Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

02/21/2017 01:30 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
01:31:19 PM Start
01:32:18 PM HB126
02:10:03 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
*+ HB 126 ORGANIZED MILITIA: WORKERS COMPENSATION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Public/Invited> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
   HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                  
                       February 21, 2017                                                                                        
                           1:31 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Chris Tuck, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Vice Chair                                                                                     
Representative Justin Parish                                                                                                    
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                    
Representative Dan Saddler                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 126                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to workers' compensation benefits for members                                                                  
of the organized militia."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 126                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ORGANIZED MILITIA: WORKERS COMPENSATION                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
02/15/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/15/17       (H)       MLV, L&C                                                                                               
02/21/17       (H)       MLV AT 1:30 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT DOEHL, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                               
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 126.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT JORDAN, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Risk Management                                                                                                     
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding HB 126.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:31:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CHRIS TUCK  called the House Special  Committee on Military                                                             
and   Veterans'   Affairs  meeting   to   order   at  1:31   p.m.                                                               
Representatives Parish,  Spohnholz, Rauscher,  Reinbold, Saddler,                                                               
and  Tuck were  present at  the  call to  order.   Representative                                                               
LeDoux arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
         HB 126-ORGANIZED MILITIA: WORKERS COMPENSATION                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:32:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  announced that  the only order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 126,  "An Act  relating to  workers' compensation                                                               
benefits for members of the organized militia."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  TUCK stated  that his  office  has been  working with  the                                                               
Department of Military  & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)  on changes to                                                               
Title 26 and HB 126 is part of  those changes.  He noted that the                                                               
bill would  extend workers' compensation  benefits to  members of                                                               
the organized [militia] while they  are participating in training                                                               
exercises.     Currently,   military  members   participating  in                                                               
exercises  and drills  are covered  by workers'  compensation but                                                               
are not covered during training  components.  He relayed that the                                                               
issue  came to  light during  an incident  when a  member of  the                                                               
Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF)  suffered a leg injury during a                                                               
training exercise making him unable  to work [at his/her civilian                                                               
job].   Since workers' compensation  does not extend  to training                                                               
exercises, the injury ultimately cost  the state more than double                                                               
the amount  of the entire  ASDF annual budget.   He said  that HB                                                               
126  is  a  cost-savings bill;  extending  workers'  compensation                                                               
during training  would not  cost the  state additional  money and                                                               
has the potential to save the state money in the future.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:34:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER mentioned  that Alaska  Statute allows  a                                                               
chair to introduce a  bill as a committee bill if  a motion to do                                                               
so is  supported by the committee.   He asked when  the committee                                                               
voted to introduce HB 126 as a committee bill.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK responded  that the vote was on a  Tuesday.  He stated                                                               
that there was a  blanket vote to allow the Title  26 bills to be                                                               
committee bills.  He recalled  that he had allowed Representative                                                               
Saddler time to consider before the vote.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:34:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  voiced his  opposition to  the bill  as a                                                               
committee  bill being  introduced without  having had  a specific                                                               
vote in favor of committee sponsorship.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:34:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  asked Mr. Robert  Doehl if he  supports HB                                                               
126.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:34:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  DOEHL,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Military  &                                                               
Veterans' Affairs  (DMVA), testified  in support of  HB 126.   He                                                               
stated that  the bill would put  the unpaid volunteers of  ASDF -                                                               
one  of  the most  cost-effective  mechanisms  in the  state  for                                                               
providing  emergency   services  -   on  par  with   other  first                                                               
responders who  are covered by  workers' compensation while  in a                                                               
volunteer training status.  He  noted that the bill addresses the                                                               
[lack of] parity by putting  ASDF volunteers in the same category                                                               
as volunteer  firefighters and volunteer  ambulance drivers.   He                                                               
offered his belief  that HB 126 would  increase participation and                                                               
encourage members  to come out on  their own time, unpaid,  to be                                                               
trained  to help  their fellow  Alaskans  in a  possible time  of                                                               
