Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

03/26/2019 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION

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01:05:11 PM Start
01:05:40 PM HB23
02:08:17 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 23 SNOWMOBILE REGISTRATION FEES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            HOUSE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         March 26, 2019                                                                                         
                           1:05 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Louise Stutes, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Adam Wool, Co-Chair                                                                                              
Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                      
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative Andi Story                                                                                                       
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
Representative Sara Rasmussen                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 23                                                                                        
"An Act relating to registration fees for snowmobiles and off-                                                                  
highway vehicles."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  23                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SNOWMOBILE REGISTRATION FEES                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) NEUMAN                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
02/20/19       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/19                                                                                
02/20/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/20/19       (H)       TRA, FIN                                                                                               
03/13/19       (H)       SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS                                                                
03/13/19       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/13/19       (H)       TRA, FIN                                                                                               
03/26/19       (H)       TRA AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MARK NEUMAN                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor of SSHB 23, introduced his                                                              
staff to present the bill.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM GAMBLE, Staff                                                                                                           
Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented SSHB 23 on behalf of                                                                           
Representative Neuman, prime sponsor.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
VICTORIA GROSS                                                                                                                  
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on SSHB 23.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
STEVE CLEARY, Executive Director                                                                                                
Alaska Trails                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSHB 23.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MICHELE STEVENS, President                                                                                                      
Petersville Community Non-Profit                                                                                                
Petersville, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSHB 23.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ZACK RUSSELL                                                                                                                    
Denali Borough, Alaska                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSHB 23.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
STEVE CHARLES                                                                                                                   
Willow Trail Committee                                                                                                          
Willow, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSHB 23.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
FREDDIE POLLARD                                                                                                                 
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on SSHB 23.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
GARY ANDERSON                                                                                                                   
Ninilchik, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSHB 23.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KEN COLEMAN                                                                                                                     
Kenai, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSHB 23.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SUSIE SEIBERT                                                                                                                   
Petersville, Alaska                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSHB 23.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DAN MAYFIELD                                                                                                                    
Matsu Borough Assembly                                                                                                          
Big Lake, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SSHB 23.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CRISTIN ROEHL-EASTHAM, President                                                                                                
Snomads Snowmachine Club ("Snomads")                                                                                            
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on SSHB 23.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
RICKY GEASE, Director                                                                                                           
Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (DPOR)                                                                                 
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)                                                                                           
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Answered questions  during the  hearing on                                                             
SSHB 23.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:05:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  ADAM  WOOL  called the  House  Transportation  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting   to  order   at  1:05   p.m.  Representatives                                                               
Rasmussen, Drummond,  Talerico, Story,  and Wool were  present at                                                               
the call to  order.  Representative Stutes and  Claman arrived as                                                               
the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
               HB 23-SNOWMOBILE REGISTRATION FEES                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:05:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL announced that the  only order of business would be                                                               
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE  FOR HOUSE  BILL NO. 23,  "An Act  relating to                                                               
registration fees for snowmobiles and off-highway vehicles."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:06:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MARK  NEUMAN, Alaska  State Legislature,  as prime                                                               
sponsor of SSHB 23, introduced his staff to present the bill.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:06:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM GAMBLE,  Staff, Representative Mark Neuman,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  presented  SSHB  23  on  behalf  of  Representative                                                               
