Legislature(2011 - 2012)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/04/2012 01:30 PM FINANCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 289 LIQ. NAT. GAS STORAGE: TAX CREDIT/LEASE TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
+ HB 255 READING OR TYPING MESSAGE WHILE DRIVING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 255(JUD) Out of Committee
+ HB 294 POWER COST EQUALIZATION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 365 AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 212 PROVISIONAL DRIVER'S LICENSE STICKER TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 190 PFD ALLOWABLE ABSENCE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSSHB 190(FIN) Out of Committee
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       April 4, 2012                                                                                            
                         1:47 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:47:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze called the  House Finance Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 1:47 p.m.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bill Stoltze, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Bill Thomas Jr., Co-Chair                                                                                        
Representative Anna Fairclough, Vice-Chair                                                                                      
Representative Mia Costello                                                                                                     
Representative Mike Doogan                                                                                                      
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                      
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Edgmon; Joe  Michel, Staff, Co-Chair Stoltze;                                                                    
Deborah  Bitney, Division  Director, Department  of Revenue;                                                                    
Representative Paul Seaton;  Representative Charisse Millet;                                                                    
Jessica  Lukin,  Self;  Meera Kohler,  CEO,  Alaska  Village                                                                    
Electric Co-op                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Marlene Campbell,  City and Borough  of Sitka;  Kim Elliott,                                                                    
Sitka;  Whitney   Brewster,  Director,  Division   of  Motor                                                                    
Vehicles;  Rodney Dial,  Lieutenant, Alaska  State Troopers,                                                                    
Ketchikan;  Val  Angasan,  Bristol  Bay  Housing  Authority,                                                                    
Dillingham; Robbie Garrett, Self, Kake                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 190    PFD ALLOWABLE ABSENCE                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
          CSSSHB  190(FIN)  was  REPORTED out  of  committee                                                                    
          with   a  "do   pass"   recommendation  and   with                                                                    
          previously published zero fiscal note: FN1 (REV).                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 212    PROVISIONAL DRIVER'S LICENSE STICKER                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          HB  212  was  HEARD  and  HELD  in  committee  for                                                                    
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 255    READING OR TYPING MESSAGE WHILE DRIVING                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
          CSHB 255(JUD)  was REPORTED out of  committee with                                                                    
          a  "do  pass"  recommendation and  with  one  zero                                                                    
          fiscal note  from the Department of  Law, one zero                                                                    
          fiscal  note for  Department of  Administration by                                                                    
          the House  Finance Committee and  three previously                                                                    
          published  zero  fiscal   notes:  FN1  (ADM),  FN2                                                                    
          (COR), FN3 (CRT).                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 294    POWER COST EQUALIZATION                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
          HB  294  was  HEARD  and  HELD  in  committee  for                                                                    
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 365    AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          HB  365  was  HEARD  and  HELD  in  committee  for                                                                    
          further consideration.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:47:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 190                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to the allowable absence for active                                                                       
     duty service members of the armed forces for purposes                                                                      
     of permanent fund dividend eligibility."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough MOVED to ADOPT proposed committee                                                                         
substitute for SSHB 190(FIN), Work Draft 27-LS0564\L,                                                                           
(Kirsch 4/4/12) as a working document.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED for the purpose of discussion.                                                                        
JOE MICHEL,  STAFF, CO-CHAIR STOLTZE  stated that  version L                                                                    
of  the  legislation  reflected   changes  from  a  previous                                                                    
meeting. The language had been  omitted from Section 2, sub-                                                                    
paragraph (f), line 29:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     "such as the financial circumstances of the individual                                                                     
     or the ability of the individual to find employment in                                                                     
     the state;"                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Michel  noted that  the second change  in Section  2 had                                                                    
been the removal of the following language:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     "whether the individual made a career choice or chose                                                                      
     a career path that does not allow the individual to                                                                        
     reside in or return to the state."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DEBORAH  BITNEY, DIVISION  DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT  OF REVENUE,                                                                    
testified in support of the  changes to the legislation. She                                                                    
said  that the  department  intended  to create  regulations                                                                    
that  would  clearly  define  how   the  statutes  would  be                                                                    
applied.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze WITHDREW his objection.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough  MOVED to  report CSSSHB  190(FIN) out                                                                    
of  committee   with  individual  recommendations   and  the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CSSSHB 190(FIN)  was REPORTED  out of  committee with  a "do                                                                    
pass"  recommendation  and  with previously  published  zero                                                                    
fiscal note: FN1 (REV).                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:51:53 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:53:02 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 365                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
"An Act relating  to the rapid response to,  and control of,                                                                    
aquatic invasive species."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair  Fairclough  MOVED  to ADOPT  proposed  committee                                                                    
substitute  for HB  365(RES), Work  Draft  27-LS1439\M as  a                                                                    
working document.                                                                                                               
Representative   Guttenberg   OBJECTED    for   purpose   of                                                                    
discussion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   PAUL  SEATON   testified  that   the  House                                                                    
Resources  version of  the bill  changed  the term  "aquatic                                                                    
invasive species" to "marine  aquatic invasive species". The                                                                    
change had been  made to make the drawing  of response plans                                                                    
easier for the Department of Fish and Game (DF&G).                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stoltze  recalled  that  during  past  discussions                                                                    
concerning invasive  plants an  effort had  been made  to be                                                                    
inclusive of the fishing industry.  He questioned the reason                                                                    
for the inclusivity.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Guttenberg  relayed   that  the   issue  of                                                                    
invasive species ran  statewide, and that one  body of water                                                                    
[salt versus fresh] was not more important than another.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Seaton replied  that  no  priority had  been                                                                    
intended  either way.  He  said that  the  intention of  the                                                                    
legislation was to provide a  way for departments to respond                                                                    
quickly  to  an  emergency  situation  triggered  by  a  new                                                                    
invasion.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Guttenberg  felt that the ability  to respond                                                                    
rapidly was  a necessity for  both lakes and salt  water. He                                                                    
suggested that  some invasive species  could make  their way                                                                    
into  the water  by way  of pet  shops. He  added that  some                                                                    
invaders could be  brought to marine waters by  way of fresh                                                                    
water.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Guttenberg  WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.  There                                                                    
being NO further OBJECTION it was so ordered.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:59:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Costello   expressed    concern   for   the                                                                    
