Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/19/1993 01:00 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 138: LIMITED DRIVERS' LICENSES REPRESENTATIVE MULDER stated that HB 136 allowed the department flexibility in that if no halfway house existed in a particular area, the department could determine an appropriate facility for a DWI offender to serve his or her sentence. He said that the cost of incarceration would be standardized throughout the state. He added that provisions of HB 138 had been rolled into HB 136. Additionally, he said, some of the DMV's concerns regarding limited licenses were addressed in HB 136. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER said that currently, a person convicted of a DWI offense for the first through sixth time was eligible to apply for a limited license. Number 220 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS commented that Representative Mulder had been very generous in only requiring 80 hours of community service for second DWI offenders. She said that when she had worked on a similar bill in the past, they had considered requiring 200 hours of community service. Number 231 JUANITA HENSLEY, CHIEF OF DRIVER SERVICES, DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY (DPS), said that in 1990, legislation passed which granted limited licenses for people convicted of up to a sixth drunk driving offense. She commented that no fiscal note had accompanied the 1990 legislation; however, the law had impacted both the DMV and the court system immensely. Additionally, she said that the 1990 law had taken the state further away from eligibility for certain federal highway grants. MS. HENSLEY stated that the federal government frowned upon states giving limited licenses to anyone but first offenders. MS. HENSLEY said that the draft committee substitute before the committee would bring Alaska one step closer to being eligible for those federal grants. She said that HB 136 would allow the DPS and the court to review the record of an offender whose license was presently suspended, as well. For individuals whose licenses were revoked for 40 or 50 years, she said, the DPS could choose to shorten the revocation period, so that a person could see the "light at the end of the tunnel." Number 310 CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that provisions from HB 138 had been rolled into HB 136. He said that the intent of HB 138, as rolled into HB 136, was to address a problem regarding driving privileges for persons with multiple drunk driving convictions. He noted that HB 136 would give the DMV the ability to review an individual's record, once the minimum time for each revocation had passed. CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that it would be very hard for a person to continue with a regimen of abstinence and rehabilitation if there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Additionally, he said that because limited licenses had been so problematic, the state would rather have the ability to get an individual back driving, without the problems of a limited license. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON announced that he had to leave in order to attend another meeting. He signed off of the teleconference at 2:54 p.m. Number 366 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked what the current fine was for persons caught driving in violation of a limited license. Number 377 MIKE FORD, ATTORNEY, LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY, DIVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES, said that existing law was contained in the draft committee substitute, and that the fine was $1,000. Number 378 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked if a person paid a $1,000 fine each time she or he was convicted of a drunk driving offense. Number 385 MR. FORD commented that the section of the draft committee substitute which Representative Phillips was looking at, section 7, pertained to persons who drove without a license. Number 400 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS noted that a $1,000 fine might not mean anything to people who did not respect the revocation of their driver's license. MR. FORD noted that some people were not deterred by anything, except for being in jail. REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS suggested considering raising the fine from $1,000 to $10,000. Number 403 MARGOT KNUTH, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, CRIMINAL DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LAW, said that the problem, from a law enforcement perspective, was that many people convicted of drunk driving offenses did not have even $100. When a person had nothing, she said, he or she could lose nothing. REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS mentioned the permanent fund dividend check. MS. KNUTH commented that many of these people never even saw their permanent fund dividend checks, as they had already gone for child support and other obligations. REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS applauded the provision at the bottom of page 5 of the draft committee substitute, which said that the cost of imprisonment would not exceed $1,000. Number 422 MS. KNUTH mentioned some technical problems with the draft committee substitute. She said that it would be best to draft another committee substitute before acting on HB 136. CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Mr. Ford when another draft committee substitute would be available. Number 441 MR. FORD said that the changes to which Ms. Knuth was referring were not extensive; however, he cautioned that HB 136 was complex in nature. Because of that, he recommended that all parties have time to digest the bill's contents and ensure that the bill did what it was intended to do. Number 453 MS. HENSLEY commented that the provision on page 4, lines 20-21 of the draft committee substitute, instituting a $100 fee for a limited driver's license, would change the DPS' fiscal note to be a revenue-generating one. Number 465 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if a new committee substitute could be ready by the following Wednesday. He said that he shared Mr. Ford's concern that all parties have time to digest HB 136's contents. Number 471 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked if the proposed amendments had been reviewed by the sponsor. Number 476 CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that the draft committee substitute for HB 136 was the result of a team effort. Number 479 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER was unaware that there were problems with the current draft committee substitute. REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS was concerned that agencies were bringing amendments to the attention of the Judiciary Committee without first contacting a bill's sponsor. Number 482 CHAIRMAN PORTER said that HB 136 would be held over until a new draft committee substitute could be prepared. He stated that he would try to reschedule the bill for the following Wednesday. Number 495 MR. FORD commented that he could probably have a draft committee substitute prepared and distributed by Monday, giving all concerned parties time to review it prior to the Wednesday meeting. Number 506 ADJOURNMENT CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 3:03 p.m.