Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/14/2017 03:00 PM House STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHB 82(STA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
           HB 82-RESTRICTED OFF HWY DRIVER'S LICENSE                                                                        
3:20:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS  announced that the first  order of business                                                               
would  be  HOUSE  BILL  NO.  82,  "An  Act  relating  to  vehicle                                                               
registration;    relating   to    off-road   system    restricted                                                               
noncommercial   drivers'   licenses;  relating   to   off-highway                                                               
commercial  drivers'   licenses;  relating  to   off-road  system                                                               
eligible  areas;   and  relating   to  motor   vehicle  liability                                                               
insurance."   [Before  the committee  was the  proposed committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for HB 82,  Version 30-LS0367\D, Martin, 2/27/17,                                                               
adopted  as a  work draft  on 2/28/17,  hereafter referred  to as                                                               
Version D.]                                                                                                                     
3:21:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP moved  to adopt  Amendment 1,  [labeled 30-                                                               
LS0367\D.1, Martin, 3/14/17], which read:                                                                                       
     Page 2, lines 21 - 22:                                                                                                     
          Delete "to the land-connected state highway                                                                           
     system and do not have land-connected road access"                                                                         
     Page 2, line 23:                                                                                                           
          Delete "fiscal year"                                                                                                  
          Insert "12 months"                                                                                                    
     Page 4, line 8, following "the":                                                                                           
          Insert "noncommercial"                                                                                            
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                    
3:21:40 PM                                                                                                                    
BARRETT  WILBUR, Staff,  Representative Jonathan  Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                               
Alaska  State Legislature,  on behalf  of Representative  Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkins,  prime sponsor  of HB  82, stated  that Amendment  1 was                                                               
drafted  in response  to committee  discussion  during the  House                                                               
State  Affairs  Standing  Committee   meeting  of  3/9/17.    She                                                               
explained that the  proposed deletion on page 2,  lines 21-22, of                                                               
HB  82,  would  ensure   that  ferry-accessible  communities  are                                                               
eligible for the off-highway driver's  license (OHDL), if they do                                                               
not  have Division  of Motor  Vehicle (DMV)  offices.   She added                                                               
that  even though  the  Alaska Marine  Highway  System (AMHS)  is                                                               
considered  a state  highway, it  is not  a road.   She  said the                                                               
substitution of "12 months" for  "fiscal year" would ensure there                                                               
is  a road  test  every  12 months.    Finally,  she relayed  the                                                               
insertion  of  "noncommercial"  before   "motor  vehicle"  was  a                                                               
conforming change  to make it  absolutely clear that HB  82 would                                                               
not affect commercial vehicle licensure.                                                                                        
3:24:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP asked  for  clarification  on the  proposed                                                               
change from "fiscal year" to "12 months".                                                                                       
MS.  WILBUR explained  that if  a road  test was  offered at  the                                                               
beginning of  one fiscal year and  at the end of  the next fiscal                                                               
year, the time between road tests would be more than 12 months.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP asked  why the duration of  the OHDL license                                                               
was not made consistent with that of the on-road license.                                                                       
3:26:46 PM                                                                                                                    
AMY JOHNSON,  Deputy Director, Division of  Motor Vehicles (DMV),                                                               
Department of  Administration (DOA), explained that  the 12-month                                                               
timeframe is to  allow DMV the opportunity to  get to communities                                                               
and perform road  tests, so that those communities do  not end up                                                               
on the list of off-highway communities.                                                                                         
MS. WILBUR  offered that the  12-month period does  not represent                                                               
the length  of time the OHDL  is valid, but refers  to the length                                                               
of  time that  a community  can  be without  a DMV  or road  test                                                               
before it  becomes eligible  for OHDLs.   She  added that  if DMV                                                               
closed its office in a community,  it would have 12 months either                                                               
to fly someone  out to offer road tests in  the community, reopen                                                               
the DMV office, or make the community eligible for OHDLs.                                                                       
CHAIR  KREISS-TOMKINS  removed  his  objection  to  Amendment  1.                                                               
There being no further objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                      
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS opened public testimony on HB 82.                                                                          
3:28:49 PM                                                                                                                    
HEATHER  POWELL testified  that she  strongly supports  OHDLs for                                                               
Alaska's rural  communities.  She  expressed her belief  that the                                                               
voices of  the residents  of rural  communities should  be heard.                                                               
She  maintained  that there  are  many  state and  federal  roads                                                               
leading to  fishing and subsistence  areas, which  residents rely                                                               
on to live  traditionally.  She asserted that the  community is a                                                               
large family,  in which people rely  upon each other.   They work                                                               
together  to gain  access to  these areas  and to  be safe  while                                                               
doing  that.   She stated,  "We need  to be  able to  support our                                                               
youth  and let  them feel  comfortable, as  they work  toward the                                                               
ability to become regularly licensed."                                                                                          
MS. POWELL mentioned  that there are costs  associated with being                                                               
