Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 120

04/25/2005 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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01:13:35 PM Start
01:14:05 PM HJR12
01:49:19 PM SB129
02:04:31 PM SB143
02:13:13 PM Violent Crimes Compensation Board
02:15:06 PM Commission on Judicial Conduct
02:16:56 PM Alaska Judicial Council
02:22:28 PM HB266
03:07:20 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation hearings: TELECONFERENCED
Bd. of Governor's of the Alaska Bar
Commission on Judicial Conduct
Alaska Judicial Council
Violent Crimes Compensation Board
+ HJR 12 CONST. AM: BUDGET RESERVE FUND REPEAL TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 12(W&M) Out of Committee
+ HB 266 VEHICLE WEIGHTS AND INSURANCE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 266(TRA) Out of Committee
+ HB 268 OVERTAKING/PASSING STATIONARY VEHICLES TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+= SB 36 ABSENTEE BALLOTS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
+= SB 143 STATE INFO SYSTEM PLAN: LEGISLATURE/UNIV TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+= SB 129 WRONGFUL FILING OF LIS PENDENS TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB 266 - VEHICLE WEIGHTS AND INSURANCE                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:22:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  announced that the  final order of  business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  266,  "An  Act  relating  to  offenses  and                                                               
penalties   for   violation   of  vehicle   weight   limitations;                                                               
prohibiting  the  use   of  a  violation  of   a  vehicle  weight                                                               
limitation  for certain  personal  automobile insurance  actions;                                                               
amending  Rule   43.6,  Alaska   Rules  of   Administration;  and                                                               
providing  for an  effective date."   [Before  the committee  was                                                               
CSHB 266(TRA).]                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
JOS   GOVAARS,  Staff   to  Representative   Jim  Elkins,   House                                                               
Transportation  Standing  Committee,  Alaska  State  Legislature,                                                               
said, on  behalf of the House  Transportation Standing Committee,                                                               
sponsor of HB  266, that the bill modifies  existing law relating                                                               
to the  penalty structure for  overweight vehicle  violations, as                                                               
well as  prohibits the  use of  overweight vehicle  violations by                                                               
insurers [to  raise a  driver's personal  insurance rates].   The                                                               
bill proposes the first increase  in penalties since the existing                                                               
provisions were  established in the  1970s.  Those  provisions do                                                               
not adequately  inhibit commercial shipping companies  and others                                                               
from violating overweight vehicle  limitations, he opined, adding                                                               
that  the proposed  modifications establish  a graduated  penalty                                                               
for the  amount of  weight in  excess of  the limitations  set by                                                               
statute, regulation, and permit.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GOVAARS said  there  are also  new  offenses established  to                                                               
sanction [certain] shippers or carriers  who, for example, commit                                                               
a combined total  of [15] or more violations  during any 12-month                                                               
period.   The maximum fine for  this violation is $10,000.   This                                                               
modification  is expected  to result  in commercial  shippers and                                                               
carriers being  more rigorous towards compliance  with overweight                                                               
vehicle  limitations.   Another provision  of the  bill prohibits                                                               
the  use   of  overweight  vehicle  violations   by  insurers  to                                                               
adversely   impact  decisions   related   to  providing   private                                                               
automobile insurance  coverage for drivers.   In the  majority of                                                               
cases, the driver has little or  no knowledge or ability to limit                                                               
the weight  of the load placed  on the vehicle they  are assigned                                                               
to drive and, as a result,  the company causes the violation and,                                                               
if cited, pays the fine imposed.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.   GOVAARS   relayed   that  currently,   overweight   vehicle                                                               
violations are used by insurers  as justification to take adverse                                                               
action in relation to the  personal automobile insurance coverage                                                               
of truck  drivers.   Section 1  of the  bill would  prohibit this                                                               
action.   This legislation will  protect drivers who do  not know                                                               
they are in violation, as  well as Alaska's roads from overweight                                                               
vehicles.    In  conclusion,  he  said  that  the  Department  of                                                               
Transportation  & Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF), the  "Teamsters,"                                                               
and [Horizon Lines of Alaska, LLC,]  all support HB 266, and that                                                               
the sponsor  would like  to thank the  committee for  its support                                                               
[of HB 266].                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON   noted  that   he's  heard   a  concern                                                               
regarding weight standards.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS relayed that there  have been concerns expressed that                                                               
the increase  in penalties is  too significant,  particularly for                                                               
the smaller amounts  of weight over the limit,  and that members'                                                               
packets include  a list of  Overweight Uniform  Traffic Citations                                                               
for  2004, some  of which  were for  relatively small  amounts of                                                               
