Legislature(2021 - 2022)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/04/2021 01:30 PM Senate TRANSPORTATION

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Audio Topic
01:42:41 PM Start
01:43:31 PM Presentation: Division of Motor Vehicles Location Transitions
02:37:30 PM Confirmation Hearing(s)
02:54:40 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: Division of Motor Vehicles TELECONFERENCED
Location Transitions by Commissioner Kelly
Consideration of Governor's Appointees:
Board of Marine Pilots
-- Public Testimony --
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                         March 4, 2021                                                                                          
                           1:42 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Robert Myers, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Mike Shower, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES LOCATION TRANSITIONS                                                                   
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S):                                                                                                        
Board of Marine Pilots                                                                                                        
Richard Harris - Juneau                                                                                                         
Lucas Hasenbank - Anchorage                                                                                                     
     - CONFIRMATIONS ADVANCED                                                                                                   
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
KELLY TSHIBAKA, Commissioner                                                                                                    
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented a PowerPoint on the Division of                                                                 
Motor Vehicles Location Transitions.                                                                                            
JEFFREY SCHMITZ, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Motor Vehicles                                                                                                      
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT: Answered  questions during  the presentation                                                             
on the Division of Motor Vehicles Location Transitions.                                                                         
RICHARD HARRIS, Appointee                                                                                                       
Board of Marine Pilots                                                                                                          
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Testified  as  appointee to  the  Board  of                                                             
Marine Pilots.                                                                                                                  
LUCAS HASENBANK, Appointee                                                                                                      
Board of Marine Pilots                                                                                                          
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Testified  as  appointee to  the  Board  of                                                             
Marine Pilots.                                                                                                                  
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:42:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  ROBERT MYERS  called  the  Senate Transportation  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 1:42  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were  Senators Kiehl,  Shower,  and  Chair Myers.  Senator                                                               
Micciche arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                
^PRESENTATION: Division of Motor Vehicles Location Transitions                                                                  
 PRESENTATION: Division of Motor Vehicles Location Transitions                                                              
1:43:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MYERS announced  that the  business  before the  committee                                                               
would  be a  Presentation:  Division of  Motor Vehicles  Location                                                               
1:44:35 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFFREY  SCHMITZ, Director,  Division  of  Motor Vehicles  (DMV),                                                               
Department  of  Administration,   Anchorage,  Alaska,  introduced                                                               
KELLY  TSHIBAKA,  Commissioner,   Department  of  Administration,                                                               
Juneau,  Alaska   began  a  PowerPoint   on  the   Department  of                                                               
Administration  (DOA)'s budget  proposal  to  transition six  DMV                                                               
offices to public-private partnerships (PPP).                                                                                   
[Original punctuation provided]                                                                                                 
1:44:57 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA read the Transition Overview on slide 2:                                                                  
     Transition Overview                                                                                                      
     Public-Private  Partnerships  Will  Provide  Stability,                                                                    
     Efficiency for Local DMVs Across Alaska                                                                                    
     The State  of Alaska has  a long history  of successful                                                                    
     partnership with  private-sector businesses  to improve                                                                    
     service offerings to Alaskans                                                                                              
     Public-private  partnerships for  DMVs  will allow  the                                                                    
     state  to  share  cost burdens  with  a  private-sector                                                                    
     partner, create  more local  jobs, improve  access, and                                                                    
     provide faster  service for Alaskans  who must  visit a                                                                    
     DMV in-person                                                                                                              
     DMV  will  be  able  to  reduce  leasing  and  overhead                                                                    
     expenses and also  give more back to  the General Fund,                                                                    
     addressing  budget concerns  and  allowing for  private                                                                    
     businesses to develop and grow in communities                                                                              
     No state  revenues will be diminished  under this plan,                                                                    
     as most  transactions are done online  and processed by                                                                    
     DMV employees                                                                                                              
