Legislature(2001 - 2002)
04/19/2001 01:10 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 67 - MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION/INSURANCE Number 2046 CHAIR ROKEBERG announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 67, "An Act requiring proof of motor vehicle insurance in order to register a motor vehicle; and relating to motor vehicle liability insurance for taxicabs." [Before the committee was CSHB 67(L&C) and proposed committee substitute (CS) for HB 67, version 22-LS0299\J, Ford, 4/4/01, which was pending adoption as a work draft at the adjournment of the meeting on 4/18/01.] CHAIR ROKEBERG asked whether the committee still had to adopt Version J as a work draft. Number 2063 JANET SEITZ, Staff to Representative Norman Rokeberg, Alaska State Legislature, stated her recollection that the committee had adopted Version J at the previous meeting. There being no objection to this statement, Version J was before the committee. MS. SEITZ went on to explain, with regard to the question about taxicab insurance availability, that according to local Juneau insurance providers, the rates mandated in Version J are manageable and the coverage is available. She added that according to the Division of Insurance, there are over 19,000 "direct premiums written" for commercial auto "no-fault and liability," which is the classification that most taxicabs would fall under. She also explained that the new rates listed in Version J address the concerns of a Fairbanks taxicab operator who wrote a letter of complaint regarding the higher rates listed in a previous version of HB 67. MS. SEITZ noted that included in the members' packets is a chart detailing the specific local ordinance requirements for taxicab insurance. She added that she had received word from Dillingham that its local government had tried to create an ordinance regarding taxicabs but had not succeeded. She then concurred that there is no state requirement that taxicabs have insurance coverage other than personal liability insurance. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked, "How much will this cost? In other words, how much will the insurance companies benefit from imposing these requirements statewide?" MS SEITZ said she did not know. CHAIR ROKEBERG, speaking as the sponsor, remarked that "it should be zero." He then asked Ms. Seitz whether Version J would "raise any of the existing limits anywhere." MS. SEITZ said not in the local areas, except in Bethel where they are hearing a new ordinance that would raise their limits anyway. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ noted that according to the chart, Barrow only had a "$100,000 for people who die, and $300,000 for injuries." CHAIR ROKEBERG opined that these amounts are consistent with Version J. Number 2240 MS. SEITZ clarified that in Version J, the limits for the coverage are set at $100,000 for the bodily injury or death of one person in one accident (in CSHB 67(L&C) it was set at $300,000); at $300,000 for the bodily injury or death of two or more persons in one accident (in CSHB 67(L&C) it was set at $500,000); and at $50,000 for injury to or destruction of property (in CSHB 67(L&C) it was set at $100,000). REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked whether there are any communities, via local ordinance, that are trying to impose limits different from those proposed on a statewide basis in Version J. CHAIR ROKEBERG offered that there are only local ordinances that set the limits higher; none are trying to set the limits lower. MS. SEITZ clarified that some communities such as Kotzebue [and Fairbanks and Bethel] have set the limit for injury to or destruction of property at $25,000. CHAIR ROKEBERG noted that the Municipality of Anchorage's ordinances "don't follow the state format" with regard to limits. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated his concern that if most of the communities are already doing this, then, in essence, [the bill] is supplanting local control for state control, and is adding another layer of state bureaucracy. CHAIR ROKEBERG replied no, Version J is not creating another bureaucracy. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ, in response, pointed out that somebody at the state level has to make sure that "these folks" are complying. MS. SEITZ explained that the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has submitted a zero fiscal note based on the assumption that it would be just like a person's automobile insurance. "We have a state law that requires us to carry automobile insurance but there's no real check to it, except when you sign on your registration - you sign that you're carrying your automobile insurance," she added. She also pointed out a person who has an accident has to show proof of insurance when filling out the accident report. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked what will happen if there is a failure to comply with Version J. He opined that it will require some form of state enforcement as opposed to local enforcement, and that there is going to be a cost to the state. CHAIR ROKEBERG commented that he does not believe Version J warrants any kind of a fiscal note or "that type" of enforcement. He also noted that his concern is that there would be [taxicab] firms that don't have adequate insurance. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked whether there are any "taxicabs out there that just call themselves a taxicab and they're not licensed in any particular community." REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ responded by saying, "Gypsy cabs." CHAIR ROKEBERG added that he assumes that until HB 67 becomes law, these types of taxicabs don't have any rules; they are operating "against municipal ordinances." He also added that he thinks HB 67 is merely setting a floor on the insurance level, not supplanting local control. REPRESENTATIVE MEYER noted that the taxicab industry is heavily regulated in Anchorage through the "transportation director," and all taxicabs must get permits; hence there are no gypsy cabs in Anchorage. He then asked for an explanation of the changes between CSHB 67(L&C) and Version J. TAPE 01-66, SIDE B Number 2481 MS. SEITZ explained that the only difference is that Version J contains lower limits for coverage. Number 2479 REPRESENTATIVE MEYER moved to report CSHB 67, version 22- LS0299\J, Ford, 4/4/01, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. There being no objection, CSHB 67(JUD) was reported from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.