Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

05/02/2006 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 392 SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AUTHORITIES TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 392(L&C) am Out of Committee
+ HB 382 RECORKING WINE SERVED WITH A MEAL TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 382 Out of Committee
+ HCR 34 ALASKA AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS FOR TOURISTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved HCR 34 am Out of Committee
HCR 4 METH WATCH PROGRAM
Moved CSHCR 4(JUD) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Including But Not Limited to:
+= HB 150 LICENSING RADIOLOGIC TECHNICIANS TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS CSHB 150(L&C) Out of Committee
+= HB 31 WORKERS' COMP: DISEASE PRESUMPTION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 241 JOINT INSURANCE ARRANGEMENTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 241(L&C) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                        
                          May 2, 2006                                                                                           
                           1:37 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Con Bunde, Chair                                                                                                        
Senator Ralph Seekins, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Ben Stevens                                                                                                             
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 150(FIN) am                                                                                               
"An   Act  requiring   licensure  of   occupations  relating   to                                                               
radiologic  technology, radiation  therapy, and  nuclear medicine                                                               
technology; and providing for an effective date."                                                                               
     MOVED SCS CSHB 150(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 31(FIN)                                                                            
"An Act  relating to the  presumption of coverage for  a workers'                                                               
compensation  claim  for  disability   as  a  result  of  certain                                                               
diseases for certain occupations."                                                                                              
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 241                                                                                                             
"An  Act relating  to modifying  the qualifications  required for                                                               
workers' compensation self-insurance  and permitting employers in                                                               
the same  trade or industry  to form an employer  association for                                                               
self-insured  workers' compensation  coverage; and  providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
     MOVED CSSB 241(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 392(L&C) am                                                                                               
"An  Act authorizing  the establishment  of regional  solid waste                                                               
management authorities."                                                                                                        
     MOVED CSHB 392(L&C) am OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 382                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to recorking,  sealing, or  packaging of  wine                                                               
served with a  meal and removal of recorked,  sealed, or packaged                                                               
wine from licensed premises."                                                                                                   
     MOVED HB 382 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 34 am                                                                                           
Relating to promoting Alaska grown produce and food products to                                                                 
the visitor industry through the Fresher By Far program.                                                                        
     MOVED HCR 34 am OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 4(JUD)                                                                                   
Encouraging the establishment of a methamphetamine watch                                                                        
program.                                                                                                                        
     MOVED CSHCR 4(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 150                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: LICENSING RADIOLOGIC TECHNICIANS                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) ANDERSON                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
02/14/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/14/05       (H)       L&C, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
02/23/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/23/05       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
03/02/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
03/02/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/02/05       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/18/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
03/18/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 150(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/18/05       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/22/05       (H)       L&C RPT CS(L&C) 2DP 1NR 2AM                                                                            
03/22/05       (H)       DP: LYNN, ANDERSON;                                                                                    
03/22/05       (H)       NR: CRAWFORD;                                                                                          
03/22/05       (H)       AM: ROKEBERG, KOTT                                                                                     
03/30/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/30/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/30/05       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
04/06/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
04/06/05       (H)       <Bill Hearing Postponed>                                                                               
04/11/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
04/11/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/11/05       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
01/27/06       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
01/27/06       (H)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
02/01/06       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/01/06       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
02/03/06       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/03/06       (H)       Moved CSHB 150(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/03/06       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/06/06       (H)       JUD RPT CS(JUD) 2DP 1DNP 2NR 1AM                                                                       
02/06/06       (H)       DP: ANDERSON, MCGUIRE;                                                                                 
02/06/06       (H)       DNP: WILSON;                                                                                           
02/06/06       (H)       NR: GARA, GRUENBERG;                                                                                   
02/06/06       (H)       AM: KOTT                                                                                               
02/13/06       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
02/13/06       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/13/06       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
02/21/06       (H)       FIN AT 3:00 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
02/21/06       (H)       Moved CSHB 150(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/21/06       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
02/27/06       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) 2DP 6NR 1AM                                                                            
02/27/06       (H)       DP: FOSTER, CHENAULT;                                                                                  
02/27/06       (H)       NR: HAWKER, JOULE, STOLTZE, KERTTULA,                                                                  
                         HOLM, MEYER;                                                                                           
02/27/06       (H)       AM: WEYHRAUCH                                                                                          
04/10/06       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/10/06       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 150(FIN) AM                                                                              
04/12/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/12/06       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
04/25/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/25/06       (S)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
04/27/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/27/06       (S)       -- Rescheduled from 04/25/06 --                                                                        
05/02/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  31                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: WORKERS' COMP: DISEASE PRESUMPTION                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) ANDERSON                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
01/10/05       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 12/30/04                                                                              
01/10/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/10/05       (H)       L&C, HES, FIN                                                                                          
02/09/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/09/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/09/05       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/04/05       (H)       SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED                                                                          
03/04/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/04/05       (H)       L&C, HES, FIN                                                                                          
03/04/05       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
03/04/05       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/04/05       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/07/05       (H)       L&C RPT 4DP 3NR                                                                                        
03/07/05       (H)       DP:    CRAWFORD,    LYNN,    GUTTENBERG,                                                               
                         ANDERSON;                                                                                              
03/07/05       (H)       NR: KOTT, LEDOUX, ROKEBERG                                                                             
03/29/05       (H)       HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/29/05       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/29/05       (H)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
04/01/05       (H)       HES RPT 2DP 1DNP 1NR                                                                                   
04/01/05       (H)       DP: ANDERSON, MCGUIRE;                                                                                 
04/01/05       (H)       DNP: WILSON;                                                                                           
04/01/05       (H)       NR: KOHRING                                                                                            
04/21/05       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/21/05       (H)       Moved CSSSHB 31(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                  
04/21/05       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/22/05       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) 3DP 4NR                                                                                
04/22/05       (H)       DP: HAWKER, CROFT, STOLTZE;                                                                            
04/22/05       (H)       NR: WEYHRAUCH, JOULE, KELLY, CHENAULT                                                                  
03/30/06       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
03/30/06       (H)       VERSION: CSSSHB 31(FIN)                                                                                
03/31/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/31/06       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
04/20/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/20/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/20/06       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
05/02/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 241                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: JOINT INSURANCE ARRANGEMENTS                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) COWDERY                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
01/18/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/06       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
03/28/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/28/06       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
03/30/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/30/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/30/06       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
05/02/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 392                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AUTHORITIES                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) WILSON                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
01/25/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/25/06       (H)       CRA, L&C                                                                                               
02/09/06       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/09/06       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/09/06       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
02/14/06       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/14/06       (H)       Moved CSHB 392(CRA) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/14/06       (H)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
02/17/06       (H)       CRA RPT CS(CRA) NT 4DP 2NR                                                                             
02/17/06       (H)       DP: CISSNA, KOTT, THOMAS, OLSON;                                                                       
02/17/06       (H)       NR: SALMON, NEUMAN                                                                                     
03/06/06       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
03/06/06       (H)       Moved CSHB 392(L&C) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/06/06       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/08/06       (H)       L&C RPT CS(L&C) 1DP 4NR 1AM                                                                            
03/08/06       (H)       DP: KOTT;                                                                                              
03/08/06       (H)       NR: CRAWFORD, LYNN, LEDOUX, GUTTENBERG;                                                                
03/08/06       (H)       AM: ROKEBERG                                                                                           
03/24/06       (H)       RETURNED TO RLS COMMITTEE                                                                              
04/12/06       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/12/06       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 392(L&C) AM                                                                              
04/13/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/13/06       (S)       CRA, L&C                                                                                               
04/19/06       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/19/06       (S)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
