Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/13/1996 01:25 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 HB 440 - VEHICLE REGISTRATION & REGISTRATION FEES                           
 Number 0980                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said the next item on the agenda was HB 440, an           
 act relating to motor vehicle registration and motor vehicle                  
 registration fees; and providing for an effective date.                       
 ROGER POPPE, Legislative Aide for Representative Kott, said HB 440            
 is a simple bill which raises the fees for all motor vehicle                  
 registration by $5.  He said HB 440 does not include that $5 fee              
 for a small group of vehicles.  He referred to page three, line 16            
 through 25, and said it was in these circumstances that the current           
 fee was retained.  He said he was not aware of the reasons for                
 exempting the $5 increase for these special license plates.  He               
 said the other request plate, subsection E on line 25, include                
 university plates and other vanity plates.                                    
 Number 1030                                                                   
 MR. POPPE said the other portion of HB 440 is a housekeeping                  
 section with the exception located on page two, Section 3, lines 6            
 through 11, which changes the current practice of the DOT/PF                  
 regarding the practice of charging $10, above and beyond the                  
 current fee structure, in order to encourage people to pay their              
 fees by mail.  He said HB 440 reduced the fee by $5 if the                    
 registration is mailed.                                                       
 Number 1148                                                                   
 MR. POPPE referred to the fiscal note and said that the state, even           
 with the $5 savings for mailed in registration, would save money              
 and HB 440, creating a negative fiscal note.  He read from a                  
 portion of the fiscal note, "the total additional new revenue will            
 be $1,545,000," and added that there will be a revenue loss because           
 of the elimination of the $10 fee causing a loss of $870,000 with             
 a net revenue change of a positive $675,000.  He said the lines               
 will be reduced at the Department of Motor Vehicles as people will            
 choose to mail in their registration.                                         
 Number 1209                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked for more information regarding exempting           
 vanity license plates, and asked if the sponsor would be willing to           
 amend this portion of HB 440                                                  
 MR. POPPE said he could not see a reason why this would be an                 
 objectionable amendment.  He said this section might have been                
 included because of the military license plates.                              
 Number 1260                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said that it currently costs $35 dollars for a            
 regular license plate and that it costs more for a vanity plate.              
 Number 1308                                                                   
 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor                    
 Vehicles, Department of Public Safety, was next to testify.  She              
 said HB 440 raises the registration fee of everyone by $5, and                
 gives those people who chose to register by mail a $5 savings.  She           
 said the reason, why Section 6 was exempted, was because people who           
 chose vanity license plates pay $30 for the sets of plates in                 
 addition to the normal registration fee, plus a $50 one time fee.             
 MS. HENSLEY said individuals who are applying for a new car will              
 pay $5 more than they pay today.  She said a brand new registration           
 that the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has never processed will            
 have to come into the office anyway which would result in an                  
 increased amount of revenue.                                                  
 Number 1470                                                                   
 MS. HENSLEY said the renewal by mail program was offered to keep              
 people who didn't need to come in person from coming to the DMV               
 office.  She said some people have to do their business in person             
 in order to title their cars, obtain driver's license and register            
 their vehicle for the first time.  She said the $10 fee was done in           
 prior legislation as an incentive, but it was seen as a penalty.              
 She said the registration, from that prior legislation, raised the            
 fee by $10 and then reduced it by $10 if the registration was                 
 mailed to the DMV.  She said renewal by mail has been increased by            
 100 percent and that the public has accepted this procedure.  She             
 said the DMV is not opposing HB 440, but that the public has                  
 accepted the $10 fee and the complaints have decreased.  She said             
 increasing the fee by $5 will increase complaints.  She said the              
 long range financial planning commission suggested a registration             
 increase by twofold, which would bring in $21 million in revenue              
 for the general fund.  She said Alaska has the cheapest                       
 registration in the nation.                                                   
 Number 1531                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked how difficult it would be to increase              
 the registration fee by $5 for those license plates listed in                 
 Section 6, with an exemption for the Alaskan National Guard plates,           
 veterans or retired veterans plates and recipients of the Purple              
 Heart license plates.                                                         
 Number 1563                                                                   
 MS. HENSLEY said this section regards vanity license plates and the           
 decision to increase the fee would be at the discretion of the                
 legislature, as long as there is no adverse fiscal impact to the              
 DMV.  She said she could obtain figures of how many people would be           
 affected by this fee increase.  She added that last March the new             
 license plates with the caribou and the mountain scene and the blue           
 and gold with the mountain scene have been extremely popular with             
 a sale of over 5,000, at a cost of $30 per plate.                             
 Number 1655                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked for information regarding Section 6,                
 subsection D and subsection E.                                                
 Number 1704                                                                   
 MS. HENSLEY said all the plates in that section are vanity plates.            
 Number 1691                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if credentials need to be presented in             
 order to get special military plates.                                         
 Number 1704                                                                   
 MS. HENSLEY said a DD-214 must be presented to obtain those                   
 military plates.                                                              
 Number 1718                                                                   
 MR. POPPE said the other special request plates include two other             
 categories, the university plates and the other plates that spell             
 out your name, your girlfriend's name or some clever little saying.           
 MS. HENSLEY said other special request plates include ham operator            
 plates, farm plates, plus other things.                                       
 Number 1761                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS asked for information on changes made to the              
 mechanism of assessing fees, dependent on the evaluation of                   
 vehicles.  He was told that this is not the case for the state of             
 Alaska.  He then asked the DMV's position on increasing the fees to           
 bring Alaska's cost per plate in line with other states.                      
 Number 1831                                                                   
 MS. HENSLEY said she had a comparison of the fees charged by other            
 states that she could send to the committee.  She said some states            
 charge a flat fee, but then tack on taxes and additional costs such           
 as surcharges, taxes, title fees and title search fees.  She said             
 the state of Oklahoma charges 3.5 percent based on the blue book              
 value of the vehicle and cited an example where the state of                  
 Washington charged a five year old motor home $1,800 for                      
 registration and fees.                                                        
 Number 1917                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN GARY DAVIS said $5 is probably a low increase and for the            
 sake of additional revenue, as well as coming into parity with                
 other states, it is probably not unreasonable to increase the rate            
 by $8 to $10.                                                                 
 Number 1958                                                                   
 MR. POPPE said, upon talking with Representative Kott the sponsor             
 of HB 440, there was no problem with the concept of not exempting             
 the D and E subsections of Section 6 if the committee decides to              
 make this adjustment.                                                         
 A discussion ensued regarding the wording of the Amendment to HB              
 Number 2052                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE made motion to adopt Amendment 1 to HB 440,              
 amending on page three, line 24 and line 25, "add $5" to each of              
 those subsections D and E.  Hearing no objection Amendment 1 was              
 adopted to HB 440 by the House Standing Committee on                          
 Number 2111                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE made a motion to move CSHB 440 (TRA) with                
 accompanying fiscal notes and individual recommendations.  Hearing            
 no objection, CSHB 440 (TRA) was moved by the House Standing                  
 Committee on Transportation.                                                  

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