Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 120

04/09/2010 09:00 AM RULES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 363(FIN) Out of Committee
Moved HCS SB 163(RLS) Out of Committee
Moved Out of Committee
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
                    SB 163- FISHERMEN'S FUND                                                                                
9:30:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DAHLSTROM announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be SENATE  BILL NO.  163, "An Act  increasing the  allowances for                                                               
injury, disability, or heart attack  payable from the fisherman's                                                               
fund; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                     
9:30:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON  moved to  adopt HCS  CSSB 163,  Version 26-                                                               
LS0781\R, Bailey, 4/7/10,  as the working document.   There being                                                               
no objection, Version R was before the committee.                                                                               
9:30:47 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR JOE PASKVAN, Alaska State  Legislature, explained that SB
163  updates  the  Alaska  Fishermen's   Fund  benefit  limit  to                                                               
$10,000,  which   would  result   in  the  program   providing  a                                                               
meaningful level of  assistance.  He characterized the  fund as a                                                               
payer  of  last resort  for  commercial  fishermen and  crew  who                                                               
sustain injuries or illness while fishing.                                                                                      
9:31:41 AM                                                                                                                    
JAKE   HAMBURG,  Staff,   Senator  Joe   Paskvan,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature,  speaking on  behalf  of the  sponsor, reviewed  the                                                               
changes embodied in  HCS CSSB 163, Version R.   He explained that                                                               
although  under  current  statute  the commissioner  is  to  make                                                               
decisions on  claims and appeals,  the practice has been  for the                                                               
council  to make  those decisions.    Therefore, one  of the  two                                                               
changes in  Version R would  allow the Fishermen's  Fund Advisory                                                               
and  Appeals Council  to  continue  the aforementioned  practice.                                                               
The other change embodied in  Version R would allow vessel owners                                                               
with indemnity insurance with a  deductible of $10,000 or more to                                                               
seek a 50 percent reimbursement  for the deductible of an injured                                                               
crewmember's claim against that insurance.   He explained that 50                                                               
percent  was chosen  in order  to  provide an  incentive for  the                                                               
vessel owner to maintain a safe vessel.                                                                                         
9:32:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER inquired  as to whom would  pay the vessel                                                               
owner for  the claim.   If  the claim was  paid by  the insurance                                                               
company, would it  reduce the amount of the claim  awarded to the                                                               
injured worker, she asked.                                                                                                      
SENATOR PASKVAN  explained that the  fund is funded by  a portion                                                               
of the  license fees that  are collected.   If the  deductible is                                                               
$10,000, the  fund would  only pay  up to  $5,000 to  the injured                                                               
crewmember.   He echoed  earlier testimony that  the fund  is the                                                               
payer of last resort.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  surmised then  that the  payment wouldn't                                                               
impact a crew member.                                                                                                           
MR. HAMBURG related that the vessel  owner is required to pay the                                                               
deductible.    The  vessel  owner  would  be  reimbursed  by  the                                                               
fishermen's  fund in  the  amount  of up  to  50  percent of  the                                                               
deductible [or $5,000,  whichever is less].   Therefore, the only                                                               
impact would be to the fund.                                                                                                    
9:34:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DAHLSTROM  related her understanding  then that  the second                                                               
change being discussed was strictly to the dollar amount.                                                                       
SENATOR PASKVAN replied yes.                                                                                                    
9:35:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KERTTULA  requested an  explanation of  Section 3.                                                               
She  related  her  understanding  that  the  legislation  doesn't                                                               
control what  the insurance  company gives  to the  vessel owner,                                                               
but rather how much the fund pays the vessel owner.                                                                             
SENATOR PASKVAN answered that is correct.                                                                                       
9:36:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE OLSON  moved to report  HCS CSSB 163,  Version 26-                                                               
LS0781\R,  Bailey,  4/7/10,  out  of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being                                                               
no  objection, HCS  CSSB  163(RLS) was  reported  from the  House                                                               
Rules Standing Committee.                                                                                                       
9:36:50 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:36 a.m. to 9:39 a.m.                                                                       
9:39:45 AM                                                                                                                    

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