Legislature(1999 - 2000)
03/11/1999 01:04 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 78 - TRANSFER OF VEHICLE TITLE CHAIR MASEK announced the first order of business was House Bill No. 78, "An Act relating to transfer of a vehicle title by the owner; and providing for an effective date." Number 0013 REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor of HB 78, came forward to present the sponsor statement. He referred the committee to revisions passed "a couple of years ago" that changed the requirement for inspection and maintenance (I/M) of vehicles from every year to every two years. During the debate over that, he reported, a compromise was made with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make sure that a vehicle inspection occurred every time the title was transferred. That has, however, produced some interesting and unintended frustrations for vehicle owners, particularly when an individual purchases a vehicle that is not operable. Number 0124 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON cited personal experience of having tried to transfer a vehicle that needed work, and the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) would not do so without an inspection. He met with "the collector car hobby folks," and he discovered they were having the same problem. He related that individuals restoring older cars will often spend years scouring the country, and sometimes the world, to find the parts and pieces they need; however, they have difficulty transferring the title because they cannot get an I/M test. There is a process in place to get around this problem, but it is very time-consuming and involves a lot of paperwork. The DMV, he added, has reported they are getting a lot of complaints about this issue, and they offered their support for legislation to alleviate this problem. Number 0208 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON offered Amendment 1, drafted by the DMV, which reads [punctuation per written amendment]: Page 1, lines 4-6: Delete all material and insert: "(d) An emissions inspection and maintenance certificate of inspection (1) shall be obtained when ownership of a [MOTOR] vehicle subject to registration under this chapter is transferred, if the (A) [(1)] transferee resides in an area designated by the Department of Environmental Conservation as an emissions inspection maintenance area; (B) [(2) MOTOR] vehicle was manufactured in 1987 or earlier; (C) [(3) MOTOR] vehicle would be subject to an emissions inspection and maintenance program; (D) [(4) MOTOR] vehicle has not been inspected for emissions or the existing emissions certificate is more than 12 months old; (2) need not be obtained under (d)(1) of this section, if, when ownership of the vehicle is transferred, (A) the transferor surrenders the vehicle's registration plates and all evidence of registration in the transferor's possession or control to the department;or (B) the vehicle has a valid, existing emissions inspection and maintenance program seasonal waiver and the purchaser signs a seasonal waiver transfer acknowledgement form approved by the department. Number 0250 RON KING, Chief, Air Quality Improvement, Division of Air and Water Quality, Department of Environmental Conservation, provided testimony in support of HB 78. He reported that his division is responsible for the Vehicle Inspection Program, and that it is a very integral part of attempts to achieve air quality standards. He stated that both Anchorage and Fairbanks have exceeded the ambient air standards for carbon monoxide, and there has been a decrease in efficiency of the I/M program's ability to identify the vehicles that pollute more since changing the inspections to biannually from annually. He pointed out that cars made in 1987 and older tend to pollute more, and that a car emits more pollutants each year as it gets older. Number 0348 MR. KING shared HB 78 with appropriate individuals from the Municipality of Anchorage and the Fairbanks North Star Borough when it initially arrived in his office. They agreed there is a class of vehicles that does not need to be inspected: those that are inoperable and will not be driven on the road, and those that have a seasonal waiver. He reported the problems DMV was experiencing with regard to these types of vehicles were being replicated at the I/M programs. Mr. King worked with others from the Municipality of Anchorage and the Fairbanks North Star Borough to arrive at the language in Amendment 1, which allows vehicle "title-only transfers" to occur at the DMV counter without having to go through the I/M program to get special waivers. The key, he added, is that those vehicles not be operated during the winter months in Anchorage or Fairbanks. He testified that proposed Amendment 1 to HB 78 will give the needed flexibility to the DMV to deal with these specific cases. Number 0445 REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY asked how this would affect individuals who wanted to register motor homes or conversion vans that have been sitting for a year or so without being used. MR. KING responded that those individuals would be able to transfer a title without I/M testing if they had a seasonal waiver; otherwise, if they wished to use the vehicle in the winter time, it would have to be inspected to be operated. He added, however, that most motor homes have seasonal waivers and do not have to take the I/M test, as they have committed to their communities and the state that they will not drive those vehicles between November 1st and March 31st in any given year. Number 0510 REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY wondered how licensing would be handled if a vehicle was not driven for a year and an individual then decided they wanted to go to the DMV and get the vehicle registered. MR. KING replied, "The vehicle, I am presuming, has a current valid registration, is not a seasonal waivered car, and is operational. They just opted to leave it sit for a period of time and then wish to sell it. That car would have to be inspected before the title transfer would occur, unless they were to surrender the plates, which, at that point in time, hopefully, the registration would expire so that the vehicle would be inspected by the purchaser prior to registering the vehicle and driving it on the street." REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY clarified his question. He asked if an individual would be required to pay for a skipped year or years on an expired registration when trying to make the registration current, or if the upcoming year's registration fee would be all that was required. MR. KING said, "They had a current registration. They parked it for a year. During