Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

03/13/2018 03:30 PM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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03:30:24 PM Start
03:30:57 PM SB163
04:06:09 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSB 163(STA) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         SB 163-DEFINITION OF COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES                                                                     
3:30:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER  announced the consideration  of Senate Bill  163 (SB
3:31:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR EGAN joined the committee meeting.                                                                                      
3:31:50 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE LESMANN,  Legislative Liaison,  Office of  the Commissioner,                                                               
Alaska  Department  of   Transportation  and  Public  Facilities,                                                               
Juneau, Alaska, stated that Deputy  Commissioner John Binder will                                                               
address the  committee regarding SB  163 as well as  Director Dan                                                               
Smith from the Division of  Measurements Standards and Commercial                                                               
Vehicle Enforcement.                                                                                                            
3:32:49 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN   BINDER,   Deputy   Commissioner,  Alaska   Department   of                                                               
Transportation   and   Public  Facilities,   Anchorage,   Alaska,                                                               
provided an overview of SB 163 as follows:                                                                                      
     Senate bill  163 proposes to bring  Alaska's definition                                                                    
     of  a commercial  motor vehicle  into the  twenty-first                                                                    
     century.  SB   163's  proposed  changes   will  benefit                                                                    
     farmers  who  transport   agricultural  commodities  or                                                                    
     supplies  in Alaska  because  existing restrictions  on                                                                    
     farm vehicles limit their movement  to within 150 miles                                                                    
     of the  farmer's farm.  SB 163  would allow  farmers to                                                                    
     operate anywhere in Alaska.                                                                                                
     The  Federal  Highway   Reauthorization  Act  of  2012,                                                                    
     "Moving Ahead for Progress  in the Twenty-First Century                                                                    
     Act," commonly referred to as  MAP-21, made the federal                                                                    
     regulations  of  farmers   less  restrictive  than  are                                                                    
     currently existing in Alaska statute.                                                                                      
     SB  163  also  proposes   that  the  transportation  of                                                                    
     hazardous  materials  be  amended   to  only  apply  to                                                                    
     quantities  of   substances  that  require   a  placard                                                                    
     regardless of the size of the vehicle.                                                                                     
     Finally, the  definition of "school bus"  is updated to                                                                    
     provide clarity  for when school buses  are exempt from                                                                    
     commercial motor vehicle requirements.                                                                                     
3:34:27 PM                                                                                                                    
DAN  SMITH,  Director,  Division  of  Measurement  Standards  and                                                               
Commercial    Vehicle   Enforcement,    Alaska   Department    of                                                               
Transportation  and Public  Facilities, Juneau,  Alaska, said  SB
163  does three  things:  changes, clarifies  and reconciles.  He                                                               
detailed a sectional analysis as follows:                                                                                       
     The  first section,  which is  AS 19.10.300,  where the                                                                    
     change  we  anticipated  making was  in  AS  19.10.399,                                                                    
     "definitions;"  what we  wanted  to  mirror with  those                                                                    
     changes   in   AS   19.10.300,  which   is   "financial                                                                    
     responsibility," when we are  using the word "vehicular                                                                    
     way  or area,"  in definition  in AS  28.90.990 and  AS                                                                    
     19.10.399, those  two terms are used  together with one                                                                    
     definition,  so  we just  wanted  to  make that  really                                                                    
     clear.  An  "area"  for our  purposes,  for  commercial                                                                    
     vehicle enforcement, would  be if a tanker  truck is at                                                                    
     a  Holiday  Gas  Station  that's not  on  the  highway,                                                                    
     that's  an "area"  to us  so you  still fall  under our                                                                    
     jurisdiction and  have to do  things such as  attend to                                                                    
     your load  of HAZMAT. So,  we just wanted to  make sure                                                                    
     that was really clear.                                                                                                     
     Page  2, when  we start  to  introduce this  idea of  a                                                                    
     "covered  farm vehicle,"  this is  the MAP-21  language                                                                    
     that the  federal government  came out  with, "covered"                                                                    
     does  not mean  "contained"  or  "confined," that  just                                                                    
     means  those  vehicles  would   then  fall  under  this                                                                    
     definition  that  they  are  "covered  farm  vehicles."                                                                    
     Presently  in  AS 19.10.399,  after  150  miles from  a                                                                    
     farmer's farm  you then are  regulated by  DOT, meaning                                                                    
     you  are   going  to  have  all   of  the  inspections,                                                                    
