Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/15/1998 01:04 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
      HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                  
                   April 15, 1998                                              
                     1:04 p.m.                                                 
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
Representative William K. (Bill) Williams, Chairman                            
Representative Beverly Masek, Vice Chair                                       
Representative John Cowdery                                                    
Representative Bill Hudson                                                     
Representative Jerry Sanders                                                   
Representative Kim Elton                                                       
Representative Albert Kookesh                                                  
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
All members present                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 153                                                            
"An Act relating to issuance of special license plates to                      
commemorate the arts."                                                         
     - MOVED SB 153 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 304(RLS)                                                
"An Act relating to the bail or fine for an offense committed in a             
highway work zone; and providing for an effective date."                       
     - MOVED CSSB 304(RLS) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
* HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 67                                                
Relating to renewal of the bilateral aviation agreement concerning             
the mandatory Anchorage stopover for Russian carriers on                       
transpacific routes between the Russian Far East and the United                
     - MOVED HJR 67 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
* HOUSE BILL NO. 482                                                           
"An Act relating to registration of noncommercial trailers and to              
registration of vehicles owned by disabled persons or persons who              
are 65 years of age or older; and providing for an effective date."            
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
(* First public hearing)                                                       
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
BILL: SB 153                                                                   
SPONSOR(S): FINANCE                                                            
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 4/25/57               (S)  RLS AT 10:45 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                  
 3/26/97       875     (S)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 3/26/97       875     (S)  TRANSPORTATION, FINANCE                            
 4/03/97               (S)  TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                  
 4/03/97               (S)  MINUTE(TRA)                                        
 4/10/97               (S)  TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                  
 4/10/97               (S)  MINUTE(TRA)                                        
 4/15/97               (S)  TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                  
 4/15/97               (S)  MINUTE(TRA)                                        
 4/16/97      1165     (S)  TRA RPT 3DP                                        
 4/16/97      1165     (S)  DP: WARD, GREEN, WILKEN                            
 4/16/97      1165     (S)  FISCAL NOTE (ADM)                                  
 4/21/97               (S)  FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                  
 4/22/97               (S)  FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                  
 4/22/97      1384     (S)  FIN RPT 6DP 1AM                                    
 4/22/97      1384     (S)  DP: PEARCE, SHARP, PHILLIPS, ADAMS,                
 4/22/97      1384     (S)  TORGERSON, DONLEY; AM: PARNELL                     
 4/22/97      1384     (S)  PREVIOUS FN (ADM)                                  
 4/25/97               (S)  RLS AT 10:45 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                  
 4/25/97               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                        
 4/25/97      1478     (S)  RULES TO CALENDAR  4/25/97                         
 4/25/97      1487     (S)  READ THE SECOND TIME                               
 4/25/97      1487     (S)  ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN                     
 4/25/97      1487     (S)  READ THE THIRD TIME  SB 153                        
 4/25/97      1488     (S)  PASSED Y17 N2 A1                                   
 4/25/97      1488     (S)  LINCOLN NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                  
 4/28/97      1529     (S)  RECONSIDERATION NOT TAKEN UP                       
 4/28/97      1531     (S)  TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                 
 4/30/97      1393     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 4/30/97      1393     (H)  TRANSPORTATION, FINANCE                            
 4/08/98               (H)  TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                          
 4/08/98               (H)  MINUTE(TRA)                                        
 4/15/98               (H)  TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                          
BILL: SB 304                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: REGULATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES & HWYS                               
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) DONLEY, Wilken, Taylor, Duncan, Kelly,                  
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 2/16/98      2524     (S)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 2/16/98      2524     (S)  TRA, JUD                                           
 2/24/98               (S)  TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                  
 2/24/98               (S)  MINUTE(TRA)                                        
 3/12/98               (S)  TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                  
 3/12/98               (S)  MINUTE(TRA)                                        
 3/19/98               (S)  TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                  
 3/19/98               (S)  MINUTE(TRA)                                        
 3/20/98      2916     (S)  TRA RPT CS  1DP 3NR SAME TITLE                     
 3/20/98      2916     (S)  DP: WARD NR: WILKEN, HALFORD, GREEN                
 3/20/98      2916     (S)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE TO SB & CS (DOT)                  
 3/25/98               (S)  JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                      
 3/25/98               (S)  MINUTE(JUD)                                        
 3/26/98      3006     (S)  JUD RPT 1DP 3NR (TRA)CS                            
 3/26/98      3006     (S)  DP: TAYLOR; NR: PARNELL, MILLER,                   
 3/26/98      3006     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN (DOT)                             
 3/30/98               (S)  RLS AT 4:00 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                   
 3/30/98               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                        
 4/01/98               (S)  RLS AT 12:10 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                  
 4/01/98               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                        
 4/03/98               (S)  RLS AT 12:00 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                  
 4/03/98               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                        
 4/06/98      3159     (S)  RLS TO CALENDAR CS NEW TITLE 4/6/98                
 4/06/98      3159     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN APPLIES (DOT)                     
 4/06/98      3163     (S)  READ THE SECOND TIME                               
 4/06/98      3163     (S)  RLS CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                        
 4/06/98      3163     (S)  ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN                     
 4/06/98      3163     (S)  READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 304(RLS)                  
 4/06/98      3163     (S)  COSPONSOR(S): WILKEN, TAYLOR, DUNCAN               
 4/06/98      3163     (S)  KELLY, PEARCE                                      
 4/06/98      3164     (S)  PASSED Y19 N- E1                                   
 4/06/98      3164     (S)  EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                  
 4/06/98      3167     (S)  TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                 
 4/07/98      2898     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 4/07/98      2898     (H)  TRANSPORTATION, JUDICIARY                          
 4/15/98               (H)  TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                          
BILL: HJR 67                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: AIR FLIGHTS RUSSIAN FAR EAST                                      
SPONSOR(S): TRANSPORTATION                                                     
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 4/09/98      2942     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 4/09/98      2942     (H)  TRANSPORTATION                                     
 4/15/98               (H)  TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                          
BILL: HB 482                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION                                        
SPONSOR(S): TRANSPORTATION                                                     
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 4/06/98      2886     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 4/06/98      2886     (H)  TRANSPORTATION                                     
 4/15/98               (H)  TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                          
WITNESS REGISTER                                                               
KRAG JOHNSEN, Legislative Administrative Assistant                             
  to Senator Drue Pearce                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
Capitol Building, Room 518                                                     
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 465-6594                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided sponsor statement for SB 153.                    
JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services                                        
Division of Motor Vehicles                                                     
Department of Administration                                                   
P.O. Box 10200                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0200                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 465-4361                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 153, SB 304 and HB 482.                   
SENATOR DAVE DONLEY                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
Capitol Building, Room 508                                                     
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 465-3892                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 304.                                        
DENNIS POSHARD                                                                 
Legislative Liaison/Special Assistant                                          
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities                             
3132 Channel Drive                                                             
Juneau, Alaska 99801-7898                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 465-3904                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 304.                                      
PETER ECKLUND, Legislative Assistant                                           
  to Representative William K. (Bill) Williams                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
Capitol Building, Room 424                                                     
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 465-3424                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented sponsor statement for HJR 67 and                
                     HB 482.                                                   
RICH WILSON, Development Manager                                               
Anchorage International Airport                                                
P.O. Box 196960                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska 99519                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 266-2525                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information and answered questions               
                     on HJR 67.                                                
TIM ROGERS, Legislative Program Coordinator                                    
Municipality of Anchorage                                                      
P.O. Box 196650                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska 99519                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 343-4467                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 482.                                      
KEVIN RITCHIE, Executive Director                                              
Alaska Municipal League                                                        
217 Second Street, Suite 200                                                   
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 586-1325                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 482.                                      
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                               
TAPE 98-18, SIDE A                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
CHAIRMAN WILLIAM K. (BILL) WILLIAMS called the House Transportation            
Standing Committee meeting to order at 1:04 p.m.  Members present              
at the call to order were Representatives Williams, Masek, Cowdery,            
Hudson, Sanders, Elton and Kookesh.                                            
SB 153 - SPECIALIZED LICENSE PLATES FOR ARTS                                   
Number 0120                                                                    
CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS said the committee would hear SB 153, "An Act                
relating to issuance of special license plates to commemorate the              
Number 0135                                                                    
KRAG JOHNSEN, Legislative Administrative Assistant to Senator Drue             
Pearce, Alaska State Legislature, provided the sponsor statement               
for SB 153.  He informed the committee that the bill would create              
a new specialized license plate to benefit the Alaska State Council            
on the Arts (ASCA).  He said the fee for the specialty license                 
plate would be $150 for the first year and the subsequent fees                 
would be dependent on the type of vehicle.  He stated that there a             
number of specialty plates that have been created over the years.              
He said the Senate Finance Committee does realize that there is a              
proliferation of license plates and the one thing that makes ASCA              
stand out is that they have the ability to promote such a program              
to a success.                                                                  
Number 0234                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS noted that there is a fiscal note                 
attached and asked if the license plates pay for themselves.  He               
asked if the money goes into the general fund and then back out.               
MR. JOHNSEN said that is correct.  He pointed out that the Division            
of Motor Vehicles (DMV) submitted a fiscal note in the amount of               
$19.9 thousand.  He said the way that it would work is the funds               
that are generated would pay back the cost of the plates first, and            
then any funds above that amount would be appropriated to the ASCA.            
He added that it would make up that cost first.                                
