Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
04/02/2018 09:00 AM LABOR & COMMERCE
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SB 112-WORKERS COMPENSATION;DRUG DATABASE & TEST 9:10:30 AM CHAIR COSTELLO announced the consideration of SB 112 and noted the proposed committee substitute (CS). 9:10:54 AM NATASHA MCCLENAHAN, Staff, Senator Mia Costello, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, reviewed the following changes from version L to S of SB 112: • Retains language that repeals and reenacts AS 23.30.145 governing the award and payment of attorney fees. • Retains language amending AS 23.30.230(a) to provide a definition of "independent contractor." • Retains an applicability provision that states secs. 1-2 of the Act apply to claims for injuries filed on or after the effective dates of those sections. • Establishes the Workers' Compensation Working Group in the Department of Commerce Community and Economic Development, division of insurance, to review the State's Worker's compensation system and provide recommendations to the Legislature for reforming the system. The workgroup shall provide a report to the Legislature by December 1, 2018. • Removes all other sections in Version L 9:12:22 AM SENATOR MEYER moved to adopt the work draft CS for SSSB 112, 30- LS0318\S, as the working document. CHAIR COSTELLO found no objection and version S was adopted. She said the bill retains two of the elements that came in the second version as introduced by the sponsor. She worked with parties involved in this issue and realized that it would be best to create a working group, so the parties can work out differences. The report to the legislature would be due December 1, 2018 and then the working group would disband on the last day of January 2019. 9:13:41 AM SENATOR GARDNER said she believes that attorneys for the employers or insurance companies are often on retainer. The cost or time to pursue a case is of no direct consequence to the employer's attorney, but the injured worker's attorney is very much impacted by the provision that limits what they can earn. Section 1 would make it more difficult for injured workers to get representation. CHAIR COSTELLO said the next committee of referral can work with the working group to resolve any issues it sees. She noted that the bill goes to Senate Finance next. 9:15:00 AM SENATOR GARDNER said she sees this as a Labor and Commerce issue. 9:15:12 AM SENATOR MEYER said his question is more finance related, but the fiscal note adds 24 full-time employees for the Department of Administration that come from the Workers' Compensation Division. He asked if there will be a corresponding decrease from the Workers' Compensation Division. MS. MCCLENAHAN said that section that spurred that fiscal note was removed from the current version of the bill. SENATOR MEYER said then this is not the correct fiscal note for the committee substitute. MCCLENAHAN agreed. SENATOR MEYER asked the sponsor of SB 112 to comment. 9:16:35 AM SENATOR CATHY GIESSEL, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, sponsor of SB 112, said she has no comment on the committee substitute. She defers to the will of the committee. SENATOR MEYER said this appears to be a compromise. 9:17:11 AM SENATOR MEYER moved to report [the CS for SSSB 112], version S, from committee with individual recommendations and forthcoming fiscal note(s). 9:17:32 AM SENATOR GARDNER objected. CHAIR COSTELLO asked for a roll call vote. 9:17:59 AM A roll call vote was taken. Senators Micciche, Meyer, Costello voted in favor of the motion and Senator Gardner voted against it. Therefore, the motion to report CSSSSB 112(L&C) from committee passed with a 3:1 vote.