Neuman, prime sponsor.  He stated  that the intent of SSHB 23 was                                                               
to raise  registration fees for snowmobiles  to increase receipts                                                               
for  the Division  of Motor  Vehicles (DMV),  which would  fund a                                                               
Snowmobile  Trails  Program  [within  the  Division  of  Parks  &                                                               
Outdoor  Recreation  (DPOR),  within the  Department  of  Natural                                                               
Resources (DNR)],  which has seen  an annual decrease  of funding                                                               
over  the last  several years.    He explained  that the  sponsor                                                               
substitute  before  the  committee would  remove  the  three-year                                                               
sunset language from the original bill version.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:08:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE directed attention to  the sectional analysis included                                                               
in  the  committee  packet,  which   read  as  follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
      Section 1. Deletes "snowmobile" from a paragraph in                                                                       
       statute (AS.28.10.421(d)(7) and leaves off-highway                                                                       
     vehicles at the current $10 registration fee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 2. Adds "snowmobile" to AS.28.10.421(d)(26) in                                                                     
         statute and would set the biennial (two year)                                                                          
     snowmobile registration fee at $20.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section 3. Amends statute (AS.28.39.020)(e) to set the                                                                     
     six-year snowmobile registration fee at $50.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:09:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL asked  for a  history of  the trail  structure and                                                               
related fees.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:09:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  noted legislation  had been  introduced in                                                               
1998  to help  promote a  [snowmobile] program  and trail  safety                                                               
throughout Alaska.   He indicated that under SSHB  23 there would                                                               
be three  options for fees:   a two-year fee of  $10; a four-year                                                               
fee of $20; and  a six-year fee of $40.   The six-year fee offers                                                               
a savings and  benefits the workload of the DMV.   He pointed out                                                               
that snowmobiles  are used not  only recreationally but  also for                                                               
search and rescue.  In response  to a follow-up question from Co-                                                               
Chair Wool, he confirmed that  registering and paying the fee are                                                               
voluntary.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:12:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND asked  for  clarification regarding  the                                                               
revenue projections of the fiscal note.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN stated  that  it is  a  zero fiscal  note.                                                               
Under  the  proposed legislation,  more  money  would go  to  the                                                               
program.   He  reiterated that  there  would be  an incentive  to                                                               
paying six-years at a time.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:14:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GAMBLE, in  response to  Representative Drummond,  explained                                                               
that he  and the bill sponsor  did not have the  same fiscal note                                                               
as the one to which Representative Drummond was referring.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  specified that  the fiscal note  she was                                                               
looking  at  was  from the  Department  of  Administration,  with                                                               
Office of Management  & Budget (OMB) component number  2348.  She                                                               
stated her assumption that the  fees reflected on the second page                                                               
are those that would be going to the department.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN  stated  that the  registration  fees  are                                                               
collected from  the DMV.   All related  costs are covered  by the                                                               
program  [fees],   including  the   costs  associated   with  the                                                               
Department  of   Natural  Resources   (DNR).    He   offered  his                                                               
understanding that $34,000 of "half  a position" is paid from the                                                               
fees to ensure the cost to the state is covered.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND said she did  not understand "how you get                                                               
to this revenue picture" when less  is made on more years paid at                                                               
a time.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN surmised it had  something to do with those                                                               
already registered  not registering the  next year.   In response                                                               
to Representative  Drummond, he  concurred that this  issue could                                                               
be addressed with the Department of Administration.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:17:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN  offered his  understanding that  owners of                                                               
four-wheelers must register.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:17:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN stated  his belief  that [registration  of                                                               
four-wheelers] was  fully voluntary, and  he said that  would not                                                               
be adjusted under SSHB 23.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  asked  why   there  is  not  a  mandatory                                                               
requirement for registration of snowmobiles and four-wheelers.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  stated that he does  understand the desire                                                               
to register vehicles  to aid in recovery of stolen  property.  He                                                               
related that he  registers his own snowmobiles but  not his four-                                                               
wheelers.   He said registration  is required  in order to  use a                                                               
vehicle in  any state park.   He suggested  Representative Claman                                                               
