Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 211

02/19/2009 09:00 AM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSB 72(STA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 79(STA) Out of Committee
             SB  72-CHILD SAFETY SEATS & SEAT BELTS                                                                         
9:24:46 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD announced the consideration of SB 72.                                                                              
SENATOR MEYER moved to adopt  the committee substitute (CS) to SB
72,  labeled  26-LS0376\R,  as a  working  document.  Hearing  no                                                               
objection, Version R was before the committee.                                                                                  
SENATOR FRENCH said the bill  is about booster seats for children                                                               
who fall into a  gap. Between about 20 to 80 pounds  a kid is too                                                               
big for an  infant seat and too  small for a seat  belt. The bill                                                               
is to make  sure that kids riding  in cars in Alaska  are safe by                                                               
lifting them up a couple of  inches with a simple booster seat so                                                               
that the seat  belt meets them at the appropriate  place on their                                                               
bodies to restrain  them in event of an accident.  The CS changes                                                               
the  phrase from  "over 20  pounds" to  "20 pounds  or more,"  to                                                               
clarify that children exactly 20  pounds are included. On page 2,                                                               
line 12, "not yet  16 years of age" was changed  to "less than 16                                                               
years of age" to make the bill more understandable.                                                                             
9:27:37 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  said the  passage of this  bill will  make Alaska                                                               
eligible for  up to $200,000 in  federal highway funds. Up  to 50                                                               
percent of  that may  be used  to fund  programs to  purchase and                                                               
distribute booster seats  to low income people.  Some people need                                                               
to watch  every dollar,  and these federal  funds will  help them                                                               
comply with the law. The remaining  money shall be used for child                                                               
safety seat  enforcement, promotion,  and education. There  are a                                                               
lot of people who support the  bill. He pointed out a letter from                                                               
the  Alaska Auto  Dealers Association.  They have  been extremely                                                               
helpful. He read a statement by them, dated February 4, 2009:                                                                   
        As automobile dealers, we can assure you that no                                                                        
      vehicle manufacturer recommends placing a small four-                                                                     
     year-old in a seat belt only. Doing so could result in                                                                     
     serious injury or death to the child.                                                                                      
SENATOR FRENCH said he is thankful for the letter.                                                                              
SENATOR MEYER asked the penalty for not complying.                                                                              
SENATOR FRENCH said  the first ticket received will  be a "fix-it                                                               
ticket,"  whereby the  person  who  is busted  for  not having  a                                                               
booster seat can  go buy one and present the  purchase receipt to                                                               
the magistrate,  and the  ticket will be  voided. The  second and                                                               
subsequent offense provides for a $50 fine.                                                                                     
9:31:24 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KOOKESH asked where the bill says that.                                                                                 
ANDY  MODEROW,  staff  to Senator  Hollis  French,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, said  the penalty is  specified in AS  28.05.099 and                                                               
won't change. The bill is clarification language.                                                                               
SENATOR MEYER said it seems like it should be in the bill.                                                                      
SENATOR FRENCH  said he  will defer  to the  drafters. A  new law                                                               
would  need to  spell out  the penalties,  but there  are current                                                               
safety  seat laws  and the  bill just  creates a  new subsection.                                                               
Currently  a person  taking a  new  baby home  from the  hospital                                                               
without an infant  seat can get a fix-it ticket  that can then be                                                               
waived once the seat is purchased.                                                                                              
9:33:26 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KOOKESH said one hospital would  not let a new baby leave                                                               
the hospital without one.                                                                                                       
SENATOR FRENCH  said he remembers  strapping his baby boy  into a                                                               
seat for the first time, and he knew he was entering a new era.                                                                 
SENATOR PASKVAN said he suspects  that this is enforced like seat                                                               
belts.  If someone  runs a  red light  and strikes  a car  with a                                                               
mother  and an  infant who  isn't in  a safety  seat, the  mother                                                               
would be at fault for not complying with the law.                                                                               
9:35:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD  said she received this  bill from Safe Kids  in the                                                               
Kenai  Peninsula, and  it states  that  SB 72  will clarify  that                                                               
Alaska has  booster seat  legislation in  line with  the National                                                               
Highway  Transportation  Safety Administration.  The  legislation                                                               
will make  it clear  that children  need to  be in  booster seats                                                               
until  they are  at  least 4'9"  tall and  less  than 80  pounds.                                                               
Vehicle  belts do  not secure  small  children properly,  leaving                                                               
them at high risk during a crash. It will save children's lives.                                                                
SENATOR MEYER moved to report the CS of SB 72, labeled 26-                                                                      
LS0376\R, from committee with individual recommendations and                                                                    
attached fiscal note(s). There being no objection, CSSB 72(STA)                                                                 
moved out of committee.                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects