Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/03/2009 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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HB 116-IDITAROD REGISTRATION PLATES                                                                                           
8:10:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the first order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO. 116,  "An  Act relating  to  Iditarod finisher  special                                                               
request license plates."                                                                                                        
8:11:13 AM                                                                                                                    
JIM  ELLIS,  Staff,  Representative  Mark  Neuman,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  presented  HB  116   on  behalf  of  Representative                                                               
Neuman, prime  sponsor.   He said  the intent of  the bill  is to                                                               
congratulate those  who have entered  and completed  the Iditarod                                                               
Sled  Dog Race.   The  Division of  Motor Vehicles  would receive                                                               
verification  regarding  those  who qualify  from  [the  Iditarod                                                               
Trail  Committee, Inc.]  -  the official  record  keepers of  the                                                               
race.  Furthermore,  under the bill, the DMV  would be authorized                                                               
to design and  issue the plates.  The cost  of the special plates                                                               
would be  $50; that  money goes  back into  the General  Fund, he                                                               
noted.   The  vehicle the  plates would  be displayed  upon would                                                               
have  to  be  registered  in  Alaska.    Mr.  Ellis  offered  his                                                               
understanding that over 600 individuals have completed the race.                                                                
8:14:13 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ELLIS, in  response to a concern  indicated by Representative                                                               
Gruenberg  that race  finishers who  live outside  the state  may                                                               
register  their vehicle  inside  Alaska just  to  get the  plate,                                                               
offered his understanding  that in some states, a  person who has                                                               
lived there  for a certain  period of time must  register his/her                                                               
license to  that state.  He  said he believes each  state governs                                                               
that matter individually.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said  past legislation regarding special                                                               
license plates  has been added on  to like a Christmas  tree.  He                                                               
asked if it is the sponsor's intent to not allow that to happen.                                                                
8:15:11 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ELLIS confirmed that is the sponsor's intent.                                                                               
8:16:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  expressed concern  that someone  might scam                                                               
the system  in terms of  saying he/she finished the  race without                                                               
having started at the beginning.                                                                                                
MR. ELLIS responded that a finish  has to be verified through the                                                               
Iditarod Trail Committee,  but said he did not know  if there may                                                               
be a situation which could result in a law suit.                                                                                
8:17:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said  he thinks that in  order to finish                                                               
a  race,  a person  has  to  have  started  it [at  its  official                                                               
starting place].                                                                                                                
8:17:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  directed attention to language  on page 2,                                                               
lines 5-6, which  says that the fee required  "shall be collected                                                               
only  on the  first issuance  and on  the replacement  of special                                                               
request plates".  He asked if  "renewal tags" would be charged at                                                               
the  regular  rate, so  that  only  the physical  replacement  of                                                               
plates would incur the proposed fee.                                                                                            
MR. ELLIS replied that that is his understanding.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  directed attention  to page 2,  lines 2-3,                                                               
which specifies that plates for  Iditarod race finishers would be                                                               
$50, while  other special  request license plates  cost $30.   He                                                               
asked for an explanation regarding the discrepancy.                                                                             
MR. ELLIS  suggested that  the Iditarod plate  may require  a new                                                               
design -  a more complex  process - while special  request plates                                                               
often require only a change of letters and/or numbers.                                                                          
8:20:49 AM                                                                                                                    
WHITNEY BREWSTER,  Director, Division  of Motor  Vehicles, stated                                                               
that the  price of  special request plates  is determined  by the                                                               
legislature.  She offered her  understanding that the $50 fee was                                                               
selected  because  the  Iditarod  plate would  be  comparable  to                                                               
"collector plates."   She mentioned  license plates  designed for                                                               
the  Alaska  National  Guard  and the  Veterans  of  Alaska,  and                                                               
related that those  types of service-related plates  are a little                                                               
bit less expensive.                                                                                                             
8:22:07 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BREWSTER  said she imagines  that the DMV would  work closely                                                               
with the Iditarod  Trail Committee before designing  a plate that                                                               
would  be acceptable.   The  division  would next  work with  law                                                               
