Legislature(2003 - 2004)
04/22/2004 09:03 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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.