Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/17/2001 01:20 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 12-REDUCE PERCENTAGE FOR DWI                                                                                               
CHAIR  KOHRING announced  the first  order of  business would  be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  12, "An Act relating to the  offense of operating                                                               
a  motor  vehicle,  aircraft, or  watercraft  while  intoxicated;                                                               
relating to presumptions arising from  the amount of alcohol in a                                                               
person's breath or blood; and providing for an effective date."                                                                 
Number 0088                                                                                                                     
ROGER WORTMAN, Staff to Representative  Pete Kott, sponsor of the                                                               
bill, stated that  the alcohol problem in  Alaska is significant;                                                               
Alaska  ranks  number  five in  the  nation  for  alcohol-related                                                               
incidents.   He  indicated that  it's imperative  that the  state                                                               
take  action  by passing  HB  12,  which  lowers the  BAC  [Blood                                                               
Alcohol Concentration], from .10 to  .08.  This bill is supported                                                               
by  the   Alaska  Peace  Officer's  Association,   Public  Safety                                                               
Employees Association, and Mothers  Against Drunk Driving (MADD).                                                               
He remarked  that it is crucial  that the State of  Alaska follow                                                               
the lead  because the federal government  is providing incentives                                                               
to  states that  adopt  the  .08 BAC  standard  early.   If  this                                                               
legislation  fails,  the state  stands  to  lose federal  highway                                                               
funds  at a  rate of  2 percent  in 2004,  4 percent  in 2005,  6                                                               
percent in  2006, 8 percent after  2007, and so on.   He reminded                                                               
the committee  that although this  bill has a  significant fiscal                                                               
note, HB 12 could be recognized as a policy decision or issue.                                                                  
CHAIR KOHRING turned to the effectiveness  of a .08 BAC and asked                                                               
if there is any substantial evidence to support it.                                                                             
MR. WORTMAN answered that in  his research he found no conclusive                                                               
evidence  that the  .08  BAC mandate,  by  itself, is  effective.                                                               
However, coupled  with other [drunk  driving] legislation,  a .08                                                               
BAC shows a significant decrease of incidents in other states.                                                                  
CHAIR   KOHRING   suggested    that   Representative   Rokeberg's                                                               
legislation [HB4] would help make HB 12 effective.                                                                              
MR. WORTMAN  remarked that Representative  Rokeberg's bill  is an                                                               
"omni" bill  that is  a "catch  all for  all those  situations to                                                               
happen simultaneously."                                                                                                         
CHAIR  KOHRING asked  how  effective HB  12 would  be  if it  was                                                               
passed in tandem with other legislation.                                                                                        
Number 0462                                                                                                                     
HEATHER NOBREGA, Staff to Representative  Rokeberg, sponsor of HB
4, explained  that HB 4 encompasses  a wide variety of  topics on                                                               
drunk driving, including  changing the BAC from .10 to  .08.  She                                                               
noted that establishing  the .08 BAC standard is  mandated by the                                                               
federal  government whether  it is  done now  or in  a couple  of                                                               
years.  However,  it has to be done by  Federal Fiscal Year 2004.                                                               
She indicated that HB 12 is  accomplishing the same goal as HB 4,                                                               
but  by only  lowering the  BAC, HB  12 is  only addressing  "one                                                               
small increment."   Therefore, if HB  4 does not become  law this                                                               
year, and  a lower legal  limit is still  wanted, HB 12  would be                                                               
CHAIR KOHRING inquired as to the expectations for HB 4.                                                                         
MS.  NOBREGA  recalled  that  HB   4  is  in  the  House  Finance                                                               
Committee, but she wasn't sure when  it is scheduled to be heard.                                                               
She said  it would  be a  "stretch" if the  bill made  it through                                                               
this year.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR  KOHRING  asked  whether   Alaska  would  be  subjected  to                                                               
penalties  by the  federal  government,  if the  .08  BAC is  not                                                               
adopted this year.                                                                                                              
MS. NOBREGA replied no.  However,  if the .08 BAC was implemented                                                               
by  July  of  this  year, "we"  would  receive  an  approximately                                                               
$850,000 incentive.                                                                                                             
CHAIR KOHRING asked for direction from the committee on HB 12.                                                                  
Number 0581                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON made a motion  to move HB 12 from committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and the attached fiscal note.                                                                   
There  being   no  objection,   HB  12   moved  from   the  House                                                               
Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                              
CHAIR KOHRING  expressed concerns  regarding the  federal mandate                                                               
and the  redundancy of [the .08  BAC mandate in HB  4].  However,                                                               
he acknowledged that HB 4 might not pass this session.                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects