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25th Legislature(2007-2008)

Bill Text 25th Legislature


00                       CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 320(FIN)                                                                    
01 "An Act relating to search and rescue training and search and rescue parties; requiring                                 
02 certain search and rescue volunteers to be considered state employees for purposes of                                   
03 workers' compensation coverage; and allowing political subdivisions to elect to provide                                 
04 workers' compensation insurance coverage for search and rescue personnel."                                              
05 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
06    * Section 1. AS 18.60 is amended by adding a new section to article 2 to read:                                     
07            Sec. 18.60.115. Search and rescue training. The commissioner of public                                     
08       safety or the commissioner's designee may organize and conduct a search and rescue                                
09       training exercise to prepare for a response to a search and rescue activity under                                 
10       AS 18.60.120. Only the commissioner or the commissioner's designee may authorize a                                
11       person to participate in a search and rescue training exercise under this section.                                
12    * Sec. 2. AS 18.60.120 is amended to read:                                                                         
13            Sec. 18.60.120. Search and rescue parties. Upon being notified that a person                               
14       is lost, injured, killed, or is in need of immediate rescue, the commissioner of public                           
01       safety or a designee may appoint a competent person to organize, direct, and guide a                              
02       search and rescue party for the purpose of rescuing or retrieving the person or the                               
03       person's remains. Only the commissioner, the commissioner's designee, or the                                  
04       person appointed to organize, direct, and guide a search and rescue party may                                 
05       authorize a person to participate in the search and rescue party.                                             
06    * Sec. 3. AS 18.60.125 is amended to read:                                                                         
07            Sec. 18.60.125. Civil immunity. A person may not bring a civil action for                                  
08       damages against the state, a political subdivision of the state, or the officers, agents, or                      
09       employees of the state or a political subdivision of the state for a death, personal                              
10       injury, or property damage that results from an act or omission in performing or failing                          
11       to perform activities or duties authorized under AS 18.60.115 - 18.60.175                                     
12       [AS 18.60.120 - 18.60.175]. This section does not apply to a civil action for damages                             
13       as a result of intentional misconduct within the course and scope of employment or                                
14       agency and with complete disregard for the safety and property of others.                                         
15    * Sec. 4. AS 18.60.175 is amended to read:                                                                         
16            Sec. 18.60.175. Regulations. The Department of Public Safety shall adopt                                   
17       regulations necessary to carry out the duties assigned by AS 18.60.115 - 18.60.170                            
18       [AS 18.60.120 - 18.60.170], including regulations dealing with the handling of                                    
19       nonexpendable property purchased during a search or rescue mission and expenditures                               
20       of money for search and rescue. The regulations shall be adopted in accordance with                               
21       AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act).                                                                          
22    * Sec. 5. AS 23.30.092 is amended to read:                                                                         
23            Sec. 23.30.092. Volunteer ambulance attendants', police officers', [AND]                                   
24       fire fighters', and search and rescue personnel's insurance. A political subdivision                          
25       may elect to provide benefits and compensation to its volunteer ambulance attendants,                             
26       police officers, [OR] fire fighters, or search and rescue personnel by obtaining                              
27       insurance that would provide its volunteer ambulance attendants, police officers, [OR]                            
28       fire fighters, or search and rescue personnel with benefits and compensation at least                         
29       equivalent to those conferred upon volunteer ambulance attendants, police officers,                               
30       [OR] fire fighters, or search and rescue personnel by this chapter, and the election                          
31       shall be considered compliance with the coverage and insurance provisions of this                                 
01       chapter. The election shall be made by filing copies of the insurance policy or policies                          
02       with the commissioner.                                                                                            
03    * Sec. 6. AS 23.30 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                     
04            Sec. 23.30.246. Search and rescue personnel as state employees. (a) A                                      
05       resident of the state who temporarily volunteers to participate in a search and rescue                            
06       training exercise or a search and rescue activity and who suffers injury or death during                          
07       the course and within the scope of training for or providing search and rescue services                           
08       is considered an employee of the state for purposes of this chapter if, at the time of the                        
09       injury or death, the volunteer                                                                                    
10                 (1)  is an authorized participant in a search and rescue training exercise                              
11       under AS 18.60.115 or a search and rescue activity under AS 18.60.120; and                                        
12                 (2)  is not otherwise covered for that injury or death by an employer's                                 
13       workers' compensation insurance policy or self-insurance certificate.                                             
14            (b)  Notwithstanding the methods for calculating an employee's gross weekly                                  
15       earnings under AS 23.30.220, the gross weekly earnings for a resident of the state                                
16       temporarily engaged as a volunteer under (a) of this section are equal to the state                               
17       average weekly wage.                                                                                              
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