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SB 76: "An Act repealing the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission; relating to decisions and orders of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission; relating to superior court jurisdiction over appeals from Alaska Workers' Compensation Board decisions; repealing Rules 201.1, 401.1, and 501.1, Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure, and amending Rules 202(a), 204(a) - (c), 210(e), 601(b), 602(c) and (h), and 603(a), Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure; and providing for an effective date."

00                             SENATE BILL NO. 76                                                                          
01 "An Act repealing the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission; relating to                                             
02 decisions and orders of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission; relating to                                       
03 superior court jurisdiction over appeals from Alaska Workers' Compensation Board                                        
04 decisions; repealing Rules 201.1, 401.1, and 501.1, Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure,                                
05 and amending Rules 202(a), 204(a) - (c), 210(e), 601(b), 602(c) and (h), and 603(a),                                    
06 Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure; and providing for an effective date."                                              
07 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
08    * Section 1. AS 23.30.005 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:                                           
09            (n)  The board, in its administrative capacity, shall make available, upon                                   
10 request, the decisions and orders of the former Workers' Compensation Appeals                                           
11 Commission. Unless reversed or modified by a court, decisions of the former Workers'                                    
12 Compensation Appeals Commission have the force of legal precedent and shall stand                                       
13       instead of the order of the board from which review was taken.                                                    
01    * Sec. 2. AS 23.30.107(b) is amended to read:                                                                      
02 (b)  Medical or rehabilitation records, and the employee's name, address, social                                        
03 security number, electronic mail address, and telephone number contained on any                                         
04 record, in an employee's file maintained by the division or held by the board [OR THE                                   
05 COMMISSION] are not public records subject to public inspection and copying under                                       
06       AS 40.25.100 - 40.25.295. This subsection does not prohibit                                                       
07 (1)  the reemployment benefits administrator, the division, the board,                                                  
08 [THE COMMISSION,] or the department from releasing medical or rehabilitation                                            
09 records in an employee's file, without the employee's consent, to a physician providing                                 
10 medical services under AS 23.30.095(k) or 23.30.110(g), a party to a claim filed by                                     
11       the employee, or a governmental agency; or                                                                        
12 (2)  the quoting or discussing of medical or rehabilitation records                                                     
13 contained in an employee's file during a hearing on a claim for compensation or in a                                    
14       decision or order of the board [OR COMMISSION].                                                                   
15    * Sec. 3. AS 23.30.108(d) is amended to read:                                                                      
16 (d)  If the employee files a petition seeking a protective order to recover                                             
17 medical and rehabilitation information that has been provided but is not related to the                                 
18 employee's injury, and the board or the board's designee grants the protective order,                                   
19 the board or the board's designee granting the protective order shall direct the division,                              
20 the board, [THE COMMISSION,] and the parties to return to the employee, as soon as                                      
21 practicable following the issuance of the protective order, all medical and                                             
22 rehabilitation information, including copies, in their possession that is unrelated to the                              
23       employee's injury under the protective order.                                                                     
24    * Sec. 4. AS 23.30.108(e) is amended to read:                                                                      
25 (e)  If the board or the board's designee limits the medical or rehabilitation                                          
26 information that may be used by the parties to a claim, either by an order on the record                                
27 or by issuing a written order, the division, the board, [THE COMMISSION,] and a                                         
28 party to the claim may request and an employee shall provide or authorize the                                           
29 production of medical or rehabilitation information only to the extent of the limitations                               
30 of the order. If information has been produced that is outside of the limits designated                                 
31 in the order, the board or the board's designee shall direct the party in possession of                                 
01       the information to return the information to the employee as soon as practicable                                  
02       following the issuance of the order.                                                                              
03    * Sec. 5. AS 23.30 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                     
04 Sec. 23.30.126. Review of a board decision and order. (a) A decision and                                            
05 order of the board becomes effective when filed in the office of the board under                                        
06 AS 23.30.110. A decision and order of the board may be modified under AS 23.30.130                                      
07 or reconsidered under AS 44.62.540. A party may seek review of a decision and order                                     
08 of the board by filing with the superior court a notice of appeal under AS 44.62.560 or                                 
09       a petition for review under the Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure.                                              
10 (b)  A decision and order is not automatically stayed pending judicial review.                                          
11       A court may order a stay, in whole or in part, if a party                                                         
12                 (1)  applies for a stay;                                                                                
13 (2)  files a supersedeas bond, if required, in conformance with the                                                     
14       Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure;                                                                              
15 (3)  for a stay involving continuing future periodic compensation                                                       
16 payments, shows irreparable harm and the probability that the appeal will be decided                                    
17       adversely to the recipient on the merits; and                                                                     
18 (4)  for a stay involving a lump sum compensation payment, shows                                                        
19       irreparable harm and serious and substantial questions regarding the merits of the case.                          