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS commented that it seems like the legislature            
gets a lot of similar bills like this one a year.  He asked if the             
legislature could submit a bill that would let anyone make any kind            
of a plate they want to as long as they pay for it.  He said, "This            
gets old."                                                                     
MR. JOHNSEN said they did look into something like what                        
Representative Sanders just described.  He said there are other                
programs across the nation that do things such as a tag, and not               
such a specialty plate, then the money goes toward a specific                  
group.  He said there's other ways to do it, but at this point, it             
would take a major clean-up.  He noted there are at least a dozen              
specialty plates.                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS he said, for the record, he hopes that the              
next person who wants a specialty plate will make it blank.  He                
said, "Let's have specialty plates for everybody in Alaska, and as             
long as they pay for them, we won't have to be involved in this all            
the time."                                                                     
MR. JOHNSEN told the committee members that ASCA will be                       
responsible for creating the plate, designing the plate; for the               
most part, everything will be on their shoulders to promote and                
create the program.  He indicated that the DMV will act as                     
REPRESENTATIVE BILL HUDSON asked where the cost of the plates is               
included in the fiscal note.                                                   
MR. JOHNSEN informed Representative Hudson that on page 2 of the               
fiscal note, there's a breakdown of the costs.                                 
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON noted that according to the fiscal note it's             
$2.43 for a set of plates.                                                     
Number 0457                                                                    
JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor                     
Vehicles, Department of Administration, came before the committee              
to testify.  She explained that the $2.43 is for the personnel                 
services costs to reissue the plates.  She said the division has to            
order a minimum of 900 sets of plates, whether or not they sell all            
of them and she said the cost is for the new sheeting is $10,000               
and there's a design cost on top of that.  She said DMV will have              
a representative working with ASCA on designing the plate, and they            
will also have the design artist from 3M Corporation who makes                 
their sheeting who will work with them to make sure that the plates            
are readable.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked how many different speciality plates               
does the state currently issue.                                                
MS. HENSLEY responded that the state has 46 different license                  
plates they issue, which include passenger plates, personalized                
plates, veterans plates, motorcycle plates, et cetera.                         
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON clarified that he wanted to know how many                
specialty plates the state issues that designate the payment of                
them to a specific purpose.                                                    
MS. HENSLEY said she did not know, but that they have multiple                 
plates such as university plates, veterans plates, dealer plates,              
et cetera.  She said DMV does not have any objection to any of                 
these plates as long as they're funded.  She noted that a bill                 
passed two years which was for the sport of dog mushing and that               
they never ordered those plates because the fiscal note was not                
funded, which was zeroed out in conference committee.  She pointed             
out that DMV never received the funds in order to design and make              
those plates.                                                                  
Number 0763                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COWDERY asked about the design of the plates.              
He said, as he understands it, ASCA deals with the design and asked            
if all 900 of the plates would be of the same design.  He asked,               
"Is there intent of distinguish in one form of art from another?"              
MS. HENSLEY replied that there would only be one design which would            
cost approximately $20,000.                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY clarified that he wants to know if there                
would be license plates with performing arts type of designs.                  
MR. JOHNSEN interjected and said this would be a blanket arts                  
council license plate, which supports all of the arts.                         
REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON noted that the design would be done by                
ASCA for $5,000, according to the fiscal note.  He also noted that             
there is also a separate $10,000 in the fiscal note for the set-up             
cost for the new sheeting.  He asked if the $5,000 would go to                 
MR. JOHNSEN said the $5,000 is for the 3M Corporation for                      
implementing the design.  He said ASCA would be responsible for                
coming up with the design, and he believes that it's their                     
intention to hold some sort of a contest.                                      
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said the projected revenue is $135,000 as                 
noted in the fiscal note and asked if that is a one-time revenue.              
He asked if the annual registration fee for specialty plates costs             
more than the normal license tags.                                             
Number 0918                                                                    
MS. HENSLEY replied that the cost of the plate itself, and the                 
$135,000 in revenue that is projected in the fiscal note is if they            
sell "x" number of set of plates.  She said if DMV sells all 900               
sets of plates at $150 a set, it will generate a lot of revenue for            
the general fund to be reappropriated back to the arts.                        
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said that's a one-time revenue for the plates             
and asked if there is an enhanced cost for the annual tags so that             
that plate continues to generate revenue for ASCA.                             
MS. HENSLEY responded yes, that it is included in the cost of the              
registration fee; however, this is a one-time cost of $150.                    
Therefore, the registration tag is just a normal operating cost for            
DMV, which would not go back to ASCE.                                          
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON commented he thinks this is a good bill and               
that he will probably vote to move it.  He said the problem though             
is that this is a one-time shot that doesn't continue to provide               
ongoing benefits to ASCA.  He said, from his recollection, the                 
appropriation last year was between $400-500,000 for ASCA and he               
hopes that down the road the legislature doesn't say that they                 
don't need to appropriate as much money for ASCA.                              
MS. HENSLEY told the committee if DMV sold 50 plates this year then            
that would generate that money for this year, if they sold 50                  
plates next year, then that money would be generated for next year.            
She said DMV has no way of projecting the number of plates they are            
going to sell each year.  She said that the fiscal note should have            
shown asterisks across the row after the first year, unfortunately             
she can't project the actual amount of revenue that would be                   
generated.  But DMV would be able to identify that amount so that              
could be identified to the legislature to reappropriate the funds              
to the arts.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked, "You're saying that the $135,000                  
estimated revenues could conceivably come in over four years, or               
something like that?"                                                          
MS. HENSLEY replied it could conceivable be $135,000 a year, or it             
may be more.  She said she doesn't have any way of projecting that             
amount.  It depends on how many individuals purchase the plates on             
a yearly basis.                                                                
Number 1127                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON moved and asked unanimous consent to move SB
153 out of committee with individual recommendations and with the              
attached fiscal note.  There being no objection, SB 153 moved out              
of the House Transportation Standing Committee.                                
