Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 17

03/18/2010 01:00 PM TRANSPORTATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 226 NAMING VETERANS' WAY IN MAT-SU TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 226(TRA) Out of Committee
*+ HB 261 TRANSPORTATION PROJECT DISCLOSURES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 261(TRA) Out of Committee
*+ HB 262 MOTORCYCLE AWARENESS MONTH TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 262(TRA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 257 BAN CELL PHONE USE WHEN DRIVING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 257(TRA) Out of Committee
             HB 257-BAN CELL PHONE USE WHEN DRIVING                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P. WILSON  announced that the final order  of business would                                                              
be  HOUSE  BILL NO. 257, "An  Act relating to prohibiting  the use                                                              
of  cellular  telephones   when  driving  a  motor   vehicle;  and                                                              
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:47:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P. WILSON  explained that HB 257 has had  two prior hearings                                                              
and four  amendments have  previously been  adopted.   Amendment 1                                                              
changed the  bill to apply only  to hand-held devices.   Amendment                                                              
2 added an effective  date clause.  Amendment  3 defined emergency                                                              
use and  Amendment  4 made  use of a  cell phone  while driving  a                                                              
vehicle a  secondary offense.   Members previously asked  for time                                                              
to review the studies in members' packets.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:48:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  moved  to   adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                              
substitute  (CS)  for  HB  257,  labeled  26-LS1104\S,  Luckhaupt,                                                              
3/18/10 as the working document.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:49:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  noted  that  Amendment  2  deleted  the                                                              
effective  date.  He  referred to  the language  for Amendment  2,                                                              
labeled, 26-LS 1104\E.2, Luckhaupt, 2/19/10, which read:                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 2:                                                                                                            
     Delete "; and providing for an effective date"                                                                           
     Page 1, line 13:                                                                                                           
     Delete all material.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:49:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON related that one of  the prior questions                                                              
asked how  many cell phones are  currently used by the  DOT&PF and                                                              
the impact  this bill  would have  on the  department.   She noted                                                              
that  the  fiscal  note  does  not   show  the  fiscal  effect  on                                                              
government.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES  BOYLE, Staff,  Representative Mike  Doogan, Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature,  stated that  the bill  has a zero  fiscal note  from                                                              
the Department of  Law, which is the only fiscal  note received on                                                              
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:50:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T.  WILSON asked for  the impact and  the frequency                                                              
of use  that cell phones  are used in  vehicles on a  daily basis.                                                              
She  further asked  if the  phones would  not be  used any  longer                                                              
what kind of impact it would have on the DOT&PF.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BOYLE explained  that with  the hands-free  provision in  the                                                              
bill, people can  use cell phones while driving, but  would need a                                                              
hands-free device to do so.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:51:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   MUNOZ  asked   whether   the  trucking   industry                                                              
supports the  bill with  the hands-free  provision that  was added                                                              
to the bill.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOYLE stated  that he has not spoken to the  trucking industry                                                              
since the last amendment  to the bill was passed.   He offered his                                                              
belief that  they just wanted  to be able  to cell phones  and the                                                              
hands-free exception  would allow cell phone use.   He stated that                                                              
many companies  are moving  towards a ban  on personal  cell phone                                                              
use.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:51:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  T.  WILSON  asked  for the  reason  that  existing                                                              
statutes on distraction do not cover these types of things.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOYLE  offered since  HB 257  designates cell  phone use  as a                                                              
secondary   offense,  that   police   officers   would  not   stop                                                              
individuals  for cell  phone  use.   In the  event  that a  driver                                                              
commits  a  primary  offense,  such  as runs  a  red  light  while                                                              
talking on  a cell phone,  the person could  be cited.   He stated                                                              
that  the bill  is more  specific  to distraction  for cell  phone                                                              
use.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:52:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ asked whether  the typical communication  on                                                              
the "Haul Road" is by cell phone.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BOYLE recalled  the  Alaska Trucking  Association  previously                                                              
indicated that  truck drivers  usually use  radios since  the cell                                                              
phone reception is "spotty" on the "Haul Road."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:52:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN  asked for  clarification  on the  fiscal                                                              
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOYLE  responded that the  only fiscal  note is a  zero fiscal                                                              
note from the Department of Law.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:53:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  P. WILSON  stated that  she would  like to  pass this  bill                                                              
out.  She offered to hold it to check on a DOT&PF fiscal note.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   pointed  out  that  the   bill  has  a                                                              
referral to  the House Judiciary  Standing Committee.   He offered                                                              
to  ensure  that  the  fiscal  note   from  the  DOT&PF  would  be                                                              
considered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:53:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN expressed concern  that a citizen's  band                                                              
(CB) radio  might be  defined as  a cell phone.   He recalled  the                                                              
Alaska  Trucking Association  suggested excluding  "push to  talk"                                                              
radios, which are  often used in areas such as  the Dalton Highway                                                              
since that  area does  not have  cell phone  towers.  Perhaps  the                                                              
