Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
Scheduled but Not Heard
Moved CSSB 43(CRA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
            SB 43-IMMUNITY FOR FIRE DEPT. & MEMBERS                                                                         
3:38:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP announced the consideration of SB 43.                                                                              
3:38:49 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 3:38 to 3:41 p.m.                                                                                                  
3:41:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MACKINNON moved to adopt CSSB 43 (CRA), labeled 29-                                                                     
LS0325\H, as the working document.                                                                                              
CHAIR BISHOP objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
3:41:40 PM                                                                                                                    
JORDAN  SHILLING,   staff  to   Senator  Coghill,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, explained  that the original  SB 43                                                               
extends  total   immunity  to   contract  fire   departments  and                                                               
municipal  fire   departments  and   their  members.   But  staff                                                               
suggested there  ought to be  an exception, because  some actions                                                               
by fire  departments could  be intentionally  wrong or  done with                                                               
extreme disregard and should not  be protected. Legislative Legal                                                               
Service  suggested copying  language in  another statute  dealing                                                               
with Emergency Medical Services  (EMS) immunity from 911 systems.                                                               
It  makes an  exception for  intentional acts  of misconduct  and                                                               
gross negligence.  This language  can be  found in  the committee                                                               
substitute (CS) on page 1, line 11.                                                                                             
The second change is in section 2  on page 2 that conforms to say                                                               
the  exceptions  made in  subsection  (c)  do  not apply  to  the                                                               
immunities found in subsection (d).                                                                                             
3:43:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP removed  his objection and version H  was before the                                                               
3:43:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   MACKINNON  said   she  appreciated   incorporating  the                                                               
exception and that  all of the fire fighters she  knows would not                                                               
intentionally harm  another person, but  this is just  to protect                                                               
all  sides  of   the  issue:  a  home  owner   or  some  possible                                                               
interpretation that there was misconduct or gross negligence.                                                                   
3:44:34 PM                                                                                                                    
MITCH FLYNN, Chief, Steese  Volunteer Fire Department, Fairbanks,                                                               
Alaska,  supported the  CS to  SB  43. It  reduces liability  and                                                               
exposure to  the fire department  and its members  and ultimately                                                               
the taxpayer  that may end  up having to pay  out on a  claim. It                                                               
helps reduce insurance premiums,  because exposure is reduced. He                                                               
said he highly supported the new CS.                                                                                            
3:45:40 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUG SCHRAGE,  Chief, University  of Alaska Fairbanks  (UAF) Fire                                                               
Department, Fairbanks, Alaska,  supported SB 43. He  is a current                                                               
board  member  and past  president  of  the Alaska  Fire  Chief's                                                               
Association which  represents fire and emergency  service leaders                                                               
throughout the State  of Alaska. He said the  UAF fire department                                                               
is student-based and  provides fire protection to  the North Star                                                               
Borough  on  a  contractual  basis.  As  such,  they  are  not  a                                                               
municipal  fire department  and would  benefit from  the immunity                                                               
that this bill affords. He said  they are staffed and equipped to                                                               
handle  one incident  at a  time and  any concern  over liability                                                               
could be a factor in the future of their program.                                                                               
DAVID   NEBERT,   Chair,   Steese  Volunteer   Fire   Department,                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska, thanked  Senator Coghill for SB  43, but noted                                                               
a problem  with H version.  He asked why  lines 5-8 in  section 1                                                               
are repeated in lines 8-11.                                                                                                     
3:48:58 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 3:48 to 3:51 p.m.                                                                                                  
3:51:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MACKINNON  explained that  the  sentences  appear to  be                                                               
identical,  but the  first sentence  refers to  an employee  or a                                                               
member of  the fire department  and the second sentence  on lines                                                               
8-11 refer to an action  against the fire department, itself. She                                                               
asked  Suzan Shutts,  Legislative  Legal, if  "unless the  action                                                               
alleges  intentional misconduct  or gross  negligence" should  be                                                               
included on line 8 after the words "of a fire department."                                                                      
3:52:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SUSAN SHUTTS,  Attorney, Legislative Legal  Services, Legislative                                                               
Affairs   Agency,  Alaska   State  Legislature,   Juneau,  Alaska                                                               
answered that would  be a policy decision.  As currently drafted,                                                               
two  sentences  are  drafted  there instead  of  just  the  first                                                               
sentence that states the fire  department as well as employee and                                                               
the  "intentional misconduct  or gross  negligence" exception  in                                                               
the  second  sentence only  applies  to  a  suit against  a  fire                                                               
department. So, if an intentional  misconduct or gross negligence                                                               
suit  were desired  to  be permitted  against  an employee,  that                                                               
would need to be added to the first sentence.                                                                                   
MR.  SHILLING said  he thought  Senator Coghill  would find  that                                                               
change appropriate.                                                                                                             
3:53:05 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 3:53:05 to 3:53:43 p.m.                                                                                            
3:53:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP invited Mr. Nebert to conclude his testimony.                                                                      
MR.  NEBERT said  the wording  is  a bit  clumsy but  he saw  the                                                               
distinction. He noted his support,  because basically it protects                                                               
those who protect us and it costs nothing.                                                                                      
CHAIR   BISHOP,  finding   no  other   comments,  closed   public                                                               
3:54:45 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 3:54 to 3:56 p.m.                                                                                                  
3:56:07 PM                                                                                                                    
JILL DOLAN,  Attorney, Fairbanks  North Star  Borough, Fairbanks,                                                               
Alaska, suggested leaving  the full immunity in  for employees or                                                               
members of fire  departments, because it is  an existing immunity                                                               
in law for municipal employees. This  would just extend it to the                                                               
contracted fire  departments with the municipalities.  They would                                                               
not  want to  impact that  and have  personal liability  on their                                                               
part.  Of  course, if  there  was  still  an act  of  intentional                                                               
misconduct or gross  negligence by them that could  be imputed to                                                               
the fire department and a suit  could be brought against the fire                                                               
department as drafted. She suggested  not putting that additional                                                               
language at the end of line 8.                                                                                                  
SENATOR MACKINNON asked  her if a fire  fighter intentionally had                                                               
misconduct or gross negligence is immune right now.                                                                             
MS. DOLAN answered that they  are immune from personal liability;                                                               
the fire  department could still  be liable for their  conduct if                                                               
they are in the course and scope of their employment.                                                                           
3:57:50 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease from 3:57 to 3:58 p.m.                                                                                                  
3:58:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MACKINNON  moved to  report  CSSB  43(CRA), version  29-                                                               
LS0325\H,  from  committee  with individual  recommendations  and                                                               
attached zero  fiscal note. There  were no objections and  it was                                                               
so ordered.                                                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 19 - Example of the Problem.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
SB 19 - Sponsor Statement 2 23 2015.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
SB 19 - Version A.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
SB 43 Letter of Support.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 43
SB 19 Explanation.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
SB 19 - Fiscal Note.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19
CSSB 43 version H.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 43
SB 19 CRA CS Version W.pdf SCRA 3/5/2015 3:30:00 PM
SB 19