Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/06/1996 01:20 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE March 6, 1996 1:20 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Gary Davis, Chairman Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair Representative Jeanette James Representative Tom Brice Representative Jerry Sanders Representative Bill Williams Representative Don Long MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 517 "An Act relating to records and hearings of the Department of Public Safety; relating to a temporary permit to drive a motor vehicle; relating to regulation of motor vehicles and commercial motor vehicles; relating to renewal of a driver's license by mail; increasing the property damage amounts for proof of financial responsibility and proof of motor vehicle eligibility in order to lawfully operate a motor vehicle in the state; relating to certain notifications in accidents involving property damage; relating to motor vehicle registration procedures; and providing for an effective date." - MOVED CSHB 517 (TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE *HOUSE BILL NO. 462 "An Act relating to the offenses of driving while intoxicated and refusal to submit to a chemical test of breath or blood; amending Rules 6 and 32.1, Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure; and providing for an effective date." MOVED HB 462 OUT OF COMMITTEE *HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 29 Providing for a contest among the elementary school students of Alaska to name the new ferry of the Alaska marine highway system. MOVED CSHCR 29 (TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 517 SHORT TITLE: MOTOR VEHICLES: REGULATION & INSURANCE SPONSOR(S): TRANSPORTATION JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/14/96 2750 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/14/96 2751 (H) TRANSPORTATION, JUDICIARY 02/21/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 02/21/96 (H) MINUTE(TRA) 02/28/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 02/28/96 (H) MINUTE(TRA) 03/06/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 462 SHORT TITLE: DRUNK DRIVING: EVIDENCE & SENTENCING SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PORTER,Toohey JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/02/96 2606 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/02/96 2606 (H) TRANSPORTATION, JUDICIARY 02/28/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 02/28/96 (H) MINUTE(TRA) 03/06/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 03/08/96 (H) JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HCR 29 SHORT TITLE: STUDENT CONTEST TO NAME NEW FERRY SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WILLIAMS JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/12/96 2721 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/12/96 2722 (H) TRANSPORTATION, STATE AFFAIRS 02/28/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 02/28/96 (H) MINUTE(TRA) 03/06/96 (H) TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17 WITNESS REGISTER JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief Driver Services Division of Motor Vehicles Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 20020 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0020 Telephone: (907) 465-4361 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 517 FRANK DILLON, Executive Director Alaska Trucking Association, Incorporated Board Member, Center for Employment Education 3443 Minnesota Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 276-1149 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 517 MARK JOHNSON, President Center for Employment Education 1049 Whitney Street Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 279-8451 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 517 JAY N. DELANY, Director Division of Motor Vehicles Department of Public Safety 5700 East Tudor Road Anchorage, Alaska 99507-1225 Telephone: (907) 269-5559 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 517 JOHN QUARTUCCIO, Division Program Specialist Office of Motor Carrier Safety Federal Highway Administration 117 West 4th Avenue Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 271-4068 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 517 PATRICK LOUNSBURY, Legislative Aide for Representative Porter Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 118 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4930 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 462 ANNE D. CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General Office of Special Prosecution and Appeals Criminal Division Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300 Telephone: (907) 465-3428 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 462 JERRY SHRINER, Special Assistant Office of the Commissioner Department of Corrections 240 Main Street, Suite 700 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4640 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 462 SAM S. KITO, Legislative Liaison/Special Assistant Office of the Commissioner Department of Transportation and Public Facilities 3132 Channel Drive Juneau, Alaska 99801-7898 Telephone: (907) 465-3904 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 29 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-8, SIDE A Number 000 The House Transportation Standing Committee was called to order by Chairman Gary Davis at 1:20 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives G. Davis, Masek, Brice, Long, and Williams. A quorum was present. This meeting was teleconferenced to Anchorage. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS announced that the agenda was a continuation of HB 517, HB 462 and HCR 29. HB 517 - MOTOR VEHICLES: REGULATION & INSURANCE Number 087 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Public Safety, was first to testify. She said HB 517 is a housekeeping bill which provides some efficiency measures and brings the state into compliance with the Federal Motor Carriers Act and the Commercial Driver's License Safety Act. She said noncompliance with those two acts would result in federal mandates and sanctions. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS checked in with people at the teleconference site in Anchorage who declined to give testimony until the amendments were raised. Representative James and Representative Sanders joined the committee meeting at 1:25 p.m. Number 370 REPRESENTATIVE JEANETTE JAMES said Amendment 1 relates to truck driving schools. She said these schools follow rules and regulations in order to provide student training. She said there are some schools that are providing training without following those rules and regulations and Amendment 1 supports the schools who are abiding by the law. She made a motion to move Amendment 1. Number 420 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS objected to Amendment 1 for purposes of discussion. He said he is reasonably satisfied that in Amendment 1, a person who owns a truck can train someone and still be in compliance. He said Amendment 1 relates specifically to schools. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES cited her personal experience with the trucking profession and stated her support for truck driving schools. Number 608 FRANK DILLON, Executive Director, Alaska Trucking Association, Incorporated, Board Member, Center for Employment Education, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He said he was in favor of HB 517 and Amendment 1. He said his organization shared Chairman Davis' concern that people who have a casual or a family relationship with someone in the trucking industry would not have the ability to give hints on how to pass the commercial driver's license test. He said his organization did want to make sure that if there were schools, they would have all the proper credentials, curriculum, and the teaching staff would all be qualified truck drivers. He added that truck driving has become complex and a difficult environment in which to operate that training is often required. Number 681 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE referred to his experience in the trucking industry and said a level of consistency in training was needed. He added that the issues involved is one of public safety and that Amendment 1 goes a long way in addressing this issue. Number 741 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS mentioned the technical skills and technological knowledge needed to operate a truck. Number 786 MARK JOHNSON, President, Center for Employment Education, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He said his organization is in support of Amendment 1. He said his organization originally testified before the House Standing Committee on State Affairs and before the House Transportation Committee and he said he did not wish to repeat that testimony. He said Amendment 1 addresses his organizations concerns. He said his organization currently runs above the standards set in Amendment 1 and will continue to do so. Number 847 JAY N. DELANY, Director, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public Safety, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He said DMV had no objection to Amendment 1 and that it appeared to help them do their job better. Number 892 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS withdrew his objection to Amendment 1. Hearing no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted to HB 517 by the House Standing Committee on Transportation. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS made a motion to adopt Amendment 2 and added that DMV had no problem with it. He said there was some concern regarding additions to HB 517 which would cause the bill to lose support and not pass, continuing that state's non-compliance with the federal government. Hearing no objections Amendment 2 was adopted to HB 517 by the House Standing Committee on Transportation. Number 999 REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK made a motion to adopt Amendment 3. This motion was objected to by CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS for purposes of discussion. Representative Masek referred to page seven, line 28, and said Amendment 3 maintains the 300 mile provision rather than reducing it to 150 miles. She said Senator Jay Kertulla made this provision of 300 miles ten years back and there has been no problem with it. She questioned why it needed to be fixed now. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK said most farmers must travel more than 150 miles because of the distances involved in the state of Alaska. She again questioned the need to change as there has not caused a problem. She asked if there was anything on the record for the reason why federal funds would be denied. MS. HENSLEY said the 300 mile radius, from the farm to the market, is in violation with the Federal Motor Carrier Act. She said there is one section, currently in statute, that was changed in 1990 to bring the state of Alaska into compliance. The section states that if a farmer went more than 150 miles from their farm, and if they drove a vehicle that was identified to meet the commercial vehicles requirement, then those farmers would need a commercial drivers license for that vehicle. She said, in 1990, this section of the statute did not get changed and the federal government has advised the state that the state is not in compliance with this one section. MS. HENSLEY said the proposed change to 150 miles does not mean that farmers cannot drive more than 150 miles, but if they do so they must meet the vehicle safety inspections that everyone else operating commercial vehicles must do. MS. HENSLEY said if the statute is not changed to 150 miles, the state will lose the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistant Grant Program. She