particular area of Sand Lake, which was a fresh water lake.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Seaton shared  that the  Department of  Fish                                                                    
and Game  (DF&G) had indicated  that the word  "aquatic" was                                                                    
too broad a term. The  understanding was that the bill would                                                                    
not make  it through  the legislative  process using  such a                                                                    
general  term.  He stated  that  the  decision was  made  to                                                                    
concentrate on  marine waters. He relayed  that he supported                                                                    
the  eradication of  invasive species  throughout the  state                                                                    
and maintained no objection to broadening the language to                                                                       
include aquatics, provided  it did not require  DF&G to draw                                                                    
up an  emergency plan for  every stream and lake  in Alaska.                                                                    
He  reiterated  that the  intent  was  to examine  emergency                                                                    
situations in limited geographic  areas where response could                                                                    
be  swift and  successful.  He furthered  that an  emergency                                                                    
situation, involving  the contamination  of an  entire river                                                                    
system, would  require an extended amount  of response time.                                                                    
He  asserted that  the legislation  was intended  to provide                                                                    
rapid response to emergency situations in a limited area.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Costello  commented  that her  district  had                                                                    
been dealing  with safety issues  related to Sand  Lake. She                                                                    
understood that  there were  many ways  to go  about solving                                                                    
the Sand Lake problem; her  approach was to submit a capital                                                                    
budget request.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:04:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Neuman  testified  that his  region  of  the                                                                    
Susitna  River  Valley  was   experiencing  a  problem  with                                                                    
Northern   Pike.  The   invasive   species  had   devastated                                                                    
tributaries  at Alexander  Creek, which  negatively affected                                                                    
the  salmon  population. He  highlighted  that  the loss  of                                                                    
salmon supply for commercial and  sport fishing would have a                                                                    
negative  effect on  the economy.  He  wondered if  language                                                                    
could  be  written  into  the   bill  that  would  speak  to                                                                    
responding to the problem of Northern Pike.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Seaton explained  that  the  purpose of  the                                                                    
legislation was  to provide DF&G  with the tools  to perform                                                                    
an emergency  eradication in a  limited geographic  area. He                                                                    
said that  the eradication  of Northern  Pike in  the entire                                                                    
Susitna drainage  could harm  other species  of fish  in the                                                                    
water. He  relayed that the  tools already being  used under                                                                    
the  invasive   species  plan  were  meant   for  long-range                                                                    
planning. He reiterated that the  purpose of the bill was to                                                                    
deal  with  a new  invasive  species  in  a small  area.  He                                                                    
assured  the  committee  that  the   debate  was  not  about                                                                    
saltwater  species being  more  important  than fresh  water                                                                    
species,  but  stressed  there   were  different  ways  that                                                                    
endemic  infestations  were   handled  versus  an  emergency                                                                    
reaction to a new invasion  in a limited geographic area. He                                                                    
furthered  that the  bill  would give  DF&G  the ability  to                                                                    
allow for  the sacrifice of  management of one species  in a                                                                    
limited  geographic  area  in order  to  eradicate  any  new                                                                    
invasive species.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:10:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Neuman noted  that the  bill would  create a                                                                    
plan for salt  water. He said that in the  case of Alexander                                                                    
Creek, the  Northern Pike could be  specifically targeted in                                                                    
early spring  because there  were no  salmon species  yet in                                                                    
the  tributaries  large enough  to  be  caught in  nets.  He                                                                    
argued  that  this  was  exactly  what  the  department  was                                                                    
already  doing in  the marine  aquatic  areas; developing  a                                                                    
long-term plan that would eradicate  the invasive species in                                                                    
order  to  save  fisheries  important  to  the  economy.  He                                                                    
believed that the long-term plan  should be written into the                                                                    
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton agreed  with Representative Neuman. He                                                                    
added  that there  was  a long-term  plan  to target  longer                                                                    
periods of time. He restated  that the intention of the bill                                                                    
was to give the  emergency authority to eliminate everything                                                                    
in a  limited geographic  area in order  to eradicate  a new                                                                    
invasive species before it spread to rest of the state.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Neuman hoped  to discuss  the issue  further                                                                    
with the department.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas cited sub-section (f):                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     "In  this section,  "marine  aquatic invasive  species"                                                                    
     means an  organism introduced to a  marine ecosystem to                                                                    
     which it  is not native and  whose introduction causes,                                                                    
     or is  likely to cause, economic  or environmental harm                                                                    
     or harm to human health."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Neuman felt  that further  clarification was                                                                    
necessary.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Seaton  clarified that the term  "marine" was                                                                    
generally applied  to salt  water. He  said that  both fresh                                                                    
and salt water could be addressed in the legislation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:15:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  questioned  if any  projections  had                                                                    
been  made of  how  handling  small areas  at  a time  could                                                                    
benefit the state financially.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Seaton   replied  there  was   currently  an                                                                    
invasive species  council that focused on  long-range plans,                                                                    
but that the  legislation was intended to  provide the tools                                                                    
to make  the immediate  eradication of new  invasive species                                                                    
possible.  He  stressed  his   desire  to  ensure  emergency                                                                    
response capability for the department.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson  understood that the bill  contained a                                                                    
plan for solely salt water,  which had resulted in a smaller                                                                    
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Seaton replied  that  that  was correct.  He                                                                    
said that according to the  department the lake systems were                                                                    
so different that  the plans to develop each  one would have                                                                    
taken over ten years.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas  understood that the department  was seeking                                                                    
the  ability to  actively respond  to an  infestation rather                                                                    
than spending $20 million on a written plan.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:18:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  shared Representative  Neuman  concern                                                                    
for fresh water. He expressed  concern that the bill was not                                                                    
tailored to deal with fresh  water issues. He pointed out to                                                                    
the committee  that the implementation of  an emergency kill                                                                    
of  Northern  Pike  could  risk the  health  of  many  other                                                                    
species of fish. He stated that  he did not believe that the                                                                    
legislation  was  worded in  a  way  that would  effectively                                                                    
protect fresh water.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas  said that the  other body put in  a request                                                                    