04/21/06       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/21/06       (S)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
04/24/06       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/24/06       (S)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
04/26/06       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/26/06       (S)       Moved CSHB 392(L&C) am Out of Committee                                                                
04/26/06       (S)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
04/27/06       (S)       CRA RPT  4DP                                                                                           
04/27/06       (S)       DP:   STEDMAN,   WAGONER,   STEVENS   G,                                                               
                         KOOKESH                                                                                                
05/02/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 382                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: RECORKING WINE SERVED WITH A MEAL                                                                                  
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) RAMRAS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
01/20/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/20/06       (H)       EDT, L&C                                                                                               
02/06/06       (H)       EDT AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/06/06       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/06/06       (H)       MINUTE(EDT)                                                                                            
02/08/06       (H)       EDT RPT 5DP                                                                                            
02/08/06       (H)       DP: COGHILL, LYNN, CRAWFORD, NEUMAN,                                                                   
                         RAMRAS                                                                                                 
02/13/06       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/13/06       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/13/06       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/15/06       (H)       L&C RPT 3DP 3AM                                                                                        
02/15/06       (H)       DP: CRAWFORD, LYNN, ANDERSON;                                                                          
02/15/06       (H)       AM: KOTT, LEDOUX, GUTTENBERG                                                                           
02/27/06       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
02/27/06       (H)       VERSION: HB 382                                                                                        
03/01/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/01/06       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
05/02/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HCR 34                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ALASKA AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS FOR TOURISTS                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF ECON. DEVEL., TRADE, & TOURISM                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
03/01/06       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/01/06       (H)       EDT                                                                                                    
03/13/06       (H)       EDT AT 5:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/13/06       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/13/06       (H)       MINUTE(EDT)                                                                                            
03/17/06       (H)       EDT RPT 5DP                                                                                            
03/17/06       (H)       DP:     LYNN,    CRAWFORD,     KERTTULA,                                                               
                         DAHLSTROM, NEUMAN                                                                                      
04/06/06       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/06/06       (H)       VERSION: HCR 34 AM                                                                                     
04/07/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/07/06       (S)       L&C                                                                                                    
05/02/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HCR  4                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: METH WATCH PROGRAM                                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) RAMRAS                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
03/04/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/04/05       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
03/15/05       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/15/05       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/15/05       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/16/05       (H)       STA RPT 7DP                                                                                            
03/16/05       (H)       DP: GARDNER, LYNN, GATTO, GRUENBERG,                                                                   
                         RAMRAS, ELKINS, SEATON                                                                                 
04/19/06       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
04/19/06       (H)       Moved CSHCR  4(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/19/06       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
04/21/06       (H)       JUD RPT CS(JUD) 6DP                                                                                    
04/21/06       (H)       DP: GARA, COGHILL, WILSON, ANDERSON,                                                                   
                         GRUENBERG, MCGUIRE                                                                                     
04/25/06       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/25/06       (H)       VERSION: CSHCR 4(JUD)                                                                                  
04/25/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/25/06       (S)       L&C, STA                                                                                               
05/02/06       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TOM ANDERSON                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 31.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HEATH HILYARD                                                                                                                   
Staff to Representative Anderson                                                                                                
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 31.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JOHN COMBS, Mayor                                                                                                               
City of Palmer                                                                                                                  
Palmer AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 31.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MIKE DAVIDSON                                                                                                                   
Paramedic and Firefighter                                                                                                       
Municipality of Anchorage                                                                                                       
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 31.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MARK ERENST, City Manager                                                                                                       
Whittier AK                                                                                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 31.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
TERRY MCFARLANE, Risk Manager                                                                                                   
North Star Borough                                                                                                              
