Legislature(1999 - 2000)

03/11/1999 01:04 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                                                                              
                    (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                                                                
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                                                             
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                                                             
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                                                                 
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                                                                    
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                                                                  
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.                                                                                        

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