in the  FY13 Operating Budget  to increase money in  for the                                                                    
problem of Northern Pike.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair   Fairclough  shared   that  the   House  Finance                                                                    
Committee  had  changed more  than  sub-section  (f) of  the                                                                    
original legislation.  She suggested that  committee members                                                                    
familiarize   themselves  with   the  changes   between  the                                                                    
original document and the one  that was currently before the                                                                    
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MARLENE   CAMPBELL,  CITY   AND   BOROUGH   OF  SITKA   (via                                                                    
teleconference) voiced  support for the bill.  She testified                                                                    
that  an invasive  species identified  in 2010,  had rapidly                                                                    
had spread.  She said that DF&G  had done a dive  survey and                                                                    
had  mapped  the infestation,  which  had  been confined  to                                                                    
Whitening  Harbor until  the movement  of  aqua farm  pieces                                                                    
into Sitka Sound. She feared  that the spread of the species                                                                    
could potentially  eradicate all other species,  which would                                                                    
have a negative impact on  Sitka fisheries. She relayed that                                                                    
there was  wide support in  the community to hire  an expert                                                                    
environmental  firm to  contain and  eradicate the  invader.                                                                    
She  stressed  that  Sitka  had  5  harbors  that  generated                                                                    
approximately  $140 million  in commercial  fisheries monies                                                                    
per  year. Additionally,  10 percent  of Sitka's  population                                                                    
was  directly involved  in the  sea  industry, and  indirect                                                                    
impact was nearly  50 percent. She concluded  that the issue                                                                    
was  of  grave  importance  to the  future  if  the  fishing                                                                    
industry and urged the timely passage of the legislation.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:26:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KIM ELLIOTT, SITKA (via  teleconference), voiced support for                                                                    
the  bill. She  voiced concern  that the  issue of  invasive                                                                    
species in  Alaska be addressed immediately,  beyond talking                                                                    
at the table. She feared  that the invasive species in Sitka                                                                    
Sound  would  spread  to  affect  the  herring  and  scallop                                                                    
populations.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:28:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB  365  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:29:34 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:37:45 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 212                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
"An  Act  relating  to   requirements  for  persons  holding                                                                    
provisional drivers' licenses."                                                                                                 
2:38:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair   Fairclough  MOVED   to   ADOPT  the   committee                                                                    
substitute for HB  212, Work Draft 27-LSO738\I  as a working                                                                    
document. There being NO OBJECTION it was so ordered.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CHARISSE   MILLET  introduced   her  support                                                                    
staff.                                                                                                                          
JESSICA  LUKIN, SELF,  testified that  the Alaska  Graduated                                                                    
License  Program  was  a   three-step  program  designed  to                                                                    
develop safe driving habits, as  well as to slowly introduce                                                                    
young drivers to  Alaskan road systems. One of  the steps in                                                                    
the program  was graduating from an  instructional permit to                                                                    
a provisional license. Having a  provisional license had the                                                                    
following restrictions:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   · Driver may not carry passengers unless one of the                                                                          
     passengers was at least 21 years of age                                                                                    
   · Passengers under the age of 21 must be siblings                                                                            
   · Driver may not operate vehicle between the hours of 1                                                                      
     AM and 5 AM unless accompanied by a person at least 21                                                                     
     years of age                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lukin  continued that although the  restrictions were in                                                                    
place, they  were generally ignored  by many  young drivers.                                                                    
She directed committee attention  to her presentation titled                                                                    
"Novice  Driver  Safety:  Safer Alaskan  Roads  for  Alaskan                                                                    
Drivers."  She  testified  that she  had  recently  had  the                                                                    
experience of participating in  the Juneau Close-Up program.                                                                    
As homework she  had been required to study  state and local                                                                    
government,  and to  present an  idea for  legislation to  a                                                                    
state representative or senator; the product was HB 212.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Lukin cited  page 2  of her  presentation, which  was a                                                                    
photograph of the car she  and her family had been extracted                                                                    
from after  being struck head-on  by a teenaged  driver. She                                                                    
shared  that the  accident  had moved  her  to advocate  for                                                                    
safer  teen  driving  practices.  She continued  to  page  3                                                                    
titled, "Cause of death  among teenagers between 1999-2006."                                                                    
The   chart  highlighted   that   of  the   48  percent   of                                                                    
unintentional injuries  suffered by teenagers in  the United                                                                    
States,  73 percent  were motor  vehicle traffic  accidents.                                                                    
Page 4  illustrated the Alaska Statistics  for Drivers 14-16                                                                    
(2004-2008).  She  pointed out  that  out  the numbers  were                                                                    
highest in  2008. Page 5  cited more statistics  for drivers                                                                    
16-17, specifically  the total  drivers in fatal  crashes by                                                                    
age in  Alaska from 2002 to  2011. She noted that  there was                                                                    
no information available of the  effects of the accidents on                                                                    
the occupants of  the other vehicles or  the general public.                                                                    
Page 6,  titled "Provisional  Licensed Drivers"  listed that                                                                    
provisional licensed drivers were hazardous due to:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   · Apprehension                                                                                                               
   · Lack of experience                                                                                                         
   · Weather conditions                                                                                                         
   · No driver's education requirement                                                                                          
   · Alaska's diversity from other states                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:42:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lukin continued with page 7, titled "Solution":                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
   · A person  holding a provisional driver's  license shall                                                                    
     display in the rear window  of each vehicle operated by                                                                    
     the  person a  sticker  issued by  the department  that                                                                    
     identifies   that  the   vehicle  is   operated  by   a                                                                    
     provisional licensee.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Lukin directed  the committee's  attention  so page  8,                                                                    
which contained  pictures of the  proposed stickers  as they                                                                    
were used  in other areas  of the  world.  She  continued to                                                                    
page 9, titled "Why This Solution?"                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
  · This is a simple solution to benefit Alaskan drivers                                                                        
   · It  will impress  other driver's  to  be more  cautious                                                                    
     driving around the novice driver                                                                                           
   · It   will  provide   other   drivers  the   information                                                                    
     necessary to understand the Provisional Licensee's                                                                         
     position                                                                                                                   
   · This   will   assist   law  enforcement   officers   in                                                                    
