Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 120
04/16/2015 01:00 PM JUDICIARY
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SB 43-IMMUNITY FOR FIRE DEPT. & MEMBERS 3:03:29 PM CHAIR LEDOUX announced that the final order of business would be SENATE BILL NO. 43, "An Act relating to immunity for a fire department and employees or members of a fire department." 3:04:07 PM REPRESENTATIVE LYNN moved to adopt HCS for CSSB 43, Version [29- LS0325\I], Shutts, 4/14/15, as the working document. There being no objection, Version I was before the House Judiciary Standing Committee. 3:04:41 PM JORDAN SHILLING, Staff, Senator John Coghill, said the prior version applied immunity too broadly, and this version includes professional municipally operated firemen. He opined the change was for the contract departments that serve the Municipality of Anchorage and the Fairbanks North Star Borough. He explained that the change is rather than apply the immunity to both the contract department and municipally operated department, this committee substitute reads that there would be immunity to the contract departments, which would be university fire departments and non-profit fire departments. 3:06:15 PM CHAIR LEDOUX opened public testimony and after ascertaining no one wished to testify closed public testimony. 3:06:33 PM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG moved to adopt Conceptual Amendment 1 for discussion. REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT objected. 3:06:59 PM SUZI SHUTTS, Attorney, Legislative Legal Counsel, Legislative Legal and Research Services, said she did not have a copy of Conceptual Amendment 1. 3:07:25 PM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG read Conceptual Amendment 1, as follows [original punctuation provided]: This section does not limit the authority of a municipality or village to maintain an action against a contractor, vendor or supplier providing services or goods to the municipality or village. REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG advised it would be a separate subsection. He then asked whether the term would be "municipality or village," or should it be left as it is with the instruction to make it right. He posited that Conceptual Amendment 1 is talking about an entity that can maintain suit and that types of villages were types of municipalities, but he was not certain. MS. SHUTTS responded that under AS 09.65.080, which read: An action may be maintained by an incorporated borough, city, or other public corporation of like character in its corporate name and upon a cause of action accruing to it in its corporate character ... MS. SHUTTS advised she was not sure whether that would go to his concern and whether that language would be used. REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG asked whether it was possible to say that they intend it to apply to any entity AS 09.65.00 applies, and that Legislative Legal and Research Services could use the correct drafting and coordinate with staff, Mr. Wheeler, and himself. CHAIR LEDOUX noted it was obviously the intent to do as Representative Gruenberg suggested, and he was asking Legislative Legal and Research Services to make it correct. 3:10:17 PM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG agreed. MS. SHUTTS advised Representative Gruenberg she had not yet received a copy of Conceptual Amendment 1. 3:11:01 PM The committee took an at-ease from 3:11:01 to 3:12:38 p.m. 3:12:51 PM MR. SHILLING referred to [Sec.1, AS 09.65.083(a)(d)(2)], page 2, line 9, which read: (2) a nonprofit that provides services under contract or agreement with a municipality or village. MR. SHILLING said [(d)] defines a nonprofit fire department that includes a municipality or village. 3:13:36 PM REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG remarked he would like to leave the language up to the drafter. Secondly, he referred to the phrase "an action against a contractor, vendor, or supplier providing services or goods to the municipality or village," and opined that there may be a situation where a suit would be against an entity other than one of those entities. He said he would leave it up to the bill drafter if they preferred "to maintain an action under this section," or something. 3:14:39 PM MR. SHILLING agreed, and said that in the event it is something the legislative attorneys believe is appropriate, the sponsor would be good with it. REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG opined that if the suit was against the municipality which wasn't contracting, the suit against them could be maintained. He said he has no problem with the language because it deals with a totally different issue and that he wants the records to reflect this is another issue and is covered here. He noted that the title of the bill reads as follows: An Act relating to immunity for a fire department and employees or members of a fire department. REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG pointed out that the title of the section is "Civil liability of nonprofit and university fire departments." He opined that Conceptual Amendment 1 does not fall within that catch line so when Ms. Shutts processes the amendment that she may want to change the tag line, or put it in something separate. He noted that this deals with the government as a plaintiff rather than a defendant. 3:16:54 PM REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT withdrew her objection. 3:17:03 PM CHAIR LEDOUX advised there being no objection, Conceptual Amendment 1 was adopted. 3:17:58 PM REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT moved to report [HCS for CSSB 43, as amended,] out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, HCS CSSB 43(JUD) moved from the House Judiciary Standing Committee. 3:18:19 PM