20 (c)  A finding of fact made by the board as part of a decision and order shall be                                       
21 conclusive for a reviewing court if supported by substantial evidence in light of the                                   
22 whole record. To the extent that it does not conflict with the provisions of this chapter,                              
23       AS 44.62.570 applies to judicial review.                                                                          
24 (d)  The director may intervene in an appeal or petition for review. If a party is                                      
25 not represented by an attorney and a compensation order concerns an unsettled                                           
26 question of law, the director may file an appeal or petition for review to obtain a                                     
27       ruling.                                                                                                           
28    * Sec. 6. AS 23.30.155(f) is amended to read:                                                                      
29 (f)  If compensation payable under the terms of an award is not paid within 14                                          
30 days after it becomes due, there shall be added to that unpaid compensation an amount                                   
31 equal to 25 percent of the unpaid installment. The additional amount shall be paid at                                   
01 the same time as, but in addition to, the compensation, unless there is a review of the                             
02 compensation order making the award as provided under AS 23.30.126 and a court                                      
03 orders a stay of payments [AS 23.30.008 AND AN INTERLOCUTORY                                                        
04 INJUNCTION STAYING PAYMENTS IS ALLOWED BY THE COURT]. The                                                               
05 additional amount shall be paid directly to the recipient to whom the unpaid                                            
06       compensation was to be paid.                                                                                      
07    * Sec. 7. AS 39.50.200(b)(31) is amended to read:                                                                  
08                 (31)  Workers' Compensation Board (AS 23.30.005) [AND                                                   
09       WORKERS' COMPENSATION APPEALS COMMISSION (AS 23.30.007)];                                                         
10    * Sec. 8. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
11 read:                                                                                                                   
12 REPEAL OF COURT RULES. Rules 201.1, 401.1, and 501.1, Alaska Rules of                                                 
13 Appellate Procedure, are repealed.                                                                                      
14    * Sec. 9. AS 23.30.007, 23.30.008, 23.30.009, 23.30.125, 23.30.127, 23.30.128, 23.30.129,                          
15 23.30.395(10); AS 39.25.110(40); AS 44.64.020(a)(12), and 44.64.020(a)(13) are repealed.                                
16    * Sec. 10. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                         
17 read:                                                                                                                   
18 INDIRECT COURT RULE AMENDMENTS. (a) The provisions of AS 23.30.126,                                                     
19 added by sec. 5 of this Act, and the repeals of AS 23.30.007, 23.30.008, 23.30.009, 23.30.125,                          
20 23.30.127, 23.30.128, and 23.30.129 in sec. 9 of this Act, have the effect of changing Rules                            
21 202(a), 204(a) - (c), 210(e), and 601(b), Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure, by repealing                             
22 the Alaska Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission and providing that appeals and                                      
23 petitions for review from decisions of the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board be brought in                             
24 superior court.                                                                                                         
25 (b)  AS 23.30.126, added by sec. 5 of this Act, has the effect of amending Rules                                        
26 602(c) and (h), Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure, by permitting the director of the                                  
27 division of workers' compensation to file an appeal or petition for review in the superior court                        
28 under specified circumstances or intervene in an appeal or petition for review in the superior                          
29 court.                                                                                                                  
30 (c)  AS 23.30.126, added by sec. 5 of this Act, has the effect of amending Rule 603(a),                                 
31 Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure, by establishing a standard for seeking a stay of                                   
01 compensation payments in an appeal filed in the superior court from a final decision of the                             
02 Alaska Workers' Compensation Board.                                                                                     
03    * Sec. 11. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                         
04 read:                                                                                                                   
05 APPLICABILITY. (a) AS 23.30.005, 23.30.007, 23.30.008, 23.30.009, 23.30.107(b),                                         
06 23.30.108(d), 23.30.108(e), 23.30.125, 23.30.127, 23.30.128, 23.30.129, 23.30.155(f),                                   
07 23.30.395(10), AS 39.25.110(40), AS 39.50.200(b)(31), and AS 44.64.020(a)(12) and (13), as                              
08 those statutes read on the day before the effective date of this Act, continue to apply to                              
09 appeals, petitions for review, and other proceedings pending before the Workers'                                        
10 Compensation Appeals Commission on or before December 1, 2019. Appeals, petitions for                                   
11 review, and other proceedings under this subsection shall be continued in the Workers'                                  
12 Compensation Appeals Commission on or before December 1, 2019.                                                          
13 (b)  AS 23.30.126, added by sec. 5 of this Act, and AS 23.30.155(f), as amended by                                      
14 sec. 6 of this Act, do not apply to appeals, petitions for review, or other proceedings under (a)                       
15 of this section.                                                                                                        
16 (c)  AS 23.30.129, as it read on the day before the effective date of this Act, applies to                              
17 appeals to the Alaska supreme court from final decisions of the Workers' Compensation                                   
18 Appeals Commission issued on or before December 1, 2019, and to petitions for review from                               
19 interlocutory decisions of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission issued on or                                    
