Legislature(1999 - 2000)

03/30/1999 01:05 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
      HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                   March 30, 1999                                                                                               
                     1:05 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Beverly Masek, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Andrew Halcro, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Bill Hudson                                                                                                      
Representative John Cowdery                                                                                                     
Representative Jerry Sanders                                                                                                    
Representative Allen Kemplen                                                                                                    
Representative Albert Kookesh                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
* HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 3                                                                                             
Relating to use of passenger facility charges at the Anchorage                                                                  
International Airport.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HCR 3 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
* HOUSE BILL NO. 108                                                                                                            
"An Act relating to the use, operation, and regulation of boats;                                                                
establishing a uniform state waterway marking system; and providing                                                             
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 108(TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
(* First public hearing)                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BILL:  HCR 3                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: PASSENGER FACILITY CHARGES AT ANCHORAGE                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): TRANSPORTATION                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 3/11/99       427     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 3/11/99       427     (H)  TRA, FIN                                                                                            
 3/30/99               (H)  TRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BILL:  HB 108                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: USE, REGULATION, AND OPERATION OF BOATS                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) HUDSON, Halcro, Phillips, Kerttula                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 2/22/99       278     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 2/22/99       278     (H)  TRA, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                                                             
 2/26/99       328     (H)  COSPONSOR(S): PHILLIPS, KERTTULA                                                                    
 3/30/99               (H)  TRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PETER TORKELSON, Researcher for                                                                                                 
  Representative John Cowdery                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 204                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-6848                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided details on HCR 3 and answered                                                                      
                    questions.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KURT PARKAN, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Transportation                                                                                                    
   and Public Facilities (DOT/PF)                                                                                               
3132 Channel Drive                                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska  99801-7898                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 465-6977                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on behalf of DOT/PF in support of                                                                 
                    HCR 3.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
KIP KNUTSON, Marketing Director                                                                                                 
Era Aviation                                                                                                                    
6160 Carl Brady Drive                                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska  99502                                                                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 244-1920                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified via teleconference from Anchorage on                                                              
                    behalf of Era Aviation in opposition to HCR 3.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MELINDA HOFSTAD, Legislative Assistant                                                                                          
  to Representative Bill Hudson                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 108                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-6826                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on behalf of Representative Hudson                                                                
                    to provide details and answer questions on HB
                    108.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MAKO HAGGERTY                                                                                                                   
P.O. Box 2001                                                                                                                   
Homer, Alaska  99603                                                                                                            
Telephone: (907) 235-9055                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified via teleconference from Homer in                                                                  
                    support of HB 108.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
NANCY LETHCOE, Owner                                                                                                            
Alaska Wilderness Sailing and Kayaking                                                                                          
P.O. Box 1313                                                                                                                   
Valdez, Alaska  99686                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 835-5175                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified via teleconference from Valdez in                                                                 
                    support of HB 108.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CLIFF JUDKINS President                                                                                                         
Alaska Boating Association;                                                                                                     
Co-Chair, Alaska Boating Safety Council                                                                                         
P.O. Box 874174                                                                                                                 
Wasilla, Alaska  99687                                                                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 373-3591                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified via teleconference from Mat-Su LIO                                                                
                    in support of HB 108.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JERRY GEORGE                                                                                                                    
Seward Boat Owners Association                                                                                                  
3640 Dora Avenue                                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska 99516                                                                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 345-1841                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported the original version of HB 108.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
BRAD SNOW, President                                                                                                            
Fairbanks Paddlers                                                                                                              
P.O. Box 83329                                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska 99708                                                                                                         
Telephone:  Not provided.                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 108; stated support for                                                                     
                    concept of Alaskan boating safety law, but                                                                  
                    expressed concerns about proposed CS.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JOHN GLASS, Colonel, Director                                                                                                   
Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection                                                                                        
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
5700 East Tudor Road                                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska  99507-1225                                                                                                   
Telephone:  (907) 269-5509                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 108.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ROGER MacCAMPBELL                                                                                                               
P.O. Box 321                                                                                                                    
Homer, Alaska  99603                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 235-7024                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Urged passage of HB 108 in concept.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MIKE FOLKERTS, Member                                                                                                           
Alaska Boating Safety Advisory Council                                                                                          
23739 Sunny Glen Drive                                                                                                          
Eagle River, Alaska  99577                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 694-8273                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 108 on behalf of the council.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BARRIE SWAIN                                                                                                                    
9667 Victor Road                                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska  99515                                                                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 344-7105                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in full support of HB 108.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
STEVE MORGHEIM, Executive Director                                                                                              
Alaska Marine Dealers Association                                                                                               
2440 East Tudor Road                                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska  99507                                                                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 561-4554                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of proposed CS for                                                                    
                     HB 108, not original bill; provided                                                                        
                     suggestions.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SUE HARGIS, Boating Safety Coordinator                                                                                          
United States Coast Guard                                                                                                       
P.O. Box 25517                                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska  99802                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 463-2297                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 108.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
KATHY O'GARA, Member                                                                                                            
Alaska Boating Safety Advisory Council                                                                                          
222 Tongass Drive                                                                                                               
Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 966-8797                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of concept of HB 108.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ERIC DOWNEY                                                                                                                     
Knik Canoers and Kayers                                                                                                         
2200 Jennison                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska  99508                                                                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 337-1669                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 108; provided suggestions.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PAUL DONHEFFNER, Director                                                                                                       
Oregon State Marine Board                                                                                                       
435 Commercial Street, NE, Suite 400                                                                                            
Salem, Oregon  97310                                                                                                            
Telephone:  (503) 373-1405 (x 244)                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 108 on behalf of                                                                 
                    Oregon State Marine Board, Western States                                                                   
                    Boating Administrators Association, and                                                                     
                    National Association of State Boating Law                                                                   
                    Administrators.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA SANDS, District Commodore                                                                                               
17th District Coast Guard Auxiliary                                                                                             
4837 Knights Way                                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska  99508-4805                                                                                                   
Telephone:  (907) 333-6275                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 108 in support of boating                                                                   
                    safety legislation.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MARK JOHNSON, Chief                                                                                                             
Community Health and Emergency Medical Services                                                                                 
Division of Public Health                                                                                                       
Department or Health and Social Services                                                                                        
P.O. Box 110616                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0616                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 465-3027                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 108.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
JUANITA HENSLEY, Administrator                                                                                                  
Director's Office                                                                                                               
Division of Motor Vehicles                                                                                                      
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
P.O. Box 110200                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0200                                                                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 465-5648                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered question about boat titling.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-14, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BEVERLY MASEK called the House Transportation Standing                                                                    
Committee meeting to order at 1:05 p.m.  Members present at the                                                                 
call to order were Representatives Masek, Halcro, Hudson, Cowdery                                                               
and Sanders.  Representatives Kookesh and Kemplen arrived at 1:08                                                               
p.m. and 1:09 p.m., respectively.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HCR 3 - PASSENGER FACILITY CHARGES AT ANCHORAGE                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MASEK announced that the first order of business was House                                                                
Concurrent Resolution No. 3, Relating to use of passenger facility                                                              
charges at the Anchorage International Airport.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY explained that HCR 3 has been put forward by                                                             
the subcommittee appointed by Chair Masek, consisting of                                                                        
Representatives Cowdery, Kemplen and Sanders.  The resolution came                                                              
about after hearing extensive testimony in a joint meeting of the                                                               
House and Senate Transportation Standing Committees, and Era                                                                    
Aviation is the only party on record who opposes passenger facility                                                             
charges.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY stated, "I favor this resolution because I                                                               
think it is in the public interest.  Right now, Alaskans are paying                                                             
about $3.5 million per year in PFCs [Passenger Facility Charges]                                                                
that go to outside airports.  If the governor starts collecting                                                                 
PFCs at the Anchorage International Airport, we'll then capture                                                                 
that $3.5 million for Alaska, and also collect about another $1.5                                                               
million, for a total of about $5 million per year to fund airport                                                               
improvements."                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0201                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PETER TORKELSON, Researcher for Representative John Cowdery, Alaska                                                             
State Legislature, came forward to provide details on HCR 3 and                                                                 
answer questions.  He reiterated that the spirit of this measure is                                                             
to capture funds that are now going out of state, and giving the                                                                
airport system a more stable revenue base.  Currently, PFCs are                                                                 
