Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/29/2003 01:33 PM House TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 280-COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES:REGULATIONS                                                                                  
Number 1254                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR HOLM  announced that the  final order of  business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO.  280, "An  Act relating  to the  regulation of                                                               
commercial  motor  vehicles  to  avoid  loss  or  withholding  of                                                               
federal highway  money, and  to out-of-service  orders concerning                                                               
commercial motor  vehicles; amending  Rule 43.1, Alaska  Rules of                                                               
Administration; and providing for an effective date."                                                                           
Number 1250                                                                                                                     
AVES  THOMPSON, Director,  Division  of Measurements,  Standards,                                                               
and    Commercial    Vehicles    Enforcement,    Department    of                                                               
Transportation & Public Facilities  (DOT&PF), testified on HB 280                                                               
and answered questions  from the members.  He  told the committee                                                               
the division is responsible for  commercial vehicle size, weight,                                                               
and    safety   enforcement;    commercial   vehicle    operating                                                               
credentials; and enforcing and  maintaining standards for weights                                                               
and measures  used in commerce  in Alaska.   The key  elements of                                                               
the  commercial  vehicle  safety   program  include  fixed  weigh                                                               
stations  and mobile  and commercial  vehicle  enforcement.   The                                                               
commercial  vehicle  enforcement   officers  conduct  driver  and                                                               
vehicle safety inspections, enforce  size and weight regulations,                                                               
and inspect hazardous materials transport.   He explained that at                                                               
the  beginning of  the fiscal  year of  1998, Executive  Order 98                                                               
consolidated    commercial   motor    vehicle   regulation    and                                                               
enforcement, from  [what was  then the  Department of  Commerce &                                                               
Economic Development]  and the Department  of Public  Safety into                                                               
MR.  THOMPSON  told  the committee  the  consolidation  of  these                                                               
programs into one state agency  was intended to result in greater                                                               
convenience  to  industry  and  the   public,  as  well  as  more                                                               
efficient management of the programs.   He said to a large extent                                                               
this  has   been  accomplished.    When   the  consolidation  was                                                               
implemented, one minor  omission occurred in the  transfer of the                                                               
necessary regulation  promulgation authority.  While  most of the                                                               
authority  to  operate  the  truck   size,  weight,  safety,  and                                                               
permitting programs  was given at  the time to the  Department of                                                               
Transportation &  Public Facilities, the authority  to promulgate                                                               
regulations   for  driver   safety,  vehicle   requirements,  and                                                               
hazardous materials  transport was not transferred  and currently                                                               
resides in the Department of Public Safety.                                                                                     
Number 1125                                                                                                                     
MR.  THOMPSON  told the  committee  that  HB 280  transfers  that                                                               
authority   to  the   Department  of   Transportation  &   Public                                                               
Facilities  and completes  the  consolidation  of the  commercial                                                               
motor  vehicle regulatory  and  enforcement  programs started  in                                                               
Executive Order 98.  He said  that except for matters relating to                                                               
the licensing of drivers for  commercial motor vehicles, which is                                                               
reserved for  the Division  of Motor Vehicles,  HB 280  gives the                                                               
authority to  adopt regulations  necessary to  avoid the  loss or                                                               
withholding  of  federal  highway  money  to  the  Department  of                                                               
Transportation  &  Public  Facilities.   These  commercial  motor                                                               
vehicle safety  regulations include equipment  standards, working                                                               
conditions for  drivers, and vehicle  inspection standards.   The                                                               
hazardous    materials   transport    regulations   deals    with                                                               
notification, movement, labeling,  and documentation of hazardous                                                               
materials  loads.   In addition,  HB  280 sets  a prohibition  in                                                               
Title  28  against operating  a  commercial  motor vehicle  after                                                               
being  placed out  of service  under a  regulation adopted  under                                                               
Title 19.   Other sections  provide for  the changes to  the bale                                                               
schedule and allow  for the transition period  for the Department                                                               
of Public  Safety regulations  to continue  to be  enforced until                                                               
the   new  regulations   are  adopted   by   the  Department   of                                                               
Transportation &  Public Facilities.  The  department is prepared                                                               
to proceed  with the  adoption of  regulation process  once these                                                               
legislative changes are effected.                                                                                               
MR.  THOMPSON  said  the  Federal  Motor  Carrier  Administration                                                               
regulations  provide that  a state  becomes ineligible  for basic                                                               
program  or  incentive  funds  under  the  Motor  Carrier  Safety                                                               
Assistance  Program  for  failure  to adopt  new  regulations  or                                                               
amendments  to the  federal motor  carrier safety  regulations or                                                               
the federal  hazardous materials  regulations within  three years                                                               
of its effective date.   Mr. Thompson told the committee adoption                                                               
of these  changes has not  occurred since  1995 and the  State of                                                               
Alaska is  out of compliance.   In the federal fiscal  year 2003,                                                               
Alaska  will  receive $685,500  in  basic  program and  incentive                                                               
funds.  Passage  of this bill is critically  important, as DOT&PF                                                               
needs the authority to adopt  the regulation changes to avoid the                                                               
loss or withholding  of federal funding, he said.   Loss of these                                                               
funds  through  the failure  to  pass  this legislation  and  the                                                               
subsequent  failure  to  adopt  the  regulations  will  virtually                                                               
eliminate  the state's  commercial  vehicle safety  effort.   Mr.                                                               
Thompson told the committee the  bill's provisions correcting the                                                               
regulation  adoption  authorities  problems  and  the  supporting                                                               
language  in the  existing statute  are supported  by the  Alaska                                                               
Trucking Association,  the Alaska's Teamsters Local  959, and the                                                               
Associated  General Contractors  of  Alaska.   The Department  of                                                               
