Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

03/03/2009 01:00 PM Senate TRANSPORTATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HB 100 Out of Committee
Moved SB 73 Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 59(TRA) Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 51(TRA) Out of Committee
              SB  51-MOTOR VEHICLE WINDOW TINTING                                                                           
1:28:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KOOKESH announced  the consideration of SB 51  and asked for                                                              
a motion to adopt the committee substitute (CS).                                                                                
1:29:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DAVIS moved  to adopt  committee substitute  (CS) for  SB
51, labeled 26-LS0323\R,  as the working document.  There being no                                                              
objection, version R was before the committee.                                                                                  
SENATOR  FRENCH,  Sponsor  of SB  51,  said  the CS  contains  the                                                              
changes that  Senator Davis  requested. The  first change  on page                                                              
2, lines  4-5 clarifies that a  person can install  window tinting                                                              
that varies  from regulations  outlined in the  first part  of the                                                              
bill  in certain  instances. Currently  there  are exceptions  for                                                              
medical  reasons  in  the  window  tinting  regulations  and  this                                                              
brings those  into the  statute. The second  change found  on page                                                              
2, lines  13-14, requires that  the medical reasons  are certified                                                              
by  a physician  and  provided to  the installer  at  the time  of                                                              
installation. Grammatical  changes were made  on page 2,  lines 6-                                                              
18, but none of those changed the substance of the legislation.                                                                 
1:31:20 PM                                                                                                                    
STEVE  VINCENT,  General  Manager, Auto  Trim  Design,  Fairbanks,                                                              
noted that the  medical exemption must be renewed  every year, but                                                              
there is  no designation on  a license plate  that a person  has a                                                              
medical  exemption so  the driver  can still  get pulled over  for                                                              
supposedly  having illegal  tinting.  He asked  if  there will  be                                                              
changes to the regulation.                                                                                                      
1:32:05 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDY  MODEROW,  Staff  to  Senator  French,  confirmed  that  this                                                              
legislation does  not change the current regulations  that require                                                              
the medical  exemption to  be recertified  every year.  He further                                                              
confirmed that there  is no designation on the  license plate, but                                                              
the  current  regulation  and  this   legislation  note  that  the                                                              
certification should be carried within the vehicle.                                                                             
MR. VINCENT  referenced Trooper  Dial's testimony  from last  week                                                              
and  clarified  that  Alaska  tint laws  mirror  the  federal  DOT                                                              
allowable  manufacturing  compliance  levels for  automobiles.  He                                                              
brings  that  up  because  there  aren't  federal  laws  regarding                                                              
window  film.  It's  just  window  tint,  he  said.  Refuting  the                                                              
statement that  90 percent of  Canadian provinces have  similar or                                                              
more restrictive tint  laws, he said all but two  provinces do not                                                              
allow tint  on the driver  or passenger  windows, but the  rest of                                                              
the windows could  be painted black. Furthermore he  said he found                                                              
that only five  U.S. states have similar or more  restrictive tint                                                              
laws than the state  of Alaska and 62 percent of  the states allow                                                              
medium tint  on the front two  windows. Finally, he  doesn't agree                                                              
with the  statement that the general  rule is that the  hotter the                                                              
climate the  greater the window  tint that's allowed.  He believes                                                              
that  the general  rule is  that more  window tint  is allowed  in                                                              
places  that have  more sun.  Alaska has  more sun  in the  summer                                                              
than any  other state.  He noted that  he distributed  the packets                                                              
with tint samples  to the committee members so  they could compare                                                              
the tint  against their  own vehicles.  He agrees with  Lieutenant                                                              
Dial  that  you  can't  tell  how  dark  window  tint  is  from  a                                                              
MR. VINCENT  said there  is anecdotal  information about  problems                                                              
with  police officers  approaching  cars with  dark  tint, but  he                                                              
can't find  anecdotal information  about  medium tint on  vehicles                                                              
causing  problems for  law enforcement.  He said  he continues  to                                                              
oppose  SB  51 as  currently  written,  but  he would  support  an                                                              
amended version to  allow 35 percent window film on  the front two                                                              
windows of passenger vehicles.                                                                                                  
1:37:07 PM                                                                                                                    
BOB  BOSWOOD, President  and CEO,  Auto  Trend Design,  Fairbanks,                                                              
said  he  has  32  employees.  He   hopes  everyone  reviewed  the                                                              
information  in  the  packets  he  distributed  that  proves  that                                                              
medium   window  tint   film   installed   on  vehicles   provides                                                              
visibility  into and  out of  a vehicle  at night  and during  the                                                              
day. All the testimony  by the troopers and the  sponsor refers to                                                              
dark window film.  He agrees with the essence  of the legislation,                                                              
but as  currently written it won't  accomplish what it  intends to                                                              
do. "It will only  serve to put legitimate tint  installers out of                                                              
business and  thus increasing the  sales of cash-in-fist  non-tax-                                                              
paying  less-than-honest  tint installers."  The  reality is  that                                                              
people will  continue to have  their windows tinted  regardless of                                                              
the regulations. If  SB 51 were amended to mirror  Washington laws                                                              
it would  give people  the option of  having their windows  tinted                                                              
by  legitimate  businesses that  do  not  install dark  films.  It                                                              
would also  encourage others to  quit installing dark  films. That                                                              
would accomplish  the goals  of the troopers  and the  sponsor. As                                                              
currently   written  the   legislation   will   be  difficult   to                                                              
impossible  to enforce.  Passing SB  51 will  affect his  business                                                              
bottom line in a catastrophic way.                                                                                              
1:40:48 PM                                                                                                                    
RODNEY  DIAL,  Lieutenant,  Department of  Public  Service  (DPS),                                                              