     markings,  that  sort  of thing  for  those  commercial                                                                    
     vehicles;  this change  would allow  those vehicles  to                                                                    
     operator anywhere in the state.                                                                                            
     We then move on to the  HAZMAT portion where we want to                                                                    
     be  really  clear.  There  are  times  when  commercial                                                                    
     vehicles are hauling HAZMAT and  they would not require                                                                    
     a placard,  that's simply hauling  a 55-gallon  drum of                                                                    
     gasoline for instance,  that is not in  a quantity that                                                                    
     would require  you to have placarding  on your vehicle.                                                                    
     Now,  if you  go place-to-place  and pick  up 55-gallon                                                                    
     drums and  your aggregate weight gets  over 1000 pounds                                                                    
     then yes,  you are going  to have to have  a placarding                                                                    
     on your vehicle. So, we  just wanted to be really clear                                                                    
     and  this is  really for  emergency response  vehicles,                                                                    
     those  vehicles  that  can  roll  up  on  a  crash  and                                                                    
     identify what that hazardous material might be.                                                                            
     The final  change is  coming up  with a  new definition                                                                    
     for "school bus operations."  Presently in AS 19.10.399                                                                    
     it says,  "school buses  are not  commercial vehicles,"                                                                    
     and that is too broad,  that is not compatible with the                                                                    
     federal definition.  If you have  a school bus  and you                                                                    
     are  using  it  commerce;   for  instance,  picking  up                                                                    
     passengers  from  cruise  ship  and  transporting  them                                                                    
     which is  Senator Egan's situation he  described to me,                                                                    
     that is a motor carrier  if they are using those school                                                                    
     buses in the  summer. So, our definition  just needs to                                                                    
     be tightened  up. So, when  you are using a  school bus                                                                    
     from   home-to-school  or   school-to-home,  they   are                                                                    
     exempt,   they   don't   need   to   fall   under   DOT                                                                    
     requirements,   but  if   you   are   in  commerce   in                                                                    
     furtherance of your business then  yes, you are a motor                                                                    
3:37:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  noted that  the new  definition of  "school bus"                                                               
specifies carrying more  than 10 passengers. He asked  if the old                                                               
definition was 15 passengers.                                                                                                   
MR.  SMITH replied  the number  of passengers  remains at  10. He                                                               
noted  that   the  more-than-15-passenger   number  was   in  the                                                               
definition of a commercial motor vehicle.                                                                                       
SENATOR  WILSON asked  him to  identify examples  of some  of the                                                               
farm vehicles that  would be able to travel more  from passage of                                                               
the  bill. He  asked if  the change  includes semi-trucks,  horse                                                               
trailers, and extended trailers for transporting animals.                                                                       
MR. SMITH specified that "legal vehicles" are as follows:                                                                       
     We  are talking  about a  variety of  vehicles, we  are                                                                    
     talking  legal vehicles,  vehicles of  legal size.  So,                                                                    
     those in my  world are vehicles that  are 26,001 pounds                                                                    
     or below,  meaning a non-CDL  holder vehicle;  and then                                                                    
     26,001 and above meaning a  combination vehicle, we are                                                                    
     talking a tractor trailer. Yes,  you could have a horse                                                                    
     trailer  and  a  truck-tractor pulling  that,  or  this                                                                    
     could  simply  be  a  straight  truck  which  would  be                                                                    
     typical of flatbed.                                                                                                        
3:39:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WILSON asked if the increased  hours on the road for farm                                                               
vehicles will pose a safety concern for the department.                                                                         
MR. SMITH  answered that he  does not  know that safety  would be                                                               
measurably decreased  by allowing the exemptions  regarding hours                                                               
of service and  a driver's duty record status. He  noted that any                                                               
unsafe operation  is still prohibited  and enforced if  there was                                                               
an  unsafe driver  who was  not  using prudent  judgement in  the                                                               
operation of their farm vehicle.                                                                                                
CHAIR MEYER  asked how hard  it is to get  a placard and  what it                                                               
MR. SMITH  replied he is not  certain what the placards  cost and                                                               
will  follow  up;  however,  the   HAZMAT  placards  are  readily                                                               
available and easy to access.                                                                                                   
CHAIR MEYER asked  if farm equipment is identified  as trucks and                                                               
flatbeds, not tractors.                                                                                                         