     implementing the law                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lukin continued to page 10, titled "Enforcement":                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
   · Failure  to  display  a sticker  as  required  by  this                                                                    
     subsection is an infraction and may be punished by a                                                                       
     fine of not more than $200                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lukin continued to page 11, which suggested what might                                                                      
occur if the bill were passed into law:                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
   · The  State  of Alaska  will  supply  the Department  of                                                                    
     Motor Vehicles with stickers to distribute to those                                                                        
     persons acquiring an Provisional License                                                                                   
   · Those acquiring a Provisional License  will pay for the                                                                    
     sticker as part of the permitting process                                                                                  
   · Sticker  will  be placed  on  the  rear window  of  the                                                                    
     operating vehicle.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lukin concluded with page 12, "Summary":                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
   · Teen    drivers    with   Provisional    License    are                                                                    
     statistically more hazardous to themselves and other                                                                       
     Alaskans                                                                                                                   
  · Require Provisional drivers to identify their status                                                                        
   · Reduce the number of accidents and infractions in                                                                          
     Alaska, and help save Alaskan lives                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:45:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair  Fairclough  noted   that  tinted  windows  could                                                                    
interfere with  sticker visibility.  She added that  page 2,                                                                    
lines  15-16 indicated  that  communities  under 500  people                                                                    
would  not need  to apply,  creating a  new threshold  under                                                                    
state law.  She felt that  a threshold already  written into                                                                    
statute should be used.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Lukin responded  that the  new threshold  was necessary                                                                    
because it  was assumed that smaller,  less populated, rural                                                                    
areas would have less actual miles of drivable road.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair   Fairclough  requested   a  response   from  the                                                                    
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  She shared the story of                                                                    
the  tragic death  of a  young woman  in her  community. The                                                                    
young woman's  mother had queried whether  the tragedy could                                                                    
have been avoided if she  had been driving with a passenger.                                                                    
She  suggested that  the sticker  on  a vehicle  could be  a                                                                    
problem  if  exploited  by a  predator  searching  for  easy                                                                    
victims.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lukin  agreed that  the situation  had been  tragic. She                                                                    
noted that the victim had  not been underage and pointed out                                                                    
that  any  person anywhere  could  be  stalked by  a  sexual                                                                    
predator. She  shared that she  had talked with  the manager                                                                    
of the special  Department of Traffic Safety  in New Jersey,                                                                    
where the  bill had been  implemented, and had  learned that                                                                    
research had  shown that sexual  predators were  more likely                                                                    
to use the internet to target victims.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair  Fairclough  requested  that the  legislation  be                                                                    
held until  further research could  be done. She  noted that                                                                    
Alaska had the  highest rates of domestic  violence and rape                                                                    
in the  country. She pointed  out to the committee  that the                                                                    
Covenant House  was located in downtown  Anchorage, and that                                                                    
predators walked  4th and 5th  Avenues in  Anchorage waiting                                                                    
for an opportunity to strike.  She asserted that she was not                                                                    
trying  to  kill  bill,  but  wanted  more  input  from  the                                                                    
community.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
 2:52:45 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough  continued her questioning.  She asked                                                                    
about small communities  that had a population  of under 500                                                                    
people. She  understood that the  communities would  need to                                                                    
enforce the stickers if they were on the road system.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lukin  replied in  the affirmative.  She added  that she                                                                    
had  talked to  members of  the Anchorage  Police Department                                                                    
while   researching   weather    the   victims   of   sexual                                                                    
statistically  knew  their   predators.  She  reported  that                                                                    
statistically,   victims  of   sexual  assault   knew  their                                                                    
attackers prior to the assault.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair  Fairclough agreed  that most  victims of  sexual                                                                    
assault knew their attackers.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze mentioned in  gangs in Florida had targeted                                                                    
rental cars with visible  stickers; out-of-state drivers did                                                                    
not  qualify   under  the   right-to-carry  law   and  would                                                                    
therefore be unarmed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:55:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson requested  further risk research done.                                                                    
She  queried  whether  males would  be  more  reckless  than                                                                    
female  drivers.  She  wondered  if  there  were  statistics                                                                    
available  showing  that  incidents of  accidents  involving                                                                    
teenaged  drivers  in  New Jersey  had  lessened  under  the                                                                    
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lukin explained that the  goal of the legislation was to                                                                    
provide  new drivers  a wider  berth  from more  experienced                                                                    
drivers.  Additionally,  it  would aid  law  enforcement  in                                                                    
catching teenage  drivers carrying too many  passengers. She                                                                    
shared that school districts in  Wasilla and Eagle River had                                                                    
reported problems with teens driving  with too many underage                                                                    
passengers at  lunch and after  school. She noted  that most                                                                    
accidents involving  teenaged drivers occurred  during after                                                                    
school hours.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson expressed  concern that  police would                                                                    
be pulling over cars with  many passengers, and a sticker in                                                                    
the window, even if it was driven by an adult.                                                                                  
2:58:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Lukin  highlighted that  new  subsection  (c) had  been                                                                    
added   to   the   legislation   in  order   to   speak   to                                                                    
Representative Wilson's concerns. She  said that driving was                                                                    
a responsibility and  that teen drivers should  go through a                                                                    
checklist every  time they got  in the car;  checking lights                                                                    
and  turn  signals, making  sure  they  have their  license,                                                                    
checking for the  sticker in the back window,  and all other                                                                    
safety precautions.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson   suggested  that  Ms.   Lukin  might                                                                    
understand  when she  was older,  and a  mother, that  young                                                                    
people would not take the  listed necessary precautions. She                                                                    
offered  that  Ms.  Lukin would  "understand  when  she  was                                                                    
older."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:00:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Neuman  applauded the effort of  the bill. He                                                                    
asserted  that  teenagers  were already  "cop  magnets".  He                                                                    
wondered how it could be  ensured that young people were not                                                                    
being treated  as a second  class. He voiced  strong support                                                                    
for preliminary driver's education  courses. He thought that                                                                    
the bill infringed on the  rights of teenagers and made them                                                                    
