Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/08/1995 01:30 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SJUD - 2/8/95 SB 6 LICENSING/REGISTRATION SUSPENSION/DENIAL The next order of business was SB 6. SENATOR TAYLOR, sponsor, asked JOE AMBROSE to testify before the committee. MR. AMBROSE stated the intent of SB 6 is to encourage individuals to make court appearances and pay outstanding fines related to moving vehicle citations and parking offenses. Each year, 25,000 traffic citations for moving violations go unpaid in Alaska, according to the Department of Public Safety. SB 6 is designed to provide the court system, and municipalities, throughout Alaska, with additional leverage in the collection of fines. It would also apply to an individual who fails to appear in court when ordered. SB 6 passed the Senate in a 17-3 vote last year as SB 166. SB 6 would be a valuable tool for use by the courts in addressing the problems created by those who choose to ignore the law, especially those who fail to make court ordered appearances or to pay fines imposed by the court. SB 6 is based on statutes from other states. In the State of Washington, over 50 percent of those who receive notice of possible sanctions clear up outstanding matters within one week. SB 6 ties the failure to settle moving violations to the driver's license and parking violations to vehicle registration which mirrors California law. Number 096 SENATOR ADAMS asked why both moving and parking violations are included in SB 6, since parking violations are under the jurisdiction of municipalities. MR. AMBROSE replied SB 6 is based on the California statute which operates the same way. When the bill went through the process last year, there seemed to be quite a bit of interest from the urban areas to give them leverage when attempting to collect parking fines. Number 114 SENATOR ADAMS questioned whether the sentence that allows the department to require electronic reporting in Section 2 could create a burden for municipalities. He asked whether this could be considered an unfunded mandate imposed by the state on municipalities. SENATOR TAYLOR replied that is not the intention; the sentence refers to the use of personal computers and disks as most municipalities now use. SENATOR ADAMS asked, if SB 6 passes, what the time frame would be for municipalities to install the electronic devices, and to notify the state of parking violations. Number 140 MR. AMBROSE explained SB 6 calls for electronic reporting which would allow a municipality, with a stack of uncollectible parking citations, to make a report to the Division of Motor Vehicles. When that individual tries to renew a vehicle registration, outstanding fines would have to be paid prior to registering the vehicle. SENATOR ADAMS discussed a scenario in which a person with several vehicles driven by other family members might be prevented from registering a vehicle because an outstanding parking citation on one of the vehicles exists. MR. AMBROSE referred to line 5 of page 2 which states actual notice must be given to the applicant. SENATOR ADAMS expressed concern with the inclusion of parking violations in SB 6. Number 182 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief of Driver Services for the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), testified. She stated that a similar bill was introduced several years ago in the Legislature to assist municipalities in the collection of parking fines. Two years ago, Senator Taylor introduced a bill to deal with moving violations. At the request of some of the municipalities, the parking citation provision was added. To ease the burden on the Department of Public Safety, the department requested that municipalities have electronic access to motor vehicle registration files to place a hold on vehicle registrations until outstanding fines are paid. She noted line 7 of Section 2 refers to any vehicle, so that all fines on vehicles owned by the applicant would have to be paid before a vehicle could be registered. SENATOR ADAMS asked if the DMV would notify the owner of the violation a second time, after issuance of the citation. MS. HENSLEY explained notification would occur when the person attempted to register the vehicle. Number 232 SENATOR ELLIS asked what entity in Anchorage would be transferring information to the DMV. MS. HENSLEY replied the Anchorage Parking Authority. SENATOR ELLIS asked for clarification of the term "any vehicle." MS. HENSLEY replied it would include any vehicle subject to registration in Title 28, such as passenger cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles, but not 3 and 4 wheelers. SENATOR ELLIS expressed concern that the Anchorage Parking Authority would be the entity transferring information. SENATOR ADAMS asked what time line will be used for municipality notification to the state. MS. HENSLEY stated there has not been any discussion on a time line. SENATOR TAYLOR noted the time for notification would be determined by the municipality. SENATOR ADAMS referred to the fiscal note from the Trial Court System and asked how the percentages of revocations and terminations were determined. MS. HENSLEY was not familiar with the fiscal note from the Court System. She explained that Section 3 of SB 6 allows the court to suspend a driver's license. In 1994 the Court System estimated it would suspend approximately 2500 drivers' licenses out of the 25,000 unpaid moving violations. Number 296 SENATOR ELLIS asked if an individual has an unpaid parking ticket on a personal vehicle, would that outstanding fine effect the registration of business vehicles registered by that individual. MS. HENSLEY answered affirmatively. SENATOR TAYLOR explained every time the individual attempted to register any vehicle, outstanding fines would have to be paid first. SENATOR ELLIS requested information on the schedule of fines and penalties for outstanding parking citations. SENATOR TAYLOR noted the municipalities requested the inclusion of parking violations to strengthen the municipalities' position against people who waste police officers' time and court time by not taking responsibility for the payment of fines. Currently the municipalities request bench warrants for these people. SENATOR ADAMS asked what the Department of Public Safety's position would be if Section 2 was deleted. MS. HENSLEY stated the Department would have no problem with the deletion of Section 2. Number 345 SENATOR MILLER moved SB 6 out of committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR ADAMS objected. He stated Section 2 needs to be eliminated. SENATOR TAYLOR stated SB 6 has a further referral to the Senate Finance Committee, where the municipalities should be requested to present a justification for Section 2. SENATOR ELLIS asked the committee to officially request information on the schedule of parking fines and penalties for late payment. SENATOR TAYLOR agreed. A roll call vote was taken on the motion with the following results: Senators Taylor, Green and Miller voted "Yea," and Senators Adams and Ellis voted "Nay." The motion passed.