Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

03/13/2018 01:15 PM TRANSPORTATION

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Audio Topic
01:19:41 PM Start
01:20:17 PM HB314
01:53:16 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invited/Public> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         HB 314-DEFINITION OF COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES                                                                     
1:20:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL announced that the  only order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  314,  "An  Act  relating  to  commercial  motor                                                               
1:20:55 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN BINDER, Deputy Commissioner,  Department of Transportation &                                                               
Public Facilities (DOT&PF), stated that  HB 314 proposes to bring                                                               
Alaska's  definition  of  a commercial  motor  vehicle  into  the                                                               
twenty-first century by making changes  that will benefit farmers                                                               
who  transport agricultural  commodities or  supplies in  Alaska.                                                               
He  said  existing  restrictions  on farm  vehicles  limit  their                                                               
movement  to  within  150  miles  of the  farmers'  farms.    The                                                               
proposed legislation  would allow farmers to  operate anywhere in                                                               
Alaska.   He  said  the Moving  Ahead for  Progress  in the  21st                                                               
Century  Act (MAP-21)  made the  federal  regulations of  farmers                                                               
less  restrictive  than  currently existing  language  in  Alaska                                                               
Statutes.   Deputy Commissioner Binder  related that HB  314 also                                                               
proposes that  the transportation  of hazardous  materials should                                                               
be  amended  to  only  apply to  quantities  of  substances  that                                                               
require  a  placard,  regardless  of the  size  of  the  vehicle.                                                               
Finally, he  said that  under HB 314,  the definition  of "school                                                               
bus" would be updated to provide  clarity as to when school buses                                                               
are exempt from commercial motor vehicle requirements.                                                                          
1:22:08 PM                                                                                                                    
DAN  SMITH,   Director,  Division  of  Measurement   Standards  &                                                               
Commercial  Vehicle Enforcement,  Department of  Transportation &                                                               
Public Facilities  (DOT&PF), offered  a sectional analysis  of HB
314.  He  said Section 1 would add "or  area" to "vehicular way",                                                           
because the two go together;  the definition of "vehicular way or                                                               
area" is  found under [regulation].   He explained  that "covered                                                           
farm vehicles"  [found on page  2, line 4,  of HB 314],  does not                                                               
mean  vehicles that  have  covers but  rather  vehicles that  are                                                               
covered under  exemption.  He  said the term was  generated under                                                               
1:23:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  clarified that "covered" meant  covered by                                                           
1:24:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SMITH continued.  He  stated that presently, under 19-10-399,                                                               
farm vehicles operating  more than 150 air miles  from the center                                                               
of a  farm would be regulated  as a motor carrier.   The proposed                                                               
legislation  would change  that  to allow  the  farm vehicles  to                                                               
operate anywhere in the state of  Alaska as a farm vehicle, which                                                               
would relieve  them from a  lot of regulations required  of motor                                                               
carriers.   In  response to  a  question from  Co-Chair Wool,  he                                                               
paraphrased the  definition of "commercial motor  carrier", which                                                               
is found under Alaska Statute Title 28 and read as follows:                                                                     
     (2)  commercial  motor  carrier"  means a  person  that                                                                    
     provides  transportation  for   compensation,  or  that                                                                    
     provides a vehicle to a  person or entity that provides                                                                    
     transportation   for    compensation,   including   the                                                                    
     person's  agents, officers,  representatives, employees                                                                    
     responsible   for    hiring,   supervising,   training,                                                                    
     assigning,  or dispatching  of  drivers, and  employees                                                                    
     overseeing  the safety,  installation, inspection,  and                                                                    
     maintenance    of   motor    vehicle   equipment    and                                                                    
MR.  SMITH  directed  attention to  Section  2,  which  clarifies                                                               
language related to hazardous materials.                                                                                        
1:25:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN  brought  attention back  to  Mr.  Smith's                                                               
statement about  150 miles, and he  asked if the statute  makes a                                                               
distinction  between  "motor  carrier"  and  "carrier"  based  on                                                               