that period of time, the registration expired. The vehicle could do a title transfer if they surrendered the plates without doing an I/M. The purchaser, then, would have to get it I/M'd before they can get plates and drive it on the road." REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY indicated that was not what he was asking. Number 0656 JUANITA HENSLEY, Administrator, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Administration, came forward to address Representative Cowdery's question. She said that if an individual had a vehicle with lapsed registration, they would have to have the vehicle inspected at an I/M station in Anchorage or Fairbanks, unless it was a vehicle with a seasonal waiver. If it was a motor home and had the registration for the seasonal waiver, she explained, it would have to get another seasonal waiver that was current. REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY observed that he may not be stating his question clearly. He asked, "If I have a van -- it's in storage, it's been in storage for a year or two. I haven't driven the van. It's not been on the street. When it was put in, I did have a current license on it. We're just talking about license now; we're not talking about I/M, okay? Say two years after sitting, I bring it back, or a year afterwards I bring it back. Can I just pay the current year or do I have to pay prior year's licensing for it?" MS. HENSLEY replied that only the current year's licensing would need to be paid. Number 0755 REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY wondered how registration would be handled on an old collectors car that perhaps didn't even have an engine in it. MS. HENSLEY explained that those vehicles would be exempt from having to have the emissions test done once they become operable. REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY wondered whether that would be the case regardless of whether or not the car had the original engine in it. MS. HENSLEY indicated in the affirmative by nodding her head. Number 0810 REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO declared a possible conflict of interest, as his company has over 1000 cars registered in the state of Alaska; although, he indicated that HB 78 would not affect that. CHAIR MASEK declared that his statement would be put on the record, but that he would still be asked to participate in this process. REPRESENTATIVE HALCRO asked about vehicles involved in accidents that are sold to the salvage yard, and if the title could be transferred into someone else's name despite not being able to get an emissions test. REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said yes, and the purpose of HB 78 is to make it easier to get the title transferred with one trip to DMV, thereby relieving the previous owner of the liability of still being the registered owner if it is misused. If you buy a salvaged vehicle that does not have a title, he explained, the DMV has a fairly reasonable process to go through to get one, involving posting a small bond to ensure you are not buying a stolen vehicle. Number 0905 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON indicated that he had not looked at the statutes themselves; however, he assumed the provision for the seasonal waiver is already in the statutes. He asked Representative Dyson if the waiver was something the legislature had dealt with a couple of years previously. REPRESENTATIVE DYSON noted he did not remember, but he did not believe it was an issue he has dealt with since he has been with the legislature. He emphasized, however, that HB 78 would allow a lot of auto hobbyists to modify their machines and operate them, as most emissions problems are experienced during the cold part of the season. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON indicated that he remembered the debate about seasonal waivers during his early career in the legislature. To make sure he understood HB 78, he said, "The emissions inspection is not needed if the seller surrenders the plates and registration, and the seasonal waiver essentially is filed with the DMV so that it shows that the new owner has the seasonal waiver." MR. KING assured Representative Hudson that he was correct. The DMV, he added, flags the record of the vehicle to show that it is a seasonally-waivered vehicle. REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON clarified that this would make the paper trail go directly through DMV. MR. KING said yes. Number 1020 MS. HENSLEY gave the example of current process. If a vehicle in Anchorage or Fairbanks does not have an engine in it, she explained, but is manufactured after 1968, people will come to the DMV to get the title, and the DMV will send them to an emissions testing station. The I/M station cannot give them a waiver because there is no engine in the vehicle, so the individual then has to apply for a waiver with the Municipality of Anchorage. HB 78, she added, does clean up the process. Number 1064 REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY stated that he owned a 1978 collector's vehicle with side mounts and front fenders that he drives less than 50 miles a year. He asked if it would be exempt from emissions testing. MS. HENSLEY asked if it was custom collector kit car. REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY said yes. MR. KING explained that it would not be exempt from the inspection requirements unless a seasonal waiver was obtained. Number 1119 REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY wondered if it would be possible to drive it in the Fur Rendezvous Parade. MR. KING explained that the Municipality of Anchorage has established the ability to get a waiver to drive vehicles in parades as long as certain conditions are met, and as long as there is no existing air quality problem at the time. Number 1152 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON reported that the state also has a provision for collectable or historic vehicles that would put some restrictions on the use of that vehicle. MS. HENSLEY added that DMV also has custom collector license plates. CHAIR MASEK declared that she did not believe there was anyone else present in the audience or by teleconference who wished to testify on HB 78. Number 1190 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a motion to adopt Amendment 1 to HB 78 and asked unanimous consent. Hearing no objections, it was so adopted. Number 1220 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON made a motion to move HB 78 as amended out of committee with individual recommendations and the attached fiscal note(s). Hearing no objections, CSHB 78(TRA) was so moved from the House Transportation Standing Committee.