CSSB 304(RLS) - REGULATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES & HWYS                            
Number 1156                                                                    
CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced the next order of business would be                
CSSB 304 (RLS), "An Act relating to the bail or fine for an offense            
committed in a highway work zone; and providing for an effective               
date," sponsored by Senator Dave Donley.                                       
SENATOR DAVE DONLEY came before the committee to testify.  he                  
stated that SB 304 does one thing, which doubles the fines for                 
traffic violations in construction zones.  He noted that 26 other              
states have already done this.  He explained that there is a very              
significant danger, both nationally and in Alaska, to the people               
who work on the roadways from people who don't follow the traffic              
controls.  He said there have been fatalities in Alaska and when               
those occur, of course, they're tragic to the families, and they               
are also very expensive and costly to businesses because it raises             
workers' compensations rates, which creates lots of problems that              
way.  He concluded he believes this bill will be a good public                 
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON commented that he observed this type of                  
situation on a recent visit to Montana and said he believes it does            
work.  He stressed that there has to be proper signs indicating                
that the fines are doubled in a construction zone.  He's assuming              
that DMV would include that.  He stated that he does not see it in             
the fiscal note, but he is assuming that it won't be too expensive.            
SENATOR DONLEY said they discussed at length the signage and DMV               
has extensive regulations relating to signage, which is written                
into the contracts so that the contractors can comply.                         
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY said his understanding is that any sign                 
company working in the right-of-way is licensed and has to pass a              
test in order to work in that right-of-way.  He said for a lane                
change, you can't put one cone out and say change lanes, has to be             
done by a certain federal standards that the legislature has                   
adopted.  He asked who would be responsible for posting the signs              
regarding fines.                                                               
Number 1317                                                                    
DENNIS POSHARD, Legislative Liaison/Special Assistant, Department              
of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT/PF), came before the              
committee to testify.  He informed the committee that DOT/PF will              
be responsible for signage when it's a maintenance-type project and            
that they do not contract out for this type of work.  He said when             
the department does contract out, they try and write that into the             
specifications for the bid so that they require the contractors to             
take care of the signage the same way they would with other                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked about the effective date.  He commented             
that it might be too late for the upcoming construction season.                
SENATOR DONLEY replied that the original bill's effective date was             
delayed until the year 2000, but DOT/PF wanted to make it a date               
that gave the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and DOT/PF enough              
time to gear up for it and also to catch the next road construction            
season.  He said he believes DOT/PF supports that effective date.              
MR. POSHARD replied DOT/PF does support the effective date.                    
REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK asked if there is information on the              
number of highway construction workers injured by reckless                     
motorists in Alaska.                                                           
MR. POSHARD said the department doesn't keep records of injuries               
that occur within a particular work zone.  He said he did some                 
research and found that in 1987 on the old Nenana and Parks                    
Highway, a worker was struck by a truck and killed.  In the same               
accident, another worker was severely injured with a head injury.              
In 1994 on Badger Road, a paving crew worker was working beside a              
paving lay down machine and was struck by a vehicle and received               
major leg and knee injuries and will have lifetime injuries as a               
result.  He gave more examples of workers injured on the job.  He              
concluded that it is a problem that they recognize and                         
unfortunately DOT/PF has not kept statistics on injuries that have             
occurred within a work zone.  He noted that they have statistics on            
injuries in total within the department from workers' compensation,            
and they have statistics on accidents all over the state, but there            
is no marriage of the information in the database.                             
Number 1515                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK asked why DOT/PF didn't keep records on                   
injuries that have occurred in a work zone.                                    
MR. POSHARD said he is not sure that DOT/PF ever realized that                 
there was a need to differentiate.  He said that is something the              
department intends to try and keep records on in the future so that            
any future considerations about laws relating to work zones, then              
they will have that information.  He said their databases are                  
mostly geared toward federal compliance and that the federal                   
government has never requested that type of information.                       
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK asked why there is a zero fiscal note.                    
MR. POSHARD reiterated that the department's only expense would be             
for signage.  In the cases of new construction, the department will            
try and require that the signage be done by the contractor.  He                
referred to the department's workers and said DOT/PF felt that the             
expense for signs is already in their operating budget and that                
they will try and shift a portion of that money to obtain some of              
the work zone signs.                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK asked if there any signs that are put out by              
DPS dealing with violations in construction areas.                             