targets for the police.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lukin replied  that creating a second class  was not the                                                                    
intention of  the legislation. She reiterated  that the goal                                                                    
was   to  keep   drivers  on   the  road   safe  from   new,                                                                    
inexperienced,  aggressive, young  drivers.  She noted  that                                                                    
the success of  the program could not be  measured until the                                                                    
program had time to take actual affect.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Neuman worried  that  the legislation  would                                                                    
tax  the already  limited Alaska  State Troopers,  and would                                                                    
slow their response  time. He believed that  there were many                                                                    
public safety concerns that should be considered.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:05:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Doogan spoke in  favor of the legislation. He                                                                    
shared that between  the ages of 16 and 19  he had wrecked 3                                                                    
automobiles.  He  shared  Ms. Lukin's  concern  about  young                                                                    
drivers, and hoped that the discussion would be fruitful.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative Edgmon asked if  research for the legislation                                                                    
had   revealed   that   law  enforcement   might   be   more                                                                    
accommodating to a teenager with a sticker in their window.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Lukin replied in the  negative. She believed that if the                                                                    
officer saw a sticker they might  be a bit more gracious and                                                                    
take  the status  as a  new driver  into consideration  when                                                                    
weighing any small infraction.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Edgmon  asked if  New Jersey  had encountered                                                                    
savings on car insurance due to the legislation.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Lunkin  replied  that   insurance  companies  might  be                                                                    
willing to give breaks to users of the program.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:09:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule  relayed that society often  wanted the                                                                    
younger  population  to   accept  responsibility  for  their                                                                    
actions, and that  the bill was offering a way  to do so. He                                                                    
qualified  that  the  legislation   needed  to  be  examined                                                                    
further.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Lukin  stressed that  the  benefit  of the  legislation                                                                    
would  be that  lives would  be saved.  She shared  that she                                                                    
looked forward to  working with the committee  on drafting a                                                                    
comprehensive piece of legislation.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
WHITNEY BREWSTER, DIRECTOR, DIVISION  OF MOTOR VEHICLES (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified  that   the  DMV  currently  had                                                                    
approximately  6250 unexpired  provisional license  holders.                                                                    
She noted  the zero  fiscal note attached  to the  bill. She                                                                    
shared that  the static-cling decal  would cost  $.25, which                                                                    
would  cost less  than $1000  to administer.  She said  that                                                                    
there  were rural  exemptions for  vehicle registration  and                                                                    
insurance  requirements,  as  well  as  commercial  driver's                                                                    
licenses in communities  that were off the  road system, and                                                                    
had a  daily traffic volume  of 499  or less. She  said that                                                                    
the  provision would  protect communities  that had  a daily                                                                    
traffic  volume over  500, but  were  still considered  very                                                                    
rural. She  noted that some  rural communities did  not have                                                                    
access to  a DMV office, and  would not be required  to have                                                                    
the provisional sticker.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:15:49 PM                                                                                                                    
RODNEY  DIAL, LIEUTENANT,  ALASKA STATE  TROOPERS, KETCHIKAN                                                                    
(via  teleconference),  testified  that the  department  was                                                                    
neutral on the bill.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair  Fairclough   reiterated  her  concern   that  by                                                                    
applying  the sicker,  young  drivers  would be  advertising                                                                    
that  they  were  alone  in their  vehicles,  and  could  be                                                                    
targeted by predators.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Dial responded that he  understood the concern, but that                                                                    
the  department had  no  basis  to form  an  opinion on  the                                                                    
matter at this time.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough  informed the  committee that  some of                                                                    
the smaller communities in the  state had very high rates of                                                                    
child  abuse.  She  maintained concern  for  signaling  that                                                                    
youths were driving by themselves.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Dial stated that the  safety of young people in Alaska's                                                                    
communities  was the  top priority  for  the department.  He                                                                    
said  that if  the  legislation were  passed the  department                                                                    
would diligently research any possible consequences.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze asked Mr. Dial  remembered the situation in                                                                    
Florida of gangs targeting tourists.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Dial responded in the affirmative.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:19:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough  suggested that drivers  with multiple                                                                    
drunk driving  violations could  also be  required to  put a                                                                    
sticker in their  window. She requested a  response from the                                                                    
Department of Law.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HB  212  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:21:49 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:29:37 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 294                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
"An Act relating to the power cost equalization program."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough MOVED to ADOPT  the CSHB 294 (FIN) 27-                                                                    
LS1108\D  Work  Draft  as  a  working  document  before  the                                                                    
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED for purpose of discussion.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JOE MICHEL,  STAFF, CO-CHAIR  STOLTZE explained  the changes                                                                    
in version  D. He stated that  version D added section  3 to                                                                    
the legislation.  Section 3  added conditional  language; if                                                                    
the billed passed it would  not take effect unless there was                                                                    
an appropriation  of $150 million,  or more, into  the Power                                                                    
Cost Equalization  fund (PCE). The appropriation  would need                                                                    
to occur during the 27th legislature.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stoltze WITHDREW  his  objection.  There being  NO                                                                    
further OBJECTION it was so ordered.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON,  SPONSOR,  explained  that  PCE  was                                                                    
established in 1984 and provided  financial relief for rural                                                                    
consumers, up to 500 kilowatt  hours per month for those who                                                                    
were  eligible. He  related that  the formula  was based  on                                                                    
fuel  and  non-fuel  cost,  and  eligible  communities  were                                                                    
determined by  the Regulatory Commission of  Alaska. He said                                                                    
that the  program was  monitored by  monthly reports  to the                                                                    
Alaska   Energy   Authority    (AEA).   The   $400   million                                                                    
appropriation  granted  in  July  of  2011  raised  the  PCE                                                                    
endowment to $700 million. He  admitted that the legislation                                                                    
was major and had a  large fiscal note attached. He strongly                                                                    
believed that it  was the best way to  assist rural consumer                                                                    
with escalating fuel prices.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Edgmon  detailed that  the bill  expanded the                                                                    
monthly cap form 500 kilowatt  hours to 600, and allowed for                                                                    
commercial uses  to be  brought back  into the  program with                                                                    
the limitation  of 600 kilowatt  hours, with an  overall use                                                                    
per month  of 2400  kilowatt hours. He  added that  the bill                                                                    
