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HB 30: "An Act relating to the exclusiveness of liability of an employer in the case of death; relating to the payment of workers' compensation benefits in the case of permanent partial impairment; relating to notice of workers' compensation death benefits; relating to the payment of workers' compensation death benefits payable to a child of an employee where there is no surviving spouse; relating to the payment of workers' compensation death benefits for an employee without a surviving spouse or child; and providing for an effective date."

00                              HOUSE BILL NO. 30                                                                          
01 "An Act relating to the exclusiveness of liability of an employer in the case of death;                                 
02 relating to the payment of workers' compensation benefits in the case of permanent                                      
03 partial impairment; relating to notice of workers' compensation death benefits; relating                                
04 to the payment of workers' compensation death benefits payable to a child of an                                         
05 employee where there is no surviving spouse; relating to the payment of workers'                                        
06 compensation death benefits for an employee without a surviving spouse or child; and                                    
07 providing for an effective date."                                                                                       
08 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
09    * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section                          
10 to read:                                                                                                                
11       SHORT TITLE. This Act may be known as the Abigail Caudle Act.                                                     
12    * Sec. 2. AS 23.30.055 is repealed and reenacted to read:                                                          
13            Sec. 23.30.055. Exclusiveness of liability. (a) The liability of an employer                               
01 prescribed in AS 23.30.045 is exclusive and in place of all other liability of the                                      
02 employer and any fellow employee to the employee, the employee's legal                                                  
03 representative, husband or wife, parents, dependents, next of kin, and anyone                                           
04 otherwise entitled to recover damages from the employer or fellow employee at law or                                    
05 in admiralty on account of the injury or death. The liability of the employer is                                        
06       exclusive even if the employee's claim is barred under AS 23.30.022.                                              
07 (b)  Notwithstanding (a) of this section, an injured employee, or the employee's                                        
08 legal representative in case death results from the injury, may elect to claim                                          
09 compensation under this chapter or to maintain an action against the employer at law                                    
10       or in admiralty for damages on account of the injury or death, if                                                 
11 (1)  an employer fails to secure payment of compensation as required                                                    
12       by this chapter; or                                                                                               
13 (2)  the injury to the employee results in death caused by the employer's                                               
14       wilful disregard for the life, limb, health, or bodily safety of the employee.                                    
15 (c)  In an action under (b) of this section, the defendant may not plead as a                                           
16 defense that the injury was caused by the negligence of a fellow servant, or that the                                   
17 employee assumed the risk of the employment, or that the injury was due to the                                          
18       contributory negligence of the employee.                                                                          
19 (d)  In this section, "employer" includes, in addition to the meaning given in                                          
20 AS 23.30.395, a person who, under AS 23.30.045(a), is liable for or potentially liable                                  
21       for securing payment of compensation.                                                                             
22    * Sec. 3. AS 23.30.190(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
23 (a)  In case of impairment partial in character but permanent in quality, and not                                       
24 resulting in permanent total disability, the compensation is $255,506 [$177,000]                                    
25 multiplied by the employee's percentage of permanent impairment of the whole                                            
26 person. The percentage of permanent impairment of the whole person is the                                               
27 percentage of impairment to the particular body part, system, or function converted to                                  
28 the percentage of impairment to the whole person as provided under (b) of this section.                                 
29 The compensation is payable in a single lump sum, except as otherwise provided in                                       
30 AS 23.30.041, but the compensation may not be discounted for any present value                                          
31       considerations.                                                                                                   
01    * Sec. 4. AS 23.30.190 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:                                              
02 (e)  The director shall annually increase the amount payable under (a) of this                                          
03 section by a percentage equal to the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index                                    
04 for urban wage earners and clerical workers for Anchorage, Alaska, during the                                           
05 previous calendar year, as determined by the United States Department of Labor,                                         
06       Bureau of Labor Statistics.                                                                                       
07    * Sec. 5. AS 23.30 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                     
08            Sec. 23.30.212. Notice of death benefits. (a) If an injury causes death, on a                              
09       form prescribed by the director, the employer shall notify the personal representative                            
10 of the employee's estate of the compensation for death available under AS 23.30.215,                                    
11 the statute of limitations for obtaining workers' compensation benefits, and where to                                   
12       obtain a list of legal counsel and grief counselors who may be able to assist.                                    
13 (b)  If the identity of the personal representative of the employee's estate is not                                     
14       known by the employer, the employer shall notify one of the following:                                            
15                 (1)  the employee's surviving spouse;                                                                   
16                 (2)  the employee's mother or father;                                                                   
17                 (3)  the employee's dependent;                                                                          
18                 (4)  the employee's next of kin; or                                                                     
19 (5)  anyone otherwise entitled to recover death benefits under                                                          
20       AS 23.30.215.                                                                                                     
21 (c)  In this section, "personal representative" has the meaning given in                                                
22       AS 13.06.050.                                                                                                   
23    * Sec. 6. AS 23.30.215(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
24 (a)  If the injury causes death, the compensation is known as a death benefit                                           
25       and is payable in the following amounts to or for the benefit of the following persons:                           
26                 (1)  reasonable and necessary funeral expenses not exceeding $10,000;                                   
27 (2)  if there is a widow or widower or a child or children of the                                                       
28       deceased, the following percentages of the spendable weekly wages of the deceased:                                
29                      (A)  80 percent for the widow or widower with no children;                                         
30 (B)  50 percent for the widow or widower with one child and 40                                                          
31            percent for the child;                                                                                       
01                      (C)  30 percent for the widow or widower with two or more                                          
02            children and 70 percent divided equally among the children;                                                  
03                      (D)  100 percent for an only child when there is no widow or                                       
04            widower;                                                                                                     
05                      (E)  100 percent, divided equally, if there are two or more                                        
06            children and no widow or widower;                                                                            
07 (3)  if the widow or widower remarries, the widow or widower is                                                         
08 entitled to be paid in one sum an amount equal to the compensation to which the                                         
09 widow or widower would otherwise be entitled in the two years commencing on the                                         
10 date of remarriage as full and final settlement of all sums due the widow or widower;                                   
11 (4)  if there is no widow or widower or child or children, then for the                                                 
12 support of father, mother, grandchildren, brothers, and sisters, if dependent on                                    
13 [UPON] the deceased at the time of injury, 42 percent of the spendable weekly wage                                      
14 of the deceased to those [SUCH] beneficiaries, share and share alike, not to exceed                               
15       $100,000 [$20,000] in the aggregate;                                                                          
16 (5)  $5,000 to a surviving widow or widower, or equally divided among                                                   
17       surviving children of the deceased if there is no widow or widower; and                                       
18 (6)  if there is no widow or widower or child or children, and the                                                  
19 father, mother, grandchildren, brothers, and sisters were not dependent on the                                      
20 deceased at the time of injury, then the following amounts are payable in a lump                                    
21       sum:                                                                                                          
22 (A)  $120,000 to the surviving parent, if there is only one                                                         
23            surviving parent;                                                                                        
24 (B)  $60,000 to each surviving parent, if there are two                                                             
25            surviving parents;                                                                                       
26 (C)  $120,000 divided equally among each surviving parent,                                                          
27            if there are more than two surviving parents; or                                                         
28 (D)  $120,000 to the estate of the decedent, if there are no                                                        
29            surviving parents.                                                                                       
30    * Sec. 7. AS 23.30.215 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:                                              
31 (j)  The death benefit payable to a person who is a child under (a)(2)(D) or (E)                                        
01       of this section shall terminate five years after the person is no longer considered a                             
02       child under AS 23.30.395(8).                                                                                      
03    * Sec. 8. This Act takes effect January 1, 2020.