weight over the  limit, but one of  which - listed at  the top of                                                               
page 3  of the handout  - was for  36,400 pounds over  the limit.                                                               
In  response to  another question,  he relayed  that the  sponsor                                                               
thinks that the bill should not be amended.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA noted  that  the bill  contains a  provision                                                               
regarding  repeat  violations,  and   asked  how  that  provision                                                               
relates  to  current law  and  whether  repeat violations  are  a                                                               
common occurrence.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS  said that there are  a number of carriers  that have                                                               
traveled over weight  a number of times.   He suggested, however,                                                               
that a  representative from  the DOT&PF would  be better  able to                                                               
address this issue.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:27:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AVES  D.  THOMPSON,  Director,   Anchorage  Office,  Division  of                                                               
Measurement   Standards   &   Commercial   Vehicle   Enforcement,                                                               
Department of Transportation &  Public Facilities (DOT&PF), first                                                               
relayed  that   current  statute  does  not   contain  a  "repeat                                                               
violation"  provision,  and  then   that  in  calculating  repeat                                                               
violations,  consideration  would  be  given  to  the  number  of                                                               
violations that all the drivers  working for a particular carrier                                                               
had, because numerous  violations - even if each  driver had only                                                               
one violation - could demonstrate  a pattern of violation for the                                                               
carrier.  He offered his understanding  that under the bill, if a                                                               
carrier  reaches the  repeat violation  threshold  listed in  the                                                               
bill,  it  could  trigger  an  investigation  by  the  DOT&PF  to                                                               
determine whether  a pattern of  violation exists  which warrants                                                               
prosecution by the Department of Law (DOL).                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  asked  Mr.  Thompson  and  the  sponsor  to                                                               
consider  imposing  a  higher  fine  for  a  driver  with  repeat                                                               
violations.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON  said he  would  be  willing  to think  about  that                                                               
concept.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA indicated  that he  views repeat  violations                                                               
from  companies with  just a  few  drivers as  worse than  repeat                                                               
violations from companies with a lot of drivers.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:30:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS offered his understanding that  the goal of HB 266 is                                                               
to get  overweight trucks  off the road  because, in  addition to                                                               
causing wear  and tear on  the road, they  create a hazard.   And                                                               
although  HB   266  proposes  to   replace  the   current  [fine]                                                               
structure, if  the committee can  come up with what  it considers                                                               
to be a  more equitable way of ensuring  that overweight vehicles                                                               
are no longer on Alaska's roads,  the sponsor would be open to an                                                               
amendment, he relayed.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:31:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON explained  that it is the DOT&PF's  intention to try                                                               
to reduce  the number of  overweight vehicles and is  not looking                                                               
to  generate revenue,  adding that  it is  important to  remember                                                               
that there  is a fine  associated with each  individual violation                                                               
and that  the "pattern  of violation" provision  is aimed  at the                                                               
most egregious of violators -  those carriers that take advantage                                                               
of  every situation  and push  their  drivers to  do things  they                                                               
shouldn't be doing.   He also explained that  Section 1 prohibits                                                               
insurers  from using  overweight violations  to adversely  impact                                                               
decisions related to personal  automobile insurance; that Section                                                               
2 modifies the  existing penalty structure, which,  he opined, do                                                               
not adequately  deter overweight  violations; and that  Section 3                                                               
addresses patterns of repeat violations,  which could result in a                                                               
fine  of up  to $10,000  for the  most egregious  offenders.   In                                                               
conclusion,   he  asked   that  the   committee  give   favorable                                                               
consideration to HB 266 and move it forward.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:33:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL BELL, Director, Alaska  Trucking Association, Inc. (ATA),                                                               
relayed that  although the  ATA supports  Section 1  of HB  266 -                                                               
since there  are times when  drivers unintentionally  violate the                                                               
overweight  regulations and  are then  penalized with  a rise  in                                                               
insurance premiums on  vehicles unrelated to the  violation - the                                                               
ATA does  have some concern  with Section 2, which  increases the                                                               
fines for  overweight violations.   He  noted, however,  that the                                                               
proposed legislation  would be less objectionable  if the highest                                                               
proposed  fine increases  were confined  to the  more significant                                                               
weight  violations  -  for  example,   those  vehicles  that  are                                                               
overweight by  8,000 pounds or  more.   The ATA does  not believe                                                               
that the large increases in  fines for violations involving those                                                               
vehicles  that   are  less  than  8,000   pounds  overweight  are                                                               
justified,  since the  impact of  those vehicles  on the  state's                                                               
highways is not as significant,  and the overweighting might just                                                               
be the result of unintentional errors  by shippers or the lack of                                                               
scales being readily available.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BELL went  on to  say  that those  increases penalize  small                                                               
trucking companies  and owner/operators  to a much  larger degree                                                               
than  they do  larger companies.   He  then referred  to what  he                                                               
termed the  shift in responsibility,  from carriers  to shippers,                                                               
for violations  caused by bill-of-lading errors,  adding that the                                                               
ATA does  not support  this proposed change.   Carriers  have the                                                               
right to seek restitution from a  customer if they choose, but it                                                               
is  their  choice,  and  if carriers  have  the  right  equipment                                                               
available to haul their loads,  can provide some margin of error,                                                               
and, where possible, check the  weights of the loads, then [bill-                                                               
of-lading] errors can be caught.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL  said that the ATA  does not support placing  the burden                                                               
of these errors  directly on to its customers, since  it does not                                                               
believe  that customers  intentionally  misstate  the weights  on                                                               
bills of  lading.  With regard  to Section 3, he  said that while                                                               
the  ATA does  not  support "the  additional  scrutiny," it  does                                                               
believe   that   the   "tier  structure"   should   be   directly                                                               
proportional to  the number of drivers  a given company has.   In                                                               
conclusion,  he mentioned  that  the  ATA is  in  the process  of                                                               
having proposed amendments drafted.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  asked whether an amendment  deleting the                                                               
language on page  2, lines 6-12 - which  currently proposes [fine                                                               
increases] for vehicles that are  overweight by amounts up to and                                                               
including 8,000 pounds - would alleviate the ATA's concerns.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL said yes.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON said he would  be willing to make such an                                                               
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BELL,  in response  to  a  question,  relayed that  the  ATA                                                               
represents  about   350  companies  and  that   that  equates  to                                                               
approximately  65   percent  of  the  trucks   currently  driving                                                               
Alaska's roads.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:36:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA  HUFF TUCKNESS,  Director,  Governmental and  Legislative                                                               
Affairs,  Teamsters  Local  959, relayed  that  members'  packets                                                               
should include  a copy of a  letter offered by her  supervisor in                                                               
support of the  bill, adding that her organization  would like to                                                               
encourage the committee to move  the bill onto the next committee                                                               
of referral.  She elaborated:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     From  our perspective,  this  is  first, foremost,  and                                                                    
     ultimately  about  safety  -   we  do  represent  truck                                                                    
     drivers  in  the  industry,  many  of  which  work  for                                                                    
     companies that are  members of ATA [and]  some that are                                                                    
     not. ...  I would  also like  to comment  regarding the                                                                    
     earlier [proposed] amendment if  I'm not totally out of                                                                    
     line.   When  we  looked  at this  bill  from a  safety                                                                    
     perspective  -- and  I guess  for  the record,  whether                                                                    
     you're running  2,000 pounds  overweight or  30,000, an                                                                    
     overweight vehicle is  in violation of the  law - first                                                                    
     and foremost.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Secondly, it creates  a safety hazard. ...  In fact ...                                                                    
     there  has been  a legislative  representative in  this                                                                    
     building who  lost her son  and her husband to  a truck                                                                    
     [that] ... was  running ... overweight.   It would fall                                                                    
     into the category that they're  looking at reducing the                                                                    
     fines  on,  and,  ...  for the  record,  we  would  not                                                                    
     support  [such an  amendment].  ...  You're looking  at                                                                    