may wish to ask "the department" to verify that.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:19:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN,   regarding  the  question   asked  by                                                               
Representative  Drummond,  offered  her understanding  that  "the                                                               
numbers  on   the  fiscal   note"  relate   to  the   numbers  of                                                               
registrations  of   snowmobiles,  separated  by   the  multi-year                                                               
optional for  registration.   She observed  that there  are fewer                                                               
vehicles registered for the six-year option.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  agreed with Representative Rasmussen.   He                                                               
indicated  that fiscal  note [2348]  shows an  estimated [17,668]                                                               
snowmobiles would be  registered for [two years];  5,665 would be                                                               
registered for [four  years]; and [4998] would  be registered for                                                               
[six years].                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:20:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  indicated that the  amount of [$133,325]  shown on                                                               
the fiscal  note is the  additional revenue  per year.   He asked                                                               
for confirmation that the numbers  on the fiscal note reflect the                                                               
number of snowmobiles registered -  not the total number existing                                                               
in Alaska.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GAMBLE confirmed that is correct.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:21:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY stated that  registration would be necessary                                                               
in  order to  insure a  vehicle.   She  asked to  what the  money                                                               
collected from registrations would be applied.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:21:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN   answered  trail   grooming.     He  said                                                               
historically  snowmobile users  have been  taxing themselves  for                                                               
this  benefit.   He  surmised  there were  many  people ready  to                                                               
testify to the value of this expense.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:23:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN  asked if  there  was  a provision  for                                                               
people   who  have   purchased  registrations   but  sell   their                                                               
snowmobiles before the end of the registration term.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   NEUMAN  offered   his  understanding   that  the                                                               
registration "follows"  the snowmobile, because a  sticker is put                                                               
on it.   The new owner would have  to go to the [DMV]  to put the                                                               
vehicle into his/her name.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:23:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL opened invited testimony on SSHB 23.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:24:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VICTORIA GROSS  testified that snowmobile users  realize that the                                                               
fee they  pay grooms trails, and  they are willing to  up the fee                                                               
to cover  increased costs.   She said  the grooming  creates safe                                                               
trails that may otherwise be  unsafe.  Groomed trails allow small                                                               
businesses  along  the  trail  corridor  to  remain  open  during                                                               
winter.  She  said tourism on snowmobiles is  growing, and having                                                               
reliable trails is  helpful to that end.  Ms.  Gross related that                                                               
she is  a search and rescue  dog handler, and groomed  trails aid                                                               
in getting to avalanche sites more quickly.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:25:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  CLEARY, Executive  Director,  Alaska  Trails, said  Alaska                                                               
Trails promotes  sustainable trails  across the  state.   He said                                                               
the program  being affected under  SSHB 23 is unique  and impacts                                                               
all users.   He said  the fees have not  been raised in  a while.                                                               
He noted  areas of  the state  with trails  and said  the program                                                               
promotes  safety,  signage,  grooming,  and  winter  recreational                                                               
activity.   He emphasized  that when  people get  out to  use the                                                               
trails, they  may stop  for a  meal or lodging  or to  partake in                                                               
"other economic activity" that is "a  real shot in the arm in the                                                               
wintertime."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:28:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHELE  STEVENS,  President, Petersville  Community  Non-Profit,                                                               
testified that  Petersville and other communities  she represents                                                               
are in  favor of the  fee increase.  She  noted that the  fee has                                                               
not been  increased since its  inception in 1998, while  over the                                                               
past twenty  years the  trails have increased  from 200  miles to                                                               
well  over  1,000 miles,  the  cost  of  fuel and  equipment  has                                                               
increased, and more communities are  applying for the grant.  She                                                               
continued:                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     At the time  the Snow Track Program was  into play, ...                                                                    
     [snowmobile riders] were  proliferating for recreation,                                                                    
     transportation, and  subsistence use.  There  were very                                                                    
     few  marked or  maintained  trails.   The  consequences                                                                    
     were:   high  accident rates;  lost ...  [snowmobiles],                                                                    
     which  is  a  cost  of  the  State  of  Alaska;  winter                                                                    
     conflicts among  trail users; and conflicts  of private                                                                    
     property owners.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.   STEVENS  said   the  program   has  been   successful;  the                                                               
communities that have received program  funding have achieved all                                                               
