Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/08/2003 02:03 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                          May 8, 2003                                                                                           
                           2:03 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Jim Holm, Co-Chair                                                                                               
Representative Beverly Masek, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Hugh Fate                                                                                                        
Representative Vic Kohring                                                                                                      
Representative Dan Ogg                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Mary Kapsner                                                                                                     
Representative Albert Kookesh                                                                                                   
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 71(TRA)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating to funding for transportation projects; and                                                                    
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     - MOVED CSSB 71(TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
HOUSE BILL NO. 301                                                                                                              
"An Act establishing the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority and                                                                 
relating to that authority; and providing for an effective                                                                      
     - MOVED CSHB 301(TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
HOUSE BILL NO. 217                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to driving  while  under the  influence of  an                                                               
alcoholic  beverage, inhalant,  or  controlled  substance and  to                                                               
presumptions arising  from the  amount of  alcohol in  a person's                                                               
breath or blood; and providing for an effective date."                                                                          
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
BILL: SB 71                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE:TRANSPORTATION ENHANCEMENT PROJECTS                                                                                 
SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) STEVENS B                                                                                                
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/18/03     0204       (S)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
02/18/03     0204       (S)        TRA, FIN                                                                                     
02/27/03                (S)        TRA AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                 
02/27/03                (S)        Moved CSSB 71(TRA) Out of                                                                    
02/27/03                (S)        MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                  
02/28/03     0295       (S)        TRA RPT CS 3DP 1NR 1AM NEW                                                                   
02/28/03     0295       (S)        DP: COWDERY, OLSON, WAGONER;                                                                 
02/28/03     0295       (S)        NR: THERRIAULT; AM: LINCOLN                                                                  
02/28/03     0295       (S)        FN1: ZERO(DOT)                                                                               
03/11/03                (S)        FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE                                                                
03/11/03                (S)        Moved CSSB 71(TRA) Out of                                                                    
03/12/03     0467       (S)        FIN RPT CS(TRA) 2DP 5NR                                                                      
03/12/03     0467       (S)        DP: WILKEN, STEVENS B; NR:                                                                   
03/12/03     0467       (S)        TAYLOR, HOFFMAN, OLSON, BUNDE                                                                
03/12/03     0467       (S)        FN1: ZERO(DOT)                                                                               
03/13/03     0491       (S)        RULES TO CALENDAR 3/13/2003                                                                  
03/13/03     0491       (S)        READ THE SECOND TIME                                                                         
03/13/03     0492       (S)        TRA CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                                                                  
03/13/03     0492       (S)        ADVANCE TO 3RD READING FAILED                                                                
                                   Y12 N7 E1                                                                                    
03/13/03     0492       (S)        ADVANCED TO THIRD READING                                                                    
                                   3/17 CALENDAR                                                                                
03/17/03     0519       (S)        READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB                                                                     
03/17/03     0519       (S)        PASSED Y11 N7 E2                                                                             
03/17/03     0519       (S)        EFFECTIVE DATE(S) ADOPTED Y18                                                                
                                   N- E2                                                                                        
03/17/03     0519       (S)        LINCOLN NOTICE OF                                                                            
03/18/03     0539       (S)        RECONSIDERATION NOT TAKEN UP                                                                 
03/18/03     0539       (S)        TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                           
03/18/03     0539       (S)        VERSION: CSSB 71(TRA)                                                                        
03/19/03     0576       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
03/19/03     0576       (H)        TRA                                                                                          
03/19/03     0596       (H)        CROSS SPONSOR(S): LYNN                                                                       
03/20/03     0603       (H)        CROSS SPONSOR(S):ROKEBERG#1,                                                                 
04/01/03                (H)        TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
04/01/03                (H)        Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                      
04/02/03     0748       (H)        FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER TRA                                                                 
04/03/03                (H)        TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
04/03/03                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
05/08/03                (H)        TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
BILL: HB 301                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:KNIK ARM BRIDGE AND TOLL AUTHORITY                                                                                  
SPONSOR(S): RLS BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                      
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
05/06/03     1354       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
05/06/03     1354       (H)        TRA, FIN                                                                                     
