Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/08/1995 01:30 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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            

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