Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/09/1996 01:45 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL 110 "An Act relating to the confidentiality of certain information in motor vehicle records; and providing for an effective date." ELEANOR ROSER, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE RAMONA BARNES, testified in support of HB 110. She pointed out that the 2 legislation was introduced at the request of two constituents who had experienced stalking by persons who had obtained their addresses from the Division of Motor Vehicles through license plate information. In 1994, confidentiality of license plate information was included in the President's Crime Package. The intent of the federal legislation was to protect the personal privacy of persons licensed by states to drive a motor vehicle or persons who register a motor vehicle and would prohibit disclosure of information on drivers maintained by the state. That information is only to be disclosed under permissible uses. If Alaska is not in compliance with federal law by September 13, 1997, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) would be liable for civil fines in the amount of $2.5 thousand dollars per day and the State could be subject to fines in the amount of $5 thousand dollars per day until compliance was reached. Ms. Roser pointed out that the bill is supported by the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the Anchorage Police Department. Representative Brown asked about federal requirements not included in the bill. Ms. Roser replied that Alaska does not license private investigators, consequently, that section was removed. JUANITA HENSLEY, CHIEF, DRIVER SERVICES, DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, explained that the version before the Committee had been prepared by attorney general offices throughout the nation and the American Association of Motor Vehicle administrators in order to meet the standards of compliance with federal law. In response to Representative Brown, Ms. Hensley informed members that there are private investigative agencies in Alaska. Representative Brown asked if those agencies would have access to information referenced in the bill. Ms. Hensley stated they would not under the proposed legislation. Federal law allows licensed private investigating firms to access that information. She reiterated that Alaska does not license private investigators. Representative Brown asked if the State could legally differ from federal law regarding that concern. Ms. Hensley stated the federal law lists regulations that must be included in order to meet compliance. Almost anyone with a legitimate business use, could obtain the record, although they would be restricted as to how they can use it. The federal law is less restrictive than state law. 3 Representative Brown voiced concern with Community Service Patrols (CSP) having access to the record information. Ms. Hensley commented that as the information was being used for a legitimate purpose, they would continue to be eligible to receive the record. Discussion followed regarding the security of information being released. Representative Brown questioned how the relationship with Mr. Motznik would be affected through passage of the legislation. Ms. Hensley replied that Mr. Motznik would receive the entire DMV file, continuing to get the information but would not be able release that information without knowing to whom and the purpose of that release. The list could not be sold for mail distribution. Representative Brown pointed out that Page 3, Line 6, (9) indicated that it could be available for distribution. Ms. Hensley countered that federal law prohibits release for that purpose. Discussion followed regarding Section (9). Ms. Hensley noted that at present time, if a person wanted to receive information on someones address, they could walk into the Anchorage field office and obtain a copy of the vehicle certificates. It is not difficult. Representative Mulder suggested that the legislation would provide an "additional hurdle" for someone wanting to receive that information. Ms. Hensley agreed, noting that under the proposed legislation, an individual would no longer be able to obtain this information from the DMV office. Discussion followed among Committee members and Ms. Hensley regarding Mr. Motznik's access to the files as written in HB 110. Representative Brown reminded members that the Permanent Fund Dividend list was available to the public which contains similar information. She strongly recommended that state government not intervene in state records management. Ms. Hensley advised that the Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators lobbied against the legislation as they thought it could be a "night mare" to monitor. Co-Chair Hanley asked the consequences if State law was not changed. Ms. Hensley replied that when the federal law takes effect in 1997, the State and the Division would be subject to fines due to violations. She added that the proposed legislation would be "minimum compliance" with federal law. JAYNE ANDREEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COUNCIL ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT, JUNEAU, testified that the Council supported the proposed legislation. Accessing DMV records is one way that batterers track their victims. She 4 added, the Council requests that private investigators be denied access to the records, as they are often hired by abusers to locate their victims. Representative Mulder MOVED to report CS HB 110 (STA) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CS HB 110 (STA) was reported out of Committee with a "no recommendation" and with a fiscal note by the Department of Public Safety dated 3/18/96.