05/06/03     1354       (H)        FN1: (DOT)                                                                                   
05/06/03     1354       (H)        GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                                                                
05/06/03                (H)        TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
05/06/03                (H)        Scheduled But Not Heard --                                                                   
05/08/03                (H)        TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
BILL: HB 217                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:DUI: LOWER BAC IF PREVIOUS CONVICTION                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)WEYHRAUCH                                                                                          
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/26/03     0641       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
03/26/03     0641       (H)        TRA, JUD                                                                                     
03/26/03     0641       (H)        REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION                                                                   
04/15/03                (H)        TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
04/15/03                (H)        Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                      
04/24/03                (H)        TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
04/24/03                (H)        Scheduled But Not Heard --                                                                   
05/06/03                (H)        TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
05/06/03                (H)        Scheduled But Not Heard --                                                                   
05/08/03                (H)        TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
JOHN MacKINNON, Deputy Commissioner of Highways & Public                                                                        
Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF)                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented sponsor statement for HB 301.                                                                    
LINDA SYLVESTER, Staff                                                                                                          
to Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                               
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented  HB 217 on  behalf of  the bill's                                                               
sponsor, Representative Bruce Weyhrauch.                                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 03-21, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR BEVERLY  MASEK called the House  Transportation Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 2:03 p.m.   Representatives Masek,                                                               
Holm,  Fate, and  Kohring  were  present at  the  call to  order.                                                               
Representative Ogg arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                      
SB  71-TRANSPORTATION ENHANCEMENT PROJECTS                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MASEK announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be CS  FOR SENATE BILL NO.  71(TRA), "An Act relating  to funding                                                               
for  transportation  projects;  and providing  for  an  effective                                                               
Number 0053                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR MASEK noted  that the bill would place in  statute the 4                                                               
percent  required [maximum]  level of  funding for  TRAAK [Trails                                                               
and Recreation  Access for Alaska]  programs.  She said  she felt                                                               
this  was setting  a bad  precedent because  TRAAK funding  is of                                                               
benefit to many areas in the state.   She stated that there is no                                                               
doubt that support is needed in  the state where there is no road                                                               
or highway  access, and TRAAK  funding provides good  support for                                                               
communities with  trails and  quality-of-life additions.   Having                                                               
said that, she asked for the wishes of the committee.                                                                           
Number 0090                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR HOLM moved to report  CSSB 71(TRA) out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the accompanying  fiscal  note.                                                               
There  being no  objection, CSSB  71(TRA) was  reported from  the                                                               
House Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                        
HB 301-KNIK ARM BRIDGE AND TOLL AUTHORITY                                                                                     
Number 0166                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR MASEK  announced that the  next order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL  NO. 301, "An Act establishing the  Knik Arm Bridge                                                               
and Toll Authority and relating  to that authority; and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
CO-CHAIR MASEK referred to a letter  from Mayor Dale Adams of the                                                               
City of  Houston in  which he expressed  his support  of building                                                               
the  bridge over  Knik Arm  but  noted that  he couldn't  support                                                               
paying toll without  knowing what the cost per trip  would be; he                                                               
also  wondered  whether  yearly  passes  would  be  available  to                                                               
Number 0183                                                                                                                     
JOHN   MacKINNON,   Deputy   Commissioner,  Highways   &   Public                                                               
Facilities,   Office   of   the   Commissioner,   Department   of                                                               
Transportation  &   Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF),   provided  the                                                               
sponsor statement  for HB 301  [which was sponsored by  the House                                                               
Rules  Standing  Committee  by   request  of  the  governor]  and                                                               
provided the following testimony:                                                                                               
     The bill establishes an  independent authority to build                                                                    
     and  operate  a  toll  bridge   over  Knik  Arm.    The                                                                    
     authority would  be able to  receive federal  money and                                                                    
     issue revenue bonds to finance  the toll bridge and its                                                                    
     appurtenant  facilities.   The authority  would design,                                                                    
     construct,  and   operate  the  bridge   and  associate                                                                    
     It  would be  a  public corporation  that, although  an                                                                    
     instrument  of  the  state  within  the  Department  of                                                                    
