Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/30/2002 03:40 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
          HB 509-ALASKA CHILDREN'S TRUST LICENSE PLATES                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
AMY ERICKSON, Aide to Representative  Lisa Murkowski and the House                                                              
Labor and Commerce Committee, read  the following from the sponsor                                                              
statement:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     House Bill 509 makes one minor  change to Alaska statute                                                                   
     to  allow the Alaska  Children's Trust  (ACT) to  market                                                                   
     Alaska  Children's Trust  license  plates to  commercial                                                                   
     motor  vehicle  owners.   Current  Alaska  statute  only                                                                   
     allows  owners of  noncommercial vehicles  to apply  for                                                                   
     and purchase ACT license plates.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     This  small  change  will allow  the  Alaska  Children's                                                                   
     Trust to respond positively  to requests by industry and                                                                   
     private  business  to purchase  ACT license  plates  for                                                                   
     fleet  vehicles and  to market  sales  to an  additional                                                                   
     56,500  vehicle  owners  who  support  the  mission  and                                                                   
     activities  of the  Alaska Children's  Trust.  The  $100                                                                   
     one-time fee could increase  the trust by $5,650,000 for                                                                   
     the prevention of child abuse and neglect.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     The  Alaska  Children's  Trust   is  a  savings  account                                                                   
     dedicated  to funding  community-initiated  projects  to                                                                   
     eliminate child  abuse and neglect.   The trust's  funds                                                                   
     grow through  gifts, bequests, corporate  and individual                                                                   
     contributions,   legislative   appropriations,   federal                                                                   
     funds,  and   sales  of  heirloom  marriage   and  birth                                                                   
     certificates  as   well  as  children's   trust  license                                                                   
     plates.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. ERICKSON  said passage  of HB 305  would expand ACT's  savings                                                              
account  and improve  their ability  to advance  the projects  and                                                              
missions of ACT.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT  asked if there  was any discussion  about why                                                              
the original statute did not include commercial vehicles.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. ERICKSON  said Representative Bunde  brought that up  and Mary                                                              
Marshburn,  Director  of the  Division  of Motor  Vehicles  (DMV),                                                              
suggested  there wasn't  much demand  for it.   Ms. Marshburn  was                                                              
also concerned  that opening  the plates  for commercial  vehicles                                                              
would  cost  DMV  $30,000  to $50,000  to  change  their  computer                                                              
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT asked if she said that at the time.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. ERICKSON said Ms. Marshburn said that recently.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT  asked if  that was given  as a reason  at the                                                              
time of the original legislation.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. ERICKSON said she may have misunderstood his question.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT asked if there were any further questions.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS said  he was concerned about  offering ACT plates                                                              
to commercial vehicles.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  THERRIAULT said  he and Senator  Phillips had  discussed                                                              
opening the plates  up to vanity plates.  HB 509  does not include                                                              
vanity plates.  It only includes the ACT plates.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ERICKSON said  she was  talking  about the  vanity plates  as                                                              
well.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS  asked if only  the standard plates  were offered                                                              
to commercial  vehicles or if DMV  offered a variety of  plates to                                                              
commercial  vehicles, such  as the  veterans'  plates, the  Purple                                                              
Heart plates or the Pearl Harbor plates.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES  HOSACK,   Deputy  Director  of  the  Division   of  Motor                                                              
Vehicles, Department of Administration, said they did not.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS said he had a problem with that.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT asked if DMV had a problem with HB 509.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOSACK  said they did not.   They believed the  proceeds would                                                              
go to a worthwhile cause.  He said  it would cause a small problem                                                              
with the way  DMV's computer system  is set up.  In the  past year                                                              
and a half to  two years, DMV issued about 275  ACT plates.  Based                                                              
on those numbers,  they didn't think there would  be a huge influx                                                              
of  requests for  the plates.   They  were willing  to accept  the                                                              
problems  of keeping  their  computer system  straight.   He  said                                                              
DMV's  only concern  was  the talk  about  opening the  commercial                                                              
option up  to other specialty  plates.   In that case,  they would                                                              
have to restructure  their computer system because a  lot of their                                                              
statistical  information is  based  on the  fees for  the type  of                                                              