paid by Alaskans who travel to Juneau and Ketchikan.  Passenger                                                                 
Facility Charges are supported by Alaska Airlines, Northern Air                                                                 
Cargo, Reeve Aleutian Airways, Federal Express and the Federal                                                                  
Aviation Administration (FAA).  Era Aviation is the only airline                                                                
that opposes PFCs at Anchorage, and their fear is that they'll lose                                                             
traffic due to an increase in ticket costs.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. TORKELSON said he was told that Horizon Air had similar                                                                     
concerns when PFCs were implemented in Eastern Washington and                                                                   
Oregon, and he felt those fears turned out to be largely                                                                        
unjustified, as the traffic did not go down significantly from                                                                  
those airports.  This is especially interesting when considering                                                                
that those areas have four-lane freeways that do not go over                                                                    
avalanche-prone passes; this makes automobile traffic even more of                                                              
an alternative for them than it is, potentially, for people from                                                                
Kenai.  Mr. Torkelson expressed respect for Era Aviation's                                                                      
position; however, it is his belief that PFCs will "do more good                                                                
for more people."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0335                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO wondered if the legislature would need to                                                                 
come back and create legislation that would allow PFCs to be                                                                    
charged, or if this can be done simply by application to the                                                                    
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT/PF).                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TORKELSON reported that DOT/PF does not require legislative                                                                 
authorization to implement a PFC program, and HCR 3 merely states                                                               
a position.  It is, however, an extensive application process with                                                              
broad opportunities for public testimony and public input,                                                                      
specifically, input from airport users who will be most affected by                                                             
these charges.  He noted that the FAA must approve every program                                                                
that PFC receipts are used for, and they have to be in the best                                                                 
interests of airport users.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0421                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY noted that Era Aviation had concerns about                                                               
the Kenai Airport.  He referred to a letter he received from the                                                                
John Williams, Mayor of Kenai, which indicated that they oppose                                                                 
PFCs "at this time," and Representative Cowdery felt that the Kenai                                                             
Airport will, in time, look at PFCs.  He read the last paragraph of                                                             
that letter as saying, "Due to the uncertainty of the future status                                                             
of the Anchorage AIP [Airport Improvement Program] funding program,                                                             
the city of Kenai will have to look at the PFC program if the need                                                              
arises.  It is our request that the state legislature take no                                                                   
action that would restrict the ability of the city of Kenai to                                                                  
implement a PFC program."  He summarized that letter by stating his                                                             
belief that Kenai is "keeping their options open."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON clarified that nothing in HCR 3 would                                                                     
preclude the city of Kenai from implementing a PFC program in the                                                               
future.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 0593                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY added that he was informed by FAA that there                                                             
are certain exemptions of rural communities that are a concern to                                                               
most people.  They cannot guarantee what they will do until the                                                                 
application is made, but when Juneau applied for PFCs, he believes,                                                             
the FAA approved all but one of the requested exemptions.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. TORKELSON said it is important to note that this resolution                                                                 
only addresses the PFC issue at Anchorage.  He reported that United                                                             
States Senator Ted Stevens is working to amend the PFC legislation                                                              
to allow broader exemptions for some Alaskan communities; however,                                                              
their information is that this legislation probably will not go                                                                 
through this year.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0647                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO felt that the concerns raised by Era Aviation                                                             
were well-founded.  They serve markets that are traditionally lower                                                             
in fare, but they also had some concerns about amendments that U.S.                                                             
Senator Stevens was proposing on a federal level regarding                                                                      
exempting carriers that have 18 seats or less.  On some runs, at                                                                
the last minute, they can go from an 18-seat plane to a 37-seat                                                                 
aircraft.  He reported that they also had some concerns regarding                                                               
central air service, as some cities, like Cordova, compete head-on                                                              
with Alaska Airlines, which would be exempt from collecting the                                                                 
PFC.  He emphasized that he wholeheartedly supports PFCs; however,                                                              
he reminded the committee that there was, at one point, discussion                                                              
about exempting intrastate travel from PFCs.  He asked the sponsor                                                              
if that is still an opportunity.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 0743                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY thought that issue would be addressed by                                                                 
DOT/PF at the time of application.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO explained that Era Aviation is just concerned                                                             
about making sure there is a level playing field.  He noted that                                                                
Reeve Aleutian Airways supports PFCs; however, if the amendments                                                                
supported by U.S. Senator Ted Stevens were approved, Reeve Aleutian                                                             
Airways would never collect a PFC, as all of the locations they                                                                 
service are communities are less than 10,000 in population and not                                                              
connected by a highway system.  He felt it was important for the                                                                
committee to keep in mind that Reeve Aleutian Airways' glowing                                                                  
support of PFCs is in light of the fact that their customers might                                                              
not have to pay for them.  He added that Kenai and Homer are                                                                    
relatively low-fare markets, and it is important that one or two                                                                
carriers are not disenfranchised.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0866                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KURT PARKAN, Deputy Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner,                                                                   
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, testified on                                                                
behalf of DOT/PF in support of HCR 3.  He said the department                                                                   
intends to apply for PFCs and welcomes the legislature's discussion                                                             
and support of this resolution.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MASEK asked if Mr. Parkan could respond to some of the                                                                    
questions and concerns previously raised in this meeting.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKAN reopened the question of intrastate-versus-interstate                                                                
exemption, and he noted that this issue was something DOT/PF looked                                                             
at in the past.  He believes the state of Hawaii tried to implement                                                             
this exemption so that only incoming tourists would pay PFCs, but                                                               
the FAA denied it, stating they could not put a barrier at their                                                                
border.  He supposed it was conceivable to request some statutory                                                               
change to PFC legislation, but the approach DOT/PF has taken is an                                                              
attempt to not set up a flag in everyone else's mind throughout the                                                             
country.  Their goal was to implement something fairly minor and                                                                
innocuous that would not receive a lot of scrutiny from other                                                                   
senators and congressmen.  Mr. Parkan said, "If you tried an                                                                    
exemption that drew a line at the border, you would have a major,                                                               
I would think, battle on your hands."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0961                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO referred to the second-to-last paragraph of                                                               
the letter of support from DOT/PF Commissioner Joseph L. Perkins,                                                               
and noted that it expressed DOT/PF's support for waiving PFCs for                                                               
rural and remote areas, using the guidelines of U.S. Senator                                                                    
Stevens:  communities less than 10,000 in population and not                                                                    
connected to the land highway system.  He agreed that past                                                                      
discussions indicated that borders could not be put up.  He                                                                     
stressed, however, that some of these communities are unique in                                                                 
nature and require last-minute changes in aircraft.  In an effort                                                               
to not create an unfair burden of collection, yet ensure that these                                                             
small communities are covered, he asked if the 18-seat-or-less                                                                  
exemption could be possibly be "bumped up."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1026                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKAN agreed.  He pointed out that DOT/PF did not participate                                                              
in the development of 18-passenger aircraft exemption language.  He                                                             
also felt that the concerns of Era Aviation are legitimate and need                                                             
to be addressed, and he confirmed that changing aircraft would                                                                  
create a problem with the exemption.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO wondered if that was something DOT/PF could                                                               
apply for.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKAN assured Representative Halcro that DOT/PF is not                                                                     
pursuing the use of an 18-passenger exemption, and that he has                                                                  
forwarded those concerns raised at the last meeting to Washington,                                                              
D.C., to share with U.S. Senator Stevens.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO clarified, "Is it possible for you, in your                                                               
application to the FAA, to say, 'We request a waiver for aircrafts                                                              
30 seats or smaller or 35 seats or smaller'?"                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKAN indicated that DOT/PF could request that as one of their                                                             
possible exemptions; however, he suspects the FAA would not grant                                                               
that request, because it would not be made a statutory change to                                                                
the law.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1125                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY reported it was his understanding that money                                                             
collected from rural airports could be pooled to do repairs or                                                                  
construction at those airports.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKAN noted that the state of Alaska does own virtually all of                                                             
the airports in the state.  He confirmed that it was possible to                                                                
use money collected at one airport for a project at another                                                                     
airport, provided they are all under the sponsorship of the state;                                                              
however, it is not the intent of DOT/PF to do so at this time.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1181                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON wondered if it would be helpful to consider                                                               
a further resolve, and he brought up the following:  "Be it further                                                             
resolved that the application take into consideration measures to                                                               
reduce or exempt passengers traveling to or from small communities                                                              
within Alaska."  He explained the intent of this resolve as not                                                                 
being specific, rather general in nature but instructive to DOT/PF                                                              
to essentially hear these other voices and further work with them.                                                              
He noted that he was not offering this amendment at that time, but                                                              
was just bringing it up for discussion.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 1263                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY expressed understanding that DOT/PF already                                                              
intends to do this, but he asked Mr. Parkan if this is the case.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKAN stated that he would have to hear the language again.                                                                
He understood the resolve to be directing DOT/PF to consider the                                                                
small communities that would be affected, and he agreed that Kenai                                                              
would be one of those communities.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON reread the statement to Mr. Parkan.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKAN said, "It seems like a reasonable addition.  I don't                                                                 
think we [DOT/PF] have any problem with that."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1352                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO agreed that DOT/PF is already addressing                                                                  
those concerns by applying for the exemption of small communities                                                               
and those communities not connected to a land-based highway system.                                                             
He reiterated that he strongly supports this legislation, but                                                                   
continued to express concern.  He cited the following example:  a                                                               
14-day "Super Saver" fare from Barrow to Anchorage, round trip, is                                                              
about $325, and no PFC would be required.  However, Kenai to                                                                    
Anchorage or Homer to Anchorage is $57 round trip, and a $3 PFC                                                                 
will be charged.  In addition, equipment will vary, so an                                                                       
individual may or may not have to pay the PFC.  He felt that this                                                               
is not evenly applied, and that it is flat charge instead of a                                                                  
percentage charge.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO summarized his concerns by stating, "If we                                                                
are going to make exceptions based on geographic locations, then we                                                             
should make exceptions on smaller communities' fare base.  You                                                                  
know, I've traveled to Valdez several times, and flown in on a                                                                  
small plane, and then the flight has been canceled and you've got                                                               
... two flights backed up, and so they bring in a larger plane.                                                                 