MR. SMITH answered yes. He  detailed that the division is talking                                                               
about  legal-sized and  legal-weight  vehicles.  Changes are  not                                                               
being made for implements of husbandry.                                                                                         
CHAIR MEYER  asked if  "school bus operations"  means, "Use  of a                                                               
school  bus to  transport students  and school  personnel to  and                                                               
from school."  He inquired if  school buses  can be used  to take                                                               
kids to athletic events, etcetera.                                                                                              
3:42:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SMITH  replied that there  is a  very fine line  when talking                                                               
about school-sponsored activities. He  said the intent for school                                                               
bus  operations  is  from  home-to-school,  school-to-school,  or                                                               
school-to-home. He explained  that an outing to a  museum as part                                                               
of  a student's  curriculum would  be  exempt. He  said where  it                                                               
starts  to  get gray  is  for  example  when students  are  being                                                               
transported to  a football  game, a  situation where  the carrier                                                               
would  be regulated  as a  motor carrier  because the  carrier is                                                               
carrying students  in furtherance of  their business that  is not                                                               
part of  their contract  to the government  for the  students. He                                                               
explained  that the  motor carriers  have  the correct  operating                                                               
authority with  USDOT numbers and  properly qualified  drivers to                                                               
switch  between exempted  during  the morning  and after  school;                                                               
however,  when doing  the other  activities,  the motor  carriers                                                               
know  that   they  fall  under  different   levels  of  financial                                                               
responsibility and driver qualifications.                                                                                       
CHAIR MEYER  replied that Mr.  Smith's explanation  is confusing.                                                               
He asked if the school districts  know that some of the buses are                                                               
being used  for events  that are a  different status  than during                                                               
the day.                                                                                                                        
MR.  SMITH  disclosed that  he  has  had conversations  with  the                                                               
school districts to  clarify that. He said  the exemption process                                                               
is  clear to  the  motor carriers  and is  clearer  now to  early                                                               
CHAIR MEYER  remarked that he  did not see anybody  in attendance                                                               
from the  school districts but  would take Mr. Smith's  word that                                                               
he had spoken to the school districts.                                                                                          
3:44:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR EGAN  noted that  on page  4 the bill  states that  a bus                                                               
would  only  carry  "public"  school kids.  He  asked  if  safety                                                               
standards should be the same for  all kids no matter what kind of                                                               
school they  go to. He inquired  Mr. Smith if he  has coordinated                                                               
with  the Alaska  Department of  Education and  Early Development                                                               
MR. SMITH answered yes.                                                                                                         
SENATOR EGAN asked if DEED has seen the rules.                                                                                  
MR. SMITH answered yes.                                                                                                         
SENATOR EGAN asked if DEED has seen the corrected bill.                                                                         
MR. SMITH said he believes that  the division and DEED are all on                                                               
the same page,  now. He addressed Senator Egan's  question on bus                                                               
safety  standards  for  all  children  and  emphasized  that  the                                                               
division's  intent  is  not  to  diminish  safety  standards  for                                                               
anybody transporting school students.                                                                                           
SENATOR EGAN reiterated that the bill infers "public" students.                                                                 
MR. SMITH  emphasized that  the bill does  not change  the safety                                                               
CHAIR MEYER  remarked that Senator  Egan was referring to  line 2                                                               
on page 4, "Used to  transport public pre-elementary, elementary,                                                               
or secondary school students to and from school."                                                                               
SENATOR EGAN concurred with Chair Meyer.                                                                                        
CHAIR MEYER  recalled that  his children were  once picked  up in                                                               
front of the capital and taken to the Juneau Christian School                                                                   
SENATOR EGAN  stated that he  intends to offer an  amendment that                                                               
eliminates the word "public."                                                                                                   
CHAIR  MEYER agreed  with Senator  Egan to  simply eliminate  the                                                               
word  "public," then  the  statute would  pertain  to all  school                                                               
buses that transport kids.                                                                                                      
MR.  SMITH disclosed  that he  did not  want to  include "public"                                                               
during  the  statutory  cleanup   process,  the  word  was  added                                                               
somewhere else.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR EGAN reiterated  that the word "public" is  noted on page                                                               
CHAIR MEYER replied  that the "public" notation in  the bill will                                                               
be addressed in the amendment process.                                                                                          
