Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 120

03/27/2009 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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01:03:50 PM Start
01:04:08 PM Confirmation Hearing(s)|| Commission on Judicial Council
01:20:59 PM HB141
01:39:11 PM HB139
01:50:15 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearing: TELECONFERENCED
Commission on Judicial Conduct
Moved Out of Committee
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB 139 - ALLOW SCREEN DEVICES IN UTILITY VEHICLES                                                                             
1:39:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR RAMRAS announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  139, "An Act providing for an  exception to allow                                                               
drivers  of  public  utility  motor  vehicles  to  operate  those                                                               
vehicles  with certain  screen devices  operating and  visible to                                                               
the drivers."                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  - speaking  as a  co-sponsor of  HB 139                                                               
and as  one of the joint  prime sponsors of House  Bill 88, which                                                               
passed the legislature in 2008  and prohibited the use of certain                                                               
screen  devices by  drivers of  moving  vehicles -  characterized                                                               
HB 139 as  a "fix  it bill"  intended to  address a  problem with                                                               
House  Bill 88;  when House  Bill  88 passed,  its sponsors  were                                                               
unaware  that  utility companies  have  screen  devices in  their                                                               
vehicles  for purposes  of providing  their  employees with  job-                                                               
related information.  The intent of  HB 139 is to include the use                                                               
of such  devices by utility  companies in the list  of exceptions                                                               
currently provided for in AS 28.35.161(c).   He noted that HB 139                                                               
was introduced at the request  of the utility companies, and that                                                               
Chugach Electric Association has  submitted a letter regarding HB
139.   In conclusion,  he expressed his  hope that  the committee                                                               
would pass HB 139.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG, in  response  to a  question, said  it                                                               
would still  be a crime for  a utility company employee  to watch                                                               
movies, for example,  while driving.  Under HB  139, the proposed                                                               
exception  would only  apply to  those screen  devices displaying                                                               
information   for  use   in   performing  utility   construction,                                                               
maintenance,  or repair,  or  for data  acquisition  by a  public                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM characterized HB 139  as a good piece of                                                               
1:44:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CURTIS  W.  THAYER,  Director, Corporate  and  External  Affairs,                                                               
ENSTAR Natural Gas Company ("ENSTAR"),  said that ENSTAR supports                                                               
HB 139, and offered his  understanding that several other utility                                                               
companies  support the  bill  as  well.   He  indicated that  the                                                               
screen  devices  that the  bill  is  meant  to address  are  both                                                               
proprietary and provide proprietary  information.  In response to                                                               
questions, he  said that if an  employee were to alter  a company                                                               
vehicle so  as to  be able  to watch  movies, for  example, while                                                               
driving,  in addition  to  being illegal  under  current law,  it                                                               
would result  in severe disciplinary  action and could  result in                                                               
the employee's dismissal.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  reiterated that such behavior  would be                                                               
illegal under current law.                                                                                                      
CHAIR RAMRAS, after ascertaining that no one else wished to                                                                     
testify, closed public testimony on HB 139.                                                                                     
1:49:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM moved to report  HB 139 out of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no objection,  HB 139 was reported  from the                                                               
House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                                             

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