20 before December 1, 2019.                                                                                                
21    * Sec. 12. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                         
22 read:                                                                                                                   
23 TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS. (a) Appeals, petitions for review, and other                                                   
24 proceedings that seek review of decisions and orders of the Alaska Workers' Compensation                                
25 Board and that have not been filed before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission                                  
26 before the effective date of this Act, shall be filed in the superior court on or after June 1,                         
27 2019, in accordance with AS 23.30.126, added by sec. 5 of this Act, and the filing deadlines                            
28 in AS 44.62.560 and Rule 602(a)(2), Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure.                                                
29 (b)  A party seeking review of a final Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission                                         
30 decision issued on or before December 1, 2019, shall file an appeal to the Alaska supreme                               
31 court under AS 23.30.129, and the Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure, as that statute and                              
01 those rules read on the day before the effective date of this Act. A party who seeks review of                          
02 an interlocutory decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission issued on or                                  
03 before December 1, 2019, shall file a petition for review with the Alaska supreme court under                           
04 AS 23.30.129, and the Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure, as that statute and those rules                              
05 read on the day before the effective date of this Act. Cases in which a party seeks review of a                         
06 final Alaska Workers' Compensation Board decision and order issued after a remand from the                              
07 Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission must be filed in the superior court on or after                                
08 June 1, 2019, in accordance with AS 23.30.126, added by sec. 5 of this Act.                                             
09 (c)  The power of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission to order                                                 
10 reconsideration under AS 23.30.128(f), as that section read on the day before the effective                             
11 date of this Act, expires on December 2, 2019. Requests for reconsideration pending before                              
12 the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission shall be automatically denied on                                           
13 December 2, 2019, and, notwithstanding AS 23.30.128(g), as that section read on the day                                 
14 before the effective date of this Act, the decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals                                
15 Commission becomes final on December 2, 2019. If the Workers' Compensation Appeals                                      
16 Commission ordered reconsideration but did not issue a decision on reconsideration on or                                
17 before December 1, 2019, reconsideration shall be automatically denied on December 2,                                   
18 2019, and, notwithstanding AS 23.30.128(g), as that section read on the day before the                                  
19 effective date of this Act, the original decision of the Workers' Compensation Appeals                                  
20 Commission becomes final on December 2, 2019. A party whose request for reconsideration                                 
21 was denied under this subsection and who seeks further review shall file an appeal in the                               
22 Alaska supreme court under AS 23.30.129, as that section read on the day before the effective                           
23 date of this Act, and in accordance with the Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure.                                       
24 (d)  On December 2, 2019, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission shall                                            
25 transfer the files of all appeals, petitions for review, and other proceedings that were pending                        
26 before June 1, 2019, and were not completed on or before December 1, 2019, to the superior                              
27 court, which shall assume jurisdiction under AS 22.10.020, and Rules 604(b) and 609, Alaska                             
28 Rules of Appellate Procedure. The Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission shall                                        
29 provide notice to all parties of record 30 days before it transfers a pending case, advising                            
30 parties of the transfer of jurisdiction and the effective date of the transfer. The Workers'                            
31 Compensation Appeals Commission shall prepare each record in accordance with Rule                                       
01 604(b), Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure, and mail or hand deliver the record in the                                 
02 pending case to the superior court in the judicial district where the Alaska Workers'                                   
03 Compensation Board issued the contested decision and order. If the superior court determines                            
04 that the record does not comply with Rule 604(b), Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure, the                              
05 court may return the record to the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board and direct the Alaska                             
06 Workers' Compensation Board to conform the record as may be necessary.                                                  
07    * Sec. 13. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                         
08 read:                                                                                                                   
09 TRANSITION: TERMS OF COMMISSIONERS. Notwithstanding AS 23.30.007(e),                                                    
10 as repealed by sec. 9 of this Act, the terms of the members appointed to the Workers'                                   
11 Compensation Appeals Commission expire December 31, 2019.                                                               
12    * Sec. 14. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                         
13 read:                                                                                                                   
14       CONDITIONAL EFFECT. This Act takes effect only if secs. 8 and 10 of this Act                                      
15 receive the two-thirds majority vote of each house required by art. IV, sec. 15, Constitution of                        
16 the State of Alaska.                                                                                                  
17    * Sec. 15. If this Act takes effect under sec. 14 of this Act, it takes effect June 1, 2019.