Fairbanks AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 31.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARK DRYGAS, Battalion Chief                                                                                                    
Fairbanks Fire Department                                                                                                       
Professional Firefighters Association                                                                                           
Fairbanks AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 31.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
LARRY SEMMENS, Finance Director                                                                                                 
City of Kenai                                                                                                                   
Kenai AK                                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 31.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN SMITH, Executive Director                                                                                                 
Alaska Municipal League's Joint Insurance Association (AMLJIA),                                                                 
Anchorage AK                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 31.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PAUL LISANKIE, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Workers' Compensation                                                                                               
Department of Labor & Workforce                                                                                                 
  Development                                                                                                                   
PO Box 21149                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK 99802-1149                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 31.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PEGGY WILSON                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 392.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA ROONEY                                                                                                                  
Staff to Representative Wilson                                                                                                  
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 392 for the sponsor.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CINDY ROBERTS                                                                                                                   
Business Development Specialist                                                                                                 
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development                                                                        
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 392.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ROB ALLEN, Interim Executive Director                                                                                           
Southeast Conference                                                                                                            
Juneau AK                                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 392.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JIM POUND                                                                                                                       
Staff to Representative Jay Ramras                                                                                              
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 392 and HCR 4.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JANE PIERSON                                                                                                                    
Staff to Representative Jay Ramras                                                                                              
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HCR 34 for the sponsor.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT VOGEL                                                                                                                    
Pro-Group Management                                                                                                            
No address provided                                                                                                             
Nevada                                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 241.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LINDA HALL, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Insurance                                                                                                           
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development                                                                        
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed SB 241.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON  BUNDE called  the Senate  Labor and  Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at 1:37:26  PM. Present at the call to                                                             
order were Senators Davis, Ben Stevens and Chair Con Bunde.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
       CSHB 150(FIN) am -LICENSING RADIOLOGIC TECHNICIANS                                                                   
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR  CON  BUNDE  announced  CSHB  150(FIN)  am  to  be  up  for                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:38:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEN STEVENS moved to  adopt SCS CSHB 150(L&C) am, version                                                               
M, as the  working document. There were no objections  and it was                                                               
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HEATH HILYARD,  staff to Representative Tom  Anderson, sponsor of                                                               
HB 150,  reviewed the seven  amendments the committee  adopted in                                                               
the previous meeting that were now incorporated in the SCS.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked  the Director of the  Division of Corporations,                                                               
Businesses and  Professional Licensing, Rick Urion,  if he wanted                                                               
to comment. He answered no.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:43:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DAVIS  moved  to  report   SCS  CSHB  150(L&C)  am  from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
note. Senators Davis,  Ben Stevens and Chair Bunde  voted yea; so                                                               
SCS CSHB 150(L&C) am moved from committee.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:45:24 PM                                                                                                                    
       CSSSHB  31(FIN)-WORKERS' COMP: DISEASE PRESUMPTION                                                                   
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR  CON   BUNDE  announced  CSSSHB   31(FIN)  to  be   up  for                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TOM  ANDERSON, sponsor  of HB  31, said  he didn't                                                               
have any more information to add.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HEATH HILYARD,  staff to Representative Anderson,  added that the                                                               
sponsor's office hadn't received any new materials.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
JOHN COMBS,  Mayor, City of  Palmer, said he had  previously been                                                               
in  the  insurance business  for  23  years.  He noted  that  his                                                               
brother, Michael  Combs, as president  of the  Alaska Independent                                                               
Insurance Agents and Brokers, wrote  a letter in opposition to HB                                                               
31.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR COMBS  said the primary  problem in putting the  impetus on                                                               