MR. POSHARD responded he is not aware of any information regarding             
violations because there is no current law that increases fines for            
work zones.  He indicated he does not believe that DPS keeps track             
of those records that differentiate between work zones.  He said he            
did not want to speak on behalf of DPS.                                        
Number 1633                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK said she was referring to traffic fines that              
deal with moving car violations.  She said if DOT/PF had that                  
information, they would be able to see what type of increase in                
revenue there would be and that is the reason for her questions                
regarding the fiscal note.                                                     
MR. POSHARD said that question would be better answered by DPS.  He            
said he does not have that information.  It's not the                          
responsibility of DOT/PF to issue the violations and then collect              
those fees.  He said he believes from earlier committee meetings               
that DPS testified that they do not maintain information that                  
differentiates between a work zone and another location on a                   
particular highway.                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK requested that DOT/PF provide information                 
regarding the fiscal note and the impacts, and also what DPS has to            
say about it since it involves them.  She commented that she is not            
feeling very comfortable with SB 304 without that information.  She            
asked if there is a plan to begin a "give me a break" public                   
education campaign similar to Washington State or Alaska indicating            
that this bill should become law.                                              
MR. POSHARD replied there will be some public education that would             
go along with this bill alerting people of the increased fines.  He            
said he is not sure exactly what form that would take if it would              
be "give me a break" specifically campaign, but there would have to            
be some sort of public information campaign.  He said they would               
produce some sort of a video, as well as have some television and              
radio spots that would hopefully run as a public service alerting              
drivers to the increase in fines.  He said he will contact DPS                 
regarding the fiscal note and if there is a reason why they have               
not put in for increased revenues or what their projections would              
be.  He said DPS testified at a earlier committee meeting and they             
indicated they did not plan to increase enforcement within a work              
zone and that they were not going to suddenly, because this law                
passes, put more troopers watching out at work zones.  They would,             
however, continue monitoring work zones as they currently do, they             
would just collect more fines for a violation that would occur                 
within that work zone.                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK pointed out that a lot of work was done last              
year on the Parks Highway between Big Lake and Houston and there               
was an incident that happened there and she received numerous phone            
calls regarding the troopers and a high speed chase that they did              
through a construction site zone.  She indicated she would like                
information on how it would affect a high speed chase if it were               
done in a construction area.  She reiterated that the troopers sped            
through the construction zone without regard to the people's                   
safety.  She suggested that DOT/PF and DPS address this problem.               
Number 1826                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY stated that it's probably not a function of             
DOT/PF to keep records regarding injuries within a particular work             
zone.  He said he would hope that this bill wouldn't add a                     
bureaucracy on to DOT/PF to try and track the number of injuries               
SENATOR DONLEY said SB 304 is not intended as a revenue generator.             
It's really intended as a deterrent to protect the employees as                
they are exposed to working on the roadways.  He noted the bill is             
supported by the construction industry and by the people who                   
represent the workers.  He indicated he has not heard any                      
opposition to this bill through the process.                                   
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said he believes that the data regarding these            
kinds of offenses in a work zone will be easily collected with the             
passage of this bill because the enhanced fines will be part of the            
court record.  Data collection will be much easier at that point in            
Number 1930                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON made a motion to move CSSB 304(RLS) out of                
committee with individual recommendations and the attached fiscal              
note.  He noted that the Judiciary Committee has already considered            
a bill similar to this one which passed out of committee.                      
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK objected because of her concerns with the bill            
stating that she wants some information regarding the topics she               
discussed.  She commented she would not have a problem moving the              
bill out of the committee after the information she requested is               
provided.  She said there are pieces missing to this bill that she             
would like to see included before she is able to vote in favor of              
moving it out.                                                                 
Number 1985                                                                    
JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor                     
Vehicles, Department of Administration, told the committee the way             
that the records are kept is if someone speeds in a construction               
zone, it's still a speeding ticket and it's not coded as such that             
DOT/PF would maintain any records that it was identified as a work             
zone.  However, with this bill, there is a special speed in a                  
construction zone code that they can use which will identify those             
violations when they occur in a work zone.  If there is a traffic              
crash within in a work zone, there are several ways of tracking                
those violations.  If there's a serious injury or fatality, those              
records are kept in the trauma registry.  She said DOT/PF has a                
highway analysis system which is a traffic accident database that              
monitors and tracks all traffic crashes in the state and it will               
tell you exactly what mile post the accident happened at, what the             
contributing factor was, whether it was in a construction zone,                
whether it was speed related, et cetera.  She said that database               
reports those types of accidents to the federal government.  She               
noted that there is another database in DOT/PF within the                      
Governor's Highway Safety office through the National Highway                  
Traffic Safety Administration called the FAR System which is the               
Fatal Accident Reporting System that tracks traffic crashes                    
throughout the United States.  She said the data base identifies               
whether the crash was fatal, if the driver caused the fatal                    
accident, or whether it was a construction person.  She said the               
information is all there, it's just a matter of extrapolating it               
out of those databases.  She stated that SB 304 will allow DOT/PF              
to code violations that occur in construction zones, and not just              
code them as speeding tickets, but can code them as a violation                
within a construction zone.                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK removed her objection.  She said she hopes                
that DOT/PF and DPS will be able to provide more information to the            
committee on the number of highway construction workers injured on             
the job.                                                                       
Number 2125                                                                    
CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if there are any other objections to moving            
the bill out of committee.  There being no objection, CSSB 304(RLS)            
moved from the House Transportation Standing Committee.                        