     Transportation  &  Public   Facilities,  would  have  a                                                                    
     separate, independent  legal existence from  the state.                                                                    
     The revenue of  the authority would not  become part of                                                                    
     the  general fund,  and the  property of  the authority                                                                    
     would be exempt from taxation.                                                                                             
MR. MacKINNON continued:                                                                                                        
     This bill  establishes a  three-person board  to govern                                                                    
     the  authority.    The  commissioners  of  revenue  and                                                                    
     transportation would  serve on the board,  along with a                                                                    
     member of  the public appointed  by the governor  for a                                                                    
     five-year term.                                                                                                            
     The  construction   of  the   Knik  Arm  Bridge   is  a                                                                    
     cornerstone  of  the governor's  public  transportation                                                                    
     development  plan.   The bridge  would unite  Anchorage                                                                    
     and   the  Matanuska-Susitna   Borough   to  enable   a                                                                    
     tremendous amount of growth throughout the area.                                                                           
MR. MacKINNON  responded to the  questions posed by the  mayor of                                                               
Houston regarding the cost of the  toll and said that because the                                                               
project is just  beginning, it's premature to  determine the cost                                                               
of the toll at this point.   Regarding obtaining a yearly pass, a                                                               
variety of  options need to  be looked at  in order to  make that                                                               
convenient for the public.                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR MASEK  asked why  there were only  three members  on the                                                               
board  governing  the  authority  -  one  commissioner  from  the                                                               
[Department of Revenue], one from DOT&PF, and one public member.                                                                
MR.  MacKINNON  responded  that   it  had  been  determined  that                                                               
involving  a   fewer  number  of   people  would   facilitate  an                                                               
efficiently  run board  due to  the ease  of the  decision-making                                                               
process.   He commented that  the legislature has  some oversight                                                               
of  the  board by  virtue  of  confirming  the positions  of  the                                                               
commissioners of the Department of Revenue and DOT&PF.                                                                          
CO-CHAIR  MASEK expressed  concern over  the choice  the governor                                                               
might  make in  appointing  the public  member,  noting that  the                                                               
project  is an  important cornerstone  for the  Matanuska-Susitna                                                               
("Mat-Su")  Borough;   she  emphasized   her  concern   for  fair                                                               
Number 0460                                                                                                                     
MR.  MacKINNON  responded  that  the  three-member  board  limits                                                               
representation.   He reminded the  committee that the  bridge was                                                               
one of  three major projects  that the governor mentioned  in his                                                               
"state of the state" address,  and therefore, anything that would                                                               
speed  up  the  process  of  getting  the  project  underway  and                                                               
completed  would be  consistent  with the  governor's  goal.   He                                                               
added  that  an  independent  authority  helps  to  achieve  that                                                               
because the focus is on one particular project.                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR  HOLM  asked, in  the  context  of reflecting  upon  the                                                               
financing  of   the  Alaska  Railroad,  whether   there  was  any                                                               
provision included  that addressed the return  of excess revenue,                                                               
if there was any, back to the state.                                                                                            
MR. MacKINNON  replied that  he didn't believe  there was  such a                                                               
provision.   He said he thought  the intent of the  authority was                                                               
first to  focus on building the  project and then to  operate the                                                               
project.   He  indicated that  the tolls  would be  used for  two                                                               
things:  to  pay for any debt  that needs to be  retired and also                                                               
to maintain the project.  He  said his understanding was that the                                                               
project's focus was not on its being a moneymaking facility.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HOLM  asked if the  intent was  for this project  to pay                                                               
for itself.                                                                                                                     
MR. MacKINNON confirmed that this was so.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE FATE commented on the  size of the board, offering                                                               
his opinion  that with  a small board  composed of  two technical                                                               
members,  those   two  members   would  probably   overpower  the                                                               
knowledge and  actions of  the one  public member.   He  asked if                                                               
there had  been any discussion  of raising the number  of members                                                               
on the board to five instead of three.                                                                                          
MR.   MacKINNON   offered   to   take   that   concern   to   the                                                               
Number 0685                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  OGG asked  if there  was  familiarity with  other                                                               
bridge authorities that could serve as models.                                                                                  