     No  jobs  will be  lost  during  this transition;  only                                                                    
     vacant PCNs will be eliminated.                                                                                            
1:46:30 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA discussed  in-person  DMV transactions  on                                                               
slide 3.  She highlighted the  five primary reasons  why Alaskans                                                               
need to visit  DMV. She offered her view that  DMV staff has done                                                               
a fantastic job of digitizing  many of its services. She reviewed                                                               
     Alaska's  Division of  Motor  Vehicles  is required  by                                                                  
     statute to process certain transactions in-person:                                                                       
     Original  driver   license/ID  issuance   (every  15-16                                                                    
     Second driver license renewal (every 15-16 years)                                                                          
     Senior citizen  driver license  renewal (every  8 years                                                                    
     after one turns 69)                                                                                                        
     The DMV does not yet have an online solution for these                                                                   
     items that are currently performed in-person at a DMV                                                                    
     Driver license reinstatement                                                                                               
     Knowledge testing                                                                                                          
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA  stated  that  about  95  percent  of  DMV                                                               
transactions can be completed entirely online or via the mail.                                                                  
1:47:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MYERS asked if 95 percent was by type or volume.                                                                          
COMMISSIONER   TSHIBAKA  clarified   that  95   percent  of   all                                                               
transactions could be done online.                                                                                              
1:48:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  suggested that percentage  is misleading  based on                                                               
projecting the  average number of  times his family of  four must                                                               
go  in-person for  DMV services.  He estimated  his family  would                                                               
average 6  trips every  4 years  rather than  1 time  every 15-16                                                               
1:49:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MYERS  expressed  his   concern  that  commercial  vehicle                                                               
transactions  are  not listed.  He  said  he holds  a  commercial                                                               
driver's license (CDL), which cannot  be renewed online. CDLs are                                                               
valid for five years, he said.                                                                                                  
1:50:07 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA remarked that  the power to change statutes                                                               
rests with  the legislature. She suggested  the legislature could                                                               
change  license renewals  for seniors  and  non-seniors to  allow                                                               
renewals  by mail  or online  by  providing doctor  verifications                                                               
that their eyesight is fine.                                                                                                    
1:50:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SHOWER asked  what historical  data DMV  must show  that                                                               
these figures are accurate. He  expressed an interest in pursuing                                                               
potential  statutory  changes  or regulatory  changes  to  extend                                                               
requirement  timelines ever  further to  minimize impacts  to the                                                               
public. He solicited her recommendations  for changes and whether                                                               
these changes  would require statutory changes  or be implemented                                                               
by regulation or policy changes.                                                                                                
1:52:16 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA  answered  that  the  driver  license  and                                                               
senior renewals  are in statute.  She deferred to Mr.  Schmitz to                                                               
address the data.                                                                                                               
1:52:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHMITZ stated  that the division tracks  customer trends. In                                                               
the  last  three  years,  more  and  more  Alaskans  used  online                                                               
services  to  accomplish  their   DMV  transactions.  During  the                                                               
pandemic, this  trend was even  more noticeable. In  2020, record                                                               
numbers  of first-time  users and  other customers  chose to  use                                                               
mail  and  online services  for  DMV  transactions. These  trends                                                               
provide  a compelling  reason for  the department  to bring  this                                                               
proposal  before the  committee today,  he said.  He stated  that                                                               
electronic options provide a safe  and efficient means for people                                                               
to accomplish DMV tasks such as vehicle registration.                                                                           
1:53:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER  reiterated his interest in  obtaining information                                                               
that supports  allowing seniors to  renew their licenses  every 9                                                               
or 10  years to  reduce the  time seniors  spend standing  in DMV                                                               
1:55:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  expressed an  interest in  obtaining data  for the                                                               
three years  pre-pandemic to identify  how often  Alaskans choose                                                               
to access DMV services online.                                                                                                  