HJR 67 - AIR FLIGHTS RUSSIAN FAR EAST                                          
Number 2155                                                                    
CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced the next order of business would be HJR
67, Relating to renewal of the bilateral aviation agreement                    
concerning the mandatory Anchorage stopover for Russian carriers on            
transpacific routes between the Russian Far East and the United                
PETER ECKLUND, Legislative Assistant to Representative William K.              
(Bill) Williams, Alaska State Legislature, provided the sponsor                
statement for HJR 67.  He read the following into the record:                  
"HJR 67 urges the U.S. Department of Transportation to negotiate               
renewal of the bilateral agreement to retain the mandatory stopover            
in Anchorage for transpacific flights between the Russian Far East             
and the United States.  The current bilateral agreement is due to              
expire in May of 1998.                                                         
"It is important to continue mandatory stopovers of Russian air                
carriers to preserve the position of Anchorage as the American                 
gateway to the Russian Far East.                                               
"In addition to close historical and cultural ties between the                 
people of Alaska and the people of the Russian Far East, the state             
has established agreements with many Russian cities and territories            
to help with their transition into a market-based economy.                     
Discontinuation of direct Alaskan air service would severely hamper            
these efforts.                                                                 
"Further, absent the agreement, Anchorage International Airport                
could see additional decline in international air traffic and local            
"In short, continuation of mandatory Russian stopovers in Anchorage            
is good for the state and good for the developing economies of the             
Russian Far East.  To that end, I urge your swift passage of HJR
MR. ECKLUND advised the committee members that there a person on               
line from Anchorage who can answer specific questions concerning               
HJR 67 and what the mandatory stopover is and what it means.  He               
said it's his understanding that after the breakup of the communist            
Soviet Union, the United States entered into an agreement with                 
Russia to have stopovers in Anchorage of all of their flights,                 
which was renegotiated in 1983 and 1985, and the mandatory stopover            
was included in the renegotiation.  He pointed out that some people            
in Russia are pushing to not have that mandatory stopover anymore.             
They want to fly directly from the West Coast of the United States             
to Russia.  He said that would hurt Alaska's carries such as Alaska            
Airlines because they don't have the capability to make those long             
Number 2256                                                                    
RICH WILSON, Development Manager, Anchorage International Airport,             
testified via teleconference from the Anchorage Legislative                    
Information Office (LIO).  He said the thrust of the effort is to              
retain as much economic activity in the state as we can.  This is              
one of the things that we can do to maintain our position and to               
enhance our future opportunities and make business between Alaskans            
and Russians in the Far East.  He said many jobs will be directly              
affected, and rates and fees to the Anchorage airport will be                  
directly affected if the mandatory stop is lifted.                             
Number 2346                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON moved and asked unanimous consent to move HJR
67 out of committee with individual recommendations and with the               
attached zero fiscal note.  There being no objection, HJR 67 moved             
out of the House Transportation Standing Committee.                            
HB 482 - MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION                                            
Number 2360                                                                    
CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS announced the last order of business would be HB
482, "An Act relating to registration of noncommercial trailers and            
to registration of vehicles owned by disabled persons or persons               
who are 65 years of age or older; and providing for an effective               
PETER ECKLUND, Legislative Assistant to Representative William K.              
(Bill) Williams, Alaska State Legislature, provided the sponsor                
statement for HB 482.  He read the following into the record:                  
"HB 42, an act relating to the registration of motor vehicles, was             
introduced to make state government more efficient and user                    
"Currently, the state issues thousands of vehicle registrations                
yearly to seniors and disabled Alaskans.  Although there is no                 
charge for these vehicle registrations, considerable time and                  
effort goes into issuing them on an annual basis.  HB 482 would                
remove this burden from our seniors and those with disabilities,               
and help shrink the lines at our [Division of Motor Vehicles] DMV              
offices as employees are redeployed.                                           
"HB 482 also removes the annual $10 registration [fee] for                     
noncommercial trailers and sets a one time $10 registration fee.               
When a trailer changes owners, the new owner would be responsible              
for re-registering the trailer and paying a $10 fee.                           
"Adoption of HB 482 will increase efficiencies at DMV and promote              
a user friendly atmosphere between the public and state                        
MR. ECKLUND stated that since introduction of the bill, it's been              
pointed out there's a possible problem with how taxes are collected            
in relation to this bill.  Currently, the state of Alaska collects             
municipal taxes for municipalities at the time of registration of              
commercial and noncommercial vehicles, and then 8 percent is taken             
off the top and the balance is rebated to the municipalities.  Part            
of the intent of this legislation is to remove the annual                      
registration of noncommercial trailers.  He indicated by doing                 
that, they would remove the mechanism by which the state collects              
a municipal tax for municipalities and rebates that tax.  He said              
after talking with the drafter, one possible solution is that at               
the time of registration of a noncommercial trailer, which would be            
once, that's when the tax is collected and rebated to the                      
municipalities and it's not collected at any other time.  He said              
he believes that some municipalities will object to that because               
they want their tax revenues.  He said, "If this is a policy                   
question, Mr. Chairman, how the legislature wants to treat these               
municipal taxes, do we want to continue collecting the municipal               
taxes and rebating them to the municipalities?  Do we want ...[ends            
mid-speech because of tape change]."                                           
TAPE 98-18, SIDE B                                                             
Number 0011                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked if a noncommercial trailer is similar              
to a boat trailer?                                                             
MR. ECKLUND replied that's correct.  He referred to page 2,                    
subsection (3) and stated that "trailer" includes a boat trailer,              
baggage trailer, box trailer, utility trailer, house trailer,                  
travel trailer, or trailer rented or offered for rent.                         
