Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/16/1994 01:05 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 file). 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 7 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. DUANE GUILEY, FINANCE DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 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 8 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.