Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

04/27/2006 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 266 VEHICLE WEIGHTS AND INSURANCE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 266(FIN) Out of Committee
+= HB 403 NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 403(TRA) Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
              HB 266-VEHICLE WEIGHTS AND INSURANCE                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:37:51 PM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER BAXTER,  Staff to Representative Jim  Elkins, introduced                                                               
HB 266,  which is an act  relating to penalties for  violation of                                                               
vehicle  limitations and  modifies  existing law  related to  the                                                               
penalty structure for overweight vehicle violations.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
She  said  this  legislation  proposes   the  first  increase  in                                                               
penalties since  the existing provisions were  established in the                                                               
1970's.  It  was introduced  because  existing  penalties do  not                                                               
adequately inhibit  shipping companies and others  from violating                                                               
overweight   vehicle  limitations.   The  proposed   modification                                                               
establishes  a graduated  penalty  for the  amount  of weight  in                                                               
excess  of  the  limitations  set  by  statute,  regulation,  and                                                               
permit.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. BAXTER  continued to say  that another provision of  the bill                                                               
prohibits the  use of overweight  vehicle violations  by insurers                                                               
to  adversely  impact  decisions  related  to  providing  private                                                               
automobile insurance  coverage for  the drivers, who  are usually                                                               
not aware that the vehicle is overweight.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
She  advised that  the Department  of  Transportation (DOT),  the                                                               
Teamsters, and Horizon Shipping Lines all support HB 266.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  HUGGINS  asked   Ms.  Baxter  whether  she   has  met  any                                                               
resistance to the bill.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. BAXTER  said yes, that  the Finance Committee version  of the                                                               
bill took  out Section 3,  which was a repeat  offender violation                                                               
clause.  Under  Alaska  Statute,  the  commissioner  already  has                                                               
authority  to investigate  repeat offenses,  so that  section was                                                               
redundant.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
She said  that the House  Transportation Committee  sponsored the                                                               
bill and its main concern was  that drivers be protected from any                                                               
adverse  impact  on  their personal  automobile  insurance  as  a                                                               
result of these violations.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:41:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ALBERT KOOKESH joined the meeting.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  related an anecdotal  story about  an overweight                                                               
violation.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:44:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS  asked whether the  bill would preclude  any impact                                                               
on the drivers' personal insurance rates.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. BAXTER replied yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked Ms. Baxter who has to pay the tickets.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. BAXTER  answered that  it is a  decision between  the drivers                                                               
and the employer.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  asked if it  would be  the driver who  would get                                                               
the ticket for anything except a safety violation.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  agreed that  the ticket  would be  issued against                                                               
the   driver,   but   speculated   that   there   could   be   an                                                               
indemnification  agreement between  the  driver  and the  company                                                               
that loaded the  truck, or the company he works  for, since it is                                                               
clear that  the driver  often doesn't know  or have  control over                                                               
the truck weight.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:48:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BAXTER clarified  that Section 3 was removed  because the DOT                                                               
has  authority   to  investigate  multiple  offenders   under  AS                                                               
45.75.090.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS recognized  Duane Bannock and asked  him whether he                                                               
had any opposition to the bill.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. BANNOCK, Director, Division of Motor Vehicles, said no.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS recognized Aves Thompson.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
AVES D. THOMPSON, Director of  Commercial Vehicles, Department of                                                               
Transportation, testified  in favor  of HB 266.  He said  that an                                                               
increase  in  penalties  is  long  overdue  and  that  there  are                                                               
provisions in  the administrative code that  provide for weighing                                                               
allowances to accommodate  unintentional violations. He confirmed                                                               
that  citations  are  written  to the  driver,  but  the  company                                                               
generally pays  the fine.  He stressed  that the  Alaska Trucking                                                               
Association  and a  number of  major carriers  are in  support of                                                               
this legislation.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:51:39 PM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD  ASAY, Carlile  Transportation, testified  in support  of                                                               
the bill. He  confirmed that the driver gets the  ticket, but the                                                               
company pays it.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL  BELL, Director,  Alaska Trucking  Association, testified                                                               
in  support  of the  bill.  Drivers  are rarely  responsible  for                                                               
loading the  vehicles that  they drive,  so the  companies should                                                               
bear the responsibility.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY moved  CSHB 266(FIN)  and attached  fiscal notes                                                               
from the  committee with  individual recommendations.  Hearing no                                                               
objections, the motion carried.                                                                                                 

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