need.  He stated that although  injury issues are rare - the last                                                               
one was  in 2012 -  HB 126 would  provide a more  expeditious and                                                               
cost-effective  resolution  when such  issues  arise.   The  bill                                                               
would avoid the  costs of litigation such as  attorneys' fees and                                                               
compensation for pain and suffering  that is not paid by workers'                                                               
compensation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:36:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  asked  for details  about  the  vetting                                                               
process  for  those  in  training.   He  stated  his  worry  that                                                               
[individuals  in training]  might  report an  existing injury  as                                                               
though it were received during training.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DOEHL  responded  that  the  vetting  process  is  two-fold:                                                               
individuals are  asked if they are  fit to train, and  they get a                                                               
sports  physical by  a  physician if  any  question arises  about                                                               
their fitness.   He stated that the physicals  are basic, similar                                                               
to scout master  physicals, which certify that  an individual can                                                               
perform a  certain level of activity.   He explained that  in the                                                               
application  process and  during his/her  service, a  person must                                                               
indicate  whether   he/she  has   any  physical   limitations  to                                                               
performing duties.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER asked  if  the  aforementioned case  [of                                                               
injury] is the only case in history.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOEHL answered  that this is the only case  the department is                                                               
aware  of  where a  claim  was  made,  although there  have  been                                                               
scrapes and  bruises along the  way.   He remarked, "Our  goal in                                                               
looking  at this  claim is  to  address this  impediment for  the                                                               
future  ... before  it could  get very  costly very  fast in  the                                                               
event of a more serious injury."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:39:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked how many  people HB 126  would cover                                                               
through  workers'  compensation.     She  remarked,  "I'm  always                                                               
concerned about  doing what's right for  the ... worker.   And as                                                               
an attorney  who represented workers,  I was often looking  for a                                                               
way  to get  somebody out  of workers'  compensation because  the                                                               
benefits provided by workers' compensation  are so much less than                                                               
the benefits  provided through common law  negligence." She asked                                                               
if most  people are currently  able to get compensated  for their                                                               
injuries.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOEHL  responded, "I think  we recognize there's  always that                                                               
balance between  workers' compensation to a  worker that provides                                                               
certainty  of recovery  compared  to litigation  and  ... a  tort                                                               
action  which would  provide for  a potential  greater recovery."                                                               
He expressed  that with litigation  there is  a gamble in  what a                                                               
jury would  decide.   He offered  his belief  that the  number of                                                               
injury  cases that  would  be  litigated would  be  minimal.   He                                                               
opined  that  [HB  126]  would be  more  equitable  in  providing                                                               
recovery for injuries  of ASDF members that  are not economically                                                               
viable in tort.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:41:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  drew attention  to the second  paragraph of  the foot                                                               
note  of   the  Department   of  Administration's   fiscal  note,                                                               
identified  as  HB126-DOA-DRM-02-16-17,  which  read  as  follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The organized militia has  approximately 76 members and                                                                    
     DMVA anticipates  2 days a  month for training  as well                                                                    
     as 4 days  a year for exercises.  This limited exposure                                                                    
     should add very little, if  any, additional risk to the                                                                    
     division's workers' compensation selfinsured program;                                                                      
     therefore, Risk Management submits a zero fiscal note.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:42:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked how much  of an ASDF  member's time                                                               
is considered training  and what the other  conditions of service                                                               
are.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOEHL  responded that in  terms of this  discussion, statuses                                                               
for  an ASDF  member would  be:   state  active duty  such as  an                                                               
operational  mission,  for  which workers'  compensation  already                                                               
applies; uncompensated  weekend training including travel  to and                                                               
from the  training event; and  volunteer time in  preparation for                                                               
training or  administrative functions for  ASDF.  He  stated that                                                               
ASDF  has  many  members  who volunteer  their  time  so  weekend                                                               
training  events  are more  effective;  he  noted  that it  is  a                                                               
minimal amount of time.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  for clarification  whether someone                                                               
activated  through  state  active  duty is  covered  by  workers'                                                               
compensation  and  someone  training  or  traveling  to  or  from                                                               
training is  not covered by workers'  compensation because he/she                                                               
is not compensated for that time.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:45:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOEHL answered, "That is correct under the status quo."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked   for  clarification  whether  the                                                               
