Legislature(2003 - 2004)
2004-02-16 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2004-02-16 House Journal Page 2610 HB 488 HOUSE BILL NO. 488 by the House Rules Committee by request of the Governor, entitled: "An Act relating to actionable claims against state employees; relating to the state's defense and indemnification of its employees and former employees with respect to claims arising out of conduct that is within the scope of employment; amending the Public Employment Relations Act regarding claims against the state or state employees; and providing for an effective date." was read the first time and referred to the Labor & Commerce and Judiciary Committees. The following fiscal note(s) apply: 1. Zero, Dept. of Law 2004-02-16 House Journal Page 2611 The Governor's transmittal letter dated February 13, 2004, follows: "Dear Speaker Kott: Under the authority of article III, section 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to: (1) indemnification of tort claims against state employees; and (2) the attorney general's decision whether to indemnify an employee and arbitration of that decision. Current Alaska law addresses lawsuits against the state in AS 09.50.250. However, the statutes fail to address a core concept of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Under the FTCA, if a lawsuit is filed against a federal employee, and the attorney general of the United States certifies the employee was acting in the scope of employment, the United States is substituted as the defendant for the employee. The individual employee is no longer a defendant in the case. This bill adds this critical concept to Alaska law. This bill would allow state employees to carry out their duties knowing that if there is a lawsuit filed against them for an act or omission within the scope of their employment, the lawsuit will not proceed against them as an individual. They will not be subject to the burdens court rules place on a "party" including being subject to an award of costs and fees to a prevailing party. The public would benefit as services would not be interrupted while state employees participate in lawsuits. The bill would further provide that the decision of the attorney general whether to indemnify an employee is not subject to arbitration. An employee who is denied indemnification can contest that decision in the courts. I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure. Sincerely yours, /s/ Frank H. Murkowski Governor"