     increasing fines  that have not been  increased for ...                                                                    
     30-some  years.   If  you  sit  down and  you  actually                                                                    
     calculate  that percentage  based on  just the  cost of                                                                    
     living [increase] alone, it  doesn't come anywhere near                                                                    
     what's  being  proposed  here.   We  believe  that  the                                                                    
     increases in rates are very fair.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     First and  foremost we would  like to see  all drivers,                                                                    
     all  companies,  follow  the   law.    And  if  they're                                                                    
     following  the  law, they're  not  going  to be  paying                                                                    
     these fines,  ultimately, anyway.   So for  that reason                                                                    
     we would  have great  concern with proposing  to adjust                                                                    
     any of  those fines, and  we would ask  the committee's                                                                    
     support to move the bill on.  Thank you.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:40:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  asked whether the teamsters  concern is that                                                               
truckers  are  currently  being  endangered  by  those  that  are                                                               
loading the trucks.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. HUFF  TUCKNESS said one  could ultimately make  that analogy,                                                               
but offered that in the big  picture, whether one is the owner of                                                               
the trucking  company or  the driver  of the  truck, the  onus of                                                               
complying  with the  law is  on both  of them.   The  controversy                                                               
boils  down to  who, ultimately,  is responsible  for paying  the                                                               
fine, and  by reducing that  fine, then,  the company that  is in                                                               
violation  would  not  be  paying  as  much.    So  although  her                                                               
organization represents  the truckers, the incentive  provided by                                                               
the increased  rates should  ensure that  everyone abides  by the                                                               
law.   To address a concern  she'd heard in a  previous committee                                                               
that  an individual  trucker wouldn't  know how  much weight  was                                                               
being loaded onto  his/her truck, she opined  that a responsible,                                                               
experienced truck driver  knows how much weight  his/her truck is                                                               
built to  carry and knows  how to determine, within  a reasonable                                                               
margin of error, whether he/she is overloaded.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA asked whether  drivers are pressured to carry                                                               
overweight loads  or whether a  driver always has the  freedom to                                                               
refuse to drive an overweight vehicle.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HUFF  TUCKNESS relayed  that  that  concern could  apply  in                                                               
certain  areas, such  as the  Anchorage area  or the  Eagle River                                                               
area, that  in certain areas  perhaps there is the  potential for                                                               
drivers to be encouraged to run overweight.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:43:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAUL   FUHS,  Lobbyist   for  Horizon   Lines   of  Alaska,   LLC                                                               
("Horizon"),  after  noting  that   Horizon  is  responsible  for                                                               
transporting about  40 percent  of the goods  that come  into the                                                               
state, said that he was glad to  see that HB 266 received a House                                                               
Judiciary  Standing Committee  referral,  since this  committee's                                                               
focus  is on  the enforcement  aspects of  laws and  the fairness                                                               
with which they are applied.  He went on to say:                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The  overweight  laws  for Alaska  were  passed  for  a                                                                    
     reason.  The  first was to protect our  roads. ... When                                                                    
     a  truck is  overweight, it  pushes  up a  big wave  in                                                                    
     front of  those tires, and that's  what actually cracks                                                                    
     the road  - the groves you  see in the road  are caused                                                                    
     by  studs, that's  not by  overweight trucks;  ... when                                                                    
     that wave pushes  the pavement up enough that  it has a                                                                    
     crack  in  it  and   water  gets  underneath  and  then                                                                    
     freezes, that's what breaks up  our roads.  You can run                                                                    
     with  an overweight  truck,  but you  have  to [get]  a                                                                    
     permit,  and a  number one  condition of  an overweight                                                                    
     permit is  that you drive  slower to reduce  the amount                                                                    
     of damage to the road.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     So it's  costing the state  ..., having to  replace the                                                                    
     roads sooner  than they normally  would, and  it's also                                                                    
     [a]  public  safety  issue  for  us  in  the  container                                                                    
     industry.   Our containers  are rated  - the  bottom of                                                                    
     them ...  - to  carry a certain  capacity.   If they're                                                                    
     overloaded, the  bottom of the container  can break out                                                                    
     and  spill  the  cargo onto  the  longshoreman  working                                                                    
     underneath,  and we  actually  had this  happen out  in                                                                    
     Dutch Harbor.   As  a matter of  fairness, and  I think                                                                    
     some of  the issues were  raised as far as  the drivers                                                                    
     ... picking up  a load that's overweight, we  feel as a                                                                    
     business-fairness  issue there  [that]  our company  is                                                                    
     dedicated to  running legal operations within  the laws                                                                    
     of  the State  of  Alaska, and  we  believe that  other                                                                    
     carriers should be required to do the same.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     And  unfortunately we  have a  situation now  where the                                                                    
     fine structure  for overweight [vehicles] is  less than                                                                    
     what you would make if [you]  got paid to carry the ...                                                                    
     extra weight.  So ... it's  a fine to you, but it's not                                                                    
     as much as  you're getting paid, so it's  not really an                                                                    
     efficient  deterrent to  running overweight,  as it  is                                                                    
     right  now.   And  we have  actually  lost business  by                                                                    
     refusing to  carry overweight cargo and  telling people                                                                    
     we  wouldn't do  it,  and they  actually found  another                                                                    
     carrier to carry their cargo.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     On the issue of the "lower  end," ... I wouldn't say do                                                                    
     away with  the increase  on the  bottom end,  but maybe                                                                    
     make  it  graduated ...,  because  in  those areas  you                                                                    
     could make  an honest  mistake of  being just  a little                                                                    
     bit over.   You get over 8,000 pounds,  [then] that has                                                                    
     to  be willful  and intentional.   The  other thing  is                                                                    
     that  the penalty  did remain  on the  driver, and  the                                                                    
     reason for  that is  that it's  a criminal  penalty and                                                                    
     it's very  easy for the  department to give  a criminal                                                                    
     ticket.  ... The  driver, most  times,  has no  control                                                                    
     over the load.  They  say, "Here's your load," it's got                                                                    
     a seal  on the container ...,  and you just pick  it up                                                                    
     and you go with it.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Well, to  try to  do a  civil fine  to the  person that                                                                    
     overloaded the  container would take  too much  time in                                                                    
     the courts and  the fiscal note would  have been large.                                                                    
     So that was a compromise:   leave it a criminal penalty                                                                    
     to  the driver.   The  law does  address, however,  the                                                                    
     issue, then,  [that] if the  driver is not at  fault it                                                                    
     shouldn't affect his insurance rates.   And in terms of                                                                    
     the  pattern, [Mr.  Thompson]  is  correct about  that,                                                                    
     that's to  try to get  at the habitual person  who just                                                                    
     kind  of accepts  it as  a cost  of doing  business and                                                                    
     [says], "I'm going to run overweight anyway."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. FUHS then  drew attention to the language on  page 3, line 1,                                                               
language  that Horizon  specifically  asked for  and which  makes                                                               
reference  to  a federal  law  -  the Intermodal  Safe  Container                                                               
Transportation Act of  1992 - that addresses  situations in which                                                               
somebody  certifies  on the  bill  of  lading that  cargo  weighs                                                               
20,000 pounds, for example, when in  fact it weighs 30,000 and so                                                               
the  documentation  has  been   intentionally  falsified.    Such                                                               
instances are a violation of federal  law, and under HB 266, if a                                                               
carrier or  driver has  violated that federal  law three  or more                                                               
times, the department can also go  after the shipper - the entity                                                               
who  actually  loaded  the  container  -  because  a  pattern  of                                                               
violation has  been demonstrated.   In  conclusion, he  said that                                                               
Horizon  urges the  committee to  move the  bill on  to the  next                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:47:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NONA  WILSON, Legislative  Liaison, Office  of the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department of Transportation &  Public Facilities (DOT&PF), noted                                                               
that  with some  companies, the  fines as  they exist  today have                                                               
simply  been absorbed  as part  of  the cost  of doing  business,                                                               
particularly given what a company  can get paid for overloading a                                                               
vehicle.    She  pointed  out  that   some  would  say  it  is  a                                                               
questionable practice  to compromise  safety as  a cost  of doing                                                               