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said HB 482 addresses a significant number of             
trailers and motor vehicles that are registered by people who are              
65 years or older, and stated that he needs some help with the                 
fiscal note.  He said he needs to be assured that the fiscal impact            
is only the size that it really is.  He said he is somewhat                    
sympathetic to the plight of municipalities and made reference to              
property taxes and stated that the state has gotten to the point               
where they don't rebate anything for the municipalities for that.              
"This is just another hit that they're taking," he added.                      
MR. ECKLUND stated that it's his understanding that currently the              
state doesn't charge seniors and the disabled a fee, but the state             
requires them to register annually.  He said HB 482 would remove               
the burden of annual registration and that there won't be any                  
decrease in revenue to the state, or the seniors and the disabled.             
Number 0087                                                                    
JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor                     
Vehicles, Department of Administration, told the committee that                
currently a senior citizen who is 65 years or older can apply for              
an exemption one time for one vehicle and they are exempt from                 
paying a registration fee.  She noted that individuals who are                 
eligible handicap license plates can apply for one plate free of               
charge.  She said there are approximately 14,000 vehicles in the               
category of senior citizens and approximately 5,000-6,000 handicap             
license plates that this bill would cover.  She said that it would             
reduce the number of individuals who are having to register their              
vehicles every year that actually is costing the state money to                
register those vehicles and the state does not receive revenue from            
those vehicles.  Ms. Hensley pointed out that the fiscal note was              
not projected to reflect the decrease of registrations.  She said              
HB 482 will probably be held over and that she would like to rework            
the fiscal note because she feels DMV needs to show the decrease of            
registrations they would have in the future.  She addressed the                
biannual registration of trailers stating that half of them would              
not be registered one year for a lifetime and the other half the               
following year for a lifetime, and after that, only the new                    
trailers coming in or those that switch ownership to the trailers.             
She stressed that it will be difficult for her to project the                  
decrease in revenue because a lot of people change ownership of                
trailers who will still pay the one-time registration fee to change            
MS. HENSLEY said the other issue that she is concerned with is the             
tax issue.  She indicated that DMV collects the registration fees              
and taxes for municipalities.  She informed the committee in 1997              
DMV registered 78,839 noncommercial trailers, "so when you're                  
looking at a decrease in one year for 40,000 registered trailers               
and the next year 40,000, it's going to reduce the workload in DMV             
some, but then we're going to have other people coming in and                  
changing those trailers over, purchasing new trailers, or selling              
trailers.  Those are the ones that we will actually be seeing in               
the offices as opposed to seeing them in the mail room."                       
Number 0209                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY asked if HB 482 includes camper trailers.               
MS. HENSLEY responded in the affirmative.                                      
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY asked if the bill distinguishes house                   
trailers and camper trailers, and specifically, the length of                  
camper trailers.                                                               
MS. HENSLEY replied that DMV does not currently distinguish between            
the different types of trailers.                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK addressed the term "trailers" on page 2 and               
asked if there is any way to include a snow machine trailer?                   
MS. HENSLEY replied that snow machine trailer is already included              
in the bill.  She said it is considered a utility trailer.  She                
pointed out that all noncommercial trailers are included in this               
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK commented that disabled people and seniors are            
already covered in statute.  She stated that she feels this bill is            
a housekeeping measure which will cut down costs in the long run.              
She said she feels this is a good bill and offered her support for             
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked for clarification that persons 65 or                
older don't need to pay for car registration.                                  
MS. HENSLEY replied that they are eligible for a one-time, one                 
vehicle exemption and advised the committee they don't have to pay             
for the registration, but they do have to register.                            
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON noted that trailers aren't covered, and asked             
if this bill would extend the same exemption to trailers.                      
MS. HENSLEY responded that trailers are not covered and there is a             
$10 biannual fee or $5 a year.  She said under this provision                  
seniors would pay a one-time lifetime fee of $10.                              
MR. ECKLUND wanted to clarify on Ms. Hensley's point.  He said the             
way the bill is written, a person over 65 years of age could opt to            
pay no registration on one vehicle so they could potentially decide            
between their vehicle or their trailer.  He said a trailer only                
costs $10 and to register a vehicle would cost more, so a person               
would probably opt to not have to pay on their vehicle.                        
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked if the bill would allow seniors to have             
two exemptions, as long as one is a trailer and one is a vehicle.              