would  exempt   state  and   federal  facilities   and  non-                                                                    
residential consumers.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stoltze understood  that the  bill included  small                                                                    
businesses.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Edgmon   replied  in  the   affirmative.  He                                                                    
explained  that barber  shops, coffee  shops, "mom  and pop"                                                                    
type  businesses   would  benefit.   He  shared   that  most                                                                    
communities never  reached the  60 percent mark  of reaching                                                                    
the 500 kilowatt  cap. He stated that the  bill was designed                                                                    
to allow  for commercial entities in  smaller communities to                                                                    
have some  relief when  providing electricity  in an  era of                                                                    
very high cost.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stoltze   noted  that  the  introduction   of  the                                                                    
legislation offered  an opportunity  to educate  the general                                                                    
public  on  traditional  kilowatt  per  hour  usage  in  the                                                                    
average home.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:35:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Edgmon  described having  to barge  in diesel                                                                    
fuel to  rural communities;  communities with  fixed utility                                                                    
costs spread  over a  small consumer  base. He  relayed that                                                                    
these small communities paid electricity  rates 3 to 4 times                                                                    
the average rate in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Edgmon   spoke  of  a  study   done  by  the                                                                    
Institute  of   Social  and  Economic  Research   which  had                                                                    
revealed  that  the program  was  in  limited use  in  rural                                                                    
areas, and  that the  communities could  utilize it  more if                                                                    
they could  keep on top  of the required paperwork.  He said                                                                    
the larger  users of  the program were  in the  northern and                                                                    
southeastern parts  of the state.  He noted that  the fiscal                                                                    
note was  for approximately  $20 million. He  estimated that                                                                    
this was on the high-end of the price range.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:39:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara spoke  in support of the  bill. He noted                                                                    
that  the  PCE  program  was  necessary,  but  stressed  the                                                                    
importance of  encouraging energy  efficiency in  the state.                                                                    
He hoped that  in the future a cost  savings component could                                                                    
be added to the program.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Edgmon pointed out  to the committee that the                                                                    
state   had   invested   substantially   in   weatherization                                                                    
programs. The  program was  designed in such  a way  that if                                                                    
fuel costs went  down, so did the PCE benefit.  He said that                                                                    
in 2011,  the Renewable  Energy Grant Fund  Program provided                                                                    
approximately $6  million in energy  savings; most  of which                                                                    
could  be attributed  to two  projects:  the Gustavus  False                                                                    
Creek  Hydroelectric Project  and the  Pillar Mountain  Wind                                                                    
Project  in  Kodiak. He  added  that  there had  been  other                                                                    
turbine systems  in Western Alaska  that had  contributed to                                                                    
the overall  reduction of  PCE costs.  He stressed  that the                                                                    
report requirements were very stringent.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:43:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  queried   the  average  savings  per                                                                    
household using the 500 kilowatt formula.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Edgmon replied  that the  PCE program  saved                                                                    
participating utilities approximately 30 percent.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze OPENED public testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:44:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VAL  ANGASAN,  BRISTOL  BAY HOUSING  AUTHORITY,  DILLINGHAM,                                                                    
(via   teleconference),   testified   in  support   of   the                                                                    
legislation.  He  shared that  the  high  cost of  fuel  had                                                                    
hindered grow  the opportunity in rural  Alaska. He revealed                                                                    
that in  the area milk  was $10 per  gallon, $6 for  gas. He                                                                    
said that  surplus income in  the area was  non-existent. He                                                                    
felt that the PCE program was critical in rural areas.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative Edgmon interjected that  he had heard reports                                                                    
of gas being as high as $7.23 per gallon in Dillingham.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ROBBIE  GARRETT, SELF,  KAKE,  (via teleconference),  voiced                                                                    
support for the  legislation. He shared that  in rural areas                                                                    
the rates  were high,  especially when  the rate  fell under                                                                    
the  non-commercial  rate;  nearly  $.85  per  kilowatt.  He                                                                    
stated that  as a business  owner he did  not view PCE  as a                                                                    
subsidy in  perpetuity, but  rather temporary  assistance to                                                                    
help stabilize cost.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:50:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEERA  KOHLER, CEO,  ALASKA VILLAGE  ELECTRIC CO-OP  (AVEC),                                                                    
testified in favor of the  bill. She stated that AVEC served                                                                    
54 communities  in Alaska with electricity.  She stated that                                                                    
the  average residential  consumption  in Alaska's  villages                                                                    
was approximately  400 kilowatt  hours year round.  She said                                                                    
the average varied widely between  regions. She relayed that                                                                    
averages were higher in the  northwest because the water and                                                                    
sewer  systems in  the region  used electricity.  She opined                                                                    
that  winter was  a time  of hardship  in many  communities;                                                                    
using well above  the 500 kilowatt cap. She  said that homes                                                                    
in the rural areas ranged from  600 to 1200 square feet. She                                                                    
said that AVEC had  approximately 2800 commercial customers,                                                                    
half  of  which  would  be  eligible  under  the  bill.  She                                                                    
highlighted  that  AVEC  represented one-third  of  all  PCE                                                                    
users in Alaska,  and that consumption could  be expected to                                                                    
rise  35 to  40 percent  were the  legislation to  pass. She                                                                    
informed the  committee that  as of the  end of  March 2012,                                                                    
the balance of the PCE  Endowment fund was $780 million. She                                                                    
qualified that  the fund  had not been  that large  for very                                                                    
long;  $400  million had  recently  been  injected into  the                                                                    
fund.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze queried when the  last big injection to the                                                                    
fund had occurred.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Ms.   Kohler   explained   that  $100   million   from   the                                                                    
constitutional budget  reserve (CBR) had been  injected upon                                                                    
the  adoption  of the  fund  in  2000.  She added  that  $85                                                                    
million from the  Fordham Coal sale was  added several years                                                                    
later;  then in  2006, $187  million was  added by  Governor                                                                    
Murkowski.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:54:23 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:55:07 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thomas asked  if  Ms.  Kohler saw  an  end to  the                                                                    
problem  of   providing  affordable  electricity   to  rural                                                                    
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms.   Kohler  explained   that   the   effective  rate   for                                                                    
residential consumers  for the first 500  kilowatt hours was                                                                    
approximately $.21  per kilowatt  hour. She said  that until                                                                    
the price of electricity was  at a reasonable level, $.10 to                                                                    
$.12 per  kilowatt, there would  never be  enough additional                                                                    
funding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  asked if,  in the  event  that the  state faced  a                                                                    