the municipality  for presumption  of illness in  certain classes                                                               
of occupations is that the  municipalities' attorneys and doctors                                                               
would have no  defense to prove someone didn't  develop a disease                                                               
on the job. He thought the  intent of this legislation was noble,                                                               
but medical coverage  is already available to his  workers and it                                                               
is  much more  appropriate  than workers'  compensation in  cases                                                               
where something is  done over a period of time  and it's presumed                                                               
that it was because of the job.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:48:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BUNDE asked if Palmer has a city fire department.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR COMBS replied yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked if they  have good health insurance coverage in                                                               
addition to workers' compensation.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR COMBS replied yes. He  explained that workers' compensation                                                               
was designed  for incidents that  were sudden and  accidental and                                                               
so the  employee doesn't have  to sue the employer  for coverage.                                                               
Adopting this legislation would  make workers' compensation rates                                                               
go up and  prescreening could also lead to  big problems, because                                                               
the municipality currently doesn't do that for any employee.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:50:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BUNDE  asked  if  a   firefighter  in  his  community  was                                                               
diagnosed with  lung cancer and  this bill passed, at  what point                                                               
would he decide it goes to workers' compensation.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR COMBS replied  that person would be on medical  leave if he                                                               
developed lung  cancer; a workers'  compensation claim  would not                                                               
be submitted.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked if passing this bill would make that possible.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR COMBS replied yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE wanted  to know if he would still  have the option to                                                               
use  the  health  insurance  and  would  it  automatically  be  a                                                               
workers' compensation claim.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAYOR COMBS  replied no; workers' compensation  covers sudden and                                                               
accidental and on-the-job claims.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:52:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE DAVIDSON, Professional Firefighters  Association, said he is                                                               
a firefighter and paramedic in  the Municipality of Anchorage. He                                                               
was testifying on the municipalities'  behalf today. He wanted to                                                               
correct some erroneous statements that  have been made. The first                                                               
was  that this  bill requires  medical screening,  but it  simply                                                               
says  if  your  city  doesn't   do  medical  screening  prior  to                                                               
employment,  you don't  qualify for  the presumption.  No one  in                                                               
that   city  would   qualify.   However,   he  encouraged   those                                                               
municipalities  to  start  doing medical  screenings  anyhow  for                                                               
things  like  hepatitis,  tuberculosis and  AIDS,  because  those                                                               
employees are  frequently interacting  with the public,  often in                                                               
medical settings,  and he felt the  public had a right  to ensure                                                               
that those employees were disease-free.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DAVIDSON said  he  has  also heard  that  the employees  can                                                               
acquire these  illnesses through  the course  of their  work, but                                                               
here  are ways  to avoid  exposures  prior to  engaging in  those                                                               
activities. In  his line of  work, despite the best  efforts, the                                                               
largest  exposure  to disease  still  occurs  through their  skin                                                               
system. He  elaborated that he  can't wear a plastic  suit around                                                               
his body  when he goes  into a  fire, because the  temperature is                                                               
somewhere between the temperature of  your oven and 2000 F. Every                                                               
time  he  is  in  those  atmospheres,  he  is  exposed  to  known                                                               
carcinogens at a rate much higher than the general public.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Some testimony said that other  people can acquire these diseases                                                               
and that is true,  but many of them do not  acquire them at rates                                                               
like 319  percent greater than  the average populace  for bladder                                                               
cancer, 270  percent greater than  a healthy populace  of workers                                                               
for leukemia, and 227 percent  greater than a healthy populace of                                                               
workers for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He concluded:                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     It's clear  from those rates that  certainly there must                                                                    
     be  some connection  and the  connection  in that  case                                                                    
     would  be that  all those  people acquiring  those much                                                                    
     greater rates were firefighters  versus people who were                                                                    
     not.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DAVIDSON said  he understood  employers' concerns  that this                                                               
could  cause  an  increase  in their  insurance  rates;  he  also                                                               
understood  them to  say  they want  the  firefighters and  their                                                               
families to bear these costs.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He agreed  that, as Mayor Combs  said, there would be  no way for                                                               
the employer  to defend himself,  but there  would be no  way for                                                               
him  under  the current  system  to  defend himself  particularly                                                               