MR. MacKINNON  said he didn't know  if other toll bridges  - such                                                               
as the  bridge at  Chesapeake Bay or  other bridge  authorities -                                                               
had  been  examined, but  told  the  committee  that HB  301  was                                                               
modeled on  a similar bill  that had been proposed  several years                                                               
ago.   He  said that  he thought  the authority  would evolve  as                                                               
needed in order to accomplish the intended goal.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE OGG  followed up on Representative  Fate's concern                                                               
regarding  the number  of  members  on the  board.    He said  in                                                               
consideration of  the bridge connecting Anchorage  and the Mat-Su                                                               
Borough,  perhaps  the  governor would  consider  appointing  the                                                               
mayor or the designee from each  municipality, as a way of adding                                                               
a helpful element to the constitution of the board.                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  MASEK said  she would  entertain  a friendly  amendment                                                               
that would increase the membership of the board.                                                                                
Number 0790                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE moved  to adopt Conceptual Amendment  1.  The                                                               
amendment refers to  page 2, lines 9-12, and would  add:  "(4) to                                                               
add two new members, at the discretion of the governor".                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  OGG asked  if these  [two new  members] would  be                                                               
public members.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  clarified that Conceptual Amendment  1 would                                                               
increase the number  of members on the board to  five members and                                                               
leaves the  determination of those  members up to  the discretion                                                               
of the  governor.   He suggested that  a five-member  board would                                                               
not run as  great of a risk of collusion  as would a three-member                                                               
CO-CHAIR MASEK asked if Conceptual  Amendment 1 was to read [page                                                               
2,  lines 12  and 13],  "three public  members, appointed  by the                                                               
governor, who are state residents and United States citizens".                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE  responded  that he  wasn't  necessarily  in                                                               
favor of  having three public members.   He said that  on a board                                                               
of three, two of those  members would be very knowledgeable; they                                                               
would  either be  engineers or  people with  technical knowledge.                                                               
He stated that  it doesn't make sense to  have three nontechnical                                                               
people on  a five-member  board.  He  suggested that  rather than                                                               
specifying three public members, the  specifics should be left to                                                               
the  discretion of  the governor.    He put  forth the  language:                                                               
"two more members, appointed at  the discretion of the governor".                                                               
He emphasized  that he  didn't want to  overweigh the  board with                                                               
nontechnical people.                                                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  HOLM said  he thought  it was  very important  that the                                                               
involved  boroughs   have  representation   on  the   board  and,                                                               
therefore,  that the  board be  composed of  membership that  was                                                               
beholden to the people of the Anchorage and Mat-Su areas.                                                                       
Number 1103                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE suggested that  this could be [considered as]                                                               
an amendment to the amendment.                                                                                                  
Number 1124                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  OGG offered  an amendment  to the  amendment that                                                               
one member  would be the  mayor or  the designee from  the Mat-Su                                                               
Borough, and another  member would be the mayor  or designee from                                                               
Number 1150                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE  objected for purposes of  discussion, saying                                                               
that the geographic positioning seemed  wise, but offered that he                                                               
was  bothered by  the idea  of having  the board  be composed  of                                                               
CO-CHAIR HOLM suggested accessing  somebody from AMATS [Anchorage                                                               
Metropolitan Area Transportation Study] to be on the board.                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  MASEK  suggested  the   consideration  of  the  borough                                                               
manager or delegate.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE concurred  that this  suggestion was  a more                                                               
likely choice.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE OGG  said he  didn't have  a problem  changing the                                                               
friendly amendment to the amendment  so that it would specify the                                                               
manager  or  the  manager's  designee   of  the  Mat-Su  Borough;                                                               
however, he  suggested keeping Anchorage's position  as the mayor                                                               
or the  mayor's designee.  He  referred to the language  [page 2,                                                               
lines 9-11] "or the commissioner's  designee", saying that he was                                                               
interested in being consistent with that language.                                                                              
MR.  MacKINNON referred  to a  discussion of  the summary  of the                                                               
Department of Law's (DOL's) draft  that determines the make-up of                                                               
the board.   He said that the original draft  received by the DOL                                                               
added two nonvoting, ex-officio members  to the board: the mayors                                                               