enforcement  to determine  that the  design would  be visible  to                                                               
officers on the  street.  Ultimately, she said,  the plate design                                                               
would  be  approved by  the  commissioner  of the  Department  of                                                               
Administration.   The  same process  is followed  for all  plates                                                               
newly created through legislation, she  remarked.  In response to                                                               
Representative Seaton, she confirmed  that there is no difference                                                               
in what is  required to make "other special request  plates" - as                                                               
listed in  [subparagraph (F)],  on page  2 of  the bill  - versus                                                               
what would be required to make the proposed Iditarod plate.                                                                     
8:25:44 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BREWSTER,  in response  to  a  question from  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg, said to  find a design for the most  recent version of                                                               
the Alaska  Children's Trust plate,  a contest was held  in which                                                               
children submitted  designs.  She offered  her understanding that                                                               
the Alaska Statehood Commission  considered drawings from several                                                               
artists,  choosing  a submission  by  Dean  Potter for  the  50th                                                               
anniversary license plate.  In  response to a follow-up question,                                                               
she  indicated that  the competition  process  takes about  three                                                               
months.   She added that  she would  like to see  sufficient time                                                               
given to advertising the competition  and taking in and reviewing                                                               
entries.   She confirmed that  an estimate of the  optimum timing                                                               
would be 6-9 months.                                                                                                            
8:28:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BREWSTER,  in response to Representative  Gruenberg, said the                                                               
DMV would not  be submitting a fiscal note for  the bill, because                                                               
it only costs the division  approximately $250 to establish a new                                                               
plate with a vendor.  She  explained that out of the proposed $50                                                               
fee, about  $10 would go back  to the DMV to  cover production of                                                               
the plate, and the remaining $40 would go into the General Fund.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  directed attention to language  on page                                                               
1, lines 8-10, which read as follows:                                                                                           
     The   department  may   disapprove   the  issuance   of                                                                    
     registration  plates  under  this subsection  when  the                                                                    
     requested  plates  are  a duplication  of  an  existing                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked  Ms. Brewster  to  clarify  that                                                               
MS. BREWSTER  offered her understanding  that the  language means                                                               
that if there  is an existing plate on the  vehicle, the Iditarod                                                               
plate would not be treated as  a duplicate plate, but rather as a                                                               
new plate  at the $50  fee.  She said  the DMV requests  that old                                                               
plates are  turned in.   She  confirmed that the  plate is  to be                                                               
used on  cars registered  in Alaska,  and she  said Mr.  Ellis is                                                               
correct  in  having   said  that  each  state   decides  its  own                                                               
registration  process.   She  stated her  assumption  that if  an                                                               
individual  came  to  Alaska,  registered  his/her  vehicle,  and                                                               
brought it  back down  to Montana,  for example,  law enforcement                                                               
there would identify that individual  as not having registered in                                                               
the amount of time required by that state.                                                                                      
8:32:12 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. ELLIS, in response to  Representative Gruenberg, said he does                                                               
not know  how many of the  600 individuals who have  finished the                                                               
Iditarod Dog Sled Race are Alaska residents.                                                                                    
8:32:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  he still  questions  the  reasoning                                                               
behind  charging more  for  the Iditarod  plates  than for  other                                                               
special request plates.                                                                                                         
MS. BREWSTER said she has  no strong opinion regarding the issue,                                                               
and the  DMV would  have no  problem complying  if the  amount of                                                               
either the proposed  Iditarod plate or the  other special request                                                               
plates was changed.                                                                                                             
CHAIR LYNN talked about the need  to expedite the bill so that it                                                               
would  be passed  before the  end of  the upcoming  2009 Iditarod                                                               
Trail Sled Dog Race.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  he is  not trying  to slow  down the                                                               
bill; he just sees this issue to be a disparity.                                                                                
8:34:48 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BREWSTER,  in response  to  a  question from  Representative                                                               
Gatto, clarified  that a  replacement fee  for a  special request                                                               
plate that was damaged, for example, would be $5.                                                                               
8:35:24 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BREWSTER, in  response to  Representative  Seaton, said  her                                                               