business, and offered  a personal example wherein  her mother was                                                               
hit by an overweight vehicle -  her mother's car never came home.                                                               
And  while  some companies  can  afford  to  pay the  fines,  she                                                               
remarked,  the  state  cannot  afford   to  pay  the  expense  of                                                               
continually replacing roads.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON said  that although  permits for  overweight vehicles                                                               
are  available, the  drivers  are asked  to  drive slower,  which                                                               
won't get them  to their destinations on time.   She relayed that                                                               
the DOT&PF is asking  for the bill to be left  as is, and pointed                                                               
out that the average violations  occurring in 2004 were for being                                                               
overweight between  1,000 and  8,000 pounds.   This  is something                                                               
that neither  citizens nor the  state can afford;  the department                                                               
will have to keep coming back  to the legislature for more funds,                                                               
and meanwhile  everyone will still  be driving on  damaged roads.                                                               
The issue is one of safety,  both in terms of overweight vehicles                                                               
sharing the road  with other drivers and in terms  of the quality                                                               
of Alaska's roads.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:50:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  asked how  difficult  it  is to  get  an                                                               
overweight permit.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON   offered  her   understanding  that   such  permits,                                                               
particularly those  pertaining to short distances,  can be gotten                                                               
a day after applying for one.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL said  he's heard  criticism that  getting                                                               
such permits  takes too  long and  that it  takes longer  than it                                                               
used to.   He said he's  also heard that the  weight distribution                                                               
for motor  homes is  far worse than  it is for  trucks and  yet a                                                               
fine structure for motor homes is nonexistent.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON suggested that Mr.  Thompson could better address that                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON,  on the issue  of overweight permits,  relayed that                                                               
typically a permit can be issued  the same day it is applied for,                                                               
and  that although  the department  did have  a permit  office in                                                               
Fairbanks  for a  number  of years,  technology  has allowed  the                                                               
department  to  provide  better   service  by  consolidating  its                                                               
offices.    With   regard  to  the  issue  of   motor  homes,  he                                                               
acknowledged that they are not  something that the department has                                                               
been  focusing on;  the department's  focus has  instead been  on                                                               
commercial vehicles.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL opined that  commercial trucking is one of                                                               
the reasons  for having roads as  well as one of  the reasons for                                                               
the costs  associated with  having roads.   He remarked  that the                                                               
bill proposes some pretty narrow  margins, and asked whether snow                                                               
accumulation during a  run could result in  an overweight problem                                                               
for the driver.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  THOMPSON explained  that although  drivers can  accumulate a                                                               
lot   of  weight   due   to   weather  conditions,   departmental                                                               
regulations  have  provisions  regarding  snow  and  ice  and  so                                                               
accommodations  are made  for such  situations.   There are  also                                                               
accommodations  made in  recognition of  the fact  that different                                                               
scales  may  be  set  differently.   He  mentioned  that  federal                                                               
oversight must also be kept in mind.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:55:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS  opined that there  are two problems  associated with                                                               
overweight vehicles  - weight  and speed -  and pointed  out that                                                               
motor homes  do not drive nearly  as fast as carriers,  which are                                                               
the ones hauling weights in excess of 30,000 pounds overweight.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  said  he  agrees with  that  point,  but                                                               
remarked that he  knows how easy it  is to end up  being a couple                                                               
of thousand  pound overweight.  On  the issue of speed,  he asked                                                               
whether the intention  is to either post  signage regarding speed                                                               
or limit speed during certain times.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS  said the  only time  a driver  would be  required to                                                               
drive  a certain  speed  would  be when  he/she  has obtained  an                                                               
overweight permit.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL opined that  speed restrictions would have                                                               
a huge impact on the industry.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS indicated  that the sponsor would be  willing to look                                                               
at any proposed amendments on that issue.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE, after  ascertaining that  no one  else wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 266.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:58:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON,  noting that  he  wished  to amend  it,                                                               