3:47:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER opened public testimony.                                                                                            
3:48:12 PM                                                                                                                    
ARTHUR   KEYES,  Director,   Division   of  Agriculture,   Alaska                                                               
Department  of Natural  Resources, Palmer,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 163. He  said changing the 150-mile  rule provides                                                               
clarity and  certainty for  Alaskan farmers.  He opined  that the                                                               
150-mile rule does  not work in Alaska; for example,  a farmer on                                                               
the Kenai  Peninsula would travel far  more than 150 miles  to do                                                               
business in  Palmer and  the same holds  true for  Delta Junction                                                               
and Fairbanks also doing business in Palmer.                                                                                    
3:49:35 PM                                                                                                                    
AVES THOMPSON,  Executive Director, Alaska  Trucking Association,                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska,  testified in support  of SB 163.  He asserted                                                               
that any effort  to clarify the statutes makes it  easier for the                                                               
trucking industry to understand and  comply with the statutes and                                                               
regulations governing  the operation  of its businesses.  He said                                                               
SB  163  reduces the  burden  on  farmers  and farm  vehicles  by                                                               
removing the  150-mile restriction on farmers  transporting their                                                               
covered  farm  vehicles in  the  conduct  of their  business  and                                                               
allows them  to operate statewide.  He asserted that SB  163 does                                                               
make clear that if operators  choose to enter the for-hire world,                                                               
they   need  to   comply  with   commercial  vehicle   rules  and                                                               
regulations.  He explained  that  SB 163  provides certainty  for                                                               
motor carriers  of passengers by  clearly identifying  school bus                                                               
operations. He  said school buses  are not  considered commercial                                                               
motor vehicles  while conducting school bus  operations, they too                                                               
will be required to comply  with the commercial vehicle rules and                                                               
regulations  if  they engage  in  for-hire  transport other  than                                                               
school-bus operations.  He summarized  that SB 163  also provides                                                               
clarification  for carriers  transporting hazardous  materials in                                                               
amounts that require a placard.                                                                                                 
MR.  THOMPSON addressed  an earlier  question regarding  placards                                                               
and  noted  that the  Alaska  Trucking  Association's office  has                                                               
placards  for sale  for a  multitude of  different materials.  He                                                               
disclosed that the price is generally less than $5.                                                                             
3:52:12 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  R.  DART,  President,  Dart-Am Farms,  Manley  Hot  Springs                                                               
Produce Company,  Fairbanks, Alaska,  testified in support  of SB
163 because the  distances in Alaska are huge.  He disclosed that                                                               
one-way  delivery  from  Dart-Am  Farms to  the  south  Anchorage                                                               
farmer's market is 500 miles.                                                                                                   
3:54:26 PM                                                                                                                    
AMY  SEITZ, Executive  Director,  Alaska  Farm Bureau,  Soldotna,                                                               
Alaska, testified  in support of  SB 163 because the  state needs                                                               
to  update  its   statutes  to  be  in  line   with  the  federal                                                               
regulations. She said Alaska is  a vast state with long distances                                                               
between  the  farms  and  cities.  She  asserted  that  requiring                                                               
farmers to  operate their vehicles under  commercial vehicle laws                                                               
just to pick up supplies adds significant cost and burden.                                                                      
3:56:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER closed public testimony.                                                                                            
He  asked Mr.  Smith to  readdress the  definition of  "hazardous                                                               
materials," specifically the regulation of weight.                                                                              
MR. SMITH  explained that the example  that he gave for  a HAZMAT                                                               
Class 3 "flammable  liquid" would entail an  aggregate weight for                                                               
55-gallon drums that is called  "other bulk packed packaging." He                                                               
specified that  when looking at  HAZMAT in bulk, the  division is                                                               
talking about transport  of more than 119 gallons,  a point where                                                               
a  HAZMAT placard  must be  used. He  noted that  explosives fall                                                               
into  a category  where the  division looks  at the  potential if                                                               
something were to go wrong versus weight.                                                                                       
CHAIR  MEYER assumed  that  people making  a  living with  HAZMAT                                                               
materials are  aware of  the regulations.  He inquired  if taking                                                               
some paint to the landfill would require a HAZMAT placard.                                                                      
MR. SMITH specified that the  HAZMAT placards apply to people who                                                               
are in  commerce. He concurred  that people who deal  with HAZMAT                                                               
are well versed in its transportation.                                                                                          