given  the resources  that would  be limited  essentially to  his                                                               
family. As the head of his  family, he has a limited lifespan and                                                               
his choice is to either spend  it with his family versus fighting                                                               
the red tape of the system.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
He supplied  the committee  with examples  of claim  numbers from                                                               
other communities as follows: according  to Joseph Martin, Deputy                                                               
Director   of   the   Public  Employee   Retirement   Agency   in                                                               
Massachusetts,  when  cancer  provisions were  enacted  in  their                                                               
retirements,  over   a  four-year   period,  the  state   had  15                                                               
disability claims and 19 death  benefit claims. Massachusetts had                                                               
14,500 career  and 11,000 volunteer  firefighters for  an average                                                               
claim  rate  of .03  percent.  Dave  Dubois with  the  California                                                               
Department  of  Contract  Services stated  that  when  California                                                               
passed similar  legislation, it had  63,000 firefighters  with an                                                               
average  claim  rate of  .07  percent.  Bob Hollander,  Executive                                                               
Director, Oklahoma  Firefighters Pension Retirement  System, said                                                               
Oklahoma has  12,420 firefighters with  an average claim  rate of                                                               
.03 percent. These all result  in an average predicted claim rate                                                               
of .034 percent.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Alaska   has    approximately   1,000   career    and   volunteer                                                               
firefighters,  many  of  whom, because  they  don't  have  health                                                               
screening or don't  have ten years of service,  would not qualify                                                               
for any  of this coverage.  But if  all those qualified  for this                                                               
coverage, the  average predicted  claim rate  would be  less than                                                               
one firefighter per year and  approximately one firefighter every                                                               
three years. The  cost per claim would be much  more difficult to                                                               
determine and he couldn't come up  with figures that he felt were                                                               
accurate at this time.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:58:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK  ERENST,   City  Manager,  Whittier,  shared   Mayor  Combs'                                                               
concerns  with  increasing  the  cost  of  workers'  compensation                                                               
insurance,  which is  the biggest  component of  his budget.  His                                                               
city has had large tax increases  just to maintain the status quo                                                               
for  providing local  services. For  instance in  the last  year,                                                               
moorage fees  went up 50 percent,  water and sewer rates  went up                                                               
65 percent  and an ordinance  would go  before the voters  in the                                                               
next election  asking to increase  property tax by 140  percent -                                                               
all just to deal with the status quo.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERENST  said that the presumption  in HB 31 goes  too far and                                                               
that  health insurance  was the  proper avenue  for dealing  with                                                               
non-work related injuries.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:01:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BUNDE  asked  him  to   estimate  how  much  his  workers'                                                               
compensation premium would increase with passage of this bill.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERENST  replied that he would  get those figures for  him. He                                                               
said Whittier is one of  the smallest municipalities in the state                                                               
that  has a  property  tax and  any serious  claim  would have  a                                                               
tremendous impact on it.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:02:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BUNDE  asked  if  its health  plan  included  a  long-term                                                               
disability option.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. ERENST replied  yes. It has the same program  as the State of                                                               
Alaska - at no cost to the employee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:02:49 PM                                                                                                                    
TERRY MCFARLANE, Risk Manager, North  Star Borough, was concerned                                                               
about  the increased  cost of  workers'  compensation premium  if                                                               
this  passes.   She  said  the   North  Star  Borough   has  four                                                               
volunteer/paid combination  fire departments.  Last year  it paid                                                               
about $180,000  for workers' compensation  premium and  was given                                                               
an estimate  that this measure  could raise  rates as much  as 20                                                               
percent per year.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:03:47 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK DRYGAS, Battalion Chief with  the Fairbanks Fire Department,                                                               
said he  is also president  of the statewide  Alaska Professional                                                               
Firefights Association. He pointed  out that the presumption that                                                               
already exists  in 38 other states  is only in a  small number of                                                               
cases and they  are very serious illnesses and after  a long time                                                               
of employment.  He related  a story about  Skip Causey,  who rose                                                               
through the ranks  and became a battalion chief  at the Fairbanks                                                               
Fire Department and who developed  non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was                                                               
one of  the healthiest individuals  he had ever known.  There was                                                               
no doubt  that his  disease came from  firefighting; its  rate is                                                               
four times  greater in firefighters  than the general  public. He                                                               
died after  a year and  a half battle  with the disease.  He came                                                               