of the  Municipality of  Anchorage and the  Mat-Su Borough.   The                                                               
[DOL's] governmental  affairs section strongly  advocated against                                                               
this  in  order  to  preserve the  governor's  strong  powers  of                                                               
appointment and executive branch  control, and to avoid potential                                                               
problems  of the  board's future  function.   In  its place,  the                                                               
statute  includes  a  requirement  to  coordinate  with  the  two                                                               
CO-CHAIR  MASEK expressed  appreciation  of the  administration's                                                               
point of  view; however, she  said that the  committee's concerns                                                               
regarding the composition of the board were valid as well.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE said  this project  would be  a much  bigger                                                               
project than the  Anchorage airport, noting that  there was quite                                                               
an overrun  at the airport.   He told the committee  that without                                                               
the aforementioned coordination, in  addition to there needing to                                                               
be a very  tight board to oversee and discuss  the project, there                                                               
would be too  much room for error with only  three board members,                                                               
one of  whom would  be a public  member.  He  said that  a strong                                                               
liability would  be placed on  their shoulders to discern  how to                                                               
come to grips  with any overruns, should something go  wrong.  He                                                               
said he  felt that it was  not a good  move by the DOL  to reduce                                                               
the board's membership.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE OGG  said he felt  strongly that the  board should                                                               
contain a community  connection and urged members  to support the                                                               
friendly amendment to the amendment.                                                                                            
Number 1444                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR MASEK asked if there  was any objection to the amendment                                                               
to Conceptual  Amendment 1.   There being none, the  amendment to                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                             
Number 1458                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  MASEK asked  if  there was  any  objection to  adopting                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1, as amended.   There being none, it was so                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE said  he  hoped this  would  be carried  and                                                               
hoped there would be a  rigorous discussion on "this item today,"                                                               
saying  that the  intent  was  not to  harm  the  project or  the                                                               
authority, and that  it could always be "amended back."   He said                                                               
this  was  amended  in  good   faith,  with  some  real  concerns                                                               
regarding the size of the board and the outcome of that size.                                                                   
MR.  MacKINNON replied  that he  would  carry this  back [to  the                                                               
administration] and reiterated that  there had been a five-member                                                               
board  in the  original  draft and  that "what  came  out of  the                                                               
Department of Law was somewhat different."                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR MASEK asked  if anyone else wished to  testify, and then                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
Number 1546                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING  moved to report  HB 301, as  amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying  fiscal  note.    There  being  no  objection,  CSHB                                                               
301(TRA)  was reported  from  the  House Transportation  Standing                                                               
HB 217-DUI: LOWER BAC IF PREVIOUS CONVICTION                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR MASEK announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 217, "An  Act relating to driving  while under                                                               
the influence  of an alcoholic beverage,  inhalant, or controlled                                                               
substance and to presumptions arising  from the amount of alcohol                                                               
in a  person's breath  or blood; and  providing for  an effective                                                               
Number 1582                                                                                                                     
LINDA SYLVESTER, Staff to  Representative Bruce Weyhrauch, Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature,  provided  the  following  testimony  as  the                                                               
sponsor  statement  for  HB  217   on  behalf  of  Representative                                                               
Weyhrauch, sponsor:                                                                                                             
     The  bill  that  is   under  consideration  before  you                                                                    
     proposes to lower the blood  alcohol content for repeat                                                                    
     DUI [driving  under the  influence] offenders  from the                                                                    
     current  level  of  0.08  to  0.04.   This  bill  is  a                                                                    
     priority of Mothers Against Drunk  Drivers, and it's an                                                                    
     important  piece  of   the  criminal  justice  system's                                                                    
     approach to  prosecuting drunk drivers and  keeping our                                                                    
     roads safe.   I want to emphasize that this  is a small                                                                    
     step and  it will  not overburden the  criminal justice                                                                    
     system or the courts with an influx of new arrests.                                                                        
     Just an  aside:  once this  legislation was introduced,                                                                    
     I got  a number  of phone  calls from  the departments,                                                                    
     asking  what the  sponsor's intent  of the  legislation                                                                    
     was.  They  were concerned that we were  hoping that it                                                                    