license plate a vehicle has.  Commercial  vehicles are lumped into                                                              
four  categories   for  different  weights.     For  noncommercial                                                              
vehicles,  you  can  get vanity  plates,  veterans'  plate,  Pearl                                                              
Harbor plates,  etc.   He said  DMV has  about 60 different  class                                                              
codes for noncommercial  vehicles.  They were hoping  to keep that                                                              
from spreading to commercial vehicles.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  PHILLIPS said  if it  was going  to be done  for one,  it                                                              
ought to  be done for all,  or it should  be done for none.   He's                                                              
concerned that in the future there  will be others wanting to have                                                              
the same thing done for their cause.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT said with the  exception of University plates,                                                              
the  extra revenue  from the  sales of  the other  plates such  as                                                              
veterans'  plates  and  Pearl  Harbor  plates goes  to  the  state                                                              
treasury.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HOSACK said  that  was correct.   The  revenue  from ACT  and                                                              
University plates is identified separately  in DMV's system so the                                                              
Legislature can appropriate the funds.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT  said the veterans  wouldn't be likely  to ask                                                              
the  Legislature  to  have their  plates  on  commercial  vehicles                                                              
because  they  don't derive  any  revenue  from  the sale  of  the                                                              
plates.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOSACK  said he hoped not.   He said  he had not heard  of any                                                              
such movement.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS asked about the University.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOSACK  said he had not  heard anything about  the University.                                                              
He said the reason  the law was written to include  only passenger                                                              
vehicles is because the language  was copied from the statutes for                                                              
other  personalized   plates,   all  of   which  are  limited   to                                                              
noncommercial vehicles.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS asked how many University  plates had been issued.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOSACK said  there are four different University  plates.  The                                                              
University of  Alaska Fairbanks has  the most plates  with between                                                              
300 and  400 plates.   The  University of  Alaska Anchorage  has a                                                              
little over  100 plates.  The  University of Alaska  Southeast has                                                              
about 20 and the Prince William Sound  Community College has about                                                              
five or six.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEVENS   asked  if   it  was   discussed  to   open  the                                                              
noncommercial option  for plates to  the University since  ACT and                                                              
the University  were the  only two  license plates with  dedicated                                                              
funds.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. ERICKSON said it had not been discussed.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HOSACK said he was not aware of it being discussed.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS said if it was opened  up to one charity, it ought                                                              
to be opened up for the other.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS said in the future  the veterans might want to do                                                              
the same thing to build a memorial.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS  said the Legislature  just passed a bill  to that                                                              
effect.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS said they could  ask for something similar funded                                                              
by license plates.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS said they would have  to go through the process of                                                              
getting it approved by the Legislature again.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS said that was the problem.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT  said it would take further  legislation to do                                                              
that.   He asked Mr. Hosack  if he had  any further comments.   He                                                              
did not.  He asked if there was anybody  present who would like to                                                              
testify on HB 509.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SHARI PAUL, Project Coordinator of  the Children's Trust, said she                                                              
was there to answer questions.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT asked for the current balance of the ACT.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. PAUL said it was about $9.6 million.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN THERRIAULT said  he had not prepared a CS  to HB 509.  He                                                              
asked if there were any amendments.   He noted the bill would also                                                              
be referred  to finance because  it had a  small fiscal note.   He                                                              
asked for the will of the committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  PHILLIPS moved  Amendment #1 to  delete "commercial  and"                                                              
from page 1, line 6.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEVENS objected.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS withdrew Amendment #1.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  THERRIAULT   asked  Senator  Phillips  if   it  was  his                                                              
intention to oppose HB 509.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PHILLIPS said it was.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  THERRIAULT said  the  bill would  be  held in  committee                                                              
because there were not enough votes to move it out of committee.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CSHB 509(STA) was held in committee.                                                                                            

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