Legislature(2003 - 2004)
05/04/2004 01:45 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 316-SEAT BELT VIOLATION AS PRIMARY OFFENSE CHAIR HOLM announced that the next order of business would be SENATE BILL NO. 316, "An Act relating to motor vehicle safety belt violations." CHAIR HOLM reminded the committee that testimony has been closed on SB 316. Number 1775 REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH moved that the committee adopt Amendment 1, which read: Page 1, line 3: Delete all material and insert: "* Section 1. AS 28.05.095(e) is amended to read: (e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a peace officer may not stop or detain a motor vehicle not being operated on a highway to determine compliance with (a) of this section, or issue a citation for a violation of (a) of this section, unless the peace officer has probable cause to stop or detain the motor vehicle other than for a violation of (a) of this section." CHAIR HOLM objected for discussion purposes. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH pointed out that seat belt laws apply throughout the state, even in locations off the road system where there are no highways. Representative Kookesh opined that he didn't want this [proposed law] to be used as the only reason to stop a vehicle in rural Alaska. LAUREN WICKERSHAM, Staff to Senator Con Bunde, Alaska State Legislature, spoke on behalf of the sponsor of SB 316, Senator Bunde. Ms. Wickersham confirmed that SB 316 primarily [targets] urban areas. She related that Senator Bunde wanted there to be as much freedom for off-road activities in rural areas as possible. CHAIR HOLM inquired as to why it would be any less dangerous for an individual to be thrown out of a vehicle in urban Alaska versus rural Alaska. MS. WICKERSHAM said, "It isn't necessarily less dangerous, the point of the bill is ... in urban areas ... individuals that are not involved, necessarily in car crashes, are paying for the costs of the car crashes." She related that in the rural areas, a lot of times individuals are not insured plus accidents occurring in an off-road situation wouldn't necessarily involve other individuals because off-road activities are probably more of a private activity than driving on public roads. CHAIR HOLM suggested that Ms. Wickersham is arguing against the legislation because he understood that people would use their seat belt if this legislation is implemented. REPRESENTATIVE KOOKESH related the situation in rural Alaska. For instance, in Angoon the speed limit is 15 miles per hour. He reiterated that he didn't want this legislation to be the impetus for law enforcement to stop vehicles in rural Alaska just to determine whether seat belts are being used. REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH said that Representative Kookesh's argument is the same reason he doesn't want this legislation to be implemented in urban Alaska. What's good for [urban] Alaska should be good for [rural] Alaska, he opined. Number 1629 CHAIR HOLM maintained his objection to Amendment 1. A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Kohring, Ogg, Kapsner, and Kookesh voted in favor of Amendment 1. Representatives Stepovich, Masek, and Holm voted against it. Therefore, Amendment 1 was adopted by a vote of 4-3. CHAIR HOLM, in response to Representative Kookesh, stated that the next committee of referral for SB 316 is the House Judiciary Standing Committee. REPRESENTATIVE STEPOVICH related similar concerns as Representative Kookesh regarding law enforcement being able to stop an individual merely to determine if he or she is wearing his or her seat belt. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK echoed the same concerns as Representative Stepovich. CHAIR HOLM, in response to Representative Stepovich, confirmed that SB 316 has two indeterminate fiscal notes. Number 1489 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK moved to report SB 316, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. REPRESENTATIVES STEPOVICH and MASEK objected. A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Kohring, Ogg, Kapsner, and Kookesh voted in favor of reporting SB 316, as amended, from committee. Representatives Stepovich, Masek, and Holm voted against it. Therefore, HCS SB 316(TRA) was reported out of the House Transportation Standing Committee by a vote of 4-3.