.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Weyhrauch replied he is not concerned  that adoption                                                            
of this amendment would  hamper the bill's ability to pass the House                                                            
of  Representatives.  He  explained   that  an  amendment  to  allow                                                            
seatbelt  violations as a  primary offense  for drivers of  all ages                                                            
would  present   significant   challenges   with  passage  of   this                                                            
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green asked for  clarification that the amendment pertained                                                            
to violation of seatbelt requirements.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bunde reported  that it was discussed whether to include the                                                            
"entire seatbelt  bill" in this legislation, but he  agreed with the                                                            
sponsor  that  the  provisional  driver's  license  program  is  too                                                            
important to jeopardize  with any opposition to the  seatbelt issue.                                                            
Therefore, he pointed out  this amendment only applies to holders of                                                            
a provisional driver's license.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
A roll call was taken on the motion to adopt Amendment #2.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR: Senator B. Stevens, Senator Bunde and Co-Chair Wilken                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
OPPOSED: Senator Olson,  Senator Dyson, Senator Hoffman and Co-Chair                                                            
Green                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The motion FAILED (3-4)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
The amendment FAILED to be adopted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green offered  a motion to report the bill, as amended from                                                            
Committee with  individual recommendations  and accompanying  fiscal                                                            
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There was no objection  and SCS CS HB 213 (FIN) MOVED from Committee                                                            
with   fiscal  note   #1  for   $13,600  from   the  Department   of                                                            
Administration.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DOUG  WOOLVIER  introduced  his daughter  MOLLY  WOOLVIER,  who  was                                                            
attending the  meeting as part of  Take Your Child to Work  Day. Ms.                                                            
Wooliver  is seven years  old, resides in  Anchorage and was  on her                                                            
first visit to Juneau.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                

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