Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

04/27/2006 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION


Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* 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
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                         April 27, 2006                                                                                         
                           1:36 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Charlie Huggins, Chair                                                                                                  
Senator John Cowdery, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 266(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An Act  relating to  penalties for  violation of  vehicle weight                                                               
limitations;  prohibiting the  use of  a violation  of a  vehicle                                                               
weight  limitation  for  certain  personal  automobile  insurance                                                               
actions; amending Rule 43.6, Alaska  Rules of Administration; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     MOVED CSHB 266(FIN) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 403(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating to registration and operation of low-speed                                                                     
vehicles."                                                                                                                      
     MOVED SCS CSHB 403(TRA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 266                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: VEHICLE WEIGHTS AND INSURANCE                                                                                      
SPONSOR(s): TRANSPORTATION                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
04/08/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/08/05       (H)       TRA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
04/12/05       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/12/05       (H)       Failed To Move Out Of Committee                                                                        
04/12/05       (H)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
04/14/05       (H)       TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
04/14/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 266(TRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/14/05       (H)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
04/15/05       (H)       TRA RPT CS(TRA) 1DP 1NR 4AM                                                                            
04/15/05       (H)       DP: ELKINS;                                                                                            
04/15/05       (H)       NR: KAPSNER;                                                                                           
04/15/05       (H)       AM: NEUMAN, KOHRING, SALMON, THOMAS                                                                    
04/25/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
04/25/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 266(TRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/25/05       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
04/26/05       (H)       JUD RPT CS(TRA) 1DP 4NR 1AM                                                                            
04/26/05       (H)       DP: GARA;                                                                                              
04/26/05       (H)       NR:    KOTT,    DAHLSTROM,    GRUENBERG,                                                               
                         MCGUIRE;                                                                                               
04/26/05       (H)       AM: ANDERSON                                                                                           
01/25/06       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       

01/25/06 (H) Moved CSHB 266(FIN) Out of Committee

01/25/06 (H) MINUTE(FIN)

01/27/06 (H) FIN RPT CS(FIN) NT 2DP 6NR

01/27/06 (H) DP: KERTTULA, MEYER;

01/27/06 (H) NR: STOLTZE, JOULE, HAWKER, MOSES, HOLM, KELLY 02/08/06 (H) FAILED TO ADOPT FIN CS Y11 N22 E4 A3 02/10/06 (H) RETURNED TO FIN COMMITTEE 03/24/06 (H) FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519 03/24/06 (H) Moved CSHB 266(FIN) Out of Committee 03/24/06 (H) MINUTE(FIN) 03/27/06 (H) FIN RPT CS(FIN) NT 3DP 5NR 03/27/06 (H) DP: FOSTER, WEYHRAUCH, MEYER; 03/27/06 (H) NR: HAWKER, STOLTZE, KERTTULA, MOSES, KELLY 03/27/06 (H) RETURNED TO RLS COMMITTEE 04/25/06 (H) MOTION TO ADOPT TRA CS WITHDRAWN UC 04/25/06 (H) TRANSMITTED TO (S) 04/25/06 (H) VERSION: CSHB 266(FIN) 04/25/06 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 04/25/06 (S) TRA, JUD, FIN 04/27/06 (H) TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17 BILL: HB 403 SHORT TITLE: NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) THOMAS

