Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/10/1995 01:40 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE April 10, 1995 1:40 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Gary Davis, Chairman Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair Representative Jerry Sanders Representative Bill Williams Representative Tom Brice Representative Jeannette James MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Eileen MacLean COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HB 287: "An Act relating to outdoor advertising on trash receptacles and restrictions on outdoor advertising." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE * HB 277: "An Act relating to issuance of instruction permits to operate a snowmobile." HEARD AND HELD (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 110 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4968 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime sponsor of HB 287 RACE JONES, President CanAd P.O. Box 111725 Anchorage, Alaska 99511 Telephone: (907) 522-4328 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports HB 287 REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 406 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4859 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime sponsor of HB 277 MEGAN BUCK, Student P. O. Box 1486 Valdez, Alaska 99686 Telephone: (907) 835-5663 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 277 BRADY STREET, Student P.O. Box 212 Valdez, Alaska 99686 Telephone: (907) 835-5000 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 277 RYAN MORGAN, Student P.O. Box 924 Valdez, Alaska 99686 Telephone: (907) 835-2457 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 277 DEAN BIALIK P.O. Box 1020 Delta Junction, Alaska 99737 Telephone: (907) 895-4606 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 277 BERNARD GOODNO P.O. Box 92 Delta Junction, Alaska 99737 Telephone: (907) 895-4000 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 277 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief of Driver Services Division of Motor Vehicles Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 20020 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0020 Telephone: (907) 465-4361 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided technical information for HB 277 JERRY JERNIGAN, Owner Tok Recreational Vehicle Village; and Member, Tok Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 741 Tok, Alaska 99780 Telephone: (907) 883-5877 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 277 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 287 SHORT TITLE: OUTDOOR ADVERTISING SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) ROKEBERG BY REQUEST JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/29/95 978 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/29/95 979 (H) TRANSPORTATION 04/07/95 (H) TRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 17 04/10/95 (H) TRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 277 SHORT TITLE: PERMITS FOR DRIVING SNOWMOBILES SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KUBINA JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/24/95 895 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/24/95 896 (H) TRANSPORTATION, FINANCE 04/10/95 (H) TRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 17 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-15, SIDE A Number 000 The House Transportation Committee was called to order by Chairman Gary Davis at 1:40 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Davis, Williams, Sanders, Brice, James and Masek. Members absent were Representatives MacLean. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS announced the agenda was to hear testimony on HB 287 and HB 277 in that order. He asked Representative Rokeberg to present HB 287. HB 287 - OUTDOOR ADVERTISING Number 012 REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG, prime sponsor of HB 287, presented the committee with a color photograph depicting the actual configuration of the suggested trash receptacle. He said Mr. Race Jones will give testimony on this concept. He explained HB 287 passed both Houses last year but was vetoed by the Governor. HB 287 is a positive small business economic development bill that allows for the beautification and cleanup of areas. He indicated the bill package contained a letter from the previous Commissioner of the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT/PF) indicating because both Alaska Statute 19.25.110 and Alaska Administrative Code 20.010 only allow advertising on bus benches and bus shelters, the department does not have the authority to approve this request. Representative Rokeberg indicated there were other supporting letters from Assembly members from the municipality of Anchorage and Mayor Mystrom supporting this concept which already exists in Anchorage. He indicated HB 287 has a zero fiscal note, or, may even have a positive one if the Department of Transportation adopts a permitting fee, which is also in place in Anchorage. He asked for the Committee's support and said he was available for questions. Number 067 CHAIRMAN DAVIS announced Mr. Race Jones, who is scheduled to testify via teleconference from Anchorage. RACE JONES, President of CanAd, a company he formulated back in 1990, designed the