Now, if PFCs were in place and I flew in on an 18-seater, I                                                                     
wouldn't pay it, but if they come in with a larger aircraft ... to                                                              
get the two flights, how are they going to collect it?  Are they                                                                
going to stop me at the gate?  Do I have to pay at the counter?"                                                                
He expressed concern that PFCs would not equally apply to everyone.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKAN reiterated that it is not the intent of DOT/PF to pursue                                                             
the 18-passenger exemption.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1466                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH said he feels sure that most of the rural                                                                
communities, even those not tied to road-based systems, have costs                                                              
associated with their airports.  He asked, "Why don't we just                                                                   
charge everybody three dollars and, somehow, designate that                                                                     
three-dollar charge back to the rural airports?"  He added,                                                                     
"Everybody needs money.  If we exempt them, nobody gets it."  He                                                                
pointed out that all airports need maintenance work.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO sought clarification as to whether money                                                                  
collected could be used at other airports.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKAN said that is correct.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH suggested collecting the PFC and allowing                                                                
the money to be used at rural airport, adding that he was certain                                                               
none of the rural airports would object.  He felt that current                                                                  
objections by those rural areas have to do with the fact that they                                                              
would be paying but not getting anything out of it.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1536                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated, "What I am hearing is that perhaps my                                                             
amendment would not be useful, that it might preclude us from                                                                   
making a collection from small communities arriving and departing                                                               
from the Anchorage area, and then sharing, in some sort of a                                                                    
pooling mechanism, those funds for the smaller airports at other                                                                
parts of Alaska. ... I think, in fact, it might be restrictive ...                                                              
of pooling the money for the smaller airplanes."  He added, "I                                                                  
wouldn't wish to offer it under those circumstances."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted that a previous presentation by DOT/PF                                                              
explained that there had to be a certain amount of passengers per                                                               
small, medium and large airport to make it cost-effective to                                                                    
collect a PFC.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKAN said that was correct.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO expressed concern that funds collected will                                                               
actually be given back to those small airports.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. PARKAN reminded Representative Halcro that PFCs would be                                                                    
collected at Anchorage for flights leaving Anchorage.  He felt                                                                  
Representative Halcro was concerned about the problems that would                                                               
occur with collecting PFCs at some of the smaller communities                                                                   
themselves.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1646                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KIP KNUTSON, Marketing Director, Era Aviation, testified via                                                                    
teleconference from Anchorage in opposition to HCR 3.  He read the                                                              
following key points regarding their opposition into the record:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The community of Kenai is Era's largest passenger market.  We                                                              
     have served Kenai for over 15 years and have seen six other                                                                
     air carriers come and go in that time frame.  More than any                                                                
     other market we serve, Kenai is highly price-sensitive, and                                                                
     currently Era is their only carrier.  Our biggest competition                                                              
     is the new and improved roadway that has cut driving time to                                                               
     Anchorage by approximately one hour.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Era's full "walk-up" fare between Anchorage and Kenai is                                                                   
     $55.00.  Included in that amount is an 8 percent                                                                           
     transportation tax, and the reason for 8 percent, rather than                                                              
     the normal 7.5 [percent], is that Kenai is within a 75-mile                                                                
     radius of Anchorage International [Airport], and is considered                                                             
     a "non-rural airport."  Due to this proximity, Era must also                                                               
     collect an additional tax in the form of a two-dollar "segment                                                             
     fee" from each passenger.  That increases the out-of-pocket                                                                
     fare to $57.00.  To saddle Kenai passengers with yet another                                                               
     tax in the form of a three-dollar Passenger Facility Charge                                                                
     would mean that approximately 15 percent of each full fare is                                                              
     pure tax.  Obviously, the tax percentage increases with                                                                    
     discounted and advance-purchase fares.  The PFC alone would                                                                
     constitute just over 5 percent of the airfare to Kenai.  On                                                                
     long-haul flights to Seattle and beyond, PFCs are well below                                                               
     1 percent of the total airfare.  Residents of the Kenai                                                                    
     Peninsula should not be subjected to such unbalanced taxation.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Now, as you've heard from several people, [U.S.] Senator [Ted]                                                             
     Stevens has sponsored some language in the FAA Reauthorization                                                             
     Bill, and that bill will most likely pass.  Among regional air                                                             
     carriers based in Anchorage, Era would carry a                                                                             
     disproportionate share of the load in collecting PFCs.  The                                                                
     exemptions that Senator Stevens has written into the bill                                                                  
     exclude communities with a population of less than 10,000, and                                                             
     those not connected by a land or vehicular way to the                                                                      
     land-connected National Highway System; that includes cities                                                               
     served by the marine highway system.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     In effect, this means that Anchorage-based carriers such as                                                                
     Reeve [Aleutian Airlines] and PenAir would not be required to                                                              
     collect a PFC on local airfares.  With the exception of                                                                    
     Iliamna, every Era destination would be subject to PFCs, by                                                                
     virtue of the fact that they are connected by either road or                                                               
     the marine ferry system.  This is an inequity which singles                                                                
     out both Era and its customers.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Now, if the Senate Bill passes that Senator Stevens has worked                                                             
     on, it would also exempt carriers from collecting PFCs aboard                                                              
     and aircraft having a seating capacity -- it is actually less                                                              
     than 20 seats.  Era currently operates 18-passenger aircraft,                                                              
     37- and 50-passenger aircraft, in the Kenai and Homer markets.                                                             
     Passenger loads can jump in the final hours before departure,                                                              
     justifying an upgrade from the 18-seat aircraft to the 37-seat                                                             
     aircraft.  The reverse is also true.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     In any case, it is not realistic to have a two-tier pricing                                                                
     structure in a common market whereby passengers riding on the                                                              
     larger aircraft pay more than those on a smaller aircraft.  It                                                             
     would be impossible to collect PFCs in advance, not knowing                                                                
     which aircraft would be on what.  The 20-passenger seat                                                                    
     exemption places an insurmountable burden on Era Aviation,                                                                 
     and, as you further debate this issue, I might bring to light                                                              
     ... the fact that a worthwhile seat exemption limit would be                                                               
     60 seat(s).  That corresponds to FAA regulation, part 107, and                                                             
     is the dividing line for security screening and secure areas                                                               
     in airports.  Any aircraft over 60 seats, passengers have to                                                               
     be screened, that is, you go through the x-ray machines, etc.                                                              
     Anything below that, ... that is not required.  So, the                                                                    
     60-passenger exemption would make more sense, and it would                                                                 
     actually be tied to an existing regulation.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1842                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. KNUTSON continued:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     An interesting situation exists in Cordova, a market served by                                                             
     both Era and Alaska Airlines.  According to FAR [Federal                                                                   
     Aviation Administration Regulations], part 158.9, Alaska                                                                   
     Airlines cannot collect a PFC, because they are the Essential                                                              
     Air Service (EAS) subsidy provider in Cordova.  Era does not                                                               
     receive that EAS subsidy, and, therefore, would have to                                                                    
     collect a PFC under current language.  This puts Era in an                                                                 
     immediate price disadvantage in a common market with our own                                                               
     partner, Alaska Airlines.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     While no one questions that PFCs can provide a reliable                                                                    
     revenue stream to the Anchorage International Airport, the                                                                 
     question that must be answered is whether or not the push for                                                              
     PFCs is an attempt to mask the known cost overruns on the                                                                  
     terminal expansion project.  Before we apply a Band-Aid, we                                                                
     must first address the wound.  Era withdrew its objections to                                                              
     the terminal expansion and has not changed that position;                                                                  
     however, as the second largest carrier of passengers to and                                                                
     from the Anchorage International Airport, it is our desire to                                                              
     seek other solutions before we disproportionately shift the                                                                
     tax burden onto our customers.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     It is important to note that approximately 75 percent of Era's                                                             
     passenger traffic is local in nature.  These are not                                                                       
     passengers whose PFC money is now winging its way south.  In                                                               
     actual fact, these are passengers who did not necessarily need                                                             
     the expanded terminal project in the first place, but will                                                                 
     certainly be forced to carry a disproportionate share of the                                                               
     load if PFC legislation ... PFC regime, is enacted,                                                                        
     particularly those from the community of Kenai.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     With respect to regional carriers in Alaska, either all should                                                             
     be required to collect PFCs, with no exemptions whatsoever, or                                                             
     all should be excluded.  Era Aviation clearly prefers the                                                                  
     latter approach.  However, we are willing to seek equitable                                                                
     alternative solutions.  One alternative approach might be for                                                              
     regionals to collect a PFC for Anchorage, but only in                                                                      
     conjunction with a down-line ticket, that is to say, a                                                                     
     passenger traveling Kenai to Anchorage and then beyond,                                                                    
     outside of the state's borders.  Thank you for you time and                                                                
     your consideration of Era Aviation's position on this issue.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1960                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to move HCR 3 out of committee                                                              
with individual recommendations and the attached fiscal note(s).                                                                
There being no objections, HCR 3 moved out of the House                                                                         
Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HB 108 - USE, REGULATION, AND OPERATION OF BOATS                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1990                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MASEK announced the next order of business to be House Bill                                                               
No. 108, "An Act relating to the use, operation, and regulation of                                                              
boats; establishing a uniform state waterway marking system; and                                                                
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON, prime sponsor, explained that extensive work                                                             
has been done with boating safety individuals and groups throughout                                                             
the state of Alaska, and he believed it would expedite things to                                                                
adopt the work draft rather than go back to the original version of                                                             
HB 108.  He felt many constructive changes have been made;                                                                      
therefore, he moved to adopt the proposed committee substitute for                                                              
HB 108, version 1-LS0445/M, Ford, 03/26/99, as the document before                                                              
the committee.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MASEK asked whether there were any objections.  There being                                                               
none, Version M was before the committee.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2046                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON explained that Version M will establish a                                                                 
comprehensive boating safety program in Alaska, which he believes                                                               
will save lives.  He noted that Alaska is the last state in the                                                                 
Union to not have such a program.  Monies collected in Alaska and                                                               
shipped outside of the state would be used for boating safety                                                                   
education and state operation, as opposed to federal operation, of                                                              
a boating safety program.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON advised members that the bill proposes to                                                                 
transfer the responsibilities and regulatory authority over boating                                                             
safety equipment and other operating requirements from the United                                                               
States Coast Guard to the state of Alaska.  Additionally, the state                                                             
would assume the registration that is currently managed by the                                                                  