deficit due to declining oil  production, the PCE fund could                                                                    
be in danger.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Kohler  replied that  the  fund  was predicated  on  an                                                                    
adequate revenue stream.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas  stressed that oil  production needed  to be                                                                    
higher in order to fund  future energy programs and projects                                                                    
in the state.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Edgmon  agreed. He  felt  that  the PCE  was                                                                    
expensive, but  necessary for rural  Alaska. He  opined that                                                                    
the  communities in  rural Alaska  were  shrinking. He  said                                                                    
that the  legislature needed to  consider what  rural Alaska                                                                    
should  look like  into the  future, with  the understanding                                                                    
that the sustainability of communities  was tied directly to                                                                    
energy.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stoltze  noted that  the  larger  urban areas  had                                                                    
voiced a majority of the support for PCE program.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:59:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Joule relayed  that it  was an  anomaly when                                                                    
oil  went  over $100  per  barrel  mark.  He said  that  oil                                                                    
maintaining above $100 per barrel  was contributing the high                                                                    
cost of  energy. He  agreed that  a lot  of money  was being                                                                    
spent on  the issue, but  believed that the money  needed to                                                                    
be spent in order to deliver  energy to all parts of Alaska.                                                                    
He thought that the structure of  the PCE was a creative way                                                                    
to corral funds for energy relief.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  asked  if   there  were  any  energy                                                                    
projects at work in rural Alaska that were lowing costs.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Kohler  replied  that  the   company  owned  more  wind                                                                    
turbines than any  other company in the  state. She asserted                                                                    
that AVEC had  been aggressive in the  pursuit of affordable                                                                    
energy. She said that the  village with the lowest fuel cost                                                                    
component in  rural Alaska was  Chevak at $.21  per kilowatt                                                                    
hour,  much  lower  than  average  fuel  cost  of  $.32  per                                                                    
kilowatt  hour. Fifty  percent of  the  kilowatt hour  sales                                                                    
were eligible for the PCE fund.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson asked if the  $.21 cents was the total                                                                    
cost or the fuel surcharge.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Kohler responded that it was only the fuel surcharge.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:02:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas wondered what would  happen to the PCE costs                                                                    
if the debt were retired.                                                                                                       
Ms. Kohler  said that  it would  have a  substantial effect.                                                                    
She revealed that  AVEC had taken $12  million in additional                                                                    
long-term  debt   in  2011.  The   money  was   invested  in                                                                    
communities and  was the  cash match  brought to  the Denali                                                                    
Commission and  the renewable energy fund  grants. The total                                                                    
debt  burden  for  AVEC   was  currently  approximately  $48                                                                    
million; the debt service was  $1.5 million per year; if the                                                                    
debt  were to  vanish a  $.6 to  $.7 drop  in cost  would be                                                                    
observed.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas wondered what would  happen if the debt were                                                                    
retired, and kept from growing again.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Kohler replied  that the  life of  a utility  plant was                                                                    
finite. She  said that  continual investment  was necessary.                                                                    
She relayed that  AVEC had been whittling away  at the debt,                                                                    
but that the cash match  the company was responsible for had                                                                    
risen in recent years.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas  asked how  many representatives  served the                                                                    
areas under AVEC.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Kohler  replied that  between the  house and  the senate                                                                    
there were 9 or 10.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thomas  hypothesized  that   if  each  of  the  10                                                                    
lawmakers put in $2 million  for a capital budget request it                                                                    
would greatly benefit AVEC.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Kohler agreed.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Edgmon   reiterated  that  AVEC   served  54                                                                    
communities.  He turned  attention  to the  fiscal note.  He                                                                    
said  that the  $700 million  should pay  for what  the bill                                                                    
proposed to do in a 3 to 4 year period.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB  294  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:08:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 255                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act prohibiting the driver  of a motor vehicle from                                                                    
     reading  or typing  a text  message  or other  nonvoice                                                                    
     message  or  communication  on  a  cellular  telephone,                                                                    
     computer, or  personal data  assistant while  driving a                                                                    
     motor vehicle."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara testified  that the legislation restated                                                                    
the intention  of a  bill banning the  use of  video screens                                                                    
while driving that  had passed many years  ago. However, the                                                                    
original  bill  did  not specifically  mention  texting.  He                                                                    
detailed the importance that texting  be reinstated into the                                                                    
law.   He  accepted   that  the   definition  of   what  was                                                                    
distracting to  a driver was  changeable, but  stressed that                                                                    
texting  could be  clearly defined.  He said  that during  a                                                                    
four second text  message a car could advance  the length of                                                                    
a  football  field. He  said  that  studies had  shown  that                                                                    
texting while  driving raised  the risk of  a crash  or near                                                                    
collision twentyfold. He revealed  that one-third of drivers                                                                    
on the road were texting  while operating their vehicles. He                                                                    
expressed  concern  that  lives  would be  lost  because  of                                                                    
texting while  driving. He noted  that the  legislation took                                                                    
into  consideration  future  technological  advancements  to                                                                    
limit  typing while  driving or  viewing visually  displayed                                                                    
message.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Joule wondered about texting by voice.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara replied  that it was not  covered in the                                                                    
legislation. The word "typing"  was used in consideration of                                                                    
evolving   technology.   He   relayed  that   the   existing                                                                    
distracted  driving statute  was not  enough because  it did                                                                    
not make  texting while driving  a crime. He also  felt that                                                                    
jurors  would  sympathize  with   people  who  texted  while                                                                    
driving and  would not  consider it a  crime unless  it were                                                                    
labeled one under the law.                                                                                                      
Co-Chair  Stoltze noted  that  the phone  could  be used  as                                                                    
evidentiary on a texting case.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  agreed that the phone  would record the                                                                    
date and time of the text.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze asked if the  court would need a sopena for                                                                    
the cell phone.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  believed that  the accident  would give                                                                    
probable  cause   to  remove  evidence  from   the  car.  He                                                                    
reiterated  that juries  would  not  convict under  existing                                                                    
laws.  He  hoped  that  there  would  be  a  public  service                                                                    
campaign to educate  people of the dangers  of texting while                                                                    