turned attention  to Amendment  1, which,  in its  unamended form                                                               
read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2    Delete Lines 6 - 12                                                                                              
               Renumber subsections                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  made a motion  to adopt Amendment  1, as                                                               
amended to read:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2    Delete Lines 6 - 10                                                                                              
               Renumber subsections                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM objected.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  asked  Representative Anderson  whether  he                                                               
thinks  a truck  that's  driving three  tons  overweight isn't  a                                                               
safety consideration.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON   pointed  out  that  Amendment   1,  as                                                               
amended,  is merely  eliminating the  proposed increase  in fines                                                               
for  trucks  driving  up  to  6,000  pound  overweight,  not  the                                                               
existing fines for those trucks.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  clarified that he is  asking whether driving                                                               
6,000 pounds overweight is enough  of a safety consideration that                                                               
updating  the   current  fee  structure   for  those   trucks  is                                                               
justified.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON opined that it isn't.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL asked  what  the average  payload of  "an                                                               
eighteen wheeler" is.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL said the payload is  determinate on the type of vehicle,                                                               
adding that the average gross  vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is in                                                               
the neighborhood of between 80,000 and 120,000 pounds.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  surmised that a "payload"  would be about                                                               
"half of that."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. BELL concurred.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:01:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A  roll  call  vote  was taken.    Representatives  Anderson  and                                                               
Coghill   voted   in   favor   of  Amendment   1,   as   amended.                                                               
Representatives  McGuire, Kott,  Dahlstrom,  Gruenberg, and  Gara                                                               
voted against it.  Therefore,  Amendment 1, as amended, failed by                                                               
a vote of 2-5.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:02:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   asked  what   the  reference   to  AS                                                               
12.55.035(c)(1)(D) pertains to.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
VANESSA  TONDINI, Staff  to Representative  Lesil McGuire,  House                                                               
Judiciary Standing  Committee, Alaska State  Legislature, offered                                                               
her understanding that  it pertains to the  current criminal fine                                                               
structure.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON remarked, "That defines the violation."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG turned attention to  Sections 4 and 6 of                                                               
the bill, and  offered his understanding that  Section 4 proposes                                                               
to  change  what  he  termed  a substantive  rule  and  so  would                                                               
therefore not require a two-thirds vote.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  made  a  motion  to  adopt  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 2,  which would be  conditional such that if  Rule 43.6                                                               
of the Alaska  Rules of Administration is not  a procedural rule,                                                               
that Section 6 be deleted.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  clarified that  Conceptual Amendment  2, if  it is                                                               
adopted  by  the committee,  would  take  effect if  [Legislative                                                               
Legal and  Research Services] determines that  changing Rule 43.6                                                               
does not require a two-thirds vote.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:05:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA asked what would  happen if the response from                                                               
Legislative Legal and Research Services is not definitive.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said he  wants Conceptual Amendment 2 to                                                               
only take effect if [Legislative  Legal and Research Services] is                                                               
100 percent sure that a two-thirds vote will not be required.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. GOVAARS indicated  that he would be amenable  to leaving that                                                               
determination up to Legislative Legal and Research Services.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said,  "My  motion is,  'Let's go  with                                                               
whatever they recommend'; let's call it to their attention."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  indicated that he is  reluctant to adopt                                                               
a  conditional  amendment,  adding   that  he  would  rather  the                                                               
research be  done before the bill  is heard in the  House Finance                                                               
Committee, which could then perhaps amend the bill.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  indicated that he would  be comfortable                                                               
with that.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE concurred.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG withdrew Conceptual Amendment 2.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:06:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM moved  to report  CSHB 266(TRA)  out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHB  266(TRA)  was                                                               
reported from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                           

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