Coast Guard, and this would operate through the Division of Motor                                                               
Vehicles (DMV) in the Department of Administration.  Using their                                                                
current system, vessel owners and small boat owners would be able                                                               
to either go directly to the DMV and use their by-mail, on-line or                                                              
in-person registration.  This legislation would also authorize new                                                              
boat dealers to provide for the registration of boats at the point                                                              
of sale.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON reported that 38 Alaskans lost their lives in                                                             
boating accidents in 1998, and Alaska continues to experience                                                                   
nearly 10 times the national rate of boating accidents.  Efforts                                                                
have been made by the Coast Guard, the state of Alaska, and various                                                             
other individuals and organizations, but they are not centrally                                                                 
located, nor are they coordinated.  He pointed out that the                                                                     
proposed committee substitute for HB 108 would assure that the                                                                  
state manages and controls its own boating safety laws and                                                                      
programs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2159                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON stated that HB 108 would mandate that boats                                                               
placed or used on state waters would be equipped with some or all                                                               
of the following:  fire extinguishers, personal flotation devices,                                                              
life jackets, a sound-producing device, back-fire flame protectors,                                                             
and ventilation and visual distress signals.  These items are                                                                   
currently required by the Coast Guard, whether this legislation is                                                              
enacted or not.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON explained that all motor boats with an                                                                    
enclosed engine are prone to have volatile fumes build up within                                                                
those compartments.  He reported having seen fires literally burn                                                               
to the water's edge in a matter of minutes.  Many years ago, the                                                                
Coast Guard recognized that it was in everyone's interest to make                                                               
certain that carburetors and other spark-producing potentials                                                                   
within the engine house have these protectors, as well as                                                                       
ventilation to keep fumes from compiling within the engine house.                                                               
The actual carriage would be identical to the Coast Guard                                                                       
requirements for the type and size of the vessel being licensed.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON observed that current Coast Guard regulations                                                             
call for this safety equipment in navigable waters within the                                                                   
state; however, HB 108 would expand the requirement to all waters                                                               
of the state, thereby increasing the application to small streams                                                               
and lakes.  He summarized by stating, "It is my belief, and I hope                                                              
you'll agree with me, that it's just as important to try to save                                                                
the lives of people on navigible waters as it is [on] some of the                                                               
smaller streams that, at least at this stage, because the Coast                                                                 
Guard is operating it, are exempt."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON noted that Alaska does not comply with the                                                                
Federal Safe Boating Act of 1971 by having its own program for safe                                                             
boating.  Consequently, the state's share of federal marine fuel                                                                
taxes paid every year is not redistributed back to Alaska, as it is                                                             
to other states.  Passage of HB 108 will assure that Alaska is                                                                  
included in the redistribution of these taxes, he explained,                                                                    
bringing approximately $500,000 annually back to the state, along                                                               
with approximately $600,000 annually in program receipts being                                                                  
added to state coffers.  These are the monies that would be paid to                                                             
the Coast Guard to register the boats, and this will more than                                                                  
offset the cost of operating this program through the DMV.  These                                                               
dollars will allow the state to make a major effort to educate the                                                              
boating public about boating safety, thereby lowering the rate of                                                               
accidents and deaths on Alaska's waterways.  Under this proposal,                                                               
the charge for new registrations will be identical to the charges                                                               
established by the Coast Guard.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 2337                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MELINDA HOFSTAD, Legislative Assistant to Representative Bill                                                                   
Hudson, Alaska State Legislature, came forward to further detail HB
108 and answer questions.  She pointed out that there is intent                                                                 
language on page 1, Section 1, that states, "at least 75 percent of                                                             
any federal funds generated as a result of this Act be used to fund                                                             
a statewide boating safety and education program".                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOFSTAD next directed attention to Section 2, which imposes                                                                 
equipment requirements on boats that have engines, and requires                                                                 
that all boats carry sound-producing devices.  She reiterated that                                                              
these carriage requirements are the same as the Coast Guard                                                                     
currently requires.  Section 2 also imposes restrictions on when a                                                              
boat must be operated with lights, and it imposes requirements for                                                              
carrying life jackets.  It also prohibits the use of emergency                                                                  
lights, except for police and emergency services, and allows the                                                                
department to require additional safety equipment by regulation.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOFSTAD informed the committee that Section 3 deals with boats                                                              
that are towing water skiers, and it has several new provisions:                                                                
there must be a rearview mirror in the boat towing the skier; there                                                             
must be a spotter or observer in the boat, and that person has to                                                               
be over 12 years of age; and the person water skiing has to wear an                                                             
approved life jacket.  Section 4 requires a person involved in a                                                                
boating accident to render assistance and exchange information, and                                                             
it requires that a boat operator file certain accident information.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOFSTAD explained that Sections 5 and 6 are basically changing                                                              
the language from inland waters, which state law covers now, to all                                                             
waters in the state of Alaska.  Section 7 requires that the state                                                               
develop and adopt regulations establishing a uniform waterway                                                                   
marking system, which would be the same system as the Coast                                                                     
Guard's.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-14, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOFSTAD added that Section 7 also establishes the parameters of                                                             
the Alaska Boating Safety Council, made up of seven members                                                                     
appointed by the governor, and it gives the council a veto power                                                                
over regulations, other than those regulations that fail to comply                                                              
with federal requirements or state law.  Section 13, she noted,                                                                 
imposes the fees, which are the same as those required by the Coast                                                             
Guard now; those fees are $24 for a new, three-year registration.                                                               
Section 14 is all definitions.  Section 15 provides that boating                                                                
accident reports are not public record.  Section 16 provides that                                                               
a person cited for a violation does not have to provide a written                                                               
promise to appear in court, similar to vehicle tickets.  Section 17                                                             
authorizes the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to adopt                                                                   
regulations.  Finally, Section 18 provides for an immediate                                                                     
effective date.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0119                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY asked if this includes documented vessels.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said no, adding that documented vessels will                                                              
continue to be managed by the Coast Guard.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY asked who does the boat inspections.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON explained that this will be done through                                                                  
volunteers in the U.S. Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary,                                                               
or through the boating safety program coordinated by DNR.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY asked whether there was cost involved.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON clarified that it would be done on a                                                                      
volunteer basis.  He reiterated that 75 percent of the federal                                                                  
money would go into education.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY expressed understanding that the Coast Guard                                                             
comes aboard at a boat owner's request to do voluntary inspections,                                                             
and that no fines are assessed if they find things that are not up                                                              
to par.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON confirmed that the essence of getting people                                                              
to carry safety equipment is not assessing fines or penalties, and                                                              
the inspection is completely on a volunteer basis.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 0178                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN noted that the definitions section of the                                                                
bill states that "boat" means watercraft used or capable of being                                                               
used as a means of transportation on water, except for a ship's                                                                 
lifeboat, a seaplane, and inspected passenger vessel, and a single                                                              
air mattress, single inner tube or other water toy.  He asked if a                                                              
jet ski would be considered a "boat," thereby being subject to all                                                              
the carriage requirements.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOFSTAD confirmed that a jet ski is classified as a "boat," and                                                             
the carriage requirements are a fire extinguisher, a whistle to                                                                 
produce sound, and an appropriate life jacket.  Jet skis are not                                                                
allowed to run at night, so they do not require running lights.                                                                 
She related that she went to a boat show to see where these items                                                               
could be kept on a jet ski, and she noted that there is a large                                                                 
compartment in a jet ski with room for a small fire extinguisher                                                                
and a sound-producing device.  She noted that most jet skiers she                                                               
has seen do wear the personal flotation device.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0258                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN referred to Section 1, subsection (2), and                                                               
noted that the intent of the legislation is that it not apply to                                                                
"boats such as kayaks, canoes, or other boats that are without                                                                  
engines and are paddled, poled or rowed."  He observed that intent                                                              
sections typically get "line-itemed out," and, if that occurred,                                                                
the definition section would be left to work with.  Consequently,                                                               
he wondered why the language that exempts kayaks, canoes or other                                                               
paddled, poled or rowed boats is not included in subsection (d)                                                                 
under the definition of boat.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOFSTAD explained that it has been difficult to divide HB 108,                                                              
because Section 1, subsection (2), actually is only exempting those                                                             
individuals from certain carriage requirements.  She acknowledged                                                               
that perhaps the wording was not yet exactly how it should be;                                                                  
however, the intent was to spell out the carriage requirements in                                                               
a way that conforms with what the Coast Guard requires, not to                                                                  
exempt those boats from registration.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 338                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON noted that fire extinguishers and back-flame                                                              
arresters only apply to a boat with an engine in it; however,                                                                   
registration would still be required to register with the state and                                                             
be issued a certificate of numbers, and they would still be                                                                     
required to carry an appropriate life preserver.  He added that the                                                             
Coast Guard defines the "appropriate life preserver" differently                                                                
according to whether one is in a power boat or kayak, or on water                                                               
skis or a jet ski.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOFSTAD stated that she has just recently seen the proposed                                                                 
committee substitute, Version M, for HB 108, and she has also                                                                   
wondered whether subsection (2) of Section 1 should go under                                                                    
Section 2.  She indicated that it is really not a statement of                                                                  
intent; rather, it is part of the safety requirements, and                                                                      
consideration might be made to moving it.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0392                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN agreed it is appropriate to move that                                                                    
language somewhere else, especially since this is a work draft.  He                                                             
also referred the committee to Section 05.25.060, titled                                                                        
"Prohibited operation."  He noted that a significant number of                                                                  
accidents occur because individuals are operating under the                                                                     
influence of drugs or alcohol.  He acknowledged that he did not                                                                 
know what current regulations say about driving a watercraft under                                                              
the influence; however, given the facts that a motorized vehicle on                                                             
water can be equally as dangerous as a motorized vehicle on land,                                                               
he felt this section would be an appropriate place to reference                                                                 
that.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOFSTAD informed the committee that this is covered in the                                                                  
statutes in AS 28.35.030, "Operating a vehicle, aircraft or                                                                     
watercraft while intoxicated."  She added that she was told by                                                                  