the  intended  goals of  the  program.   Safety  programs,  maps,                                                               
signs, and  information about snowmobiles are  readily available.                                                               
She  said people  are  getting to  businesses  and remote  cabins                                                               
safely, and they are buying and  hauling supplies.  She said more                                                               
land is being  purchased and cabins built as the  trail are being                                                               
groomed.  She  said snowmobile riders spend  thousands of dollars                                                               
in an  economy that  would otherwise  be slow.   She  said winter                                                               
tourism is on  the rise because of the safe,  groomed trails, and                                                               
that in turn adds fuel to  the economy.  Ms. Stevens related that                                                               
a study  done by  Earth Economics  in 2013  found that  for every                                                               
dollar spent in open public  space in the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-                                                               
Su) Borough,  there is  a $5.31  return on  the investment.   She                                                               
said  groomed trails  have  helped keep  the  state's search  and                                                               
rescue  costs  to  a  minimum, because  with  signs  and  groomed                                                               
trails, riders are  less likely to get lost.   She said the trail                                                               
system  has been  critical  for first  responders  to access  the                                                               
backcountry to perform rescues.   She said she has witnessed this                                                               
herself.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. STEVENS  related that [groomed trails]  benefit the following                                                               
user groups:   dog  teams, snow mobile  riders, hikers,  fat tire                                                               
bikers,  and  skiers.   She  said  she  represents 16  clubs,  20                                                               
businesses,  39 lodges,  15 snowmobile  dealers,  10 dog  mushing                                                               
races -  including the Iditarod,  24 snowmobile events,  and more                                                               
than 40,000  registered snowmobile owners.   She said Petersville                                                               
Nonprofit Corporation maintains 150 square  miles of trails.  The                                                               
Snow Track  Program benefits all  Alaskans.  She  summarized that                                                               
the  program   saves  lives,  promotes  safety,   stimulates  the                                                               
economy, and  creates jobs.   She asked the committee  to support                                                               
SSHB 23.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:32:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL opened public testimony on SSHB 23.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:32:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ZACK RUSSELL  testified in support  of SSHB 23.   He said  one of                                                               
the businesses he runs is  trail grooming, where, on the Cantwell                                                               
side  of Denali  National  Park and  Preserve,  he maintains  123                                                               
miles of  trail.   Before the  trail was  groomed, the  trail was                                                               
rough and difficult  to use, and business owners  along the trail                                                               
were suffering.   He  said the  fee needs to  increase.   He said                                                               
when he  applied for the  program, that  put "a hit  on everybody                                                               
else."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:34:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE CHARLES, Willow Trail  Committee, emphasized the importance                                                               
of  winter trails  to the  Willow Trail  Committee.   He said  it                                                               
could be argued that in the  winter, it is not the Parks Highway,                                                               
but rather a  12-foot wide groomed trail that is  the main street                                                               
of the town.  He said volunteers  offer a minimum of 15 hours per                                                               
week to groom 72 miles of trail,  using a Snow Cat and four "snow                                                               
machines."  Private donations go  toward reflective trail markers                                                               
every  40 yards  and instructional  and  safety signs.   He  said                                                               
local businesses rely on the  revenue from events and visitors in                                                               
the  winter.   He  talked  about reduced  state  funding and  the                                                               
minimal  coverage  from  private  funding.    He  indicated  that                                                               
[without  sufficient  maintenance],   trails  can  become  bumpy,                                                               
accidents  can happen,  and people  on the  trails can  get lost.                                                               
Restoring  the funding,  as  would happen  under  SSHB 23,  would                                                               
result in successful trail maintenance  statewide.  He said a fee                                                               
increase of $5-$10 annually for  registering a snowmobile is like                                                               
buying a couple  gallons of gasoline, which he opined  is a small                                                               
price to  pay for safe  trails.   He encouraged the  committee to                                                               
support SSHB 23.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:37:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
FREDDIE  POLLARD told  the  committee that  he  has a  snowmobile                                                               
lodge up in Caribou Hills, and  he belongs to Caribou Hills Cabin                                                               
Hoppers  -  a  snowmobile  club.   He  said  previous  testifiers                                                               
"pretty much  covered the  whole thing," and  he opined  that the                                                               
availability of funds  should continue.  He said a  lot of people                                                               
use  snowmobiles rather  than cars  to  get down  to the  highway                                                               
system.      He   stated   appreciation   for   the   committee's                                                               
consideration of SSHB 23.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:39:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GARY  ANDERSON  said he  lives  in  the  Caribous Hills  area  of                                                               
Ninilchik and knows  "everything that everybody has  just said is                                                               
true."   He  talked about  the money  dwindling, because  more is                                                               
being  done for  less.   Therefore,  he  stated his  wholehearted                                                               
support of  SSHB 23.   In  terms of the  voluntary aspect  of the                                                               
fee, he opined that the  registration of motorized vehicle should                                                               
be mandatory.   He talked  about safety issues and  importance of                                                               
quick and  safe rescue of  individuals.  He indicated  that those                                                               
applying  for the  grant money  are grateful  for receiving  even                                                               
less than they may ask for,  but he emphasized that it still less                                                               
[than what  may be  needed].  He  expressed appreciation  for the                                                               
committee's time and effort on the issue.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:41:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KEN  COLEMAN said  he  is a  member of  the  Caribou Hills  Cabin                                                               
Hoppers Club  and coordinates  the grooming of  the vast  area of                                                               
Caribou Hills.   He said there are about 400  people in the club,                                                               
which operates two  large groomers to maintain a  little over 170                                                               
miles of trails weekly through  voluntary effort.  There has been                                                               
a  drop in  grant money  over the  years to  the point  where the                                                               
efforts  are  just  50  percent   funded.    He  echoed  previous                                                               
testimony regarding  the types of  users on the  trails including                                                               
runners, skiers, fat tire bicycle  riders, snowmobile riders, and                                                               
dog  mushers.   He  asked the  committee  to pass  SSHB  23.   He                                                               
mentioned there are  first responders that live in  the hills and                                                               
the benefit of safely using the trails for rescue operations.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:45:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUSIE SEIBERT said  Petersville is known for  its snowmobiles and                                                               
groomed  trails,  which  provide  safety  and  security  and  the                                                               
confidence  in parents  to bring  their children  along to  ride.                                                               
She emphasized that groomed trails  cut down on search and rescue                                                               
efforts.     She  stated   her  support   for  the   increase  in                                                               
registration fees  and urged  the committee  to support  SSHB 23.                                                               
The increase in fees would help  pay for grooming and ensure that                                                               
"everyone gets  to their  destination safely."   She  opined that                                                               
the  Snowmobile Trails  Advisory  Council  (SnowTRAC), [which  is                                                               
responsible  for  reviewing  and  recommending  funding  for  the                                                               
Snowmobile Trails Program],  goes hand in hand  with raised fees,                                                               
and she asked  the committee to reinstate the  program along with                                                               
the raised fees.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:47:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAN MAYFIELD, Matsu Borough Assembly, said  he is a member of the                                                               
Mat-Su Borough  Assembly and president  of Big Lake  Trails, Inc.                                                               
[Due to technical difficulties,  Mr. Mayfield's testimony was cut                                                               
off.]                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:48:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CRISTIN  ROEHL-EASTHAM,   President,  Snomads   Snowmachine  Club                                                               
("Snomads"),  indicated  that  Snomads   works  with  "the  Cabin                                                               
Hoppers" on  a section  of the  trail system.   She  talked about                                                               
groomed  trails and  a marking  system,  and said  the number  of                                                               
search  and  rescues  have  decreased   because  of  them.    She                                                               
indicated  that [Snomads]  has no  problem with  the increase  in                                                               
fees  for registration,  and a  lot  of its  members support  it;                                                               
however,  she  echoed  the previous  testifier's  note  that  the                                                               
increase in  fees should go  hand in hand with  the reinstatement                                                               
of the [Snowmobile Trails] Program.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:51:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL closed public testimony on SSHB 23.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:51:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN,  in response  to an earlier  question from                                                               
Representative  Drummond,  offered  his  understanding  that  the                                                               
terms  "snow   machine"  and   "snow-go"  and   "snowmobile"  are                                                               
interchangeable in Alaska, although  [technically] a snow machine                                                               
is  something that  makes  snow.   He  then  talked  about a  map                                                               
program  made by  the Division  of  Land, Mining  & Water,  which                                                               
shows trails, and he said a  person could go from Denali National                                                               
Park and Preserve  to Big Lake on the groomed  trails.  He talked                                                               
about the  critical piece of  the issue being search  and rescue.                                                               
He  said numbers  could  be put  on the  maps  to correlate  with                                                               
businesses along  the trails.   He mentioned plastic  coated maps                                                               
and making maps available for all users.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:54:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STORY asked for  information about the [Snowmobile                                                               
Trails] Program.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:54:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICKY GEASE,  Director, Division of Parks  and Outdoor Recreation                                                               
(DPOR), Department  of Natural Resources (DNR),  stated there are                                                               
two  components  [of  the  program]:     registration  fee  being                                                               
considered under  SSHB 23, and  authorization of  the [Snowmobile                                                               
Trails] Program, which goes through  DMV and is remitted to DPOR,                                                               
which  has   [an  advisory  council,  SnowTRAC]   that  evaluates                                                               
proposals it receives.  The  [advisory council] gathers the grant                                                               
requests and figures out the  percentage based on the total funds                                                               
coming  from the  DMV.    Currently there  are  over $400,000  of                                                               
potential  projects  that  could   be  done,  and  the  [advisory                                                               
council] has  been giving out  just under $200,000 over  the last                                                               
three to four years.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STORY  asked what  the  cost  of reinstating  the                                                               
program would be.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GEASE  answered  that  the  program  was  not  funded  under                                                               
governor's proposed budget; therefore,  it would take legislative                                                               
action  to reintroduce  the program.   In  response to  follow-up                                                               
questions,  he explained  that the  fee would  be collected;  the                                                               
issue is authorizing the program  as a receipt authority from the                                                               
DMV  snowmobile  registration.   He  said,  "The registration  is                                                               
going to  be mandatory  no matter  what.   You're still  going to                                                               
have to pay the fee.   Compliance with that registration fee - if                                                               
there's not a SnowTRAC's program -  may likely go down."  He said                                                               
there is a cost taken from  the fees to administrate the program,                                                               
"but if that program doesn't  exist, then we're not administering                                                               
it."                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:56:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STUTES said  she understands  that the  program is  not                                                               
included  in the  governor's  proposed budget,  but  asked if  it                                                               
would continue or sunset.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:57:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GEASE offered  his understanding  that there  is no  sunset;                                                               
therefore, the program would continue.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR STUTES  concluded, "So,  there is  a potential  that ...                                                               
that program could continue then, at this point."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE replied  that he believes that is accurate.   He added,                                                               
"If it's put back into the department."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  STUTES  asked, "But  it's  in  the governor's  proposed                                                               
budget, correct?"                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GEASE answered  no.   He said  some testifiers  were talking                                                               
about  putting   the  program  back   into  the   budget  through                                                               
legislative action.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:58:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  asked whether  the program had  been put                                                               
back into  the budget  by a  budget subcommittee  responsible for                                                               
doing so.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:58:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE stated that he did not know.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL  offered his understanding that  the program exists                                                               
but is not  in the governor's proposed budget, yet  that does not                                                               
mean it could not be in an upcoming  budget.  He said he has been                                                               
receiving letters  of support  for the program.   He  offered his                                                               
understanding  that it  is not  a budgetary  issue, because  "the                                                               
money's  already been  collected."   He said  it sounds  like the                                                               
administrative aspect is  covered by the DMV.  He  said it sounds                                                               
like the  program is a  good one and  people support it,  yet the                                                               
paying of  fees may decline if  people learn that those  fees are                                                               
not  going towards  the trail  program.   He questioned  whether,                                                               
historically,  the program  has  had to  be  reintroduced in  the                                                               
budget annually.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:59:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN agreed  with  Co-Chair Wool's  assessment.                                                               
He  said he  has had  conversations with  legislators serving  on                                                               
Finance  committees,  who  have  suggested  their  intent  is  to                                                               
include a funding mechanism in the operating budget.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:00:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL inquired about mandatory registration.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:00:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE stated that under statute, registration is mandatory.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR   WOOL   said  if   he   bought   a  [snowmobile]   from                                                               
Representative  Neuman, he  would need  to register  it with  the                                                               
DMV.  He surmised that "enforcement  of that is probably scant at                                                               
the moment,"  but a person  who cares  about the trails  might be                                                               
more inclined to register the snow mobile.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE responded, "Correct."   He cited AS 28.39.010(a), which                                                               
read as follows:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      Sec. 28.39.010.   Snowmobile registration.                                                                                
          (a)  Except  as  provided in  this  subsection,  a                                                                    
     person may  not operate  a snowmobile within  the state                                                                    
     unless the snowmobile has  been registered and numbered                                                                    
     as required  by this  chapter. Registration  under this                                                                    
     subsection is  not required for  a snowmobile  owned by                                                                    
     the United States.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL asked, "And what  about four-wheelers.  I'm getting                                                               