SENATOR SHOWER  surmised that most  people are unaware  that many                                                               
DMV transactions can be done  online. He suggested the department                                                               
should  conduct public  outreach  to inform  people about  online                                                               
1:56:42 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA discussed the additional fees the public-                                                                 
private partnership  vendors will charge consumers  [referring to                                                               
a slide not in the PowerPoint presentation in members' packets].                                                                
1:57:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MYERS  pointed  out  this slide  is  missing  in  members'                                                               
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA offered to provide  it to the committee but                                                               
for  now would  refer  to  the slide  shown  on  the screen  that                                                               
members can view.                                                                                                               
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA   said  this  slide  shows   the  cost  to                                                               
transition  to  a public-private  vendor.  She  explained that  a                                                               
private partner  vendor would  offer DMV  services and  charge an                                                               
additional fee for services. She  directed attention to the slide                                                               
that shows transaction types, what  DMV currently charges and the                                                               
fees  private-partner offices  [also  known as  UMV] charge.  She                                                               
pointed out  that private  partner offices  have the  latitude to                                                               
establish their own fees for  services. For example, registration                                                               
renewal fees are  $110 plus tax at  DMV and $132 plus  tax at UMV                                                               
so the difference in fees is $22.                                                                                               
2:00:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SHOWER  pointed  out  duplicate  registration  fees  and                                                               
identification  cards  are significantly  more  at  UMVs. He  has                                                               
heard concern  expressed about the higher  costs, especially from                                                               
seniors or others  on fixed income. He asked if  DMV would retain                                                               
the same  fees and private partners  will just add on  their cost                                                               
for services. He  pointed out that the additional  costs would be                                                               
passed on to consumers.                                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  answered that this proposal  is a creative                                                               
proposal intended  to bridge the  department's $2  million budget                                                               
gap without significantly changing  services to Alaskans. All the                                                               
services on the  list can currently be accomplished  online or by                                                               
mail. One  exception is  real ID,  which is  not required  by TSA                                                               
since passports, military  identification, tribal identification,                                                               
or  veteran's  identification can  be  used  for travel.  Another                                                               
exception is  the previously mentioned driver's  license renewal,                                                               
which the legislature could address by statute.                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA  said  the  state  would  retain  all  the                                                               
revenue it normally would receive.                                                                                              
2:02:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL  said  this  raises  the  structural  question  of                                                               
identifying what the purpose of DMV is.                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  answered that  DMV provides  core services                                                               
to Alaskans to  keep roads safe and keep them  moving in a manner                                                               
that provides customer interface. One  way to provide services is                                                               
via public-private vendor contracts, she said.                                                                                  
SENATOR KIEHL disagreed.  Those are important tools but  DMV is a                                                               
government regulatory  agency established  to register  and prove                                                               
ownership of  vehicles, to test  knowledge and skills  of drivers                                                               
and to provide other public  safety functions. These transactions                                                               
are  essential  to  do  that  well.  He  wanted  to  get  at  the                                                               
governmental  purpose  of the  additional  fees  via the  public-                                                               
private offices. He offered his  support for private business but                                                               
would like to  better understand the role of  a regulatory agency                                                               
creating private businesses where there were none.                                                                              
2:05:18 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA  said  the  Department  of  Administration                                                               
(DOA) does view this as creating  businesses. DMV has had a long-                                                               
standing  practice of  entering  into public  private UMVs.  Some                                                               
public-private  vendors date  back to  the 1980s,  she said.  She                                                               
pointed  out challenges  to provide  DMV services  given Alaska's                                                               
size and unique communities. She  reiterated DMV's role, which is                                                               
to keep roads and Alaskans  safe. Instead of viewing DMV services                                                               
as a regulatory  function, the department views  DMV as providing                                                               
safety.  DMV  was previously  located  within  the Department  of                                                               