whether it carries personal or other people's property.                                                                         
MR. SMITH answered yes, there  is a distinction between a private                                                               
motor carrier and  a motor carrier that would be  in the business                                                               
of  transporting   other  people's  goods;  each   would  have  a                                                               
different type of operating authority.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  said often a  farmer shipping cattle  to a                                                               
slaughterhouse will pick up cattle  from other farmers.  He asked                                                               
if the farmer  would have to have a different  license to be able                                                               
to do that.  He remarked that that would be impractical.                                                                        
MR. SMITH answered  no.  He said there  are additional exceptions                                                               
outside  of what  are being  outlined  under HB  314 that  "would                                                               
allow relief from regulations for those drivers."                                                                               
CO-CHAIR WOOL asked Mr. Smith to  confirm that he was saying that                                                               
"they're exempted  from commercial requirements, even  if they're                                                               
carrying for someone else - it's not their own farmed goods."                                                                   
MR. SMITH  answered that  is correct.   He emphasized  that there                                                               
are  numerous exemptions,  including for  transferring materials,                                                               
livestock, and fertilizer.   He noted that  fertilizer carried in                                                               
quantity  by  a  motor  carrier would  be  treated  as  hazardous                                                               
material.   He  said,  "The farm  vehicle gets  to  carry a  much                                                               
larger capacity or  normal value of that  hazardous material, and                                                               
we don't  regulate it  as a hazardous  material, because  they do                                                               
get the exceptions,  and it's the same exceptions  that exist for                                                               
the  livestock."    In  response to  a  follow-up  question  from                                                               
Representative  Neuman,  he  confirmed  that a  Class  3  placard                                                               
covers  a  lot of  the  flammable  liquids  that a  farmer  would                                                               
probably  used in  ordinary operations  of his/her  farm, and  he                                                               
said  there is  a  quick delineation  between  farm vehicles  and                                                               
motor  carriers  to  make  things   easier  for  the  enforcement                                                               
community, emergency  response community, and  farming community.                                                               
In  response  to  Co-Chair  Wool, he  reaffirmed  that  a  unique                                                               
identifier on the farmer's registration  or [the Class 3 placard]                                                               
makes for easy identification.                                                                                                  
1:30:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SMITH  returned to  the  sectional  analysis.   He  said  in                                                               
Section  2, on  page  2, line  [15], the  word  "motor" is  added                                                           
before "vehicle"  to clarify that  the vehicle is not  powered by                                                               
animals.     He  then  pointed   further  in  Section   2,  where                                                               
specification is made  as to how much a  commercial motor vehicle                                                               
weighs  in relation  to carrying  hazardous materials  to clarify                                                               
when  the quantify  of hazardous  material is  not sufficient  to                                                               
require a placard.  The final  part of Section 2 addresses school                                                               
buses, he said.  Presently  AS 19.10.399 states that school buses                                                               
are not commercial  vehicles, which he said is too  broad to line                                                               
up with  the federal definition.   He said exceptions  for school                                                               
buses are  "from home  to school  and school  to home,"  which he                                                               
said  is called  "school bus  operations".   However, if  a motor                                                           
carrier uses  a school  bus, for example,  outside of  the school                                                               
year  to take  tourists out  to see  the glacier,  then they  are                                                               
motor carrier passengers and are  regulated as such.  In response                                                               
to a question,  he noted that "school bus  operations" is defined                                                               
on page 4, lines 4-5.                                                                                                           
1:32:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL  asked about school  bus use for school  kids going                                                               
on field trips.   He said, "I assume that's  still ... school bus                                                               
MR. SMITH  said there is  a fine line  there.  He  explained that                                                               
school bus operation  includes students taking a  bus from school                                                               
and back for  the purpose of learning.  He  said bussing a sports                                                               
team is  "a little different."   He mentioned the  150-mile limit                                                               
and said when  a school team is bussed from  Anchorage to Valdez,                                                               
"that is then regulated as  a board carrier of passengers," which                                                               
