Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

04/25/2019 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Moved SB 75 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
Moved CSHB 48(FIN) AM Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
           SB  75-COMMERCIAL VEHICLE LICENSING REQ'S                                                                        
4:07:06 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR  COGHILL reconvened  the  meeting  and announced  the                                                               
consideration  of SENATE  BILL  NO.  75, "An  Act  relating to  a                                                               
license to drive a commercial motor vehicle."                                                                                   
4:07:45 PM                                                                                                                    
JOE PLESHA, Staff, Senator Mia  Costello, Juneau, stated that the                                                               
sponsor has identified two problems  the trucking industry faces.                                                               
One  is  that  the  demand  for drivers  in  Alaska  exceeds  the                                                               
available workforce.  The second  problem relates to  the federal                                                               
statute on interstate  freight that requires drivers to  be 21 or                                                               
older to carry any freight  that originated outside the state. SB
75 addresses these  issues. First, it changes the  minimum age to                                                               
obtain a commercial  driver's license (CDL) from 19  years of age                                                               
to 18  years of age,  which will  increase the pool  of available                                                               
drivers.  This change  will  make it  possible  to recruit  young                                                               
people as they graduate high school.                                                                                            
SB 75 also  authorizes a person who  is at least 18  years of age                                                               
but under  21 years  of age  to operate  a commercial  vehicle in                                                               
interstate commerce. This new subsection  anticipates a change in                                                               
federal law  that prohibits  drivers under 21  years of  age from                                                               
carrying interstate  freight. This is particularly  cumbersome in                                                               
Alaska. The  hope is that the  federal law will change  if enough                                                               
states pass  legislation similar to  SB 75. Alaska will  be ready                                                               
when that happens.                                                                                                              
MR. PLESHA described SB 75 as a proactive potential jobs bill.                                                                  
4:11:02 PM                                                                                                                    
AVES  THOMPSON, Executive  Director, Alaska  Trucking Association                                                               
(ATA), Anchorage,  reported that ATA is  a statewide organization                                                               
representing nearly  200 member  companies. He  described freight                                                               
moving  as  an essential  element  of  the economy  that  impacts                                                               
people every  day. He  said that ATA  believes that  lowering the                                                               
eligibility age  for an  intrastate CDL will  provide a  path for                                                               
young people to  start a truck-driving career. He  said that both                                                               
intrastate  and  interstate  drivers  are  subject  to  the  same                                                               
qualifications and rules  and Alaska adopts the  federal rules by                                                               
reference in  AAC 17.25.210. He pointed  out that an 18  year old                                                               
can  qualify  for  a commercial  pilot's  license.  Lowering  the                                                               
intrastate license  requirement to  age 18  allows young  men and                                                               
women  who have  graduated  high school  to  immediately begin  a                                                               
career as  a truck driver. This  is a good opportunity  for young                                                               
people and  it will build  a larger  driver pool to  help satisfy                                                               
the demand  for commercial  vehicle drivers.  He warned  that the                                                               
current driver  shortage will only  get worse if a  major project                                                               
starts. SB  75 will help  solve this  problem in Alaska  and when                                                               
Congress changes  the law  to lower  the interstate  driving age,                                                               
Alaska will be ready.                                                                                                           
VICE CHAIR COGHILL  asked if he anticipates  insurance costs will                                                               
go up if the age to receive a CDL goes down.                                                                                    
MS. THOMPSON said ATA does  not believe that insurance rates will                                                               
spike, but there may be  some increase. The market will determine                                                               
whether companies can afford to pay for those drivers.                                                                          
VICE CHAIR COGHILL asked how long  it takes to go through the CDL                                                               
MR. THOMPSON explained  that there is a 5-6  week training course                                                               
for novice  drivers. The new  driver then  has to find  a carrier                                                               
that  will  hire  them  and go  through  that  training  program.                                                               
"Clearly a prudent motor carrier is  not going to turn over a $.5                                                               
million  rig  to someone  they  don't  have confidence  in  their                                                               
ability to drive," he said.                                                                                                     
4:16:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE said he heard  the bill in another committee and                                                               
he supports it as a win-win  for young people in the state. Those                                                               
training programs  are strict so  it's not as  though unqualified                                                               
18 year olds will be driving, he said.                                                                                          
MR. Thompson  reiterated that an  18 year  old can qualify  for a                                                               
commercial pilot's license.                                                                                                     
4:17:59 PM                                                                                                                    
DON ETHERIDGE,  Lobbyist, AFL-CIO, Juneau, stated  that the union                                                               
supports  SB 75.  He  said  that when  young  people enter  their                                                               
apprenticeship programs, they  are required to have  a CDL within                                                               
the first 2,000  hours to advance to the next  step. If the young                                                               
person  is just  out of  high school  and 18,  they have  to wait                                                               
until  they turn  19. The  union sees  this bill  as helpful  for                                                               
apprenticeship  programs to  get these  young people  trained and                                                               
working. He  listed the union jobs  that require a CDL  and noted                                                               
that some years ago he chaired  a board that helped at-risk youth                                                               
stay  out of  trouble  and  find work.  He  said  some went  into                                                               
apprenticeship  programs and  he  believes this  bill would  help                                                               
that  program as  well. He  described  the CDL  test as  rigorous                                                               
saying  that  it  takes  study   and  effort  to  pass.  He  also                                                               
highlighted that someone who has a  CDL is subject to random drug                                                               
4:20:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD said  she supports random drug  testing which is                                                               
one reason  she supports the bill.  She asked if he  could take a                                                               
position on  random drug testing  for the employees of  all three                                                               
branches of government.                                                                                                         
MR. ETHRIDGE responded that he is  subject to drug testing and he                                                               
doesn't have  a problem with it,  but as a lobbyist  for the AFL-                                                               
CIO he can't  take a position because they  haven't discussed it.                                                               
However, the union does take drug testing seriously.                                                                            
SENATOR REINBOLD  asked what  the consequence  is for  a positive                                                               
drug test for someone who holds a CDL.                                                                                          
MR.  ETHRIDGE replied  they lose  their license  for a  period of                                                               
time and it could be a firing offense.                                                                                          
SENATOR  REINBOLD  asked what  the  blood  alcohol content  (BAC)                                                               
limit is for alcohol.                                                                                                           
MR.  ETHRIDGE  said alcohol  is  .04  and the  drug  prohibitions                                                               
follow federal law so marijuana is prohibited.                                                                                  
SENATOR REINBOLD said, "Excellent."                                                                                             
4:24:30 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
4:25:06 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR COGHILL reconvened the meeting.                                                                                      
4:25:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE moved  to report SB 75,  work order 31-LS0610\A,                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
fiscal note(s).                                                                                                                 
VICE CHAIR  COGHILL found no objection  and SB 75 moved  from the                                                               
Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSHB048(FIN) am ver U.A Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
HB 48
CSHB0048(FIN) am ver U.A.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
HB 48
CSHB048(FIN) am ver U.A Explanation of Changes.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
HB 48
CSHB 48 - Fiscal Note - DOA.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
HB 48
HB 48 - EX Branch Select LTEXE and Temp Positions - DOA Response.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
HB 48
SB 75 Sponsor Statement.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 75
SB 75 Bill Text Version A.PDF SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 75
SB 75 Fiscal Note_DMV.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 75
SB 75 Letter of Support_NIT.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 75
SB 75 Letter of Support_Carlile.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 75
SB 75 Letter of Support_AFLCIO.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 75
SB 75 Letter of Support_Local 302.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 75
SB 75 Letter of Support_Local 959.pdf SSTA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
SB 75