Coast Guard personnel that it is the same standard as for driving                                                               
a vehicle under the influence.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 0482                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN pointed out that the word "watercraft" is                                                                
being replaced with the word "boat" in the proposed legislation.                                                                
He wondered, given that statutes currently refer to "watercraft,"                                                               
if introducing the word "boat" would be subject to a sharp-eyed                                                                 
defense attorney's ability to find a loophole.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON directed attention to the definitions on page                                                             
10 of Version M.  In subsection (2) of Section 14, "boat" is                                                                    
defined as a watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of                                                             
transportation on water, with the exception of a ship's lifeboat,                                                               
seaplane, inspected passenger vessel, air mattress or inner tube.                                                               
He wondered if the Coast Guard was getting away from the term                                                                   
"watercraft," but he agreed that it was a typical terminology for                                                               
many years.  This terminology, however, included things other than                                                              
"boats," such as barges, log floats, log tubs, and so on.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOFSTAD quoted from AS 28.35.030, which says, "'operate a                                                                   
watercraft' means to navigate or use a vessel used or capable of                                                                
being used as a means of transportation on water for recreational                                                               
or commercial purposes on all waters, fresh or salt, inland or                                                                  
coastal, inside the territorial limits or under the jurisdiction of                                                             
the state".  She told members that with this terminology in mind,                                                               
she did not feel this was going to be problem; however, it will be                                                              
addressed in the House Judiciary Standing Committee, the next                                                                   
committee of referral.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted that forfeiture rules also apply in the                                                             
statutes, and an intoxicated individual may have to forfeit his or                                                              
her watercraft.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 0610                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN referred to page 7, line 17 of Version M,                                                                
Section 05.25.057, subsection (c), where it says that members of                                                                
the Alaska Boating Safety Council are entitled to per diem and                                                                  
travel expenses.  He asked whether these expenses would be paid                                                                 
from the general fund, or if the fees are collected for operation                                                               
of the program itself.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOFSTAD stated her understanding that between $400,000 and                                                                  
$600,000 would be coming to the state, depending upon how many                                                                  
boats are going to register.  She explained that 75 percent of this                                                             
money is going to education costs, leaving 25 percent for                                                                       
administrative costs.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON reiterated that the intention is for this to                                                              
be a totally self-supporting program; in fact, there are sufficient                                                             
funds to support the program and expand boating education.  Any per                                                             
diem and other legitimate expenses that are part of this council                                                                
would be underwritten by the fees that are collected.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN asked whether it would show up in the budget                                                             
underneath "program receipts."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said yes.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MASEK wondered how often the Alaska Boating Safety Council                                                                
would be meeting.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he suspects that there might be two or                                                               
three meetings in the beginning to set up the council; beyond that,                                                             
they would only meet as other issues come forward.  He stressed                                                                 
that it would be entirely covered by the fees that are collected.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0733                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO expressed concern about Section 3, subsection                                                             
(b), page 3, line 15, which says, "(b) A person may not operate a                                                               
boat, [WATERCRAFT] on [THE] water of the state to tow a person                                                                  
under 13 years of age on water skis, a surfboard, or a similar                                                                  
device ..."  He suggested eliminating the phrase "under 13 years of                                                             
age".  He related that he water skis, but he would not be pulled                                                                
without a life preserver, as friends have experienced horrible                                                                  
falls and have been knocked unconscious.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted that all kinds of things could happen                                                               
if one is being towed outside of a boat, and he wondered if the age                                                             
of 13 should be increased, or even if the age requirement should be                                                             
done away with.  An individual who is outside the boat being                                                                    
pulled, he pointed out, is going 35 or 40 miles an hour, regardless                                                             
of what type of device that person is on, and Representative Halcro                                                             
believes that the age of 13 is too young to not be wearing a life                                                               
preserver.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 0810                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON explained that a little higher requirement                                                                
has been established for people who are 13 and under, and it is                                                                 
required that they wear a life jacket in this particular instance.                                                              
If they are 14 or older, in Alaska there has always been trouble in                                                             
the past demanding that they wear anything from motorcycle helmets                                                              
to life jackets.  The state wants them to, and will educate them to                                                             
do so, but the law protects children 13 years and younger.                                                                      
Representative Hudson said he would like to see that provision stay                                                             
in there.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0853                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY referred to Representative Kemplen's                                                                     
question of who would be on the Alaska Boating Safety Council.  He                                                              
related that there are many boards and commissions in Anchorage,                                                                
and the people who serve on those usually do it as a public                                                                     
service.  Even though they can charge up to a certain dollar                                                                    
amount, most of the time their service is gratis.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0930                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MAKO HAGGERTY testified via teleconference from Homer in support of                                                             
HB 108.  He reported that he is a commercial fisherman and a water                                                              
taxi operator in the summertime.  He has worked the waters of                                                                   
Alaska for approximately 18 years, and he knows how dangerous those                                                             
waters can be at times.  If the bill means getting back some or all                                                             
of the fees and taxes paid by Alaskans, he believes it is a good                                                                
idea; he urged the committee to pass it.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 0983                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
NANCY LETHCOE, Alaska Wilderness Sailing and Kayaking, testified                                                                
via teleconference from Valdez.  She and her husband have owned                                                                 
Alaska Wilderness Sailing and Kayaking for the past 25 years, and                                                               
they are the authors of the book "Cruising Guide to Prince William                                                              
Sound."  She reported that, over the last 15 years since doing                                                                  
research for their book, they have been very concerned about the                                                                
boating safety statistics for Alaska.  They have spent a lot of                                                                 
time discussing this with others and trying to think about                                                                      
solutions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. LETHCOE stated:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     I would really like to applaud Representative Hudson for                                                                   
     introducing this bill.  I think it's a major step forward to                                                               
     focusing in Alaska on the specific types of accidents that are                                                             
     most likely to occur in Alaska, and then being able to develop                                                             
     an education and safety program that is suited for Alaska,                                                                 
     rather than a generic one that is suited for Florida as well                                                               
     as Alaska.  We have different conditions in Alaska, and I                                                                  
     think we need to look at them.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     So, in general, I really support this bill.  I share some of                                                               
     the concerns about some of the ... language.  We have some                                                                 
     boats with electric motors on them, and I am not sure that a                                                               
     back-fire flame protector is appropriate, so somehow that                                                                  
     language needs to be cleaned up and made for the appropriate                                                               
     type of boat.  I also share the concern about the use of drugs                                                             
     and alcohol, that these accidents can occur, particularly on                                                               
     holidays.  We've seen some deplorable boatmanship going in and                                                             
     out of harbors, of people who are under the influence, and                                                                 
     would certainly like to see strongly language on that."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1082                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. LETHCOE admitted that she has the old copy of HB 108 that was                                                               
drafted before the committee substitute; however, she expressed                                                                 
concern over Section 3, AS 05.25.030, regarding boat collisions,                                                                
accidents, and casualties.  She stated:                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     We did a risk assessment last year with the help of the U.S.                                                               
     Coast Guard of members and everybody else we could contact                                                                 
     from cruise ships to kayaks, trying to analyze the types of                                                                
     accidents that were mostly likely to occur.  And it was very                                                               
     interesting that there was almost unanimous agreement among                                                                
     all vessel operators that it was very difficult, for example,                                                              
     to see kayaks when they were going into the sun. ...                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     But then we discovered that what they were really saying often                                                             
     was that they couldn't see them on the radar and that they                                                                 
     weren't really looking for them and keeping a visual lookout.                                                              
     So, we're concerned about some language that may need to be                                                                
     added in certain places about what it is to maintain a proper                                                              
     lookout.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. LETHCOE stated that a kayaker's greatest fear is blind corners,                                                             
where a power vessel comes around a blind corner traveling at full                                                              
speed and traps the kayak between the boat and the cliffs.  The                                                                 
wake of a boat can roll a kayak, which has happened.  She believes                                                              
that this could be resolved with better education.  Last year a                                                                 
flyer was put out regarding these boating safety issues.  During                                                                
the process, it was discovered that no records are kept regarding                                                               
accidents which do not result in loss of life or injury or damage                                                               
less than $500.  This legislation continues the lack of record                                                                  
keeping, which Ms. Lethcoe expressed the need to change.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. LETHCOE suggested that there should not be any reference to                                                                 
monetary value.  If there is an accident, the accident should be                                                                
reported, which could provide information as to where accidents are                                                             
occurring in order to develop boating safety materials and programs                                                             
targeted for the most likely audiences.  In conclusion, Ms. Lethcoe                                                             
applauded the committee's efforts and expressed hope that the                                                                   
committee would move forward with HB 108.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said that Ms. Lethcoe brought out some good                                                               
points that could be fleshed out and reviewed by this new council.                                                              
He explained that this attempts to place Alaskan citizens in the                                                                
driver's seat with the Department of Public Safety and the Coast                                                                
Guard in order to identify areas of deficiency.  He invited Ms.                                                                 
Lethcoe to contact the committee in order to ensure that her                                                                    
comments are carried forward.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1317                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CLIFF JUDKINS, President, Alaska Boating Association; and Co-Chair,                                                             
Alaska Boating Safety Council, testified via teleconference from                                                                
the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, noting that he is a 36-year boating                                                               
resident of Alaska.  He informed the committee that last fall, the                                                              
Alaska Boating Association was approached by the Department of                                                                  
Natural Resources (DNR) and asked to endorse the development of the                                                             
Alaska Boating Safety Act within the DNR.  Following much                                                                       
discussion, the Alaska Boating Association Board of Directors                                                                   
adopted a resolution which supported the development of legislation                                                             
to establish the Alaska Recreational Boating Safety Act.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. JUDKINS said that motorized recreationists, including boaters,                                                              
have not fared well in past dealings with DNR and therefore,                                                                    
discussions with DNR were entered into cautiously.  There was                                                                   
concern that DNR would develop an Act to further its non-motorized                                                              
agenda or to acquire more money to use against motorized                                                                        
recreationists.  Mr. Judkins stated that changes have been made                                                                 
with the legislation to satisfy concerns.  He said, "As now worded,                                                             
75 percent of federally generated funds, as a result of the Act,                                                                