Public  Safety. She  offered her  view that  DMV is  implementing                                                               
creative   and  innovative   strategies,  including   its  online                                                               
capabilities. DMVs proposal is to  leverage its business partners                                                               
to meet DMV's mission and to reduce costs.                                                                                      
2:06:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER asked for a  cost comparison of fees customers pay                                                               
at  the Delta  Junction  DMV  and what  UMV  companies charge  to                                                               
provide the same service.                                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA offered to provide the data.                                                                              
2:07:44 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  discussed the status of  transitioning six                                                               
offices to public-private partnership on slide 4.                                                                               
She reported  that the department  has secured a  private partner                                                               
UMV in Delta Junction to provide  DMV services and that vendor is                                                               
willing to  open an  office in Tok.  The department  is currently                                                               
holding  active discussions  for  qualified  private partners  in                                                               
Homer, Eagle  River, and  Valdez and  is actively  recruiting for                                                               
one in Hanes, she said.                                                                                                         
2:08:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER asked how long  UMV at Delta Junction has operated                                                               
and if there is any public feedback.                                                                                            
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA deferred to Mr. Schmitz.                                                                                  
MR.  SCHMITZ  answered  that  the private  UMV  opened  in  Delta                                                               
Junction in December  2020. He offered his view that  it has gone                                                               
well, that no negative feedback has been received.                                                                              
2:10:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER  said his constituents  have asked the  reason the                                                               
administration is  closing DMV offices. He  acknowledged that the                                                               
commissioner  has indicated  DMV offices  are transitioning  to a                                                               
UMV models. However, if offices  were to close it could adversely                                                               
impact his constituents  since the nearest office  could entail a                                                               
six-hour drive.                                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  responded that  the department  intends to                                                               
transition to  public-private offices. She said  she cannot share                                                               
specific UMV  vendors due to contract  negotiations. However, the                                                               
department does not  intend to transition or close  any other DMV                                                               
offices currently.                                                                                                              
SENATOR SHOWER asked  for confirmation that none  of DMV proposed                                                               
UMVs will  shut down and all  other DMV offices will  continue to                                                               
operate.  He related  his understanding  that under  the proposal                                                               
six DMV offices will transition to public-private UMVs.                                                                         
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  answered that the department  only has the                                                               
authority  to  operate  or  not operate  DMVs.  Although  DOA  is                                                               
actively working to transition DMVs  to private-partner UMVs, the                                                               
department  cannot force  a private  sector business  to open  an                                                               
office. However, DOA can be  strategic in choosing locations that                                                               
are  attractive to  businesses. This  is  what it  has done  when                                                               
selecting these  six locations  and why  the department  has been                                                               
successful in its negotiations, she said.                                                                                       
2:14:25 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER asked if the  department has an alternate plan for                                                               
providing services if the department  closes a DMV office and the                                                               
public-private UMV contract falls through.                                                                                      
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  explained that  technically the  DOA plans                                                               
close the six DMV offices  and transition to public-private UMVs.                                                               
However,  Delta Junction  has already  transitioned to  a public-                                                               
private UMV. She  reiterated that the Delta Junction  UMV is also                                                               
ready  to open  an  office  in Tok.  If  something  were to  fall                                                               
through,  the department  would recruit  the next  vendor on  the                                                               
list, she said.                                                                                                                 
2:16:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER  asked if  all the  potential vendors  declined to                                                               
enter into  public-private UMV contracts, whether  the department                                                               
could  reopen DMVs.  He expressed  concern about  the Valdez  DMV                                                               
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA   responded  that  the   department  could                                                               
consider reopening the Valdez DMV office.                                                                                       
2:17:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL  recalled  that   the  commissioner  selected  the                                                               