said, current law says, if farmers drive more than 150 miles they must meet the current commercial driver license safety standards. Number 1230 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS clarified that the only time that farmers would notice any change in the statute is if they were stopped for a vehicle inspection. Number 1241 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated her strong support of farmers in the state. She stated the problems associated with federal government laws which do not fit the special circumstances of Alaska. She mentioned the farmers she knew of would not benefit if the radius were left at 300 miles, because the distances they traveled were either less than 150 miles or greater than 300 miles. Number 1350 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said the 150 mile radius for a farmer driving a truck, over 10,000 pounds or greater, was a safety issue. He said the 150 mile requirement was a safety factor rather than a convenience factor. Number 1418 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS asked when the issue of the 300 mile radius became a problem between the state of Alaska and the federal government. Number 1440 MS. HENSLEY said this 150 mile provision was included in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Act passed in 1986. She said Alaska adopted this act and came into compliance with the commercial drivers license. She added there is ongoing compliance requirements that the state must meet. She said the federal government comes back with federal registers yearly or every other year requesting that the state of Alaska meet one more step to keep the federal funds. She said the federal government gave a "drop- dead deadline" by April 1, 1990, to come in compliance with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Act and the state did so, with the exception of this oversight regarding the 150 mile radius. She said the section, Alaska Statute 28.40.100 regarding the definitions of a commercial vehicle, was changed. Number 1504 REPRESENTATIVE DON LONG asked what program the state would lose by not coming into compliance with the federal government. MS. HENSLEY said this program is the Motor Carriers Safety Assistance Program. She said this program by the Office of Motor Carriers, Federal Highway Administration, is a grant program that assists the state in carrying out commercial vehicle safety inspections for vehicles weighing in excess of 10,000 pounds. Number 1538 MR. DILLON said, in 1991, the state of Alaska knew the 300 mile radius was not going to bring the state into compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations, but Senator Kertulla was insistent that changing the radius would break the back of Alaskan agriculture. He said the federal government is seriously considering holding back money if this section is not changed. He said the Motor Carriers Safety Assistance Program money, that would be lost, is the sole source of funds for Alaska's commercial vehicle safety program. Number 1580 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK asked what the level of funding is and if the 150 mile provision would be the only reason for denial of federal funds. Number 1586 MS. HENSLEY said the federal fund is approximately $200,000 plus. She said there were several areas of Alaskan law that needed to be addressed to come into compliance with federal law. She said the 150 mile radius is the only provision related to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspection Program. She said the other provisions in the law that relate to federal funding are highway construction funds which would result into a 5 percent to 10 percent sanction of Department of Transportation funding for highway construction. This is an estimated amount of $11 million and $20 million. MS. HENSLEY said the money lost, because of the 300 mile provision, would be the entire funding for the Alaska State Troopers commercial vehicle enforcement unit. She said it would eliminate the State Troopers program for safety inspection of commercial vehicles. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK asked how and where these other areas, where the state of Alaska is not in compliance, were going to be addressed. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said this is an issue of fine tuning the state laws and, in doing so, these small provisions are caught and adjusted with legislation. JOHN QUARTUCCIO, Division Program Specialist, Office of Motor Carrier Safety, Federal Highway Administration, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He said the federal government has been quite patient with the state of Alaska, waiting over three to four years for the state to come into compliance. He said the 300 mile radius is, currently, the only variance that threatens the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance funding. She said the $200,000 figure is 50 percent of the funding that would be denied the first year. He said a total of $400,000, plus some incidental incentives that the Alaska State Troopers receives, are at risk if the state remains out of compliance with the federal government. Number 1827 A roll call vote was taken on Amendment 3. Representative Masek voted yea. Representatives Davis, Williams, James, Brice, Sanders, and Long voted nay. Amendment 3 failed to be adopted by the House Standing Committee on Transportation. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS pointed out that there were two other attempts to get exceptions, due to the special circumstances here in Alaska, and said an exemption can be attempted again. He said it is important to insert a 150 mile provision to prevent the loss of funding. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she would check on the 150 mile provision and whether or not it would hurt farmers. She said if she finds that it is a problem, she will address her concerns at the House Judiciary Committee meeting. Number 1877 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS mentioned that he had a farmer in his area, who addressed the 150 mile provision as well as the truck weight as a matter of concern to him. He said, to make those changes in HB 517, it would create a fiscal note, because there are revenues that are being derived from farm vehicles over 16,000 pounds. He said an attached fiscal note might jeopardize the success of this legislation. Number 1925 REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS made a motion to move the amended CSHB 517 (TRA) with individual recommendations and fiscal note. Hearing no objections CSHB 517 (TRA) was moved from the House Standing Committee on Transportation. HB 462 - DRUNK DRIVING: EVIDENCE & SENTENCING Number 1970 PATRICK LOUNSBURY, Legislative Aide for Representative Porter testified on HB 462. He said last year, when the Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) laws were passed, "the law was inadvertently changed that required the court to impose the entire remaining suspended sentences for those persons who failed to complete their rehab authorized by the court. Under HB 462 the court would have the discretion to impose, either all or part, of the remaining sentence." He said this discretion is a useful tool the court can use to encourage defendants to return to treatment. He said surveys have shown that people are usually not successful their first time through rehabilitation treatment, and that it usually takes two or three sessions to successfully complete a treatment. Number 2030 MR. LOUNSBURY said the second portion of HB 462 allows hearsay evidence of prior convictions to be used before the grand juries with DWI and refusal to take the breath test. He said, currently, the grand jury must convene within ten days of an arrest and if a prior conviction occurs in another state it is difficult to get the original documentation from another state. He said HB 462 would allow the courts to contact the other jurisdiction and have the defendant's record or a certified document be included as evidence. "Upon sentencing though, you would have to have the original document, as it is now." MR. LOUNSBURY said hearsay evidence can also consist of statements and observations made by peace officers in the course of investigation. MR LOUNSBURY said the third part of HB 462, amends the rules of criminal procedure. He said, "to proceed with sentencing, (indiscernible) a presentence report, unless a presentence report would apply." He said in most cases, a first offense DWI, is someone who doesn't have a prior record and a presentence report would not be needed. He said defendants in these cases have been fairly and efficiently sentenced without a presentence report for many years. He said the expense and time preparing these reports is not usually justified unless certain circumstance apply. Number 2186 ANNE D. CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Special Prosecution and Appeals, Criminal Division, Department of Law, was next to testify. She said the Department of Law supports HB 462. She said the legislature last year passed a law that made a third DWI conviction a felony if committed within a three year period. She said it was an oversight, when the provision was passed, that required the court to impose the entire remaining suspended sentence for failure to complete the alcohol program. She reiterated that this can be a useful tool in ensuring compliance by the defendant in receiving treatment. Number 2292 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE made a motion to move Amendment 1. CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS objected to Amendment 1 for purposes of discussion. Representative Brice said it was brought to his attention that in Fairbanks the courts allow defendants to pick and choose between the various drug and alcohol treatment programs. He said, considering the amount of money that the state puts into the Alcohol Safety Action Programs (ASAP), it is important that the courts request that the defendants go to these programs. He said the precise verbiage of Amendment 1 is different than that in regards to the Fairbanks Native Association, and there is no actual language within the statutes that he could reference. He reiterated that it is important that the courts recognize ASAP. Number 2366 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said, in Anchorage, ASAP is a state run program and the court refers people with DWI offenses to them for an evaluation. After the evaluation, the offenders can go anywhere they want to go for treatment. She said in Fairbanks, the FNA receives a grant to operate ASAP, but the courts do not necessarily refer offenders to FNA in Fairbanks. She said ASAP and FNA document the completion of treatment and that other treatment facilities do not have the same documentation procedures. She said without this documentation the courts are not able to verify the treatment requirement. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said Amendment 1 requires documentation of a person's compliance. She questioned whether there was any other treatment centers that were doing an evaluation before the offender went through the rehabilitative program. Number 2467 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said, it appeared that in both Anchorage and Fairbanks, where the person sought treatment was under the discretion of the judges. He asked whether Amendment 1 would clarify that and suggested that Amendment 1 should read the, "courts should refer a person," rather than the, "agencies should refer a person." Number 023 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that documentation should be made available to assure the courts that the offender has completed the treatment. She said there are several programs offering this service in Fairbanks and said that not all of these programs do a screening evaluation program, just