Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120
03/24/2017 01:00 PM House JUDICIARY
Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.
Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 69-REPEAL WORKERS' COMP APPEALS COMMISSION 1:06:45 PM CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 69. "An Act repealing the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission; relating to decisions and orders of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission; relating to superior court jurisdiction over appeals from Alaska Workers' Compensation Board decisions; repealing Rules 201.1, 401.1, and 501.1, Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure, and amending Rules 202(a), 204(a) - (c), 210(e), 601(b), and 603(a), Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure; and providing for an effective date." CHAIR CLAMAN noted that subsequent to the last hearing, his office received the white paper prepared by the Office of Administrative Hearings during the prior governor's administration. He advised that the white paper had been distributed and members should have had an opportunity to review that copy. 1:07:41 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked whether the intention of the chair was to pass this bill out shortly, whether there were any decisions to be made other than voting on the bill itself, and whether the white paper had inspired any thoughts. 1:08:00 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX said that her reading of the white paper was that it appeared to be a discussion about the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission's physical location rather than any substantive changes in procedure. REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN commented that he found the discussion of saving every single piece of paper since its inception interesting, and yet still not having a full file room. He asked whether there would be more testimony. CHAIR CLAMAN advised that public testimony was closed, and if someone had questions they could be raised. He noted that his read on the white paper was a housing question about where to put the folks. The question this bill raised was whether the existing structure was working with four volunteer public members and one lawyer that sits as the chair of the commission. He offered that it appeared the public members are "a little on fringes of the process" and there had been a lot of turnover in the position of the commission chair. He continued that this was a significant savings because according to the white paper, it could save a little rent and have a more efficient use of space. He related that the white paper would have saved some money but nowhere close to the same amount as in HB 69. 1:10:22 PM REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN noted that the jurisdiction was first with the superior court with enough consternation on all parties to create the commission, and now there seems to be a similar amount of consternation at the commission level. He commented that it didn't go so well in the courts, and nothing had changed to expect a better outcome than last time. 1:11:16 PM REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX advised that she was in the legislature when it was transferred from the superior court to the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission. She said she never thought anyone had presented compelling evidence that there was a problem with the courts and that this new Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission needed to be created. She has ultimately come down on the side of the fact that almost everything else moves from an administrative hearing to the superior court. Therefore, should workers' compensation cases be treated differently, she asked. Her thoughts about moving jurisdiction to the Office of Administrative Hearings was that there had been no commitment that it would not require extra staff, and thus a fiscal note. Hence, she expressed, let it go back to the courts. 1:12:58 PM VICE CHAIR FANSLER moved to report CSHB 69, Version 30-GH1773\O, as amended out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHB 69(JUD) passed from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.