01/27/06 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS

01/27/06 (H) STA, TRA 02/23/06 (H) STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106 02/23/06 (H) Moved CSHB 403(STA) Out of Committee 02/23/06 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/24/06 (H) STA RPT CS(STA) NT 4DP 1NR 1AM 02/24/06 (H) DP: LYNN, GRUENBERG, RAMRAS, SEATON; 02/24/06 (H) NR: GARDNER; 02/24/06 (H) AM: GATTO 02/27/06 (H) FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER TRA 03/03/06 (H) TRA REFERRAL WAIVED 03/05/06 (H) TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17 03/05/06 (H) -- Meeting Canceled -- 04/04/06 (H) FIN AT 9:00 AM HOUSE FINANCE 519 04/04/06 (H) Heard & Held 04/04/06 (H) MINUTE(FIN) 04/07/06 (H) FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519 04/07/06 (H) Moved CSHB 403(FIN) Out of Committee 04/07/06 (H) MINUTE(FIN) 04/10/06 (H) FIN RPT CS(FIN) NT 5DP 4NR 04/10/06 (H) DP: HAWKER, FOSTER, KERTTULA, MOSES, MEYER; 04/10/06 (H) NR: KELLY, STOLTZE, WEYHRAUCH, CHENAULT 04/19/06 (H) TRANSMITTED TO (S) 04/19/06 (H) VERSION: CSHB 403(FIN) 04/20/06 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS 04/20/06 (S) TRA, FIN 04/25/06 (H) TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17 04/27/06 (H) TRA AT 1:30 PM CAPITOL 17 WITNESS REGISTER JENNIFER BAXTER, Legislative Aide Staff to Representative Jim Elkins State Capitol, Room 416 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 266 AVES D. THOMPSON (via teleconference) Director of Commercial Vehicles Department of Transportation & Public Facilities 3132 Channel Dr. Juneau, AK 99801-7898 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 266 RICHARD ASAY Carlile Transportation Systems 1800 East 1st Avenue Anchorage, AK 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 266 MICHAEL BELL, Director Alaska Trucking Association 3443 Minnesota Dr. Anchorage, AK 99503 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 266 DUANE BANNOCK, Director Division of Motor Vehicles 2760 Sherwood Lane, Suite B Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 266 and HB 403 IAN FISK, Legislative Aide Staff to Representative Thomas State Capitol, Room 428 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 403 MICHAEL CATSI, Executive Director Skagway Development Corporation P.O. Box 1236 Skagway, AK 99840 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 403 JACK CANELLI, Legal Council and Regulatory Specialist Global Electric Motor Cars 140 40th Street SW Fargo, ND 58102 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 403 ACTION NARRATIVE CHAIR CHARLIE HUGGINS called the Senate Transportation Standing Committee meeting to order at 1:36:10 PM. Present at the call to order were Senators Hollis French, John Cowdery, and Chair Charlie Huggins. 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. 1:55:12 PM at ease. HB 403-NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES 1:57:15 PM CHAIR HUGGINS announced CSHB 403 to be up for consideration. SENATOR COWDERY moved to adopt CSHB 403, Version L. IAN FISK, Staff to Representative Bill Thomas, explained that the House Finance Committee sent the wrong version of the bill to the floor after it passed House Finance and no one noticed until it had been voted on. He said the simplest way to correct it is to adopt work draft L, which reflects the changes House Finance made, and take it from there. Naturally, it will have to go back to the House for concurrence. He said that the bill deals with Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV), also known as neighborhood electric vehicles. The federal definition of low-speed vehicles recognizes that some of this class of vehicle can be powered by means other than electricity, such as propane. He pointed out that he was not talking about golf carts, but a class of vehicle that has to meet a number of federal standards similar to a regular vehicle. They have to have headlights, taillights, brake lights, emergency brakes, automotive quality glass windshield, bumpers, etceteras, and have to pass a federal safety-testing program. These vehicles are required to be able to travel between 20-25 mph and are not allowed to travel on roads with a speed limit greater than 35 mph. They are legal in 35 states and are popular in gated communities and quiet neighborhoods. MR. FISK said that a constituent who wants to open a dealership for these vehicles approached Representative Thomas, because the Department of Motor Vehicles does not currently allow their registration and licensing. 