     would do a  lot.  I emphasized to them  that we thought                                                                    
     that we consider  this legislation to be  similar to an                                                                    
     aggravating factor  in sentencing; it's  just something                                                                    
     that is a very small step.                                                                                                 
     Right now, if  a police officer pulls  someone over, if                                                                    
     they have  probable cause to consider  that this person                                                                    
     might be impaired in their  driving, they pull him over                                                                    
     and then  they take a  breathalyzer test in  the field,                                                                    
     again, if they have probable  cause.  If it's real low,                                                                    
     if  it's  0.08,  for  example,   the  person  might  be                                                                    
     arrested -  chances are  would be  arrested -  and then                                                                    
     they're  taken  to  the   stationhouse  and  they  take                                                                    
     another  breathalyzer test  at  the  stationhouse.   My                                                                    
     understanding is, that's  the test that is  used by the                                                                    
     prosecution  and the  defense in  criminal prosecution.                                                                    
     If it's  marginal, if it's  just under or  around 0.08,                                                                    
     there's  a chance  that the  prosecutor won't  take the                                                                    
     case because they are  necessarily limited by resources                                                                    
     and they want  to take the winning  cases the distance.                                                                    
     With  this law  enacted, those  marginal cases  will be                                                                    
     better bets for the prosecutor to prosecute.                                                                               
Number 1681                                                                                                                     
MS. SYLVESTER testified:                                                                                                        
     In 1999, Alaska led the  nation in highway accidents in                                                                    
     which alcohol was  a factor.  Forty  out of seventy-six                                                                    
     accidents that  year involved  alcohol, which  is about                                                                    
     53  percent.   Statistically,  on  a nationwide  level,                                                                    
     approximately  one-third of  all  DUI convictions  each                                                                    
     year are  repeat offenders.   A  1994 study  found that                                                                    
     fatally  injured  drivers involved  in  alcohol-related                                                                    
     accidents were  eight times more  likely to have  had a                                                                    
     prior DUI conviction in the [preceding] five years.                                                                        
     Drivers with  DUI convictions whose licenses  have been                                                                    
     reinstated  are  six  to ten  times  more  likely  than                                                                    
     drivers the  same age and  gender to be arrested  for a                                                                    
     DUI or be involved in  a crash the year following their                                                                    
     reinstatement.   Over and over,  the numbers  show that                                                                    
     there  is  no  doubt,  repeat DUI  offenders  are  over                                                                    
     represented in alcohol-related fatal crashes.                                                                              
MS. SYLVESTER testified:                                                                                                        
     The question that  HB 217 poses is, "How  many bites of                                                                    
     the  apple do  you give  the drinking  drivers who  are                                                                    
     extremely high-risk  drivers?"   And then  the question                                                                    
     is, "Does  it make sense  to hold repeat  DUI offenders                                                                    
     to  the  same standards  as  people  who are  receiving                                                                    
     their  original citation  for  that  [offense]?"   This                                                                    
     bill is  not zero tolerance.   It's just a  simple tool                                                                    
     that gives  the prosecutors more leeway  in prosecuting                                                                    
     cases  that  are  borderline.    Is it  fair?    Is  it                                                                    
     draconian?     That's  the   question  that   we'll  be                                                                    
     addressing   at   table.     Before   you   make   that                                                                    
     determination,  consider that  these  people are  high-                                                                    
     risk  and   that  it's  the   second  and   the  repeat                                                                    
     offenders, statistically,  that are  on the  roads that                                                                    
     are  doing the  killing.   Incidentally, you'll  have a                                                                    
     first-time  DUI  offender  in  a  fatal  accident,  but                                                                    
     statistically it's  the repeats,  and that's  why these                                                                    
     people are being targeted.                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR HOLM  referred to information included  in the committee                                                               
packet and asked why the lower  limit of 0.05 was used by Mothers                                                               
Against  Drunk  Drivers  (MADD) and  the  AMA  [American  Medical                                                               
Association],  whereas the  bill  refers to  the  amount of  0.04                                                               
MS.  SYLVESTER  responded that  MADD  recommended  0.05 and  that                                                               
there  are  six states  that  have  a  lower BAC  [blood  alcohol                                                               
concentration] level for second offenses.                                                                                       
CO-CHAIR  HOLM  interjected that  the  data  indicates that  MADD                                                               
supports 0.05 as  a BAC limit.   He asked, "Do you  know how much                                                               
