Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/16/1994 01:05 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  SENATE BILL NO. 141                                                          
       "An  Act  extending workers'  compensation  coverage to                 
       certain   high   school   students   in   uncompensated                 
       work-study programs."                                                   
  Co-Chair  Larson provided  members  with proposed  committee                 
  substitute, work  draft 8-LS0355\Q,  dated 3/23/94 (copy  on                 
  JOSH FINK, STAFF, SENATOR KELLY  testified in support of  SB                 
  141.  He noted that current law allows students enrolled for                 
  credit at a  public high school  in a course which  combines                 
  academic instruction with work experience outside the school                 
  for a public or private nonprofit employer to be an employee                 
  of  the state for workers' compensation  purposes.  The bill                 
  would broaden  coverage so  that all  students participating                 
  for  no  financial compensation  in  on-the-job-training, as                 
  part of an  academic program would  be covered.  This  would                 
  provide  workers'  compensation  coverage  to  students  who                 
  participate in automotive  maintenance, welding,  carpentry,                 
  and various other work study programs.                                       
  Mr.  Fink  noted   that  the  bill   was  amended  so   that                 
  uncompensated students injured  at the worksite, in  a work-                 
  study  program,  are  considered  state  employees  for  the                 
  purpose   of   medical    benefits   only   under   workers'                 
  compensation.  Uncompensated students who are injured  would                 
  not receive  compensation for lost wages as they received no                 
  compensation for the work study.                                             
  Mr. Fink noted that the  proposed committee substitute would                 
  provide the exclusive liability provision  to the work site,                 
  school district and  to the state.   He noted that  no claim                 
  has ever been filed under current statutes.                                  
  Representative Brown referred to page 1, lines 11 - 14.  Mr.                 
  Fink explained  that school  districts want  to  be able  to                 
  offer  activities  such  as  automotive  body shop,  but  be                 
  protected from liability.                                                    
  further explained that the purpose of exclusive liability in                 
  the state of Alaska is to provide, without proving fault, to                 
  the injured party medical payments  and if they were  making                 
  wages, lost wages.  The legislation clarifies that the state                 
  of  Alaska  bares  the  financial  responsibility   for  the                 
  situation.  The  Department of  Education would prefer  that                 
  the student be  employees of the school  district sponsoring                 
  the  activity  or   of  the  employer  providing   the  work                 
  experience.  He noted that under the legislation there would                 
  be no limitation  of state liability.  He noted  that if the                 
  legislation is passed the Department  of Education will seek                 
  a way to bill  the expense to the district  participating in                 
  the program.                                                                 
  Mr. Guiley discussed student work experience at the Kotzebue                 
  Technical Center and AVETEC.  He clarified that students not                 
  working  for a  salary  are covered  by school  districts as                 
  voluntary   employees   under   a  $200.0   hundred   dollar                 
  endorsement to their workers' compensation policy.  He noted                 
  that self insured districts cannot buy volunteer endorsement                 
  policies.    Salaried  students  must   be  covered  by  the                 
  employer's policy.                                                           
  Representative  Parnell  observed  that  employers  are  not                 
  willing to shoulder  the cost  of increased  premiums.   Mr.                 
  Fink  agreed  that  employers  do  not  have  protection  of                 
  workers' compensation statutes.                                              
  Mr. Fink reiterated that the legislation would allow medical                 
  costs without compensation.  He asserted that  there has not                 
  been a previous claim filed by a student.                                    
  In response to a question by Representative Martin, Mr. Fink                 
  noted  that  the  Department of  Education  has  submitted a                 
  fiscal note for $24.0  thousand dollars.  He noted  that the                 
  fiscal note is  an estimate of  actual costs.  He  suggested                 
  that the fiscal estimation is high.                                          
  Co-Chair  Larson MOVED  to  ADOPT  work draft,  #8-LS0355\Q,                 
  dated 3/23/94 (copy on file).   There being no OBJECTION, it                 
  was so ordered.                                                              
  Representative  Foster MOVED to report CSHB 141 (FIN) out of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.  There being no OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
  HCS CSSB 141  (FIN) was reported  out of Committee with  "no                 
  recommendation" and with two fiscal  impact notes one by the                 
  Department of Administration  and one  by the Department  of                 
  Education; and with a zero fiscal  note by the Department of                 
  Commerce and Economic Development.                                           

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