volunteer  status is  also uncompensated  and is  not covered  by                                                               
workers' compensation.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOEHL responded, "That is correct."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked  whether the  bill  would  provide                                                               
workers' compensation coverage for weekend training.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOEHL answered yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  how  often members  go to  weekend                                                               
training.  He  asked what portion of a  person's participation in                                                               
ASDF the bill would cover.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DOEHL answered  that most  individuals train  one weekend  a                                                               
month - 24 days a year - and  go into state active duty less than                                                               
once every year.  The bill  would extend coverage for 24 days per                                                               
year per ASDF member.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked if that  amount is the same  as the                                                               
Alaska National Guard.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOEHL  answered that although the  guard is also part  of the                                                               
organized militia,  [guard members]  do not qualify  for workers'                                                               
compensation  benefits while  drill training  because there  is a                                                               
federal process comparable to workers'  compensation in the event                                                               
of an injury.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:46:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  pointed out that Sections  2 and 3 of  HB 126 include                                                               
workers'  compensation for  any time  a member  of the  organized                                                               
militia is compensated with pay.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:47:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER noted that  in the private industry there                                                               
are different hourly rates of  workers' compensation depending on                                                               
the task performed.  He  asked how much the workers' compensation                                                               
coverage under  HB 126  would cost the  Department of  Military &                                                               
Veterans' Affairs per hour, per member.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:48:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT JORDAN,  Director, Division of Risk  Management, Department                                                               
of  Administration,  answered questions  regarding  HB  126.   He                                                               
stated that it  is difficult to determine [the  cost] because the                                                               
members of  the organized militia would  be part of a  group with                                                               
limited exposure.   He  remarked, "We don't  have a  mechanism to                                                               
charge them any premium other than  if they have a claim, then we                                                               
can put  it on their  claims experience premium.   But as  far as                                                               
just an exposure of these  individuals, there is no ... mechanism                                                               
for us  to charge a  premium."   He explained that  the organized                                                               
militia  members would  be in  the same  group as  public safety,                                                               
search  and  rescue,  ambulance drivers,  or  [Emergency  Medical                                                               
Technicians] (EMTs) in unincorporated cities.   He noted that the                                                               
members would  be covered but  there would  not be a  premium per                                                               
individual.  In  response to a question, he  clarified that there                                                               
is no premium charged for this group.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:50:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked whether ASDF members  are currently                                                               
covered by the State of Alaska's self-insurance.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. JORDAN responded, "That's correct."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked how HB 126 would change that.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JORDAN answered  that under  HB 126,  ASDF members  would be                                                               
covered  during  training  missions,   which  are  currently  not                                                               
covered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER asked if  ASDF members are compensated for                                                               
training time.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. JORDAN stated that he does not know.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:50:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK drew attention to HB 126,  page 1, line 13, to page 2,                                                               
line 5, which read as follows:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     A   member  of   the  organized   militia  who,   while                                                                    
     performing  duties under  14 AS  26.05.070 or  training                                                                
     under AS  26.05.100, including transit to  and from the                                                                
     member's  home   of  record,   suffers  an   injury  or                                                                    
     disability  in the  line of  duty is  entitled   to all                                                                    
     compensation  and  benefits  available under  AS  23.30                                                                    
     (Alaska  Workers' Compensation  Act). For  a member  of                                                                    
     the  Alaska  State   Defense  Force,  compensation  and                                                                    
     benefits under  this subsection are provided  as though                                                                    
     the member were a state employee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  noted that Sections  2 and 3  of HB 126  clarify that                                                               
compensation and benefits are provided  as though the member were                                                               
a state employee.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  noted that  AS 26.05.100  describes times                                                               
when ASDF is activated.  He  stated his doubt that the benefit of                                                               
protection against risk could come without a cost.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. JORDAN  responded that [the  coverage] isn't without  a cost.                                                               
He remarked,                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Our  premiums  ...  are  calculated  by  what  we  call                                                                    
     exposure   and  experience;   exposure   is  just   the                                                                    
     individuals.   These individuals ... have  very limited                                                                    
     times where they are covered  by the State of Alaska as                                                                    
     employees.    ...  They don't  show  up  as  [full-time                                                                    
     equivalencies]  (FTEs) on  the department's  ... budget                                                                    
     each  year, so  there's no  way for  us to  calculate a                                                                    
     premium for these  individuals.  If they  have a claim,                                                                    
     however,  that  claim  amount  will  then  show  up  as                                                                    
     experience on  ... our cost  of risk allocation  out to                                                                    
     the department.   That  cost of  risk allocation  is 80                                                                    
     percent of the premium.  So,  if there is a claim, then                                                                    
     yes they would get a premium  - they'd see a premium in                                                                    
     the next  year, but they  don't see a premium  just for                                                                    
     having  these  76 individuals  on  a  limited basis  as                                                                    
     state employees.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:52:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ  offered  her  understanding  that  the                                                               
members of ASDF are unpaid volunteers.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  responded that the members  are currently                                                               
volunteers while in  training, but if the  governor activates the                                                               
ASDF, then they are paid.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  outlined that during  training, members                                                               
of ASDF  are not  paid and  there is not  a formula  to determine                                                               
compensation  or risk  experience.   She noted  that because  the                                                               
bill  deals  with  a  small   amount  [of  workers'  compensation                                                               
coverage], there is  no fiscal impact.  She  expressed her desire                                                               
to ensure that members are cared  for, especially in the event of                                                               
an individual getting injured while  in the service for the State                                                               
of Alaska enough  to not be able to work.   She acknowledged that                                                               
there is ambiguity in the future  costs of HB 126, but she stated                                                               
that a zero  fiscal note is accurate without  knowledge of future                                                               
costs.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:54:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. JORDAN responded  that on the experience  side, members would                                                               
have medical and  time-loss [coverage].  He  explained that there                                                               
is  a calculation  process for  injured  individuals which  could                                                               
come  up  with  a  time-loss   compensation  amount  and  medical                                                               
coverage amounts to "just what the medicals cost."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:55:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX assessed  that there is a  zero fiscal note                                                               
because the  state is self-insured,  meaning that the  state does                                                               
not really get charged anything.   She noted that if someone gets                                                               
hurt, then  the state  would pay  benefits and  medical expenses.                                                               
She  offered her  understanding  that paying  a  lot of  workers'                                                               
compensation  claims  could cost  less  than  one major  personal                                                               
injury  claim.   She noted  that it  might "all  wash out  in the                                                               
end,"  which could  be why  the  fiscal notes  don't mention  the                                                               
costs.   She indicated that  the fiscal notes account  for paying                                                               
insurance, although  the state doesn't  actually pay for  it, but                                                               
the notes  don't take into  account what  the state would  pay if                                                               
there is  a claim.   She expressed  her confusion about  the zero                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:57:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER offered his  understanding that the fiscal                                                               
notes  accurately describe  costs  in the  first  year but  there                                                               
could be  additional costs in  the following years which  are not                                                               
reflected in any fiscal note.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:57:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOEHL  explained that the  department can pay  for [injuries]                                                               
through workers' compensation or  litigation.  The department has                                                               
determined that it  is cheaper to pay  with workers' compensation                                                               
for  the reasons  highlighted by  Representative  LeDoux and  has                                                               
assessed a zero  cost impact.  He noted that  there has only been                                                               
one injury in the last five years.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:58:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   PARISH   considered    that   because   workers'                                                               
compensation would  only be  extended to  a small  population, HB                                                               
126  would have  no cost  without an  injury and  would cost  the                                                               
state less [in  the event of an injury] than  the current process                                                               
of litigation.   He asked how much the last  claim cost the State                                                               
of Alaska.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:59:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. JORDAN  answered that the  previous claim was $63,000  and is                                                               
the only claim of which he is aware.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:00:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  referred to a previous  comment that the                                                               
state  would  pay  [for  compensation   for  an  injury]  through                                                               
workers'  compensation or  litigation.   He noted  that the  last                                                               
claim cost the  state $63,000, and he asked what  the state would                                                               
have   paid  [had   the  injury   been  paid]   through  workers'                                                               