trash receptacles to enhance the beautification of the city of Anchorage as well as for the benefit of other areas. He stated this was for other companies to benefit from and not just his. He explained the receptacles have a 40 to 50 gallon capacity and are fabricated locally. He fabricated, installed and maintained the receptacles. Mr. Jones said the receptacles are maintained through cooperation with the business communities. A business sponsors a particular receptacle and for their sponsorship they receive four 18" by 18" signs for all sides of the receptacle. He explained his company or others would be responsible for maintaining the integrity of their own receptacle. He noted it cost the city of Anchorage approximately $30,000 a year to maintain their litter pick-up in the downtown business district. Once his program is up to speed it would save the municipality approximately $30,000 which could be allotted to other areas. He stated over a ten year period this could save the city quit a bit of money. MR. JONES also indicated other benefits to the state which are better control of litter on the streets as well as to improve roadside areas, and possibly reducing maintenance on some of the street cleaning machinery through less litter the machine has to process. He stated he intends to promote this program by placing these receptacles on public right-of-ways. Mr. Jones intended to conduct a public education program through the media regarding the use and importance of these receptacles. He communicated with Mr. John Horn, Regional Director for the Central Region of the DOT/PF, throughout the process. Mr. Horn also suggested the possibility of an amendment from the DOT/PF for allowing the city to enact permits on the particular state right-of-ways if HB 287 was enacted. MR. JONES suggested this program would benefit rural Alaska as far as employment and stimulate more small businesses. He stated he did not intend to operate this program solely on his own. He explained that being an entrepreneur, he was interested in a percentage of the market but his interest as a Native Alaskan was to benefit Alaskans and the state. Number 184 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked why Mr. Jones had the word "adjacent" trash receptacle added. MR. JONES explained "adjacent" trash receptacles would include areas near bus shelters and benches. He suggested amending the word "adjacent" due to the fact this was somewhat restricting to the purpose of these trash receptacles. This would allow the DOT/PF to regulate the permit issuance upon the applications, so if they felt that the receptacles would not hinder handicap access areas and not hindering sight of vision as far as traffic, then they would accept the permit so it is not restricted to bus stops and bus shelters. He noted the importance of placing these receptacles in high traffic areas. In order for the program to be effective, these trash receptacles need to be around intersections, foot paths, bicycle paths and other accessible areas. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if the word "adjacent" was deleted, would this provide a greater ability to use these receptacles on state right-of-ways. MR. JONES said yes, and referred to an article where the new Commissioner of the DOT/PF stated that with the decrease in state revenues, it becomes more imperative to find ways to deal with private enterprises, and this would be one of those innovative ways. He reiterated his support for the removal of the word "adjacent" which would be left to the Commissioner of the DOT/PF in that particular area to decide whether or not the permit would be applicable. Number 214 CHAIRMAN DAVIS expressed concern for eliminating the word "adjacent" and being able to place any container alongside the road and calling it a trash receptacle. He explained there should be some adjustment to the wording of "adjacent" and suggested the wording "and those acceptable trash receptacles." He stated HB 287 "was a relatively simple bill and has only the House Transportation Committee as a referral. If the committee keeps this in mind, it would be his wish to keep that concern in mind when and if the bill gets to the floor since it would be a minor amendment. REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE expressed concern for waiting until HB 287 is heard on the floor to amend it. MR. JONES interjected that he agreed with the wording "trash receptacle." He explained one of the reasons he wanted to elaborate on this concept was the design in itself is part of the integrity. He noted he did not want just any 55-gallon drum placed along the roadsides of Alaska. He stated "presentation is 75 percent of your sale." He agreed there has to be some sort of control regarding the design and placement of the receptacles. CHAIRMAN DAVIS stated it was his impression that HB 287 is drafted specifically to accommodate the cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks. There are other areas that do not have bus shelters or benches that these receptacles would be required to be adjacent to, as indicated in this bill. With the removal of the word "adjacent" and some additional language, this would allow other areas of the state to incorporate this project. Number 267 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE expressed concern for the criteria already established regarding bus benches and shelters, and the building standards they are required to conform to before they are erected. He asked about a similar process of standards with the application of the trash receptacles. CHAIRMAN DAVIS stated he shared Representative Brice's concern with reference to waiting until this is heard on the floor, and he will do some further research on this and possibly draft some proposed amendments. REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS expressed concern for the type of advertisements that could be displayed on these trash receptacles and the rules that govern what can and can't be advertised. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated it was his understanding that the ordinances of the prevailing municipality regarding the material for public display would be in order, contrary to any other state regulations or law. Therefore, the local municipality could address their first amendment rights with respect to that specific area, such as what is in practice in the municipality of Anchorage. CHAIRMAN DAVIS indicated this would be a state law and the DOT/PF guidelines would also apply within the state right-of-way areas outside the organized municipalities. MR. JONES said the restrictions on the receptacles would be under the municipal codes that would effectively have control over the signs. He referenced what is currently being displayed on the bus shelters and said the ordinance was not amended through the municipality of Anchorage last week in regard to the political advertising on the local municipal buses, but it does state the applicability of municipal enactments...they may enact ordinances that regulate outdoor advertising in a way that is more restrictive than the provisions of the state. He indicated he had spoken to the Mayor's office and the Public Works Department regarding this. He explained the Public Works Department has the ability to pull his permit from a given area if the advertising is offensive or if the receptacle endangers the public in any way. He explained it would be "suicide" for his business to advertise in any way that would be offensive to the public. CHAIRMAN DAVIS asked for further discussion. Then asked what the will of the Committee was. REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK made a motion to move HB 287 out of the House Transportation Committee with individual recommendations and a zero fiscal note. Number 357 CHAIRMAN DAVIS asked if there was any objection. Hearing none, HB 287 is moved out of the committee. HB 277 - PERMITS FOR DRIVING SNOWMOBILES CHAIRMAN DAVIS introduced Representative Gene Kubina, prime sponsor of HB 277. REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA stated HB 277 would help to clarify the existing law regarding the issue of permits for snowmobiles. He noted this issue came up in Valdez where there are a number of people that operate their snowmobiles on town roads. He indicated there were numerous trails for snowmobiles directly off the roads and people with only a learner's permit were operating snowmobiles. This was brought to the attention of the city council as to whether or not this was legal. The consensus of the meeting was that it might only be legal if a person under 19 had someone 19 years of age or older, with a driver's license on the snowmobile with them. HB 277 was designed to clarify that people with learner permits could ride on municipal streets with a municipal ordinance. Representative Kubina indicated he received a letter about an hour ago from the Department of Public Safety stating the intent of HB 277 would not be necessary, and the law already allows it. He said his intent would then be, to take this and another letter regarding this issue to the Attorney General's office for confirmation of the fact his intent with this bill was already covered in an existing law. If it is law, he would not want to duplicate this information. CHAIRMAN DAVIS asked if there were any questions from the committee and announced there were people on line waiting to testify from Valdez and Delta Junction. He asked for testimony from Valdez. Number 381 MEGAN BUCK, High School Student from Valdez, stated people 19 years or over should not have to accompany the younger operators of the snowmobiles, who have just a permit. She opposed Section 2, regarding the drivers education program and stated it should be a snowmobile education class. BRADY STREET, High School Student from Valdez, indicated he had the same concerns as Ms. Buck. He expressed concern for the fact most snowmobiles are not designed for a second person. He stated he would support a snowmobile education class. RYAN MORGAN, High School Student from Valdez, questioned the relevancy of a drivers education class instead of a snowmobile education class. CHAIRMAN DAVIS stated he would now take testimony from persons in Delta Junction. Number 407 DEAN BIALIK from Delta Junction, stated he did not see a need for the requirement for a permit. He stated there were city regulations already in place regarding the operation of snowmobiles in and around cities. CHAIRMAN DAVIS suggested that the people on teleconference remain on-line until the Division of Motor Vehicles presents information regarding these issues. BERNARD GOODNO from Delta Junction opposed HB 277 on the grounds the state