next committee of referral could consider this.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG agreed.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:54:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   T.  WILSON  offered   that  she  does   not  feel                                                              
comfortable  without knowing  the  facts.   She  stated she  would                                                              
like to  know the impact  on government.   She offered  her belief                                                              
that the bill impacts government.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P.  WILSON related  that if  a fiscal note  is added  to the                                                              
bill that  it would  automatically  have a referral  to the  House                                                              
Finance Committee.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  T. WILSON  said she thought  the committee  should                                                              
look at the bill "as a whole."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  P.  WILSON   stated  that  she  believes   that  the  House                                                              
Transportation Standing  Committee is  a policy committee.   While                                                              
the  committee  does  look  at  the  fiscal  impact,  the  primary                                                              
emphasis  is on  policy.   She indicated  her intent  to move  the                                                              
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  T. WILSON  suggested that  this is  a policy  call                                                              
since  the bill  would  affect not  only  the  fiscal impact,  but                                                              
communication  throughout  the agencies  that  currently use  cell                                                              
phones.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  said he thought that the  jurisdiction on                                                              
the fiscal  note is  the House  Finance Committee  as well  as the                                                              
House Judiciary  Standing Committee,  since the courts  fall under                                                              
its purview.  He  said he felt comfortable moving  the bill out of                                                              
committee.   He asked  about the  comments made  about the  Alaska                                                              
Trucking Association.   He asked  whether the comments  were based                                                              
on testimony.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR P.  WILSON commented  that members should  have a  letter in                                                              
their packet.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN  related that  he is not  representing the                                                              
Alaska Trucking  Association.  He  recalled receiving a  memo from                                                              
the organization  so he  brought their  comments to the  attention                                                              
of the committee.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:58:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG, in  response to  Chair Wilson,  related                                                              
that  the  memo  referred  to  was   from  Aves  Thompson,  Alaska                                                              
Trucking  Association  to  Cindy  Cashen,  Alaska  Highway  Safety                                                              
Office  (AHSO).    He reiterated  their  suggestion  that  perhaps                                                              
language on  a "push to talk"  device could clarify  the allowable                                                              
use of  such devices,  especially  along the  Dalton Highway.   He                                                              
offered  to  bring  the  matter  to the  attention  of  the  House                                                              
Judiciary  Standing  Committee   since  he  is  a  member  of  the                                                              
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JOHANSEN,    in   response    to   Representative                                                              
Gruenberg, explained  that he relies  on the committee  process to                                                              
provide the  fiscal impact.   He maintained that  if a bill  has a                                                              
fiscal  impact  to  an  agency,  the bill  will  receive  a  House                                                              
Finance  Committee referral.    He pointed  out  that the  process                                                              
works.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:59:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG offered  to  work with  the sponsor  and                                                              
Mr. Thompson on the bill.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:59:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON removed her objection.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MUNOZ  moved  to  report  the  proposed  committee                                                              
substitute (CS) HB  257 labeled 26-LS1104\S out  of committee with                                                              
individual recommendations  and the accompanying fiscal  note from                                                              
the Department of Law.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  T. WILSON objected.   She  said she believed  that                                                              
there  are  laws  on  distraction.    This  is  just  another  way                                                              
government intrudes and will not result in any safer drivers.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  related   that  to   "deal  with   the                                                              
infraction for distraction"  requires proof of distraction.   This                                                              
bill  would make  it against  the law  to use the  hand held  cell                                                              
phone  and  will  not  require   proof  to  show  the  person  was                                                              
distracted.     He  related   it  is   very  difficult   to  prove                                                              
distraction  and HB 257  would make  it clear  that it  is against                                                              
the state's  policy while  using a  hand held phone.   He  said he                                                              
hoped the committee would move the bill.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  T. WILSON  maintained her  objection.  She  stated                                                              
that she  read all  of the  information presented  on states  with                                                              
bans  on cell  phones.   She  said she  was  not convinced  people                                                              
would be safer if the bill passed.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  supported moving the bill  along although                                                              
he did not support the bill's concept.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:03:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A roll  call  vote was  taken.   Representatives Johansen,  Munoz,                                                              
Petersen, Gruenberg,  and P.  Wilson voted  in favor of  reporting                                                              
HB 257,  labeled 26-LS1104\S,  Luckhaupt, 3/18/10 from  committee.                                                              
Representatives T. Wilson voted against it.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Therefore,   CSHB  257(TRA)   was  reported   out  of  the   House                                                              
Transportation Standing Committee by a vote of 5-1.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  P. WILSON  announced that  the CSHB  257(TRA) was  reported                                                              
out of the House Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
hb 261 sponsor stmt.pdf HTRA 3/18/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 261
HB 262 sponsor stmt.pdf HTRA 3/18/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 262
HB226 sponsor Stmt.pdf HTRA 3/18/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 226
HB226 Backup.pdf HTRA 3/18/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 226
HB262 Backup.pdf HTRA 3/18/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 262
HB261 backup.pdf HTRA 3/18/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 261
CSHB261ver R.pdf HTRA 3/18/2010 1:00:00 PM
HB 261