compensation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. JORDAN  responded that he  can't answer the  question because                                                               
the  Division  of  Risk  Management   was  not  involved  in  the                                                               
settlement.   He  offered his  understanding that  the settlement                                                               
involved medical and time-loss expenses.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER reiterated his  question:  What would the                                                               
state   have  paid   had  the   injury   gone  through   workers'                                                               
compensation?                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:01:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  TUCK  explained  that  the  state  currently  doesn't  pay                                                               
anything until an  injury is litigated; the  legal costs, medical                                                               
claims, restitution,  and possible retraining vary  on a case-by-                                                               
case  basis.   He stated  that HB  126 would  cover ASDF  members                                                               
during training.   He noted  that there may  never be a  set rate                                                               
for  the coverage  because members  of ASDF  would be  part of  a                                                               
larger group  of employees, which  would make it hard  to isolate                                                               
the effect of one set of individuals.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER noted that  the process is different from                                                               
the private industry where payment is always in advance.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:03:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   responded  to   Representative  Parish's                                                               
comment.   She  explained that  if  an individual  is covered  by                                                               
workers'  compensation, then  there is  no option  for litigation                                                               
later on:   Workers' compensation is the sole remedy.   She noted                                                               
that  workers' compensation  is  supposed to  be  guaranteed -  a                                                               
benefit over  litigating a  claim where  damages might  be larger                                                               
but  are   uncertain.    She  remarked,   "In  reality,  workers'                                                               
compensation, in my experience, has not  been a sure thing.  I've                                                               
never   seen  a   claim  which   was   not  controverted   almost                                                               
automatically."  She said she  is not impressed with the workers'                                                               
compensation system  on behalf of  employees and  acknowledged it                                                               
has problems for employers as well.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:04:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER offered  his understanding  that Alaska's                                                               
workers' compensation costs are among  the highest in the nation.                                                               
He  noted that  the administration's  stated goal  is to  add 250                                                               
more members to  ASDF.  He asked if the  additional members would                                                               
cause different predictions in the cost to the state.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:05:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. JORDAN  answered probably  not.  He  explained that  it would                                                               
depend whether  the new  members do  more training  and exercises                                                               
than members  are doing.   The members  are currently  covered if                                                               
called [to  active duty] by  the governor.  He  reemphasized that                                                               
HB 126 would  extend workers' compensation to  the limited number                                                               
of days of additional training.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER   offered  his  understanding   that  the                                                               
administration  envisions adding  three  battalions  in the  Bush                                                               
farther  from emergency  services, where  risks would  be higher.                                                               
He asked  what provisions are  currently in place to  address the                                                               
death of a  member during training and how  those provision might                                                               
change under HB 126.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. JORDAN explained  that if a member died during  a call-out by                                                               
the governor,  he/she would be  covered by  workers' compensation                                                               
death benefits.  He noted  that members in training are currently                                                               
not  covered   by  workers'  compensation;  therefore,   a  fatal                                                               
accident in training would not be covered.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:06:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER asked  whether rates  would increase  if                                                               
there is an injury in the future.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. JORDAN answered yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER asked  if the  [legislature] can  revoke                                                               
coverage in the future if rates become too high.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. JORDAN  responded that if HB  126 passes, the state  would be                                                               
required to cover members of ASDF during training missions.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER noted  that injuries  have happened  and                                                               
could happen again.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:08:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK explained that the  state is self-insured and pays the                                                               
direct  costs as  injuries  happen.   He  asked whether  covering                                                               
injuries through  workers' compensation  is the preferred  way to                                                               
pay.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:08:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK opened public testimony on HB 126.  After                                                                            
ascertaining that there was no one who wished to testify, he                                                                    
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:09:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK announced that HB 126 was held over.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:10:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting was                                                                 
adjourned at 2:10 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB126 Fiscal Note-MVA-COM 2.17.17.pdf HMLV 2/21/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 126
HB126 Fiscal Note-DOLWD-WC 2.17.17.pdf HMLV 2/21/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 126
HB126 Sponsor Statement 2.17.17.pdf HMLV 2/21/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 126
HB126 Fiscal Note-DOA 2.20.17.pdf HMLV 2/21/2017 1:30:00 PM
HB 126