must be used for statewide boating safety and education programs.                                                               
Non-motorized craft must be registered and pay their fair share."                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. JUDKINS pointed out that the Alaska Boating Safety Council has                                                              
the power to override DNR's safety regulation.  The legislation                                                                 
specifically excludes the authority to prohibit the use or access                                                               
to waters of the state by a person or user group.  Many still have                                                              
serious concerns regarding any program administered by DNR.                                                                     
However, Mr. Judkins stated, the Alaska Boating Association, as a                                                               
whole and by board endorsement, supports HB 108 as amended.  The                                                                
monies to support the program are currently spent by Alaskans in                                                                
registration fees and boat fuel taxes.  Those funds go to the                                                                   
federal government in order to be distributed to other states to                                                                
fund their boating safety program.  Adoption of this legislation                                                                
will return these funds to Alaska.  Mr. Judkins informed the                                                                    
committee that registration fees and fuel taxes are estimated to                                                                
generate in excess of $1 million per year.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. JUDKINS reiterated that there were 38 recreational                                                                          
boating/drowning incidents in Alaska in 1998, which is 10 times the                                                             
national average per registered boat.  Therefore, if only half of                                                               
Alaska's boats are registered in Alaska, that is still five times                                                               
the national average.  Of the 38 victims, 11 were found without                                                                 
life jackets, and 18 were not found at all.  He suggested that                                                                  
those 18 were not found because they weren't wearing life jackets.                                                              
Furthermore, alcohol was involved in 20 of the drownings, while 10                                                              
involved non-motorized craft.  Mr. Judkins emphasized, "If we did                                                               
nothing more than convince canoers and families going home with                                                                 
their groceries from town to put life jackets on, it would save                                                                 
lives."  He reiterated that the Alaska Boating Association supports                                                             
the bill, as well as safe boating for all Alaskans.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1500                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JERRY GEORGE, Seward Boat Owners Association, testified via                                                                     
teleconference from Anchorage.  He informed the committee of his                                                                
early childhood experiences with boating the Trans-Atlantic and                                                                 
Antarctica.  Further, he mentioned his extensive sailing experience                                                             
in Alaska.  Mr. George said that he applauds having the boating                                                                 
safety program in Alaska.  He clarified that the Boat Owners                                                                    
Association has written to the committee in support of HB 108, not                                                              
the amended legislation which was just made available; the proposed                                                             
CS has some special interest items that are of concern.  Mr. George                                                             
suggested that the Department of Administration be required to                                                                  
retain the existing numbering system.  He indicated that changing                                                               
the numbering system would require boat owners, lending                                                                         
institutions, and all Alaskan harbor masters to change the numbers.                                                             
Retaining the current numbering system would be administratively                                                                
easier.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEORGE pointed out that the aforementioned fuel tax refers to                                                               
the federal marine fuel tax, not the state marine fuel tax.  He                                                                 
believes that the historical split between those two funding                                                                    
sources - the federal marine fuel tax for boating safety and the                                                                
state marine fuel tax for infrastructure - should be maintained.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEORGE addressed the proposed CS.  He said it exempts                                                                       
commercial paddle boats from the license plate requirement, which                                                               
he indicated is not appropriate.  He identified the exemption of                                                                
the commercial paddle boat as a special interest that devalues the                                                              
integrity of the original legislation.  The original legislation is                                                             
further devalued by the veto of the regulations.  He doesn't                                                                    
believe that Alaska has given veto power to anyone but the                                                                      
governor.  Establishing an advisory board with veto power would be                                                              
a dangerous precedent and should be revisited.  He pointed out that                                                             
boating access is inserted into boating safety legislation,                                                                     
although the issues are separate and distinct; he believes that                                                                 
doing so creates confusion.  Mr. George encouraged the committee to                                                             
revert back to the original bill, which the Seward Boat Owners                                                                  
Association supports.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1891                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BRAD SNOW, President, Fairbanks Paddlers, testified via                                                                         
teleconference from Fairbanks.  He informed the committee that the                                                              
Fairbanks Paddlers is a 200-plus-member non-motorized boating club.                                                             
Furthermore, he is a member of the interim Alaska Boating Safety                                                                
Advisory Council.  Mr. Snow supports the concept of an Alaskan                                                                  
boating safety law.  He said that Alaska's boating safety record is                                                             
one of the worst in the nation.  One of the most important goals of                                                             
this legislature should be to pass an agreeable boating safety bill                                                             
this session.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNOW expressed concern with the proposed CS, as it would                                                                    
require paddle boaters to pay a disproportionate amount relative to                                                             
their safety requirements.  Paddle boaters account for less than                                                                
one-third of the boating fatalities.  Furthermore, many paddle                                                                  
boaters have more than one craft.  He mentioned that one of the                                                                 
original arguments for the implementation of a state boating safety                                                             
law is that it would cost the boater no more than would be paid to                                                              
the Coast Guard if the bill was not passed.  The language in the                                                                
original bill and the proposed CS would require the boater to pay                                                               
$24 for each certificate renewal, rather than the Coast Guard's                                                                 
proposed $16 renewal fee.  The proposed CS would cause a new group                                                              
of people to pay $24; those people aren't currently burdened with                                                               
the cost of paperwork registration.  Furthermore, an owner of                                                                   
multiple boats would pay more.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNOW commented that the maximum penalty for nonregistration is                                                              
set at $500; even the family bringing out the canoe once every five                                                             
years would be required to comply.  Mr. Snow stated that placing                                                                
non-motorized boats on the same level as motorized boats is unfair.                                                             
Those states, fewer than 25, that require registration of                                                                       
non-motorized boats have a sliding fee scale.  If the proposed CS                                                               
is implemented, the non-motorized boat fees would be among the                                                                  
highest in the nation.  In conclusion, Mr. Snow indicated that a                                                                
bill should be passed that would tackle Alaska's boating safety                                                                 
record, but it should be done fairly, reasonably, and without                                                                   
unnecessary burden to the Alaskan boaters.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MASEK reminded Mr. Snow that he could send any written                                                                    
testimony to the sponsor's office.  She noted that the bill also                                                                
would be heard in the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 2120                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON thanked the last two testifiers for their                                                                 
comments, noting that the bill will go to the House Finance                                                                     
Standing Committee, as well.  He said he believes that the fee is                                                               
the same as that required by the U.S. Coast Guard, with the                                                                     
exception, as pointed out, of the renewal fee of $16; he said they                                                              
could look at that, as well as other concerns.  Representative                                                                  
Hudson indicated it would be minimal effort to administer a                                                                     
registration program so that somebody lost at sea could be found.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2200                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN GLASS, Colonel, Director, Division of Fish and Wildlife                                                                    
Protection, Department of Public Safety, testified via                                                                          
teleconference from Anchorage, noting that he has spent 26 years as                                                             
an Alaska State Trooper, stationed from Ketchikan to Bethel.  He                                                                
has spent countless hours and numerous days searching for bodies                                                                
and people who have been lost overboard in boating fatalities.  He                                                              
looks at this bill as training and education.  Colonel Glass said                                                               
he has met with Jim Stratton, Director of the Division of Parks and                                                             
Outdoor Recreation, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and they                                                             
have agreed on the working mechanisms of this bill.  Colonel Glass                                                              
indicated he had distributed a list of instructors trained recently                                                             
back East to do the boating safety and education.  He said he                                                                   
strongly supports this bill, and he respectively requests that it                                                               
be passed on for further consideration.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 2310                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ROGER MacCAMPBELL testified via teleconference from Homer, speaking                                                             
primarily as a private citizen and boat owner.  However, he works                                                               
for the DNR's Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation as a                                                                     
district ranger for the southern Kenai Peninsula, including                                                                     
Kachemak Bay, Deep Creek and Anchor River; as such, he has been                                                                 
involved in many search-and-rescue operations, mostly body                                                                      
recoveries.  He urged passage of this bill in concept, indicating                                                               
the state needs the money to educate people in order to prevent                                                                 
loss of life.  Mr. MacCampbell noted that he is involved with most                                                              
of the folks who are trying to put this together to satisfy all the                                                             
interests, and he believes there have been numerous good                                                                        
suggestions that day.  He concluded by saying this bill will save                                                               
Alaskan lives.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 2392                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MIKE FOLKERTS, Member, Alaska Boating Safety Advisory Council,                                                                  
testified via teleconference from Anchorage on behalf of that                                                                   
council, which was formed in December 1998 as a second step in                                                                  
implementing a comprehensive boating safety program for Alaska.  He                                                             
told members that the first step was when Governor Knowles created                                                              
the Office of Boating Safety within the DNR.  The third step will                                                               
be the passage of an Alaska safe boating law that meets the federal                                                             
guidelines.  Once a law is passed and Alaska becomes eligible for                                                               
full federal funding, the council will be able to help develop a                                                                
boating safety program that will reduce accidents and casualties,                                                               
and make boating safer and more enjoyable for Alaskans.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. FOLKERTS advised members that the council represents a diverse                                                              
constituency of boaters, as well as marine dealers, the U.S. Coast                                                              
Guard Auxiliary, and rural health providers.  After their first                                                                 
meeting on January 28, 1999, they targeted education as the number                                                              
one priority to achieve their goals.  The council is committed to                                                               
safe boating in Alaska.  With this legislation, Alaska could take                                                               
advantage of a program that will save lives.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-15, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BARRIE SWAIN testified via teleconference from Anchorage,                                                                       
expressing full support for the bill. [Mr. Swain's testimony was                                                                
not recorded, except for his statement of support, due to a                                                                     
recorder malfunction.]                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 0080                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
STEVE MORGHEIM, Executive Director, Alaska Marine Dealers                                                                       
Association, testified via teleconference from Anchorage,                                                                       
specifying that he was speaking on behalf of that association,                                                                  
although he is also interim co-chair of the Alaska Boating Safety                                                               
Advisory Council and publisher of Alaska Boating Magazine.  He                                                                  
commended Mr. Stratton and Mr. Johnson of DNR for their proactive                                                               
work on this matter.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. MORGHEIM said this legislation is of strategic interest to the                                                              
Alaska Marine Dealers Association; members contribute millions of                                                               
dollars annually in economic benefit to the state's economy,                                                                    
providing hundreds of jobs to state residents.  "Thus, we are                                                                   
always concerned when regulations are proposed that have the                                                                    
potential to negatively impact this industry, no matter how worthy                                                              
the cause, especially as is boating safety, ... which we are all in                                                             
favor of," he stated.  Mr. Morgheim said that for the number of                                                                 
boats being used in Alaska, as well as across the country, figures                                                              