alcohol needs  to be consumed -  one beer, one drink,  whatever -                                                               
to get to .04?"                                                                                                                 
MS. SYLVESTER responded that she  was similarly intrigued by that                                                               
question  and determined  that after  drinking 2  1/2 glasses  of                                                               
wine [within an hour, her] BAC level was at 0.04 [percent].                                                                     
CO-CHAIR HOLM  commented that this amount  was perhaps indicative                                                               
of a  low metabolic rate, as  it was his understanding  that 0.08                                                               
was reached  as the result of  drinking two beers.   He suggested                                                               
that  additional  medical  expertise  was  desirable  to  provide                                                               
further information,  saying that  he was  fearful that  this was                                                               
"draconian."  He pointed out that  it's one issue "if we're to be                                                               
against alcohol completely,  but if we say that  it mitigates the                                                               
ability of somebody  at 0.04 to make good  judgments driving, I'm                                                               
certainly not an expert, but I question the number."                                                                            
Number 1918                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE   said  he  had  heard   the  same  argument                                                               
regarding setting  the limit  at 0.01, 0.08,  and now  with 0.04.                                                               
He  said he  agreed with  Co-Chair Holm  and didn't  question the                                                               
intent of  getting drunk  drivers off the  road; however,  he was                                                               
concerned  with "where  social engineering  stops  and where  the                                                               
real worth  of this type  of legislation  begins."  He  said that                                                               
"we are currently on the  knife's edge of social engineering" and                                                               
that  he didn't  believe that  it  was his  responsibility to  do                                                               
"social engineering  in these halls."   He stated that  he wasn't                                                               
supportive of HB 217.                                                                                                           
MS. SYLVESTER  offered background information on  the origination                                                               
of  the legislation  and told  the committee  that in  the 1980s,                                                               
Maine had  an extremely high  rate of DUI  deaths.  In  1988, the                                                               
state was  the first to institute  a rate of 0.05  for second and                                                               
subsequent offenses.   Five  years later,  the results  were that                                                               
the  death rate  for DUI  accidents  was reduced  by 25  percent.                                                               
During  the same  time period,  the  rates in  other New  England                                                               
states had  increased by 46  percent.  In 1995,  Maine instituted                                                               
zero tolerance for convicted offenders.   Ms. Sylvester said that                                                               
HB 217  isn't zero  tolerance, but  it does  have a  track record                                                               
indicative of lives that could be saved.                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR HOLM  responded that  while "statistics  sometimes lie,"                                                               
these  statistics would  "bear out  what  you're saying"  because                                                               
times have  changed and  now, for  example, there  are designated                                                               
drivers, which didn't  used to exist as such.   He said he wasn't                                                               
sure that the  correlation could be drawn that  "because we don't                                                               
tolerate 0.05,  therefore it relates  directly to a  lessening of                                                               
people dying."                                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR HOLM  continued that before  voting on HB 217,  he would                                                               
want to know the medical truth,  for example, of what a 165-pound                                                               
man,  with a  normal metabolism,  would  have to  drink to  reach                                                               
levels of 0.04 or  0.05.  He opined he didn't  want to be onerous                                                               
to  the extent  that "somebody  goes to  a softball  game, has  a                                                               
couple of beers, and can't drive  home."  He pointed out that one                                                               
issue would  be to argue  that nobody  should ever drink  a beer.                                                               
He noted  that he  doesn't drink and  that teetotalers  are fine,                                                               
but he wasn't supportive of the  idea of engineering laws so that                                                               
this would  be determined  by the state,  adding that  this would                                                               
not be sending an appropriate message.                                                                                          
CO-CHAIR MASEK noted that legislation  had previously been passed                                                               
to  comply with  the federal  level of  0.08.   She thought  that                                                               
according to  the Department  of Public  Safety, the  program had                                                               
been  doing  well  and there  had  been  tremendous  improvements                                                               
regarding  drinking-and-driving statistics,  with  the levels  at                                                               
0.08.   She told the  committee that  she shared the  concerns of                                                               
Co-Chair Holm  and Representative Fate  of changing the  level to                                                               
0.04, and that this was "getting intrusive."                                                                                    
Number 2169                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR MASEK  ascertained that  there was no  further testimony                                                               
on HB 217, and  said that in light of the  concerns brought up by                                                               
committee members, HB 217 would be held over.                                                                                   
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Transportation Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:47                                                                 

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