off the  road system and  living in a  rural area, which  are far                                                               
greater  than the  costs incurred  by people  on the  road system                                                               
with  a DMV  available to  them.   She cited  the costs  of ferry                                                               
tickets and  housing, and she  mentioned that sometimes  the AMHS                                                               
does  not  accommodate  the  needs   of  rural  residents.    She                                                               
maintained  that  providing  OHDLs to  residents  supports  rural                                                               
communities and offers a safer  alternative to no license at all.                                                               
She added that OHDLs offer  residents the opportunity to function                                                               
within their  communities, not just  in a  safe manner, but  in a                                                               
manner that  allows them to  "live the life this  land provides."                                                               
She maintained that  the OHDL is a tool that  will make residents                                                               
successful,  and she  strongly supports  that.   She stated  that                                                               
there  are  many reasons  for  upholding  rural communities,  and                                                               
absolutely one of them is safety.                                                                                               
3:32:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MARLA HOWARD, Kake  City Council, testified that HB  82 is wanted                                                               
by Kake  residents and would  be utilized.   She stated  that she                                                               
knows residents  who have traveled  to obtain  driver's licenses,                                                               
and she knows  some who cannot afford to do  so but drive anyway.                                                               
She  mentioned that  considering the  expense of  travel and  the                                                               
uncertain  future of  the AMHS,  the  proposed legislation  would                                                               
offer  a   small  gesture  to  aid   the  poor,  economy-stricken                                                               
villages.   Residents pay the  highest rates for food,  fuel, and                                                               
electricity.  She urged the committee to pass HB 82.                                                                            
3:33:48 PM                                                                                                                    
KEN  SKAFELSTAD,  Mayor,  City   of  Hoonah,  testified  that  he                                                               
believes  HB 82  would benefit  rural communities  and urged  the                                                               
committee to  pass it out of  committee.  He maintained  that the                                                               
proposed   legislation  presents   a  common-sense   approach  to                                                               
alleviating a difficult situation for residents.                                                                                
3:35:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL asked  whether  most  Hoonah residents  have                                                               
full driver's licenses and if HB  82 would affect only a minority                                                               
of people who find it difficult to access a DMV.                                                                                
MR. SKAFELSTAD  expressed his  belief that HB  82 would  affect a                                                               
significant number  of people.   He  relayed that  most residents                                                               
have  full driver's  licenses, but  in obtaining  those licenses,                                                               
they  have experienced  delay, expense,  and  inconvenience.   He                                                               
attested  that it  is consequential  not to  have an  able-bodied                                                               
driver  to legally  contribute to  the economic  opportunities at                                                               
hand.  The OHDL helps young  people learn to drive responsibly by                                                               
allowing them  to legally drive  in the off-road setting  as they                                                               
acquaint themselves with driving.   When a young person must wait                                                               
months  and years  to obtain  a  driver's license,  it creates  a                                                               
gaping  hole adversely  affecting that  person's ability  to take                                                               
advantage  of  opportunities.     He  added  that  OHDLs  provide                                                               
commercial  advantages  to  the community  without  creating  any                                                               
deficits to the state.                                                                                                          
3:38:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS closed public testimony on HB 82.                                                                          
3:38:54 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease at 3:38 p.m.                                                                                 
3:38:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  asked for an  explanation of the  $66,200 on                                                               
the attached fiscal note for HB 82.                                                                                             
3:39:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. JOHNSON  stated that she does  not have a copy  of the fiscal                                                               
note and is unable to comment.                                                                                                  
3:40:18 PM                                                                                                                    
AUDREY  O'BRIEN,  Driver Services  -  Juneau,  Division of  Motor                                                               
Vehicles   (DMV),  Department   of  Administration   (DOA),  also                                                               
responded that she does not have  access to the fiscal note to be                                                               
able to comment on it.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  asked  if  requiring  residents  to  obtain                                                               
driver's licenses  in the communities  that were no  longer OHDL-                                                               
eligible  increased the  DMV budget  or reduced  the budget.   He                                                               
offered  that a  positive  fiscal note  implies  that there  were                                                               
savings  at  some  point  during  the time  the  change  in  OHDL                                                               
eligibility was implemented.                                                                                                    
CHAIR KREISS-TOMKINS responded  that he believes there  will be a                                                               
revision to the fiscal note that will "zero it out."                                                                            
3:42:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. O'BRIEN stated that through  contact with the director of the                                                               
DMV, she can confirm that there will be a zero-fiscal note.                                                                     
3:42:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  moved to  report HB 82,  as amended,  out of                                                               
committee with individual recommendations  and a forthcoming zero                                                               
fiscal  note.    There  being  no  objection,  CSHB  82(STA)  was                                                               
reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB046 Letter 3.8.17.pdf HSTA 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
SB 46
HB074 Real ID Act Letter of Support Fairbanks Ch Comm 03 07 17.pdf HSTA 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 74
HB 082 Draft Proposed Amendment D.1 3.13.17.pdf HSTA 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 82
HB 74 REAL ID FAQ 3.14.17.pdf HSTA 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 74
State-Fed Docs Comparison.pdf HSTA 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 74