locations due  to their  high chance of  success. He  pointed out                                                               
that these  six sites are  "midrange" size  DMVs in terms  of the                                                               
population  served. He  asked whether  the department  would have                                                               
better success by  opening UMVs to serve  Alaska's larger cities.                                                               
If UMVs do not create  inconveniences to Alaskans, the department                                                               
should consider  transitioning the Anchorage,  Fairbanks, Juneau,                                                               
Ketchikan, and Bethel offices to private-public UMVs.                                                                           
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA  pointed  out  that  some  UMVs  currently                                                               
operate alongside DMVs in the  larger cities. She stated that the                                                               
private-partner   UMV  locations   were   selected  because   the                                                               
communities  were  on  a  transportation  hub  system,  had  good                                                               
internet capability, and  the leases were expiring.  If an office                                                               
did not open, residents could drive to another hub.                                                                             
2:19:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIEHL  suggested her response provided  the rationale for                                                               
why  the department  did not  select smaller  towns. However,  he                                                               
would like the  rationale the department used  to select midrange                                                               
offices rather than larger cities,  since Anchorage and Fairbanks                                                               
are Railbelt cities with reliable internet capabilities.                                                                        
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA answered  that  the department  considered                                                               
the number  of transactions  and what could  be done  online. She                                                               
pointed out that Eagle River  is a significant-sized community on                                                               
the list.  The department wanted  to start with  somewhat smaller                                                               
communities  but she  expressed a  willingness to  consider other                                                               
2:21:02 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA discussed the commercial drivers in                                                                       
Tok on slide 5:                                                                                                               
     Tok  serves   as  a   commercial  permitting   hub  for                                                                    
     commercial  drivers entering  Alaska from  Canada. This                                                                    
     proposal provides  options for those drivers  to obtain                                                                    
     proper permits.                                                                                                            
      Drivers who enter Tok and are not able to access the                                                                      
      DMV can continue to Delta Junction or Glenallen, or                                                                       
     check in at the Tok Weigh Station to obtain permits                                                                        
     Tok Weigh Station Hours (insert open hours)                                                                                
      Commercial truckers can purchase a 30- day temporary                                                                      
     registration for $350 from DOT online                                                                                      
2:21:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MYERS said  he  holds a  commercial  driver's license.  He                                                               
disagreed that drivers  who enter Tok and are not  able to access                                                               
the DMV can continue to Delta  Junction or Glenallen. He said the                                                               
Tok weigh station enforcement officer  would cite and fine him if                                                               
he proceeded to Delta Junction  for DMV services to be compliant.                                                               
He  offered   his  view  that   this  would  likely   change  the                                                               
relationship between drivers  and commercial enforcement officers                                                               
from one of assisting driver compliance to a more punitive one.                                                                 
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  asked for clarification on  how commercial                                                               
vehicle enforcement and DMV currently works in Tok.                                                                             
CHAIR MYERS answered  that if a commercial driver  arrived at the                                                               
Tok weigh station  at 5 a.m. and needed CDL  or vehicle services,                                                               
the driver could  wait until DMV opened and remedy  the issue. If                                                               
drivers  do not  bypass  the scales,  the commercial  enforcement                                                               
officers would be  amenable. It might mean the  driver would need                                                               
to disconnect the  trailer or find a ride from  the weigh station                                                               
to DMV to get the  registration issue resolved. However, it would                                                               
create an  issue if the  driver needed  to drive to  Glenallen or                                                               
Delta Junction for DMV services.                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA   highlighted  that  DOA  would   need  to                                                               
coordinate this with the Department  of Transportation and Public                                                               
Facilities (DOTPF) during the transition to public-private UMVs.                                                                
2:25:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MYERS  asked for  a list  of commercial  vehicle violations                                                               
that could be addressed at DMV but not online.                                                                                  
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  offered to  research this and  report back                                                               
to the committee.                                                                                                               