2:00:27 PM He pointed out that one of the things the House has been working on is the definition of these vehicles. The definition in work draft L is "a vehicle that has four wheels and an unladen weight of 2500 lbs or less." The problem with it is that the vehicles are evolving and the federal standard has already been changed up to 3000 lbs; so, it is probably best to go with a definition that tracks federal law. 2:02:02 PM SENATOR COWDERY asked if these vehicles require seatbelts. MR. FISK answered yes. SENATOR COWDERY speculated that they might get in the way of heavy vehicles in neighborhoods and present a hazard. He asked if they could use bike trails. MR. FISK responded that they are not appropriate for bike trails and that they should not be a hazard for neighborhood use. 2:03:13 PM SENATOR COWDERY asked if there are currently any dealerships in Alaska that sell these vehicles. MR. FISK said he is not aware of any. SENATOR COWDERY asked if the safety factors on this vehicle are lower than on a standard vehicle. MR. FISK said to his knowledge they do not have airbags, but the manufacturer would have more information on that. SENATOR COWDERY asked if they have doors, or are an open golf- cart type of vehicle. MR. FISK said that most of them do have doors, but they are not required to by federal safety standards. The Alaskan market would probably demand them. 2:05:07 PM SENATOR COWDERY pointed out that heavy vehicles such as SUV's and garbage trucks do go into neighborhoods and asked whether they have been collision tested. MR. FISK answered that he is not certain whether they have been subjected to crash tests, but speculated that they would probably be safer than a moped or motorcycle, which are legal. SENATOR COWDERY asked what is the range of time they could run before requiring a recharge. MR. FISK responded that he is not sure and would defer to Mr. Canelli on that. CHAIR HUGGINS said he visualizes a small tourist vehicle. MR. FISK agreed. 2:07:19 PM CHAIR HUGGINS said that it appears this will initially be primarily for commercial use. MR. FISK said that he believes they will have both personal and commercial uses. DUANE BANNOCK, Division of Motor Vehicles, testified in support of the bill. He said that, under existing Alaska Statutes that define a motor vehicle, it is easy to confuse the title "Low- Speed Vehicle" with a verb. This is not a Lamborghini that won't get out of first gear; it is a vehicle that is designed for a specific purpose, so LSV is actually a noun. In Alaska, the Division of Motor Vehicles has the authority to license and title motor vehicles; and when it issues that title, it means that vehicle can go anywhere it wants to on the road. Without a separate classification within Alaska statutes, DMV cannot register an LSV. This bill recognizes what an LSV is, as defined in the federal statutes, and gives the DMV the authority to collect the registration fees and issue a special license plate for it. 2:09:35 PM MR. BANNOCK said that he brought with him the 54-page summary of the federal definition of the LSV; and doors are not required. MR. FISK pointed out that on page 3, lines 9-11, the House Finance Committee added an opt-in provision for municipalities, which reads: " A person may not operate a low-speed vehicle within a municipality unless that municipality has adopted an ordinance allowing the use of low-speed vehicles within its jurisdiction." If the municipality opts to allow licensing of LSV's, lines 12-13 allow it to further restrict the use of them within their jurisdiction. CHAIR HUGGINS said that some communities have shown a little bit of concern and resistance to this bill. MR. FISK replied that he has not heard from any communities with concerns about it. CHAIR HUGGINS asked Mr. Braddock whether this presents any difficulty from a licensing standpoint. MR. BRADDOCK answered no. He did caution that, under the proposed amendment, a person could buy one of these vehicles, register and license it, then find that he cannot use it in his municipality. CHAIR HUGGINS recognized Michael Catsi. 2:13:09 PM MICHAEL CATSI, Executive Director, Skagway Development Corporation (SDC) testified in support of the bill with the exception of Section 4(C)(1). He said that the SDC originally approached Representative Thomas about getting this bill, because one of its clients in Skagway would like to open a dealership and rental facility. He said that he does have issue with the opt-in Section 4(C)(1), and thinks it would be a nightmare for any potential business owner who wants to start a dealership, to have to contact every municipality in the state and ask them to pass an ordinance allowing them. Because Section 4(C)(2) allows municipalities to further restrict the use of these vehicles in their jurisdiction; it does not seem necessary to provide an opt-in provision. 