is in line  with federal definition.  He  said federal government                                                               
has  jurisdiction over  passengers in  the state  of Alaska,  and                                                               
federal  rule is  that certain  requirements need  to be  met for                                                               
vehicles carrying  more than 15  passengers, for instance,  a log                                                               
book and certain qualifications for the driver.                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR WOOL asked, "And what if  it's less than 150 miles, say,                                                               
Anchorage  to Chugiak?"   He  specified  he was  talking about  a                                                               
sporting event  on a school  bus between two adjacent  towns that                                                               
are less than 150 miles apart.                                                                                                  
MR.  SMITH  responded that  that  would  be  a motor  carrier  of                                                               
passengers.   In response to Representative  Neuman, he confirmed                                                               
that the  driver of  that bus  would have  to have  [a commercial                                                               
driver's license (CDL)].                                                                                                        
1:35:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  observed  that school  busses  are  motor                                                               
vehicle carriers  as opposed  to commercial  motor vehicles.   He                                                               
added,  "So,  it's  not  as if  they're  outside  of  regulation;                                                               
they're just being regulated as commercial motor vehicles."                                                                     
MR. SMITH confirmed Representative Claman was correct.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN noted  that there  are huge  farm vehicles                                                               
that get  transported.  He  asked if that is  treated differently                                                               
from an oversized load that is not owned by farmers.                                                                            
MR. SMITH  answered that the intent  of HB 314 is  to affect only                                                               
legal sized vehicles.   Size and weight  requirements would still                                                               
be in  effect.  He said  there is an exception  for implements of                                                               
husbandry.   He explained that  would not  be the transport  of a                                                               
large  combine, but  rather a  pull-behind  implement, which  has                                                               
been allowed exceptions for "their  permitting of those oversized                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN  noted that language  on page 3,  lines 28-                                                               
29,   states,  "used   to  transport   agricultural  commodities,                                                               
livestock, machinery",  and a combine is  agricultural machinery,                                                               
and  he offered  his understanding  that Mr.  Smith was  saying a                                                               
combine  wider but  not heavier  than the  limits would  still be                                                               
covered under  existing commercial  regulations and would  not be                                                               
exempted from those under HB 314.                                                                                               
MR.  SMITH  clarified he  was  saying  that the  requirements  of                                                               
Chapter  25   speak  to  "the   requirements  for   oversize  and                                                               
overweight movements"  and would  still be  in effect  "for these                                                               
farm vehicles and the farm machinery."                                                                                          
1:38:16 PM                                                                                                                    
AVES  THOMPSON, Executive  Director, Alaska  Trucking Association                                                               
(ATA), noted  that ATA is  a statewide  organization representing                                                               
the interests of  its nearly 200-member companies  from Barrow to                                                               
Ketchikan.  He said freight movement  is an essential part of the                                                               
economy.   He said  he is testifying  in support of  HB 314.   He                                                               
opined that  any effort to  clarify statutes makes it  easier for                                                               
the industry  to understand and  comply with those statutes.   He                                                               
stated that  HB 315 would reduce  the burden on farmers  and farm                                                               
vehicles  by   removing  the  150-mile  restriction   on  farmers                                                               
transporting  their "covered  farm  vehicles",  allowing them  to                                                               
operate  statewide.    Further, the  proposed  legislation  makes                                                               
clear  that  if  those  farmers choose  to  "enter  the  for-hire                                                               
world," then  they would have  to comply with  commercial vehicle                                                               
rules  and regulations.   He  stated  that HB  314 would  provide                                                               
certainty   for  motor   carriers   of   passengers  by   clearly                                                               
identifying  school   bus  operations;   school  buses   are  not                                                               
considered  commercial  vehicles  while  conducting  "school  bus                                                               
operations".  He  noted school bus operators will  have to comply                                                               
with commercial vehicle  rules and regulations if  they engage in                                                               
for-hire  transport in  other than  school bus  operations.   Mr.                                                               
Thompson  stated  that HB  314  also  provides clarification  for                                                               
carriers  transporting   hazardous  materials  in   amounts  that                                                               
require a  placard.  He  said ATA urges the  House Transportation                                                               
Standing Committee to consider the  changes proposed under HB 314                                                               
favorably, as they will provide valuable clarifications.                                                                        
1:40:57 PM                                                                                                                    
ARTHUR KEYES,  Director, Division  of Agriculture,  Department of                                                               
Natural  Resources (DNR),  testified in  support of  HB 314  as a                                                               
bill  that makes  sense for  Alaska's farmers.   For  example, he                                                               
said McKinley Meat  & Sausage, in Palmer, Alaska,  is the primary                                                               
United   States  Department   of  Agriculture   (USDA)  slaughter                                                               
facility in  the state.   Many farmers traveling to  the facility                                                               
are traveling beyond  the current 150-mile limit.   He reiterated                                                               
that HB 314 makes sense for  Alaska farmers, and he said it would                                                               
provide clarity and  certainty in regard to operating  a farm and                                                               
transporting farm goods.                                                                                                        
1:42:00 PM                                                                                                                    
BRYCE WRIGLEY,  Alaska Farm  Bureau, testified  in support  of HB
314.  He  opined that the 150-mile limit was  a federally imposed                                                               
restriction that  never made  sense for  most Western  states and                                                               
especially not  Alaska.   He added,  "If there  was ever  a state                                                               
that needed  to make  this change,  it is  Alaska."   Mr. Wrigley                                                               
said HB 314  would make it easier for farmers  to get their crops                                                               
to market  and supplies to  farms, and it would  reduce confusion                                                               
for  motor vehicle  enforcement officers  in terms  of whether  a                                                               
farm  vehicle  "is  operating  within its  legal  sphere."    Mr.                                                               
Wrigley said  there are not  many communities in Alaska  that are                                                               
within 150 miles of each  other; therefore, "this is an important                                                               
opportunity for us to ... connect those markets with the farms."                                                                
1:43:21 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  DART, Owner,  Dart-AM Farms,  LLC, stated  that Manley  Hot                                                               
Springs  is 165  miles by  road from  Fairbanks, Alaska,  and 500                                                               
miles one way  to Anchorage, Alaska, where he sells  produce.  He                                                               
stated that HB  314 "makes 100 percent sense for  our farms."  He                                                               
said   one    of   the   big    challenges   he   faces    as   a                                                               
grower/packer/shipper is  that his company has  to do everything.                                                               
He  said  he  thinks  legislators need  to  understand  that  his                                                               
company helps  other farmers; those  in the business want  to see                                                               
the  industry grow.   He  expressed his  hope that  the committee                                                               
would  consider  and pass  HB  314,  and  he indicated  he  would                                                               
[testify when  HB 314 reached]  "the Senate  side."  He  said all                                                               
the testimony he  heard from representatives of  the state agency                                                               
and  from  the  trucking  industry  made  sense.    He  expressed                                                               
appreciation for the hard work of the committee.                                                                                
1:45:45 PM                                                                                                                    
WILLIAM  LONGBRAKE relayed  that Country  Garden Farms  ships sod                                                               
statewide and also mills hay.   He said he helps farmers in Delta                                                               
sell their hay in the larger  market in Palmer and Anchorage.  He                                                               
said he  supports all the comments  that had been made  thus far.                                                               
He stated there  is a growing livestock and grain  market, and he                                                               
opined that [HB 314] would really help to grow that industry.                                                                   
1:46:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL  retroactively opened  public testimony on  HB 314,                                                               
acknowledging that the committee had been hearing it.                                                                           
1:47:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN, directing his  remarks to Mr. Smith, noted                                                               
that  many times  a farmer  will  use a  flatbed to  move hay  or                                                               
fertilizer.   He  offered his  understanding that  those vehicles                                                               
are labeled  as commercial  vehicles.  He  questioned how  such a                                                               
vehicle could have  "a farm truck license plate on  it or a plate                                                               
that says farm."                                                                                                                
MR.  SMITH  replied, "This  change  would  affect vehicles  below                                                               
26,001  pounds; so,  those are  vehicles  that do  not require  a                                                               
commercial driver's  license."   He said it  would also  apply to                                                               
those  vehicles  above  that weight,  which  includes  a  typical                                                               
tractor/trailer  combination.   He  said, "Those  will also  fall                                                               
under the definition of covered  farm vehicle, and they would get                                                               
those exceptions."  He continued:                                                                                               
     As  to a  farm  plate:   Yes,  that  would  still be  a                                                                    
     requirement ...  for them to  have a farm plate.   They                                                                    
     would not  have to  have the  markings of  a commercial                                                                    
     vehicle;  that  farm plate  would  identify  them as  a                                                                    
     farmer's  vehicle,   and  they   would  then   get  the                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN asked  if, under  HB 314,  a vehicle  over                                                               
10,000 pounds would not have  to register as a commercial vehicle                                                               
but would register as a farm vehicle.   He added, "Even if it had                                                               
a  gross  vehicle  weight  of 25,000  and  carrying  capacity  of                                                               
MR.  SMITH said  he would  not speak  for the  Division of  Motor                                                               
Vehicles  in  answering  the  question  in  terms  of  title  and                                                               
registration; however, in terms  of enforcement, he answered that                                                               
"it would not be a commercial vehicle in our eyes."                                                                             
1:49:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL read language from  [paragraph (1) of Section 2, on                                                               
page 2, lines 14-15], which read:                                                                                               
             (1) "commercial motor vehicle" means a                                                                             
     self-propelled or towed motor vehicle                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR WOOL  then directed attention to  ensuing language [from                                                               
subparagraph (C), on page 2, lines 19-22], which read:                                                                          
                         (C) that                                                                                               
                              (i)   has   a  gross   vehicle                                                                    
     weight rating  or gross  combination weight  rating, or                                                                
     gross  vehicle weight  or gross  combination weight  of                                                                
     10,001 pounds or more                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR WOOL asked, "Would that  qualify as a commercial vehicle                                                               
MR.  SMITH clarified,  "We're still  saying  you're a  commercial                                                               
vehicle, but  you make  the exceptions  that get  you out  of the                                                               
requirement for those vehicles."                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR  WOOL offered  a scenario  in which  someone who  owns a                                                               
farm brings hay  from Homer to Anchorage, and then  on the return                                                               
trip,  he/she  brings  something   back  that  is  "strictly  for                                                               
commercial load,"  "non-farm related."   He asked, "Could  you be                                                               
dual purpose?"                                                                                                                  
MR. SMITH answered,  "We see that every single day."   He offered                                                               
examples.   He  said  that  is what  the  division  is trying  to                                                               
determine.    If, for  example,  someone  was carrying  hazardous                                                               
materials,  the division  "would  be looking  to  make sure  that                                                               
you're meeting  all those emergency  response requirements."   He                                                               
added,  "Yes,  it  doesn't  pigeon-hole  you  into  one  type  of                                                               
operation."   In response to  a follow-up question,  he explained                                                               
that  the   requirements  for   commercial  vehicles   are  quite                                                               
extensive; therefore,  it is easy  to identify a vehicle  that is                                                               
being  operated as  a commercial  vehicle.   He listed  markings,                                                               
tires, and  breaks, as examples.   Farm  vehicle [identification]                                                               
is a  little harder, he said,  which is why "that  farm plate" is                                                               
key for making the determination.                                                                                               
CO-CHAIR WOOL surmised that if a  vehicle was being used for dual                                                               
purposes, then  the division would  recognize it as  a commercial                                                               
vehicle, even if  for half the trip  it was being used  as a farm                                                               
MR.  SMITH  answered yes.    He  said,  "That's more  likely  the                                                               
1:52:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WOOL announced that HB 314 was held over.                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB314 Hearing Request 1.29.18.pdf HTRA 3/13/2018 1:15:00 PM
HB 314
HB314 Sponsor Statement 1.29.18.pdf HTRA 3/13/2018 1:15:00 PM
HB 314
HB314 ver A 1.29.18.pdf HTRA 3/13/2018 1:15:00 PM
HB 314
HB314 Fiscal Note DOT-MSCVE 1.29.18.pdf HTRA 3/13/2018 1:15:00 PM
HB 314