2:25:29 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA reviewed  DMV  service  types provided  in                                                               
FY18 to FY20 on slide 6, which read:                                                                                            
      Vast majority of transactions are completed online,                                                                       
     processed by DMV in Anchorage                                                                                              
     For transactions that can be done online OR in-person,                                                                     
     costs are the same to Alaskans                                                                                             
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA  continued  to review  DMV  service  types                                                               
provided in FY18 to FY20 on slide 6, which read:                                                                                
     DOA is open to legislative proposals to further reduce                                                                     
     in-person transactions                                                                                                     
     She referred to the pie chart 57 percent, 38 percent,                                                                      
     5 percent.                                                                                                                 
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA offered to  provide the committee with more                                                               
detailed information if needed.                                                                                                 
2:26:24 PM                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA reviewed the  proportions of the population                                                               
served  in the  six  proposed public-private  UMV communities  on                                                               
slide 7.                                                                                                                        
2:26:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE joined the meeting.                                                                                            
SENATOR  MICCICHE  pointed  out   a  certain  percentage  of  the                                                               
population   lacks  online   access,   that   some  people   face                                                               
generational issues and  others avoid the internet.  He asked how                                                               
this  proposal  will affect  those  people.  He referred  to  her                                                               
statistics, that  83 to 95  percent of DMV transactions  could be                                                               
done  online or  via the  mail. He  asked whether  the department                                                               
factored in  those who  lack online  access or  have generational                                                               
issues and cannot easily use online or mail services.                                                                           
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  answered that  people who  do not  want to                                                               
use the internet  can execute their transaction  through the mail                                                               
or could  use the call  center to  assist them. For  example, the                                                               
call center  could send  them a  form via  the US  Postal Service                                                               
2:28:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE asked  if senior  citizens in  Homer can  renew                                                               
their licenses or take knowledge tests online.                                                                                  
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA answered  that  it would  depend on  their                                                               
ages. It  would take a  statute change  to allow some  seniors to                                                               
use  online or  mail transactions.  A doctor  could evaluate  the                                                               
person's ability  to drive and  issue a statement that  the elder                                                               
person could drive.                                                                                                             
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA reported  that  some  states have  piloted                                                               
online  knowledge testing.  The department  seeks to  ensure that                                                               
people do  not take "open  book" knowledge tests.  The department                                                               
is discussing how to offer  remote knowledge testing in ways that                                                               
will ensure drivers assimilate the material to keep roads safe.                                                                 
2:29:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE   commented  that  Soldotna  has   two  private                                                               
options. He  was unsure whether  any options exist for  Homer. He                                                               
asked  if  the department  evaluated  the  distances that  people                                                               
would need to travel to obtain testing.                                                                                         
COMMISSIONER  TSHIBAKA  answered  yes.   She  said  that  she  is                                                               
highlighting  the public-private  proposal,  but  no decision  to                                                               
close  the  offices   has  been  made.  She   reported  that  the                                                               
department is currently  in the process of  finalizing a contract                                                               
with a public-private partner for Homer.                                                                                        
2:31:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL pointed  out that  the  Haines population  figures                                                               
were off by  about 50 percent. The department may  have used only                                                               
the city  population and not the  borough. He asked for  the pre-                                                               
pandemic   data  for   in-person  transactions   since  in-person                                                               
transactions were down in 2020 during the pandemic.                                                                             
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  offered to  research this and  report back                                                               
to the committee.                                                                                                               
2:32:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER pointed out that  the Delta Junction population is                                                               
closer   to  4,000.   He  expressed   interest  in   knowing  any                                                               