2:17:00 PM MR. FISK agreed that Mr. Catsi has a good point. He said the concern was brought up in House Finance and they compromised, but he doesn't think the sponsor would have any objection to heeding Mr. Catsi's concern. CHAIR HUGGINS noted that the change could kill the bill if the House does not agree with it and asked the committee members how they felt about it. MR. BANNOCK responded that, if the amended version were to pass, the DMV would immediately send notification to every organized government in Alaska to let them know of the change. From a licensing standpoint, he is not looking forward to dealing with an angry customer who has paid $250 to register a vehicle that he can't use. SENATOR COWDERY said that there was a bill before the committee a couple of years ago related to personal electric vehicles, and asked whether this bill involves them in any way. MR. BANNOCK replied that it does not. The statute that passed previously was specific to the SegWay two wheeled, upright vehicles. MR. FISK interjected that he thinks the sponsor would prefer that any changes be made in the current committee. SENATOR KOOKESH said that it would be better to adopt it as presented, because any change would have to go back to the House for concurrence. CHAIR HUGGINS said he thinks Senator Kookesh is right. 2:21:14 PM SENATOR COWDERY said that they are running out of time. MR. FISK pointed out that, because of the clerical mistake made by the staff, the bill will have to go through concurrence anyway, to reflect the changes House Finance made. CHAIR HUGGINS moved to amend the bill by deleting lines 9-11 on page 3. There being no objection, the motion carried. SENATOR KOOKESH asked if any language needed to be added. MR. FISK said no, that only the definition is still on the table. 2:22:43 PM SENATOR FRENCH said he expected to get some language to link the definition to federal standards and asked if Mr. Fisk has suggested language for that. MR. FISK responded yes, it could be amended to say that a "low- speed vehicle has the meaning given to it in federal law." SENATOR FRENCH asked if that is meant to replace or augment the definition on page 3, lines 15-19. MR. FISK replied that it would replace that language. SENATOR FRENCH asked if Mr. Fisk had language typed up. MR. FISK replied that it would have to be a conceptual amendment. 2:24:32 PM JACK CANELLI, Legal Counsel and Regulatory Specialist, Global Electric Motorcars, testified in support of the bill. He commented that he would like to see clarification in Section 4(b) that the vehicles are allowed to cross a road that has a speed limit of over 35 mph and stressed that these vehicles accelerate quite well, so crossing intersections is not a problem. CHAIR HUGGINS advised Mr. Canelli that the bill does contain that provision. MR. CANELLI responded that he had not read it that way. CHAIR HUGGINS assured him that it does allow just what he suggested. MR. CANELLI agreed with the other amendments the committee has made. 2:28:15 PM CHAIR HUGGINS asked what is happening in other states. MR. CANELLI said that most states have adopted federal standards and do not include any weight limit in legislation. CHAIR HUGGINS asked Mr. Bannock if replacing the definition with federal standards would create any licensing issues. MR. BANNOCK said it would not and explained that when the vehicle is licensed, it would simply reflect that the vehicle meets federal standards. SENATOR COWDERY asked whether liability insurance would be required on these vehicles. MR. BANNOCK responded that it would be under this law. SENATOR COWDERY asked if it would be an honor system like the existing law. MR. BANNOCK said that everything related to financial responsibility would be the same as for a standard vehicle. 2:30:22 PM SENATOR COWDERY asked what is the anticipated cost of these vehicles and what kind of warranty will come with them. MR. CANELLI said they have six models, including: a two- passenger for roughly $6,000, and a six-passenger model for up to $15,000. SENATOR COWDERY commented that China is very interested in the Alaskan market and he has read that they have standard vehicles that get 35 mpg or better and cost $8,000-$12,000. 2:32:24 PM CHAIR HUGGINS asked Mr. Fisk and Mr. Braddock whether there are any other aspects of the bill that should be changed in order to make this bill acceptable to the House and to DMV. MR. FISK said the concerns are covered. MR. BANNOCK said the DMV loves it. CHAIR HUGGINS said he would like to get the CS drafted today. SENATOR COWDERY moved SCS CSHB 403(TRA) from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note. Hearing no objections, the motion carried. There being no further business to come before the committee, he adjourned the meeting at 2:34:07 PM.

Document Name Date/Time Subjects