3:59:17 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MEYER  asked if  a  painter  with  excess paint  would  be                                                               
considered commercial.                                                                                                          
MR. SMITH replied as follows:                                                                                                   
     Excellent question and it's a  little bit like the farm                                                                    
     exception, those  are tools of  your trade and  at that                                                                    
     point we are not grouping you  in as if you are a motor                                                                    
     carrier   for   hire   transporting  those   types   of                                                                    
CHAIR  MEYER asked  if the  weight  of a  truck is  noted on  the                                                               
MR. SMITH  explained that on  the title the weight  is classified                                                               
by the Division of Motor  Vehicles (DMV) as the "unladen weight;"                                                               
however,  on the  vehicle's door  or  sill is  the gross  vehicle                                                               
weight rating  and gross combination  weight rating, the  way the                                                               
division classifies weights.                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER asked if the key is commercial versus personal.                                                                     
MR. SMITH answered yes.                                                                                                         
CHAIR MEYER explained  that he asks only because  some people are                                                               
using big trucks for personal use.                                                                                              
MR. SMITH agreed.                                                                                                               
CHAIR  MEYER stated  that  Senator  Egan would  like  to offer  a                                                               
conceptual amendment  to eliminate the  word  public  on  page 4,                                                               
line 2.                                                                                                                         
4:01:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR EGAN moved Conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                                      
4:01:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MEYER  announced  that hearing  no  objection,  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1 is adopted.                                                                                                         
He noted that there are no fiscal notes for SB 163.                                                                             
CHAIR MEYER  asked Mr. Smith if  there is any federal  money tied                                                               
to the statute change.                                                                                                          
MR. SMITH answered no. He  pointed out that the Alaska Department                                                               
of Transportation and Public Facilities  does get monies from the                                                               
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration  to do enforcement on                                                               
commercial vehicles.                                                                                                            
SENATOR WILSON  asked him to  address the  lack of a  fiscal note                                                               
and  opined that  a  cost  would be  incurred  in the  regulation                                                               
updating process.                                                                                                               
MR.  SMITH answered  that  updating regulations  is  part of  the                                                               
division's budget  and the  process would  be done  with existing                                                               
4:03:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL asked  if there will be pushback  from taking the                                                               
word "public" out of the statute.                                                                                               
MR. SMITH replied as follows:                                                                                                   
     When I  saw that  change submitted,  I asked  what does                                                                    
     "public" mean  to you? Does  that mean public  money is                                                                    
     going towards  these entities that are  doing this type                                                                    
     of  transport? They  were just  saying "no,"  these are                                                                    
     public schools that  are open to everybody.  I tried to                                                                    
     make  the point  to them  that if  there's a  Christian                                                                    
     school  that's doing  these same  types of  activities,                                                                    
     they would then get the same exceptions.                                                                                   
SENATOR COGHILL explained  that his intent was to  make the topic                                                               
very clear.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  MEYER asked  if anything  is jeopardized  by removing  the                                                               
word "public" from the statute.                                                                                                 
MR.  SMITH  replied   that  in  his  opinion   nothing  is  being                                                               
CHAIR MEYER emphasized that everyone wants all kids to be safe.                                                                 
MR. SMITH agreed and specified as follows:                                                                                      
     I tried to  speak to it a little bit  before, but in my                                                                    
     world, the  enforcement world, part  of the  chapter is                                                                    
     parts  necessary  for  safe operation,  that  does  not                                                                    
     change, we would still require  those vehicles to be in                                                                    
     safe working mechanical condition.                                                                                         
4:05:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report [CSSB 163(STA)], version 30-                                                                    
GS2597\A    as   amended    from   committee    with   individual                                                               
recommendations and attached zero fiscal note.                                                                                  
4:05:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER announced that there being no objection, the motion                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB163 Sponsor Statement 3.7.18.pdf SSTA 3/13/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 163
SB163 ver A 3.7.18.pdf SSTA 3/13/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 163
SB163 Fiscal Note DOT-MSCVE 3.7.18.pdf SSTA 3/13/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 163