a treatment program. She said there are controversial treatment methods and cited an example of a person who was attempting to teach people to drink in moderation. She said no one is following through with providing documentation of whether or not the offender has completed the treatment program. She said sometimes offenders follow through with a program and then the courts say they have not completed the treatment due to the lack of documentation. Number 084 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said there are discrepancies in the law regarding documentation, but added that he wasn't sure that Amendment 1 addressed these concerns. He said he would be willing to write a letter to the sponsor of HB 462, Chairman Porter, House Standing Judiciary Committee regarding this issue. Number 119 MR. LOUNSBURY said the issue raised is a problem and added that ASAP is a good program that works in some areas of the state. He said Amendment 1 was brought to Chairman Porter last week. He said HB 462 was designed to correct the oversights from last years legislation and that there wasn't enough time to incorporate this issue into HB 462. Number 187 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said, when reading through all of Amendment 1, he believed the word agency referred back to the court. He said if he felt that if the issue would be addressed in the House Judiciary Committee, he would withdraw Amendment 1. He said he believed Amendment 1 would incorporate itself easily within HB 462. Number 238 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS supported the suggestion of sending a letter of intent from the House Transportation Committee, along with HB 462, when it is moved to the House Judiciary Committee. Number 253 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said, with the consent of the House Transportation Committee, he would draft a letter and send it to Chairman Porter. He said Amendments added during the committee process are important and worthwhile to various legislation. There was a discussion about whether a roll call vote should be taken on Amendment 1 as a vote on Amendment 1 would conflict with the proposed letter to Chairman Porter. Representative Brice withdrew Amendment 1. Number 385 JERRY SHRINER, Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Corrections, said the Department of Corrections put in a negative fiscal note with HB 462. He said last years legislation, HB 159, required the use of funds for presentence investigations, as is required in every felony case. He said because HB 159 did not come into effect until January of 1996, the fiscal note for HB 159 was cut in half. The affect of HB 159 was that five positions were funded for half of the year. He said HB 462 would reduce the required presentence investigations, thereby reducing the number of probation officers doing those investigations by two. He said the Department of Corrections added a note to the fiscal note stating that the decrement assumes that the five positions and funding related to HB 159 are annualized and will be funded in fiscal year 1997 without the passage of HB 462. He concluded that HB 462 will allow the Department of Corrections to do less work and eliminate two positions. Number 486 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS made a motion to move HB 462 with the letter of intent by the committee, attached fiscal notes and individual recommendations. Hearing no objection HB 462 was moved from the House Standing Committee on Transportation. HCR 29 - STUDENT CONTEST TO NAME NEW FERRY Number 522 REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS, sponsor of HCR 29, read a statement into the record, "HCR was introduced to encourage the participation of elementary students across the state in naming the new Alaska Marine Highway vessel. Vessels of the Alaska Marine Highway System are, by law, required to be named after glaciers in the state. With the introduction of this resolution I hope to involve the elementary students of Alaska in this process. This will give teachers in the state a vehicle to implement lessons about transportation systems in the state, geography of the state and the legislative process. The information contained in the resolution outlines the importance of the Alaska Marine Highway to the state economy. The christening of a new vessel illustrates the continuing dedication to the system by the state. Because the Alaska Marine Highway impacts the economy of the entire state, I believe it is important to involve the entire state in the naming of this vessel. I encourage you to support this legislation." REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS made a motion to adopt proposed Amendment 1. REPRESENTATIVE LONG objected for purposes of discussion and asked whether Amendment 1 would require the addition of a fiscal note. REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS deferred the question to Mr. Kito. Number 606 SAM S. KITO, Legislative Liaison/Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT/PF), testified on HCR 29. He said the DOT/PF felt that giving one free passage to one person would not have any appreciable fiscal impact. Number 623 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE questioned the fiscal impact on a student from Barrow winning the contest. MR. KITO said that DOT/PF could assume those fiscal costs. The objection to Amendment 1 was withdrawn. Hearing no further objection Amendment 1 was adopted into HCR 29 by the House Standing Committee on Transportation. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES made a motion to move CSHCR 29 (TRA) with individual recommendations and zero fiscal note. Hearing no objections CSHCR 29 (TRA) was moved from the House Standing Committee on Transportation. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to come before the House Standing Committee on Transportation, Chairman Gary Davis adjourned the meeting at 2:25 p.m.