understanding of the  language on page 2, lines 2-3,  is that the                                                               
DMV  would charge  $50  on  the first  issuance  of the  Iditarod                                                               
plate,  but  would  not  "continue to  charge  that  amount  when                                                               
someone  comes in  to update  their registration."   However,  if                                                               
that  same person  were to  come in  and choose  "another special                                                               
request plate, that would be  an additional cost."  She clarified                                                               
that  Representative Gatto  had asked  about a  replacement of  a                                                               
plate that had been destroyed.                                                                                                  
8:37:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG proffered that  from a lawyer's point of                                                               
view the language  on page 1, lines 8-10, and  page 2, lines 5-6,                                                               
is confusing.                                                                                                                   
MS. BREWSTER  concurred that the language  is not as clear  as it                                                               
could be.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG emphasized that  the language on page 1,                                                               
lines  8-10,  in  particular,  is  unique to  the  bill,  and  he                                                               
encouraged the bill  sponsor to review it  with Legislative Legal                                                               
and Research  Services.  He  said he does  not want to  delay the                                                               
8:39:29 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BREWSTER,  in  response to  Representative  Seaton,  said  a                                                               
person who  qualifies as  a race finisher  could buy  an Iditarod                                                               
plate for each of his/her vehicles,  but would be charged $50 for                                                               
each plate.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said he  presumes  some  of the  proposed                                                               
Iditarod  plates may  end  up unused  on  vehicles but,  instead,                                                               
signed and auctioned at charity events.                                                                                         
8:41:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MARK NEUMAN, Alaska  State Legislature, noted that                                                               
the 2009 Iditarod was due to start  soon, and he said he wants to                                                               
bring  more attention  to  the event.   He  said  every sport  is                                                               
feeling a  lack of sponsorship, and  he would like to  do what he                                                               
can to elevate the  sport in stature.  He said  he posed the idea                                                               
to the governor  to have her be  at the race finish  this year to                                                               
sign  the  bill in  Nome.    He  expressed appreciation  for  the                                                               
committee's efforts to expedite the bill.                                                                                       
8:43:03 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BREWSTER, in response to  Representative Gatto, said it is up                                                               
to the legislature  to decide how many special  request plates it                                                               
wants  to create.   She  cautioned that  an increasing  number of                                                               
plate  designs  may affect  the  ability  of law  enforcement  to                                                               
identify the plates.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN confirmed  the importance  of the  clarity                                                               
and colors  chosen in the  design for  the benefit of  the Alaska                                                               
State Troopers.                                                                                                                 
8:44:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BREWSTER,  in response  to Representative  Seaton, reiterated                                                               
that the  legislature has the  final say  on how many  plates are                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  responded that he would  like Ms. Brewster                                                               
to  get back  to the  committee regarding  other special  request                                                               
plates and  "how those are  set up in law  if they're not  set up                                                               
here other than as a broad category."                                                                                           
8:45:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN, after  ascertaining that  there was  no one  else to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony.                                                                                               
8:46:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  moved to  report HB  116 out  of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.  There being no objection,  HB 116 was reported out of the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 HB116 Text.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 116
01 HSTA - CS for SJR 05 SJR005 version E.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
02 HB116 Memo.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 116
03 HB116 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 116
04 HB116 Sectional.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 116
05 HB116 Participants.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 116
02 HSTA - SJR005-1-1-020409-FIN-N.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
03 HSTA - CSSJR 5 ATG SPONSOR STMT.doc HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
04 HSTA - SJR5 Sen. Murkowski's floor speech re ATG.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
05 HSTA - Congressional 090122 ATG Delegation Letter Final.docx HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
06 HSTA - Dir.Vet.Affairs e-mail re ATG.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
08 HSTA - ATG -Wikipedia article.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
10 HSTA - ATG Emergency Pay ltr from delegates 1-28-09.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
11 HSTA - ATG REMEDIAL BILL S.342 Murkowski-Begich-Inouye.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
15 HSTA - Andrew Brown Sr e-mail re ATG.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
15a HSTA - Andrew Brown Sr e-mail re ATG member Paul Kiuyna Sr.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
16 HSTA - E-mail from R&J Hills re ATG.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
17 HSTA - AK Municipal League resolution re SJR5 2-09.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
Andrew Brown Sr e-mail re ATG.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
Army pay to ATG-3 articles.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
Gov Palin's ltr to President re ATG.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
HR744 ATG bill.pdf HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM
Letter of request for HSTA hearing on SJR 5 2-24-09.doc HSTA 3/3/2009 8:00:00 AM