from the National Marine Manufacturers Association show that                                                                    
boating has probably never been safer, although any one death is                                                                
still too many.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MORGHEIM expressed concern that their customers perhaps could                                                               
be kept off the water through access issues, and he specified that                                                              
they support the proposed CS.  He stated,  "Also, the fact that the                                                             
council has been empowered to speak in favor of, to some degree,                                                                
power boaters, and have input into the regulations, we think is                                                                 
very important.  So, we would say that the substitute is our                                                                    
preference, and if it were to changed back to the original, it                                                                  
would cause us a problem."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MORGHEIM said he had asked the association's members to review                                                              
this bill, as they deal with the customers, and Mr. Todd Brandon                                                                
(ph), owner of Burkeshore Marina, had brought up a couple of                                                                    
points.  For example, what documentation is required to register                                                                
currently owned boats?  And is a serial number required?  If so,                                                                
boats prior to 1980 were not required to display a serial number.                                                               
Mr. Morgheim offered to send those to the committee in writing.  A                                                              
further suggestion, submitted to Eddie Grasser, staff to Chair                                                                  
Masek, is that the definition of "boat dealer" should be the one in                                                             
the Alaska Marine Dealers Association bylaws; Mr. Morgheim said                                                                 
that definition was taken directly from the regulations of the                                                                  
Texas board of fish and wildlife.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. MORGHEIM agreed that because they are dealing here with human                                                               
behavior, not mechanical defect, education is the way to go.  He                                                                
asked whether it would be possible to include something about                                                                   
boating safety in the curricula through the Department of Education                                                             
at some point.  He agreed with the testifier from Seward that the                                                               
exclusion of boats being used for commercial purposes isn't                                                                     
appropriate.  Finally, he asked whether the bill takes into account                                                             
problems that could come up with companies that rent boats; for                                                                 
example, a tourist could come to town, rent a boat, and be put out                                                              
on the water with absolutely no provisions.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 0499                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SUE HARGIS, Boating Safety Coordinator, United States Coast Guard,                                                              
came forward to respond to two items mentioned by Mr. Morgheim.                                                                 
First, the hull identification number - otherwise known as the boat                                                             
serial number - is required on a boat in order to register.  She                                                                
stated, "What we do with boats that don't have those, or have                                                                   
partials, or where their numbers have been destroyed, we issue                                                                  
those from our office; and that's a simple matter of a log that we                                                              
add one more number to, basically, and we then send that back out,                                                              
with the registration, to the boat owner, and they inscribe that in                                                             
their hull.  And that's the same, basically, as a vehicle                                                                       
identification number on an automobile."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. HARGIS said the other issue is rental vessels.  Under current                                                               
regulations, in place since 1958, it is the rental agency's                                                                     
requirement to equip boats appropriately, which is a reasonable                                                                 
requirement of any rental agency.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 0559                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON responded to Mr. Morgheim's suggestion that                                                               
the Department of Education be included, stating, "We have not                                                                  
listed any and all connections that the council and that the                                                                    
department can use in implementing this program. ... We're clearly                                                              
going to relate this to boating safety and education, and I think                                                               
that you'll find that the Department of Education and our school                                                                
system will become one of the most valuable outlets and outreach                                                                
points for educating youngsters, particularly, in wearing life                                                                  
jackets and safe boat operation.  So, even though we haven't listed                                                             
it, it clearly is our intention that they be included.  And thank                                                               
you."                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 0629                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KATHY O'GARA, Member, Alaska Boating Safety Advisory Council,                                                                   
testified via teleconference from Anchorage in support of the                                                                   
concept of the bill.  She stated, "We are very concerned about the                                                              
Alaska drowning rate and how high it is here; and we see that this                                                              
bill will help lower avoidable deaths of Alaskans and will also                                                                 
bring in a great deal of money.  And in times of the budget cuts,                                                               
right now, this money will hopefully help the education."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0689                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ERIC DOWNEY, Knik Canoers and Kayers, testified via teleconference                                                              
from Anchorage, noting that his organization is an Anchorage-based                                                              
non-motorized boating club with about 330 households registered as                                                              
members; approximately one-third of their yearly budget is spent on                                                             
safety and education, to try to prevent drownings and other                                                                     
accidents for non-motorized boaters.  He stated:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     We can't do it all ourselves.  We try; we spend $2-3,000 a                                                                 
     year.  Fairbanks boaters try.  The Alaska Boating Association                                                              
     also does their part.  But there needs to be a coordinated                                                                 
     effort.  I hate to say this, but we need more government.                                                                  
     [There was laughter.]  I really do hate to say that .... We do                                                             
     need some help, and I think ... this law is a very good way to                                                             
     go about doing it.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     There are a couple [of] reservations.  Our board of directors                                                              
     will be meeting tomorrow night, so we'll get some definitive                                                               
     written comments to Representative Hudson after that.  But                                                                 
     speaking for the club, without the approval of the directors,                                                              
     I'd just like to say ... that the law is important, and please                                                             
     don't let any small issues get in the way of passing the law.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOWNEY agreed with the Fairbanks Paddlers that owners of                                                                    
non-motorized boats would carry a bigger burden on this, because                                                                
the boats are less expensive and people really do have a lot of                                                                 
little boats; he cited his father-in-law as an example.  He                                                                     
suggested that with a little thought, and maybe two or three extra                                                              
sentences in this bill, these people could be accommodated.  Mr.                                                                
Downey acknowledged the importance of having a permanently affixed                                                              
number on the boat, to help with body identification and maybe                                                                  
rescue.  He suggested, however, that perhaps each household could                                                               
register its non-motorized boats and permanently affix it or clip                                                               
it onto one boat or another boat, rather than registering four or                                                               
five different boats.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOWNEY concluded, "Personally, I'd like to say please go ahead                                                              
with the law, and I'd have to mimic Jerry George's comments about                                                               
an advisory board should be just that - an advisory board.  If                                                                  
you're going to give an advisory board veto power, please call it                                                               
a board of directors or some other way to clarify their status.                                                                 
Personally, I don't think they should have the veto power; I'd like                                                             
to see that removed.  Also, ... a lower renewal fee might be nice,                                                              
but money's not a very big issue, except apparently to some people,                                                             
some commercial boaters, with that exemption in there for                                                                       
commercial boaters.  I hate to see any little special-interest                                                                  
exemption in there."  He restated that they would be providing                                                                  
formal comments to Representative Hudson.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 0928                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN asked whether Mr. Downey feels that the                                                                  
legislation should apply to new purchases of kayaks and canoes, or                                                              
to all individuals who currently possess them.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOWNEY replied, "Well, I see the purpose of the law as to, one,                                                             
generate some funds and organization to education people and, two,                                                              
to promote safety and maybe offset some of the funding for rescues.                                                             
And because of that, ... personally I think it would be important                                                               
to go back and nail all those existing boat owners, rather than                                                                 
just people who own new boats."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOWNEY noted that his organization has received more than a                                                                 
couple of memorial funds as direct requests from relatives and                                                                  
friends of people who have died in boating accidents; he believes                                                               
they come to his organization because they have no other                                                                        
alternative.  There is no vehicle for boating safety in this state,                                                             
despite the importance of boating in Alaska, particularly in rural                                                              
areas with few roads.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Number 1056                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON expressed hope that Mr. Downey would                                                                      
reference his last remarks in his written comments.  He pointed out                                                             
that the legislature has sometimes established funds, such as the                                                               
Alaska children's trust fund, where money can be donated by                                                                     
corporations or individuals.  That could be looked at actively, not                                                             
necessarily in this bill but perhaps separately.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1127                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PAUL DONHEFFNER, Director, Oregon State Marine Board, came forward                                                              
in support of HB 108, noting that he has been director for 16                                                                   
years.  In addition, he was there representing the Western States                                                               
Boating Administrators Association (WSBAA), an association of state                                                             
agencies that do boating safety throughout the western United                                                                   
States, including Hawaii and the Pacific islands; he is past                                                                    
president of WSBAA and has served on a number of their committees.                                                              
He is also current vice president of the National Association of                                                                
State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), the counterpart for the                                                              
regional organization; he said he was there representing NASBLA                                                                 
president Bill Engfer, the Boating Law Administrator for the state                                                              
of Wisconsin, who has submitted written comments.  Mr. Donheffner                                                               
stated:                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     We're here today to support this legislation.  We consider it                                                              
     to be extremely important because it allows the state of                                                                   
     Alaska to steer its own course for boating safety.  In looking                                                             
     across the western states and the nation, there are a variety                                                              
     of different approaches that individual states have taken to                                                               
     achieve boating safety for their citizens, but with the common                                                             
     goal of promoting boating safety.  And that's what brings us                                                               
     together as boating administrators, to share ideas, to share                                                               
     common knowledge and lessons learned of how to make boating                                                                
     safer for all of us people.  As I said, no two states are                                                                  
     alike; each has its own way of doing things.  There is no                                                                  
     one-size-fits-all approach to boating safety, and certainly                                                                
     the interventions that you need in Alaska may be different                                                                 
     than what has worked in other states.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     But we work together to share ideas, and that's why we're here                                                             
     today to support ... your bill.  Both WSBAA and NASBLA have                                                                
     gone on record, through formal resolutions, in support of the                                                              
     state of Alaska to assist in development of a new program.                                                                 
     We're not here to tell you what to do, but we are available to                                                             
     share the lessons we've learned and our collective knowledge                                                               
     of boating safety, boat registration programs, safety                                                                      
     education, and marine law enforcement efforts.  Chances are                                                                
     good that we've been there, done that in the past, and we're                                                               
     willing and able to assist you in your efforts to create a new                                                             
     program here in Alaska.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I'd like to share that state boating safety programs have                                                                  
     proved to be very effective in reducing boating accidents and                                                              
     fatalities.  Using funds from registration fees, the states                                                                
     have been able to leverage matching federal funds from the                                                                 
     Coast Guard to produce very, very cost-effective state boating                                                             