regulations that were cancelled during the pandemic.                                                                            
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  offered to  research this and  report back                                                               
to the committee.                                                                                                               
2:33:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MYERS  suggested  that   rather  than  use  public-private                                                               
partnership vendors,  the department should consider  DMV sharing                                                               
office  space  with  the  Alaska State  Troopers  since  the  six                                                               
proposed UMV locations currently  have trooper stations. Further,                                                               
DMV  was  previously located  within  DPS,  so consolidating  the                                                               
offices could save money.                                                                                                       
COMMISSIONER TSHIBAKA  responded that this option  would not save                                                               
money   since  the   funding  would   come  from   two  different                                                               
departments.  She  recalled  thinking  of  DOA's  alignment.  The                                                               
department held  discussions with DPS about  restoring DMV within                                                               
the agency,  but it was  not workable,  so DOA considered  how to                                                               
best serve  Alaskans but still  address the budget  concerns. The                                                               
DOA  has  other ideas  about  modernization  and digitization  of                                                               
services it can  share. Right now, the department  is focusing on                                                               
its proposal to develop public-private UVMs in six communities.                                                                 
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                        
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                 
                     Board of Marine Pilots                                                                                 
2:37:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MYERS announced  that the  business  before the  committee                                                               
would be  Confirmation Hearings for  the appointees to  the Board                                                               
of Marine Pilots.                                                                                                               
2:38:03 PM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD HARRIS, Appointee, Board  of Marine Pilots, Department of                                                               
Commerce, Community and  Economic Development (DCCED), Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska,  stated he  is  seeking reappointment  to  the board.  He                                                               
provided his background,  including that he served  in the United                                                               
States  Army and  he earned  a Bachelor  of Science  in Fisheries                                                               
from  the  University  of  Washington. He  served  as  a  project                                                               
manager for  Southeast Regional Aquaculture  Association, working                                                               
on salmon  enhancement programs.  In 1980,  he began  working for                                                               
Sealaska  Corporation,   holding  various   positions,  including                                                               
Environmental Manager, Senior Vice  President and Executive Vice-                                                               
President. He stated that he  has extensive experience in natural                                                               
resource management  and public  policy development.  Although he                                                               
is not  a marine pilot,  he understands their  requirements since                                                               
Sealaska  Corporation chartered  ships and  marine pilots  were a                                                               
vital part of the process to ship logs to worldwide markets.                                                                    
MR. HARRIS  said he brings to  the board his knowledge  of marine                                                               
pilots and their  role in facilitating commerce  and safe passage                                                               
of  cargo and  cruise vessels.  His family  worked in  the cruise                                                               
ship industry so  he has a familiarity with the  industry. As the                                                               
public member on  the board, he works to  ensure Alaska residents                                                               
of the  rigorous control and  safe passage of  vessels throughout                                                               
Southeast Alaska waters.                                                                                                        
2:42:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIEHL  asked  for  his perspective  on  any  issues  the                                                               
legislature should address.                                                                                                     
MR.  HARRIS highlighted  that marine  pilots must  pay for  their                                                               
initial training out  of pocket. He explained  that marine pilots                                                               
have  historically been  given special  fares or  free staterooms                                                               
and passage on  the Alaska Marine Highway  System (AMHS) vessels.                                                               
This  access has  given marine  pilots experience  in many  ports                                                               
that differs from  cargo or cruise ships. Since  AMHS has reduced                                                               
its  services, it  has  terminated those  benefits  to pilots  in                                                               
training. He  said he hoped  these benefits could be  restored to                                                               
make it easier for marine pilots to obtain their licenses.                                                                      
MR. HARRIS reported  that the Board of Marine  Pilots has changed                                                               
some regulations  and the legislature  has updated  some statutes                                                               
related  to  marine  pilots.  He   said  COVID-19  has  adversely                                                               
impacted  marine  pilots since  the  cruise  industry shut  down.                                                               
However, the marine  pilots are ready to resume  work and provide                                                               
services once the industry resumes service.                                                                                     
2:44:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SHOWER  stated  he  asks  the  same  questions  for  all                                                               
appointees  to Boards  and Commission  for the  record. He  asked                                                               
whether there  was anything in  his background that  would create                                                               
any  ethical issues,  such as  arrests,  criminal convictions  or                                                               
anything that could be construed as "skeletons in his closet."                                                                  
MR. HARRIS said he has no issues to report.                                                                                     
2:46:00 PM                                                                                                                    
LUCAS HASENBANK,  Appointee, Board  of Marine  Pilots, Department                                                               
of   Commerce,  Community   and  Economic   Development  (DCCED),                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska,  said he  has worked  for the  Alaska Maritime                                                               
Agency and in maritime for  18 years. He provided his background,                                                               
stating he came to Alaska  after receiving his Master of Business                                                               
Administration from the  University of South Dakota  in 2002. His                                                               
company acts as ship agents,  providing the direct interface with                                                               
all foreign-flagged ships, such as  cruise ships or tankers. Ship                                                               
agents work  to ensure that  ships are following  state, federal,                                                               
and   pilot   regulations.   He   regularly   communicates   this                                                               
information  to marine  pilots so  he has  a direct  relationship                                                               
with the  pilot associations.  He has also  served as  port agent                                                               
for  four years  at the  Cook Inlet  Harbor Safety  Committee and                                                               
represents the  Alaska State  Chamber of  Commerce on  the Prince                                                               
William Sound Citizens Awareness Council.                                                                                       
MR.  HASENBANK said  he has  attended the  Board of  Marine Pilot                                                               
meetings for  a decade.  He said  he would like  to serve  on the                                                               
board because it provides safety  to his company and Alaskans. He                                                               
described  his experience  and  familiarity  with foreign  tanker                                                               
regulations as a  good fit with the board. He  has no arrests, no                                                               
tickets, and no inappropriate social media.                                                                                     
2:49:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  disclosed that  he serves  as the  president of                                                               
the  Cook  Inlet  Harbor Safety  Committee  which  Mr.  Hasenbank                                                               
serves as an  agent representative. He also asked if  his lack of                                                               
technical pilotage  background has any impediment  on his service                                                               
on the board.                                                                                                                   
MR.  HASENBANK  replied that  would  serve  as the  industry  and                                                               
agency  representative, not  as a  mariner  so he  does not  need                                                               
pilotage  expertise.  However,  he  has 18  years  of  experience                                                               
bringing in tankers and vessels  in so he understands the federal                                                               
regulations.   His  company   provides   information  on   winter                                                               
operating guidelines to  all vessels before the  ships enter Cook                                                               
Inlet. This technical  information is compiled from  the US Coast                                                               
Guard, marine pilots and local  stakeholders and provides vessels                                                               
with a basic understanding of  what requirements they must adhere                                                               
to in  Alaska. He communicates  with the vessel operators  and if                                                               
they  have any  questions he  acts as  a liaison  to provide  the                                                               
2:52:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MYERS,  after first determining  no one wished  to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony on the  confirmation hearings for Richard                                                               
Harris and Lucas Hasenbank.                                                                                                     
2:52:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHOWER stated  that in accordance with  AS 39.05.080, the                                                               
Senate  Transportation  Committee   reviewed  the  following  and                                                               
recommends the appointments  be forwarded to a  joint session for                                                               
Board of Marine Pilots                                                                                                        
Lucas Hasenbank - Anchorage                                                                                                     
Richard Harris - Juneau                                                                                                         
Signing  the   reports  regarding  appointments  to   boards  and                                                               
commissions in  no way reflects  individual members'  approval or                                                               
disapproval  of  the  appointees;   the  nominations  are  merely                                                               
forwarded to the full legislature for confirmation or rejection.                                                                
2:53:11 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
2:54:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MYERS reconvened the meeting.                                                                                             
2:54:40 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Myers adjourned the Senate Transportation Standing                                                                        
Committee meeting at 2:54 p.m.                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
DOA DMV Transition 3.4.pdf STRA 3/4/2021 1:30:00 PM
Lucas Hasenbank Board Application.pdf STRA 3/4/2021 1:30:00 PM
Board of Marine Pilots
Richard Harris Resume.pdf STRA 3/4/2021 1:30:00 PM
Board of Marine Pilots