mixed  information on  that."   He said  he had  information that                                                               
listed  snowmobile  or  off-highway   vehicle,  and  he  inquired                                                               
whether a four-wheeler would be consider an off-highway vehicle.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:01:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN  apologized  for  having  misspoken.    He                                                               
clarified that there is mandatory  registration at point of sale.                                                               
That  way  the  DMV  has   not  only  registrations  but  vehicle                                                               
identification numbers  (VINs) in case  they are lost.   A person                                                               
who buys  a used  snowmobile can  just show a  letter to  the DMV                                                               
showing proof of the sale.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:02:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN asked  if the DMV then would  issue a title                                                               
for the snowmobile.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:02:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN answered that he  does not have a title for                                                               
any of his snowmobiles.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:03:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL talked  about the multi-use of  trails mentioned by                                                               
testifiers, such  as dog mushing, cross-country  skiing, fat tire                                                               
bicycle  riding, and  snowmobile riding.   He  asked if  a person                                                               
applies for grant  money in a proposal specifying  how many miles                                                               
he/she will maintain and other details.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE answered that is correct.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL asked if there  are other trail programs similar to                                                               
the SnowTRAC program.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:04:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GEASE listed  the Recreational  Trail Program  and the  Land                                                               
Water  Conservation Fund.   He  said there  are other  funds that                                                               
pertain to motorized  and nonmotorized trails used  mainly in the                                                               
summer.   He said the  SnowTRAC program is the  program specially                                                               
targeting winter  use, and snow  grooming has become  the primary                                                               
focus, because in  addition to being an access issue,  it is also                                                               
a safety issue, as many testifiers have stated.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:04:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  offered his  understanding that  all trail                                                               
programs  go through  the [Outdoor  Recreational Trails  Advisory                                                               
Board] (ORTAB), and groomers apply to the board.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:05:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL asked,  "But as  far as  the registration  fee for                                                               
snowmobiles,  that's  the only  source  of  funding for  the  ...                                                               
[Snowmobile Trails] Program?"                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEASE answered that is correct.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:05:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR WOOL requested further  clarification on the fiscal note                                                               
at  a  future meeting,  particularly  to  flush out  the  numbers                                                               
pertaining  to  the various  options  in  length of  registration                                                               
periods.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:06:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN  indicated  he was  amenable  to  bringing                                                               
forward further information for discussion and consideration.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL said  the main  takeaway  is that  it sounds  like                                                               
people are supportive.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:07:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TALERICO stated  that he  has previously  been on                                                               
groomed trails,  and he thinks  there is "an army  of enthusiasts                                                               
that are volunteers  out there that actually go  above and beyond                                                               
what they actually get from the  program."  He said he has always                                                               
been impressed  by the efforts  put forth  by the people  who use                                                               
the trails.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[SSHB 23 was held over.]                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:08:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Transportation Standing  Committee meeting was adjourned  at 2:08                                                               
p.m.                                                                                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 23 Supporting Documents - Anchorage Daily News Article.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 ver M LS 0267M Sponsor Substitute 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Sectional Analysis ver LS0267M 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Sponsor Statement 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Request For Hearing 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - 2018 Alaska State Parks Trail Grooming Pool Maps 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - 2018 Current Snowmobile DMV Registration Fees 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - 2018 Snowmobile Trail Development Program and Grants Budget Line Item 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - AS 28.10.421 - Snowmobile registration fee statute 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - AS 28.39 - Snowmobile law 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - Dayna Mackey DNR Email 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - DMV Currently Registered Snowmobiles 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - DNR-DPOR Ethan Tyler SnowTRAC Program Data 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - FAQ's Snowmobile Trails Grant Program Updated March 2018 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - FY2019 Snowmobile Trails Grant Program Capital Project 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - Legislative Research Other States Registration Fees 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - Resolutions and Letters of Support 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - Trail Grooming Photo 3.12.19.jpg HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 ver A LS0267A 3.12.19.PDF HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 ver LS0267M Statement Of Changes - Sponsor Substitute 3.12.19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Supporting Documents - Letter To Governor Dunleavy 3-25-19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Fiscal Note SSHB23-DNR-PKS-03-22-19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23
HB 23 Fiscal Note HB023SS-DOA-DMV-3-22-19.pdf HTRA 3/26/2019 1:00:00 PM
HB 23