     safety interventions.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I'd like to just share with you our experience in Oregon.                                                                  
     Back in the 1960s, Oregon experienced its worst year for                                                                   
     boating fatalities in 1967, with 53 fatalities that year; we                                                               
     had 50,000 registered boats at the time.  Now, as a result of                                                              
     safety interventions in the 1970s, when registrations were                                                                 
     over 100,000, we were able to reduce the number of fatalities                                                              
     to [31.5] per year.  By the '80s, we'd increased another                                                                   
     50,000 vessels, to 150,000; we dropped ... the death rate to                                                               
     22.7 a year.  And in the '90s, with nearly 200,000 boats,                                                                  
     we've cut accidents even further, to an average of 15.3 deaths                                                             
     per year.  Essentially, since 1970, we've doubled the number                                                               
     of boats in the state and cut our fatalities in half.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     I think ... that's the kind of results that you can see in the                                                             
     state of Alaska with an active state program that's out there                                                              
     promoting education, promoting other creative interventions on                                                             
     behalf of your citizens.  Other states have had similar                                                                    
     experiences in reducing boating accidents and providing                                                                    
     improved services for their boaters as a result of the                                                                     
     registration revenue that they get from taking this program                                                                
     over and the establishment of these programs.  In 1961, the                                                                
     national fatality rate was 20.8 deaths per 100,000 boats; by                                                               
     1975, state interventions had cut that rate to under 10 deaths                                                             
     per 100,000 boats; and in 1996, the rate was at an all-time                                                                
     low of 5.6 per 100,000. ... That is all largely attributable                                                               
     to the fact that we've had active state programs, sharing                                                                  
     information, sharing knowledge and ... putting those federal                                                               
     dollars to work to effectively serve our citizens with safety                                                              
     education programs.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Now, one last thing I'd like to share, because I know that                                                                 
     Oregon's legislature is frequently skeptical of federal                                                                    
     programs, and I'm sure that it's no different here in Alaska,                                                              
     however, I would like to share with you that we don't view the                                                             
     assumption of boat registration as a federal mandate.  I                                                                   
     think, instead, you should look at it as an opportunity to                                                                 
     generate state revenue to support state boating programs that                                                              
     you can use here for Alaskans.  And coupled with the matching                                                              
     Coast Guard grants, it's a win-win for states.  It's been a                                                                
     win-win for everyone else, and ... we would encourage you to                                                               
     take advantage of that opportunity, as well.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Finally, I'd like to share that in terms of the federal                                                                    
     oversight on that program, the grant program, it's been our                                                                
     experience that there's very little federal meddling in how                                                                
     the state directs those boating safety dollars.  I know in our                                                             
     state we decide where those federal dollars are spent, whether                                                             
     it's for safety, law enforcement or the like.  And I think I                                                               
     can speak fairly for NASBLA and the other states in telling                                                                
     you that that is not a problem.  So, receipt of those federal                                                              
     funds is not a problem.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     We're very supportive of your program.  I'd be happy to answer                                                             
     any questions that you might have this afternoon.  And as an                                                               
     outsider, it's been very interesting observing your process                                                                
     here in this hearing this afternoon.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 1455                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA SANDS, District Commodore, 17th District Coast Guard                                                                    
Auxiliary, came forward to testify, noting that she is also a                                                                   
recreational boater, having boated in Prince William Sound for ten                                                              
years.  She read from written comments, as follows:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     As a boater and the District Commodore of the Coast Guard                                                                  
     Auxiliary, I am here to support boating safety legislation.                                                                
     As a member of the Twenty-first [Alaska] State Legislature,                                                                
     you have the unique opportunity to join the rest of the nation                                                             
     in giving the people of Alaska, through elected                                                                            
     representatives, the right of self-determination in laws                                                                   
     regulating recreational boating activities.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary has a proud tradition                                                              
     and a history of 60 years of providing civilian support to the                                                             
     United States Coast Guard.  The primary missions of the                                                                    
     Auxiliary in support of the United States Coast Guard are in                                                               
     boating safety education, safety and search-and-rescue                                                                     
     patrols, courtesy boat safety examinations and many other                                                                  
     activities.  The 17th [Coast Guard District] encompasses the                                                               
     entire state of Alaska.  In Alaska, the Auxiliary has 370                                                                  
     volunteers who contributed over 30,000 hours in 1998 in                                                                    
     service and support of recreational boating safety activities                                                              
     for their fellow Alaskans; that's a lot of hours. ...                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The legislation being consider by you will provide Alaskans                                                                
     the same basic recreational boating safety regulations as                                                                  
     enjoyed by the recreational boaters in the other 49 states.                                                                
     By conforming to minimum federal standards, you can provide                                                                
     ... Alaskans with direct federal funding and improve our                                                                   
     ability to reduce the extremely high accident and fatality                                                                 
     rate in this state.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Our waters are considered some of the most hazardous in the                                                                
     nation because of the extreme cold water temperature.  Yet on                                                              
     many of our lakes and rivers, there is not even the basic                                                                  
     requirement to have a life jacket on a vessel, let alone to                                                                
     wear one.  Life jackets are not just safety issues in Alaska                                                               
     - they are survival issues.  Most of our boaters that died                                                                 
     last year in boating fatalities were not wearing life jackets.                                                             
     Many of those people would still be here with us today, had                                                                
     they been wearing one.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Statistics have shown us that when other states have enacted                                                               
     boating safety legislation, ... they have seen significant                                                                 
     reductions in accidents and fatalities.  When the federal                                                                  
     government enacted legislation in 1988, regulating safety                                                                  
     standards for the commercial fishing industry, we in Alaska                                                                
     also saw a reduction in our commercial fishermen's fatalities.                                                             
     When the state enacted legislation requiring children under                                                                
     the age of 13 to wear life jackets when on boats, that also                                                                
     helped.  I talked with a state trooper in the Bethel area, and                                                             
     by enforcing laws requiring the children to wear life jackets,                                                             
     he saw a drastic reduction of fatalities in his area of                                                                    
     operations in the first year that that law had been passed.                                                                
     Safe boating laws, and a little enforcement, have significant                                                              
     results in reducing accidents and fatalities.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     The Alaska Boating Safety Advisory Council has prioritized the                                                             
     goals for Alaska and determined the highest priority as                                                                    
     education.  We in the Coast Guard Auxiliary have in place an                                                               
     infrastructure for taking an excellent boating safety program                                                              
     to the people who need it most - the boaters.  Too often,                                                                  
     fishermen and hunters fail to remember that they, too, are                                                                 
     boaters.  A combination of state funds and federal grants from                                                             
     the Coast Guard will provide resources now not available, to                                                               
     develop and maintain a viable program that, in our opinion,                                                                
     will successfully reduce fatalities, injuries and property                                                                 
     damage.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     We, as Alaskans and as a group of volunteers, are passionately                                                             
     dedicated to boating safety.  We enthusiastically support the                                                              
     boating legislation that will help to decrease our drowning                                                                
     rate and at least offer the opportunity to bring it in line                                                                
     with other states.  We look forward to partnering with the                                                                 
     state of Alaska and with other organization that are involved                                                              
     in recreational boating safety to save lives in our state.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1689                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked whether they are currently involved                                                                 
with education within the various Alaska communities.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDS replied, "Yes, we are."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO noted that there are four lakes in his                                                                    
district, in Anchorage. Part of the problem he sees is                                                                          
communicating with fire departments about access.  He asked, "Are                                                               
you doing anything, or have you heard of anything like that,                                                                    
working with fire departments and neighbors to allow for access in                                                              
case of emergencies?"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDS answered, "No, I haven't, but it's something that we can                                                              
address to our members ... around the state, and see if they can                                                                
work with the other agencies."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Number 1740                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MARK JOHNSON, Chief, Community Health and Emergency Medical                                                                     
Services, Division of Public Health, Department or Health and                                                                   
Social Services, came forward.  He told members, "We consider this                                                              
to be a public health issue, and we support this legislation."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MASEK asked whether anyone else wished to testify; Sue Hargis                                                             
from the Coast Guard said she would submit written testimony and                                                                
offered to answer any questions.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1767                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO made a motion to move the CS for HB 108                                                                   
[version 1-LS0445\M, Ford, 3/26/99] out of committee with                                                                       
individual recommendations and the attached positive fiscal                                                                     
note(s).  He thanked the sponsor for this good piece of                                                                         
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MASEK asked whether there was any objection.  Hearing none,                                                               
she announced that CSHB 108(TRA) was moved out of the House                                                                     
Transportation Standing Committee.  She noted that it would be                                                                  
further heard in the House Judiciary Standing Committee and the                                                                 
House Finance Standing Committee.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MASEK adjourned the meeting at 3:10 p.m. but brought the                                                                  
meeting back to order, as Mr. Morgheim spoke up via teleconference.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. MORGHEIM said his comments had nothing to do with HB 108, but                                                               
he wanted to point out that Alaska is one of the very few states                                                                
that lacks boat titling.  He suggested that the Division of Motor                                                               
Vehicles (DMV) be asked whether there is a way for boat titling to                                                              
be enacted, which he suggested would help the banking community,                                                                
the dealers and the industry.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MASEK noted that Juanita Hensley from the DMV was present.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1878                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JUANITA HENSLEY, Administrator, Director's Office, Division of                                                                  
Motor Vehicles, Department of Administration, responded, "With a                                                                
motor vehicle, you get a manufacturer's certificate of origin at                                                                
the time that the vehicle is manufactured.  The manufacturing                                                                   
company issues what they call an 'MSO' or 'MCO,' and that is the                                                                
original quasi-title to that vehicle.  Then it's turned over to the                                                             
states, and we issue a state title that goes along with that                                                                    
vehicle until you've paid the lien off or until you sell it and                                                                 
then it goes to another person."  She said she doesn't know whether                                                             
boat manufacturers have that type of documentation, a certificate                                                               
of origin; if so, perhaps the DMV could look at that down the road.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Number 1926                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked that Mr. Morgheim contact his office                                                                
regarding the perceived needs, as that may be something they could                                                              
address in another piece of legislation, if there is a good public                                                              
purpose.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Transportation Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:15                                                                 
p.m.                                                                                                                            

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