has covered this issue enough and felt there were enough regulations on this issue. Number 421 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief of Driver Services, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Public Safety, said the department has viewed this issue for several years. The DMV's definition for a snowmobile fall under the definition of a motor vehicle. Anyone operating or exercising their privilege to drive in Alaska is required to have, in their possession, a valid driver's license, and in this case, a valid permit. A license under the definition covered by the DMV laws includes a permit to drive. However, this does not authorize the person to operate it on state highways. It gives the municipalities the option of allowing and passing ordinances for the operation of snowmobiles on city streets. She indicated operating snowmobiles on state highways could create serious problems and this was one of the things they would like to have restricted. If a municipality so chooses, the current regulations and statutes cover municipality for doing this. The issue of a "child" operating a snowmobile on streets or a highway or other vehicular-way area, is also covered in regulations. It says that a parent may not permit a child to operate a snowmobile on roadways. It was her belief there has been a number of fatalities in the state as a result of snowmobile accidents, she added the societal cost is astronomical dealing with off-road vehicle accidents. She noted she did not have statistical information on the fatalities. She felt there was sufficient law and the laws do cover the operation, and they're subject to the same rules of the road as anyone else, even through they are operating in a municipality. CHAIRMAN DAVIS asked for clarification on the legality of operating a snowmobile within a state right-of-way if a person has a driver's license or is on a permit basis, then they must be accompanied by a person 19 years of age or older. MS. HENSLEY indicated there are regulations that control where the snowmobile may be operated on state highways in Alaska. They are not allowed directly on highways. The laws are restricted enough in that if a person has only an instruction permit and is under the age of 16, that person is required to have a licensed driver who is at least 19 years of age, and has been licensed for one year. CHAIRMAN DAVIS said it is within the roadway system as opposed to the right-of-way that the laws provide for. MS. HENSLEY stated "vehicular-way or area is still covered under the driver licensing laws in the state as far as what can be operated in those vehicular-way areas. The right-of-way covers the vehicular-way areas by definition in the law." Number 472 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA asked if persons requiring accompaniment on a snowmobile, must have someone riding on the same machine, or can they ride along side on a separate machine, as is the case with a motorcycle. MS. HENSLEY explained if the snowmobile was intended to carry two passengers, the licensed driver would be required to ride on that machine. If the machine was designed to carry only one passenger, then someone would be required to ride along side on a separate snowmobile. Number 489 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA stated his intent was to make allowances for some leniency to the existing statute. He explained it would be acceptable for the parents to ride on one snowmobile and the child on another, which is what happens in most cases. He acknowledged that a person may cross a highway but not ride directly on the highway. It was his understanding that they are allowed by municipal code to operate on municipal roads. MS. HENSLEY said this was correct. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA remarked he would like to see a change in the section requiring a licensed driver be required to accompany someone who is under 19. CHAIRMAN DAVIS said that would involve providing for the definition of "accompanied." He noted currently in statute it states a person must be accompanied by someone 19 years of age or older. He said it was his understanding this implied the licensed driver must be riding on the same snowmobile. MS. HENSLEY asked Representative Kubina if he would then rather see no adult supervision, if for example a 14-year-old is operating a snowmobile? REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA said no, not on the same snowmobile. He agreed that the wording "accompanied" could possibly imply riding along side on a separate snowmobile. He questioned whether the law already allows for this. He indicated Ms. Hensley seems to imply it does not. MS. HENSLEY said she would say no, if that machine was designed for one person. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA interjected and said this bill would then be applicable for only a two-passenger snowmobile. Number 493 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES stated she could not compare a snowmobile to a motorcycle. She noted snowmobiles do not contain brakes. She questioned the benefit of a person riding along side someone and indicated the person on the other machine would have limited control over the person not licensed to operate a snowmobile by themselves. CHAIRMAN DAVIS stated for the record that Representative James arrived at 2:00 p.m. He then commented to Ms. Hensley that most of these municipalities in Alaska have state right-of-ways and state highways that pass right through them. He remarked most municipal officials realize this. However, a lot of residents are not aware of the distinction between a city street and a state right-of-way. He explained within Soldotna city limits it is illegal to run a dirt bike, motorcycle or four wheeler within the city limits. He added this was one of the best laws regarding this issue to be placed on the books. He acknowledged that this may not be practical for areas where it could be seen as a necessity to own a snowmobile or all terrain vehicle (ATV) in such places as Delta Junction, where there is more open land. To visit a neighbor a person may have to travel a mile or more. Number 525 MS. HENSLEY explained on one hand we are looking at trying to get laws that will train a youthful driver to develop good driving skills that they may use throughout their life. This was the purpose of having a three-stage licensing system. She expressed concern for the allowance of operating a snowmobile along side other vehicular traffic. CHAIRMAN DAVIS said there was one more person to testify via teleconference from Tok. JERRY JERNIGAN, Owner of Tok Recreational Vehicle Village; and Member, Tok Chamber of Commerce, felt that HB 277 will probably not stand due to lack of requirement. He hopes that the committee will be involved in future regulations regarding this issue. He opposed being regulated too strongly. He stated his intentions will be to contact the Alaska State Snow Machine Association and recommend they have extensive input regarding this issue. He stated he was not sure if the association was aware of this particular bill. He believed the use of a snowmobile was a way of life for some Alaskans, particularly in rural areas. He said he was not aware of existing laws restricting the areas in which snowmobiles could be used. He stated what he was hearing from today's testimonies was that it is illegal, however, we may not want to enforce this issue in the rural communities, but it will be enforced in the municipalities and the more concentrated population areas of the state. He said he had a problem with this inconsistency of a law. Number 552 CHAIRMAN DAVIS remarked one thing we learn in Juneau quickly is we do not assume anything. HB 277 is probably not dead and Representative Kubina has heard all testimony and will draft an amended version of this bill and bring it back to the House Transportation Committee at a later date. MS. HENSLEY indicated that several years ago there was a superior court decision on a snowmobile and drunk driving issue in the city of St. Mary's. In that area, the individual filed an appeal with the superior court stating that they could not take any action against him for drunk driving because he was operating a snowmobile. The city of St. Mary's then said they require by ordinance that all individuals operating a snowmobile on the city streets of St. Mary's must have a valid driver's license. The court upheld that decision, stating that because the city had that ordinance, they upheld that decision that he was drunk driving. She said if the city of Valdez chooses to allow the operation of snowmobile on their city streets, then, they can by ordinance, adopt that they meet Title 28 licensing laws. She indicated the department does have sufficient laws on the books that will allow them to do that. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated she did not realize that it was illegal for young people to be riding snowmobile along roadways. She agreed with Mr. Jernigan's comment on the fact we should not have laws that we can turn our heads at. If we are going to look the other way, then there should be a provision in the law that would allow for this. She stated in the city of North Pole where she lives, people freely use snowmobile on all the roads. She said she was unaware of this being illegal and expressed concern for this issue. REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA said the city of Valdez has allowed this practice to go on for years. He explained most people are traveling from their homes to the snowmobile areas which are scattered around the town. The city council felt uncomfortable when they were talking about winter tourism and how they would regulate snowmobile usage. The city attorney said it appears we may be in violation of the law with the operation of snowmobiles. The city did not want to be in violation of the law, but the police chief said he was not familiar with the procedures for the regulating of snowmobile usage; however, now that it is brought to his attention, it places him in an uncomfortable situation. He concluded this was the reason this bill was before the committee, so as not to purposely break the law, but to make an attempt at giving some flexibility to the municipalities for carrying this out so it is done in a safe and legal manner. Number 585 CHAIRMAN DAVIS asked if there were any questions and thanked Representative Kubina. He announced that Representative Kubina would present the House Transportation Committee with a revised version of HB 277. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to come before the House Transportation Committee. Chairman Davis adjourned the meeting at 2:25 p.m.