driving. He pointed  out to the committee a  letter from the                                                                    
chief of police in member packets (copy on file).                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:16:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson directed attention  to page 2, lines 7                                                                    
through 11.  She understood that  the term  "visual display"                                                                    
pertained to  anything you would look  at like a GPS  or and                                                                    
OnStar map.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  replied no.  He explained that  line 20                                                                    
of  the  bill  contained  original  language  that  exempted                                                                    
mapping devices.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson understood that  a person could expect                                                                    
a misdemeanor  fine of approximately $300  for texting while                                                                    
driving.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara  responded  only   if  the  driver  was                                                                    
texting while the car was in motion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson pointed  out  that the  bill did  not                                                                    
distinguish  between a  driver  who might  swerve a  little,                                                                    
from a  driver who actually  hits another car or  person due                                                                    
to texting.  She understood that under  the legislation both                                                                    
actions would be considered a misdemeanor.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara  relayed that the understanding  was not                                                                    
entirely correct. He  clarified that if the  driver was only                                                                    
texting, and did  not hurt anyone, it would  be considered a                                                                    
Class  A misdemeanor.  He furthered  that under  the current                                                                    
law if a  driver injures someone they would  be charged with                                                                    
reckless  or   negligent  driving.  He  stressed   that  the                                                                    
addition of texting  to the latter scenario  moved the crime                                                                    
up  a level.  He  asserted that  texting  while driving  was                                                                    
knowingly  dangerous, therefore  causing  an accident  while                                                                    
texting could be considered a premeditated act.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:20:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair   Fairclough   asked   about   taxi   cabs.   She                                                                    
highlighted that  some taxi's had  an electronic  screen for                                                                    
communicating with dispatch.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara replied that  a section for dispatch had                                                                    
been written  into the original  legislation. He  cited page                                                                    
3, line  3, which allowed  the viewing of a  dispatch screen                                                                    
for use  of passenger transport.  He though a case  could be                                                                    
made to  remove the  provision, but  noted that  the removal                                                                    
could negatively impact businesses. He  said that the he had                                                                    
not seen  evidence that  the dispatch  screens were  a major                                                                    
danger.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough accepted why  the provision was there.                                                                    
She warned that technology was advancing quickly.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Gara noted  that  even  law enforcement  had                                                                    
internal  manuals  that   were  followed  concerning  visual                                                                    
screens while driving.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair  Fairclough clarified  that  it would  not be  an                                                                    
illegal  act  if  a person  were  texting  while  completely                                                                    
stopped.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Gara agreed. He discussed  that it was only a                                                                    
crime if a  vehicle was moving. He stressed  that the intent                                                                    
of the bill was not to throw innocent people in jail.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:24:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas  opined the reality of  people being injured                                                                    
or killed because  of texting while driving.  He shared that                                                                    
he pulled  over to look  at any  texts that he  received. He                                                                    
did not  believe officers  should have  the ability  to text                                                                    
while   driving.  He   offered   strong   support  for   the                                                                    
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough  MOVED to adopt  CS HB 255  (JUD), 27-                                                                    
LS1165\T as a working document before the committee.                                                                            
Representative    Doogan   directed    attention   to    the                                                                    
indeterminate  fiscal  note.  He  noted  that  indeterminate                                                                    
fiscal notes  made the committee's  job much  harder because                                                                    
they know  what was  being agreed  on in  terms of  cost. He                                                                    
believed  that people  should even  not talk  on their  cell                                                                    
phones when driving. He urged support for the legislation.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thomas  asked  the   committee  to  zero  out  the                                                                    
indeterminate fiscal note from the Public Defender Agency.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough MOVED to  zero out the Public Defender                                                                    
Agency fiscal note (OMB component  number 1631). There being                                                                    
NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Costello had  signed on as a  sponsor and was                                                                    
in strong support of the bill.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:30:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas OPENED public testimony.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Thomas CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair   Fairclough   addressed    the   fiscal   notes:                                                                    
Department  of  Law,  Department  of  Administration,  Court                                                                    
System, and Department of Corrections.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thomas  MOVED  to  report CS  HB  255  (JUD),  27-                                                                    
LS1165\T  out of  committee with  individual recommendations                                                                    
and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CSHB  255(JUD) was  REPORTED  out of  committee  with a  "do                                                                    
pass" recommendation and with one  zero fiscal note from the                                                                    
Department of  Law, one zero  fiscal note for  Department of                                                                    
Administration  by the  House  Finance  Committee and  three                                                                    
previously  published  zero  fiscal notes:  FN1  (ADM),  FN2                                                                    
(COR), FN3 (CRT).                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:33:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 4:33 PM.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 255 Teen Texting Before Fatal Crash 2.10.12.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 Sectional Analysis.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 NCSL Texting Law by State.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 NCSL Legisbrief Addressing Distracted Driving.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 Letter of Support - State Farm.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 Letter of Support - Anchorage Fire Department.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 AS 28.35.161.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 12.27.11 News Miner Editorial.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 12.22.11 KTUU article.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 12.9.11 ADN article fatal hit-and-run.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 1.10.12 Empire Opinion.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 1.26.11 Newsminer Head-on Crash.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB294 Support Letters.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB294 Endowment Projections.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 11 PCE_Report_Gov_Blue_ribbon_2-1-991.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 10 Leg Research 09 200.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 09 Leg Research 06 016.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 08 Leg Research 00 022.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 07 Leg Research 99 086.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 05 Existing PCE Statutes.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 294 - 03 PCE Endowment Existing Statutes.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
CSHB294 (ENE) Sponsor Statement (1).pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 294
HB 365 Support Letters.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365
HB 365 Sponsor Statement.docx HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365
HB 365 explanation of changes between versions.docx HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365
Dvex Presentation by UAS 1 23 12.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365
CSG Capitol Ideas feature article on Aquatic Invasive Species.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365
HB 255 Summary of Changes from HB 255 to CSHB 255(JUD).pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 Letter of Support - Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB 212 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB 212 PowerPoint Jessica Luiken.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB 212 Explanation of Changes 04032012.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 212
HB255 06.25.09 Article - Texting And Driving Worse Than Drinking and Driving.docx HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 255
HB365 Amendment 1 Edgemon.pdf HFIN 4/4/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 365