responded to  the previous  testimony. He  clarified that  when he                                                              
spoke  about  the  federal  DOT  law, he  was  talking  about  the                                                              
regulation  that  specifies  that  light  must  be  able  to  pass                                                              
through  the windshield  and to  the immediate  right and  left of                                                              
the driver.  That's the  same as is  required under  current state                                                              
law.  He said  that  when  he provided  the  statistics  involving                                                              
other  states, he  gave the  disclaimer  that those  change on  an                                                              
annual basis.  Next, he reminded  the committee that a  35 percent                                                              
film blocks  65 percent of the light.  When applied on  top of the                                                              
factory  tint, it blocks  a significant  amount  of light  and DPS                                                              
refers to  it as dark tinting.  Finally, his experience  with this                                                              
infraction is that  most drivers blame the installer.  In 19 years                                                              
he has  never encountered anyone  who has had a  medical exemption                                                              
for window  tint and he can't  recall anyone saying that  they had                                                              
the tint installed knowing that it was illegal.                                                                                 
1:42:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN  said he  understands what  he's saying  about the                                                              
cumulative  effect  and Mr.  Boswood  is  saying that  he  agrees.                                                              
However, he isn't  saying that the 35 percent tint  applied on top                                                              
of  a factory  tint  would  be a  dark  tint.  He noted  that  the                                                              
sponsor  statement  also talks  about  dark tint  that  completely                                                              
blocks an  outside view.  He said  he's struggling  as to  why the                                                              
medium tint wouldn't be satisfactory for public safety purposes.                                                                
LIEUTENANT DIAL said  his experience is that vehicles  coming from                                                              
the factory typically  have windows that block  between 25 percent                                                              
and 30  percent of the  light. When DPS  talks about a  35 percent                                                              
film, it would be  applied to a window that already  has some tint                                                              
and it's  that cumulative effect  that DPS is concerned  with. Our                                                              
experience  is that 35  percent tint  on top  of the factory  tint                                                              
makes for very dark windows, he said.                                                                                           
1:45:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN  said he  understands that  his Suburban  can have                                                              
dark tint in the  back windows, but he doesn't  believe the driver                                                              
side, passenger  side and  front windows have  any tint.  He asked                                                              
if he  would have  a problem if  he wanted a  medium tint  on that                                                              
LIEUTENANT  DIAL  clarified that  those  windows  do have  factory                                                              
tint that blocks  approximately 30 percent of the  light. Applying                                                              
additional tint  would have  a cumulative effect.  If you  were to                                                              
compare  your car  windows to  your  house windows  you'd see  the                                                              
difference, he said.                                                                                                            
SENATOR  PASKVAN  said, assuming  that's  true,  would  that be  a                                                              
public safety problem.                                                                                                          
LIEUTENANT  DIAL  said  yes;  in  low  light  situations  even  35                                                              
percent film  makes it very difficult  for law enforcement  to see                                                              
inside a  vehicle. It also  makes it difficult  for the  driver to                                                              
see  out   through  the  windows   under  low  light   conditions,                                                              
particularly  in areas  that don't  have street  lights. DPS  sees                                                              
that the current  law is working well and changing  tint standards                                                              
serves  no  purpose other  than  to  create future  problems.  "If                                                              
nothing else,  we would  certainly ask that  the standards  not be                                                              
changed," he said.                                                                                                              
1:48:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BOSWOOD said  the  samples he  distributed  showed a  vehicle                                                              
with 35 percent  window tint applied  on top of factory  tint both                                                              
at night from  a trooper's point  of view and during the  day from                                                              
a driver's  point of  view. He's  driven cars  with that  level of                                                              
tint for 20 years  and he can see clearly at  night and during the                                                              
daytime.  It allows  good visibility  and  is allowed  in some  30                                                              
other states.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR KOOKESH  closed public testimony  and asked the will  of the                                                              
SENATOR PASKVAN  said he's  somewhat troubled  and isn't  clear as                                                              
to what  he wants to  do. He wants  to advance public  safety, but                                                              
he doesn't want to be overly restrictive.                                                                                       
SENATOR DAVIS  noted that Mr.  Boswood's testimony  hadn't changed                                                              
and asked  Mr. Moderow if the  sponsor took that  under advisement                                                              
when he had the CS prepared.                                                                                                    
MR. MODEROW  explained that  similar recommendations  were brought                                                              
forward last year.  "It should be noted that on  top of Lieutenant                                                              
Dial's  testimony,  the  Fairbanks  police  department  last  year                                                              
opposed changing  the tinting restrictions." The  Anchorage police                                                              
department  also had  hesitation about  that, which  is why  there                                                              
were no changes made to the CS, he said.                                                                                        
SENATOR  DAVIS  noted  that  the  bill has  to  go  the  judiciary                                                              
committee.  She believes  the  transportation  committee gave  the                                                              
bill a good review but she is reticent.                                                                                         
CHAIR KOOKESH asked the will of the committee.                                                                                  
1:52:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN said  he will probably recommend that  the bill be                                                              
amended.  The testimony  hasn't  convinced  him that  [35  percent                                                              
tint]  blocks light  to the  point that  he wholeheartedly  agrees                                                              
with Lieutenant Dial.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  KOOKESH  said  he'd  like  to  move  the  bill  on  to  the                                                              
judiciary committee.                                                                                                            
1:53:34 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MEYER moved  to  report CS  for SB  51,  version R,  from                                                              
committee  with  individual recommendations  and  attached  fiscal                                                              
note.  There  being no  objection,  CSSB  51(TRA) moved  from  the                                                              
Senate Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                       

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