Public Safety  and the Department of  Administration also support                                                               
this legislation.  Mr. Thompson urged  the members to move HB 280                                                               
out of committee with a favorable recommendation.                                                                               
Number 0959                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR MASEK asked  if there is a fiscal note  attached to this                                                               
MR. THOMPSON responded that there is a zero fiscal note.                                                                        
CO-CHAIR MASEK  commented on  the language on  page 1,  lines [9-                                                               
11],  "implement requirements  imposed  by  federal statute",  by                                                               
saying  she is  sure that  complying with  federal statutes  will                                                               
cost the state  money.  She said, "Every federal  mandate that is                                                               
shoved down  the throat of the  state comes back and  bites us in                                                               
the butt."                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR MASEK asked Mr. Thompson to explain Executive Order 98.                                                                
MR. THOMPSON responded that Executive  Order 98 was issued by the                                                               
then-Governor Knowles.  It  consolidated the trucking regulations                                                               
and  enforcement  activities  from  Department  of  [Commerce]  &                                                               
Economic  Development and  the Department  of Public  Safety into                                                               
the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities.                                                                           
CO-CHAIR MASEK asked  Mr. Thompson if the state will  fail to get                                                               
the  $685,500  in  basic  program and  incentives  funds  if  the                                                               
legislature fails to pass this bill.                                                                                            
MR. THOMPSON responded  that the state has  already received that                                                               
funding for  2003; however,  failure to pass  this bill  will put                                                               
the  FY  04  funds  in   jeopardy.    The  Motor  Carrier  Safety                                                               
Assistance  Program  has been  receiving  the  benefits for  that                                                               
program since 1991,  and this existing language on  page 1, lines                                                               
9-10,  was  necessary  to  implement  requirements  in  both  the                                                               
federal and state statutes.   He told the committee that language                                                               
has been  in Title 28  since 1991.   Mr. Thompson  clarified that                                                               
this  will  not  implement  any   new  requirements,  but  simply                                                               
transfer the  authority from Department  of Public Safety  to the                                                               
Department  of   Transportation  &   Public  Facilities   so  the                                                               
regulations  can be  updated.   Mr. Thompson  explained that  the                                                               
identical  bill was  introduced in  the last  legislative session                                                               
and passed  the House of Representatives  37-0.  It went  over to                                                               
the Senate  in the final  days and was lost  in the swirl  of the                                                               
end  of  session.    So  it   died  last  session  and  has  been                                                               
reintroduced this year.                                                                                                         
Number 0777                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR MASEK  asked how much  money the state lost  because the                                                               
bill did not pass.                                                                                                              
MR. THOMPSON  responded that  there were no  funds lost,  but the                                                               
state was  put on  notice that  it needs to  make this  change to                                                               
update  the   regulations.    After   Executive  Order   98,  the                                                               
Department  of Transportation  &  Public Facilities  went to  the                                                               
Department of Law and was  told that Department of Transportation                                                               
& Public  Facilities does  not have the  authority to  change the                                                               
regulations.    This  piece of  legislation  would  correct  that                                                               
authority problem.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  KOOKESH  told the  committee  he  has spent  time                                                               
reading the legislation  and talking to the  sponsor and believes                                                               
this bill  is a  good idea.   It  is a  housekeeping matter.   He                                                               
suggested the committee move the bill on to the next committee.                                                                 
Number 0703                                                                                                                     
FRANK   DILLON,  Executive   Vice   President,  Alaska   Trucking                                                               
Association,  testified  in support  of  HB  280.   He  told  the                                                               
committee the association  fully supports this bill  based on the                                                               
explanations Mr.  Thompson provided the  committee.  This  is, as                                                               
Representative Kookesh noted, a housekeeping bill.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  KOHRING asked  for clarification  that this  bill                                                               
does not  create new regulations, but  simply transfers authority                                                               
from one state department to another.                                                                                           
MR. DILLON responded that is correct.                                                                                           
Number 0637                                                                                                                     
BARBARA HUFF  TUCKNESS, Director of Legislative  and Governmental                                                               
Affairs, Alaska's  Teamsters Local  959, testified in  support of                                                               
HB 280.  She agreed that this  bill is a housekeeping bill.  Last                                                               
session the  efforts of Representative Kohring  were most helpful                                                               
in pushing  this bill  through the  House of  Representatives and                                                               
she  hopes that  this year  with everyone's  assistance the  bill                                                               
will make it all the way through the legislature.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  OGG told  the committee  in  discussing the  bill                                                               
with the  sponsor, he believes it  is a good bill.   He suggested                                                               
that there  be a change  in the title  to assure more  clarity in                                                               
the bill.   The language could say  something about "transferring                                                               
authority  from  Department of  Public  Safety  to Department  of                                                               
Transportation  & Public  Facilities."   He pointed  out that  is                                                               
what is being done, but the title does not say that clearly.                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HOLM said the language  was drafted by Legislative Legal                                                               
and Research Services.                                                                                                          
MR.  THOMPSON commented  that he  believes  the title  adequately                                                               
describes   the  bill.     He   said  he   discussed  this   with                                                               
Representative Ogg  this morning,  but said  in the  interests of                                                               
moving  the   bill  along,  he  believes   the  title  adequately                                                               
addresses the issue.                                                                                                            
Number 0484                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE FATE moved to report  HB 280 out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations  and  the  zero  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There being no objection,  HB 280 was reported  from the                                                               
House Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                        

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