MR. ECKLUND replied no, just one.                                              
Number 0390                                                                    
TIM ROGERS, Legislative Program Coordinator, Municipality of                   
Anchorage, testified via teleconference from the Anchorage LIO.  He            
commended the committee for attempting to simplify the DMV                     
functions to make them more efficient.  He said the municipality               
has some concerns over the collection of municipal property tax                
that is collected at the same time as registration.  He commented              
that Mr. Ecklund very adequately described what the municipality's             
concern is.  He stated the only enforcement hammer the municipality            
has to ensure that people comply with this requirement is the tag              
on the back of their license plate that says when it expires.  If              
that tag is no longer required, it will be very difficult for them             
to enforce the requirement to pay the tax.  He indicated that for              
noncommercial trailers in the Municipality of Anchorage, it's no               
more than approximately $96,000 a year.  It is a fairly significant            
amount of money.  He concluded, "I don't know that we have a                   
solution right now, we've got a couple of ideas and we'll be happy             
to work with you to come up with something, but we're concerned                
with the way it's written.  It could have a significant negative               
fiscal impact on the Municipality of Anchorage, as well as the                 
other local jurisdictions that have a tax on motor vehicles."                  
CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS asked if he has been working with DMV regarding              
MR. ROGERS replied that he has been in contact with Ms. Hensley and            
that the municipality will continue to work with her on it.                    
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY asked, "Did you say that the impact to the              
municipality is $96,000?  Is that all seniors or is that the total             
impact on all the revenues?"                                                   
MR. ROGERS replied that that is the total impact on all the                    
revenues from noncommercial trailers.                                          
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY asked if he knows what percentage would be              
senior-owned vehicles.                                                         
MR. ROGERS said he did not know.                                               
Number 0493                                                                    
KEVIN RITCHIE, Executive Director, Alaska Municipal League, came               
before the committee to testify.  He said, the other major                     
communities that take advantage of this collection program is                  
actually an advantage to property taxpayers because without this               
program, they would be taxed and a person would have to list it as             
personal property and pay approximately three times as much if they            
were trying to do the assessed value.  The program is a great                  
advantage to constituents, and it also is an extensive program as              
a service to taxpayers.  He told the committee DMV considers                   
reducing the amount of work that they do as a savings to the state,            
which is technically a savings to the department, but potentially              
a loss to the state.  He said the money that DMV receives from                 
municipalities is that they take .08 cents on every dollar that is             
collected, which is quite sufficient to pay for the staff effort in            
doing it, and he would guess that they make a small profit.  In                
conclusion, he stated that from an overall perspective the state is            
not losing money, the question then becomes should the state push              
municipalities into taking this into account on personal property              
tax and most taxpayers would say no.                                           
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked, "If we pass this, the seniors and the             
disabled that we're trying to help may end up being pushed into                
property taxes which would be greater?"                                        
MR. RITCHIE said the only portion of the bill he is addressing is              
the specific part that charges a registration tax to people who are            
not seniors.  He said he does not believe seniors pay a tax at all.            
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he was referring to the local tax.  He              
then asked if Anchorage collects property tax on noncommercial                 
trailers at the present time.                                                  
Number 0622                                                                    
MR. ECKLUND interjected and replied that Anchorage does because the            
state collects it at the time of registration of those trailers.               
He informed the committee that the state collects it, takes 8                  
percent off the top and then remits it to the municipality.                    
REPRESENTATIVE HENSLEY referred to Representative Hudson's question            
and stated that of the 8 percent, it's strictly general fund                   
dollars that gets deposited into the general fund.  She stated,                
"It's not something that's subject to allocation back to the                   
department, so it's just part of that 36 million dollars that we               
deposit for (indisc.) annual budget."                                          
MR. ECKLUND clarified that the seniors part and the disabled                   
person's part really have nothing to do with the trailer part of               
the bill.  He said they are two separate items in the same bill and            
that they don't have any connection.                                           
MS. HENSLEY said, "This is just an efficiency measure that during              
the re-engineering process and rethinking the way that government              
does business, the design teams came up with this idea of giving               
the seniors a break because they wouldn't have to be mailing their             
registrations in every year, they wouldn't have to be doing this               
additional work on DMV for something that the state does not                   
receive any revenue for."  She informed the committee the                      
municipalities do not receive the taxes for those seniors and one              
vehicle is exempt from the registration tax.  She said the re-                 
engineering design teams also looked at trailers and thought that              
since it was such a small amount DMV collects over a two-year                  
period at a cost of $5 per year, and that it costs the state more              
than $5 a year to register a trailer.  In conclusion, she said DMV             
brought this matter before the legislature advising them that these            
items could be an efficiency measure to help the state out and also            
to help DMV out in its re-engineering efforts and the efficiency               
efforts that they are looking at doing.  Ms. Hensley noted that                
DMV's budget for this year is faced with a $500,000 reduction in               
their operating funds and stated that they need to look at some                
ways of trying to serve the public better.                                     
CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS advised the committee members that HB 482 will be            
held over for further consideration.                                           
Number 0748                                                                    
CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS adjourned the House Transportation Standing                  
Committee at 2:10 p.m.                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects