Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

02/18/2020 03:30 PM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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           SB 177-DRIVING WITHOUT A LICENSE: PENALTY                                                                        
3:47:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK announced  the consideration of SENATE  BILL NO. 177,                                                               
"An Act relating to driving without a license."                                                                                 
3:47:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  PETER   MICCICHE,  Alaska  State   Legislature,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska,  sponsor  of SB  177,  described  the  bill as  a  simple                                                               
cleanup.  It addresses  driving without  a license,  which HB  49                                                               
missed  when it  returned  driving with  a  suspended or  revoked                                                               
license from  an infraction to  a potential class  A misdemeanor.                                                               
He said that omission left  a significant gap for law enforcement                                                               
and may encourage  some less scrupulous people to  never obtain a                                                               
license. He  said he would point  out one issue after  Mr. Willis                                                               
presents the bill.                                                                                                              
3:48:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  WILLIS, Intern,  Senator  Peter  Micciche, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, introduced  SB 177 speaking  to the                                                               
following sponsor statement:                                                                                                    
     Senate Bill  177 seeks to  resolve an  inconsistency by                                                                    
     eliminating  a loophole  in State  law that  allows two                                                                    
     drivers who  have committed nearly identical  crimes to                                                                    
     receive vastly different penalties.                                                                                        
     During  the  push in  the  first  session of  the  31st                                                                    
     Legislature to improve  Alaska's criminal justice laws,                                                                    
     HB 49 included efforts  to increase the consequences of                                                                    
     driving with  a suspended or revoked  driver's license.                                                                    
     However,  it   became  clear  that   often  individuals                                                                    
     without   current  licenses   had  a   relatively  high                                                                    
     probability of  committing other crimes that  were more                                                                    
     difficult  to   discover  due   to  the   reduction  in                                                                    
     consequences resulting from SB 91.                                                                                         
     Although HB  49 successfully returned  the consequences                                                                    
     of driving  with a  revoked or  suspended license  to a                                                                    
     potential  Class  A   misdemeanor,  driving  without  a                                                                    
     license  (when a  license has  never  been issued)  was                                                                    
     missed  in  the  bill.  What should  be  a  crime  with                                                                    
     equivalent  punishment  as  that  of  nearly  identical                                                                    
     crimes, remains a simple violation.                                                                                        
     Under  current  law  (AS  28.15.011)  the  severity  of                                                                    
     penalty  for driving  without  a  license is  dependent                                                                    
     upon whether the  individual driving formerly possessed                                                                    
     a license.  If an  individual operates a  motor vehicle                                                                    
     with a  license that  is canceled,  suspended, revoked,                                                                    
     or in  violation of a limitation  is potentially guilty                                                                    
     of   a  Class   A  misdemeanor   (AS  28.15.291(b)(1)).                                                                    
     However, an  individual who operates a  vehicle without                                                                    
     having any prior licensure is  only guilty of a traffic                                                                    
     infraction.  This discrepancy  impedes  the efforts  of                                                                    
     law  enforcement,  is  unjust, and  requires  immediate                                                                    
     We respectfully request your  support of this important                                                                    
3:50:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE  advised  that law  enforcement  has  expressed                                                               
concern  that Section  2  could  impact a  youth  who was  caught                                                               
driving without  a license  since a  conviction could  make their                                                               
early  driving years  significantly more  expensive. That  is not                                                               
the goal of the bill, he said.                                                                                                  
CHAIR REVAK asked if he wanted an amendment.                                                                                    
SENATOR   MICCICHE  suggested   the  committee   listen  to   the                                                               
Department of Law  before coming to a decision on  whether or not                                                               
to eliminate Section 2.                                                                                                         
3:52:47 PM                                                                                                                    
PETER  MLYNARIK,  Chief,  Soldotna Police  Department,  Soldotna,                                                               
Alaska,  expressed appreciation  that SB  177 closes  the gap  on                                                               
driving  without  a license  and  concern  that Section  2  would                                                               
unduly impact a young person  who drives without a license. These                                                               
individuals would  potentially have  to carry the  very expensive                                                               
SR 22 insurance, he said.                                                                                                       
3:55:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CORNELIUS SIMS, Lieutenant, Alaska  State Troopers, Department of                                                               
Public  Safety,  Anchorage,  Alaska,   thanked  the  sponsor  for                                                               
introducing SB 177  to close the gap created by  HB 49. He echoed                                                               
Chief Mlynarik's concern  that Section 2 could cause  a minor who                                                               
is  convicted  of  driving  without  a  license  to  be  severely                                                               
financially penalized  once they  are able  to obtain  a driver's                                                               
3:56:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK  opened public testimony  on SB 177. Seeing  none, he                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
3:57:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILSON asked if Ms.  Schroeder could comment on Section 2                                                               
and whether or not the department supports the bill.                                                                            
3:58:08 PM                                                                                                                    
KACI  SCHROEDER, Assistant  Attorney General,  Criminal Division,                                                               
Department of Law, Juneau, Alaska,  responded that the department                                                               
is  neutral on  SB 177  and  the policy  call of  whether or  not                                                               
Section  2  remains  in  the  bill.  She  advised  that  she  was                                                               
available to answer questions.                                                                                                  
3:58:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR REVAK asked if someone  who is underage could legally drive                                                               
without a license on private property.                                                                                          
MS. SCHROEDER  responded that she  would look that up  and follow                                                               
up with an answer.                                                                                                              
3:59:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KAWASAKI asked  what  the maximum  penalties  are for  a                                                               
moving violation and for a class A misdemeanor.                                                                                 
MS. SCHROEDER replied the penalty for  an infraction is a fine up                                                               
to $300 whereas  a class A misdemeanor provides a  prison term of                                                               
up  to one  year.  She  pointed out  that  SB  177 has  mandatory                                                               
minimums associated with this particular class A misdemeanor.                                                                   
SENATOR  KAWASAKI  asked  if  she   agrees  that  increasing  the                                                               
sanction to  a class  A misdemeanor  would subject  an individual                                                               
who was  convicted of that  offense to high-risk SR  22 insurance                                                               
when they are old enough to apply for a license.                                                                                
MS.  SCHROEDER  deferred  to Lieutenant  Sims  on  the  insurance                                                               
4:00:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  REVAK  found no  further  questions  and  held SB  177  in                                                               
committee for future consideration.                                                                                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 137 Parole-Board Sunset Audit 20-20116-19.pdf HFIN 3/19/2020 9:00:00 AM
SFIN 3/11/2020 9:00:00 AM
SSTA 2/18/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 137
SB 137 Sponsor Statement 2.6.2020.pdf SFIN 3/11/2020 9:00:00 AM
SSTA 2/18/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 177- Sectional Analysis 2.17.20.pdf SSTA 2/18/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 177
SB 177-Sponsor Statement 2.6.20.pdf SSTA 2/18/2020 3:30:00 PM
SB 177
HB 109 Statement of Change version M to K 2.6.2020.pdf SSTA 2/18/2020 3:30:00 PM
HB 109
HB 109 Statement of Change version A to M 2.6.2020.pdf SSTA 2/18/2020 3:30:00 PM
HB 109