Legislature(1997 - 1998)
04/15/1998 01:04 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 States. - 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 SHORT TITLE: SPECIALIZED LICENSE PLATES FOR ARTS 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 CONSENT 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, Pearce 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, PEARCE 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 CONSENT 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 arts." 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 (indisc.). 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 ASCA. 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 policy. 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 signage. 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 properly. 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 time. 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 States. 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 jobs. "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 67." 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 flights. 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 date." 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 friendly. "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 government." 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 ownership. 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 bill. 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 it. 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 taxes. 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. ADJOURNMENT Number 0748 CHAIRMAN WILLIAMS adjourned the House Transportation Standing Committee at 2:10 p.m.