under the  city health  care that was  self-funded and  it raised                                                               
the average  rate per employee  greatly. While he was  alive, the                                                               
city  tried to  provide some  light duty  employment for  him and                                                               
firefighters contributed leave to him.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     But still, there  is a big difference  between being on                                                                    
     health  care   and  being  on   workers'  compensation,                                                                    
     because  he had  no disability,  no death  benefit. For                                                                    
     months he would  be outside in hospitals.  There was no                                                                    
     coverage for  his family  for loss of  wages. It  had a                                                                    
     huge impact on  him and his primary  concern was taking                                                                    
     care  of  himself,  his  three   boys,  and  like  Mike                                                                    
     Davidson said,  there is no  time in  here to put  on a                                                                    
     legal battle  as to whether  it happened on the  job or                                                                    
     didn't.  Certainly, this  is the  only case  that I  am                                                                    
     aware  of that  would  be under  this presumption.  But                                                                    
     this would  have made a  tremendous difference  to Skip                                                                    
     Causey  and his  family. This  bill is  important; it's                                                                    
     important for  firefighters. What we do  is a dangerous                                                                    
     job....                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DRYGAS said  safeguards for  employers were  built into  the                                                               
bill. Cancer  coverage required 10  years of employment.  He said                                                               
the bill is focused on specific  diseases that have a much higher                                                               
rate amongst firefighters and couldn't be abused.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:08:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BUNDE summarized  that the difference wasn't  in the health                                                               
care, but the wages and disability benefits.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.   DRYGAS  responded   that  workers'   compensation  includes                                                               
rehabilitation provisions, but one  of the primary differences is                                                               
that is covers income from loss of work.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:09:16 PM                                                                                                                    
LARRY SEMMENS,  Finance Director, City  of Kenai, opposed  HB 31.                                                               
As with  other municipalities, it  would impose  increased costs.                                                               
It primarily would affect municipalities,  not state agencies. He                                                               
said:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Municipalities  are  already   struggling  with  rising                                                                    
     insurance  costs,  notably  workers'  compensation,  as                                                                    
     well  as health  care  costs and  PERS  costs. From  my                                                                    
     perspective, municipalities  need help from  the state,                                                                    
     not further increased costs.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He  said a  presumption  ignores other  possibilities  as to  how                                                               
those  diseases were  contracted. Why  wouldn't lifestyle  of the                                                               
employee  be considered,  for instance?  He  had the  unfortunate                                                               
experience   of  dealing   with  a   death  on-the-job   workers'                                                               
compensation  claim and  he did  not want  anyone to  be unfairly                                                               
treated for an  on-the-job accident. But they cost  $1 million to                                                               
$2  million.  That has  a  big  impact on  workers'  compensation                                                               
rates. That is why he opposed to this bill.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked if he had  an estimate of what the impact would                                                               
be on  his workers' compensation  rate would if this  bill became                                                               
law.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. DRYGAS replied he did not.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:11:48 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN  SMITH,  Executive   Director,  Alaska  Municipal  League's                                                               
Joint Insurance  Association (AMLJIA), said the  association is a                                                               
not-for-profit self-insurance  mechanism for schools,  cities and                                                               
boroughs  in  Alaska. He  said  he  also  serves on  the  Medical                                                               
Services Review Committee, a committee  that was reconstituted in                                                               
SB  130 last  year  to advise  the Department  of  Labor and  the                                                               
Alaska  Workers'  Compensation   Board  on  the  appropriateness,                                                               
necessity and  costliness of medical  care and  related services.                                                               
He said  that the  increasing costs of  medical care  continue to                                                               
hobble progress.  While the  Alaska workers'  compensation system                                                               
continues to  need reform, he opposed  HB 31. It does  nothing to                                                               
improve the situation. HB 31 really  focuses on a single class of                                                               
employees -  municipalities and  local governments.  The National                                                               
Counsel on Compensation  Insurance has set the  manual base rates                                                               
that  are used  across the  country and  estimate the  cost would                                                               
increase by  10 to 20  percent. That estimate excludes  section 2                                                               
of the bill that is retroactive.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Public safety and  rescue personnel represent one-third                                                                    
     of  Anchorage's  employees  and a  large  part  of  the                                                                    
     overall  workforce for  local  government. Raising  the                                                                    
     workers' compensation  rates by another 20  percent for                                                                    
     a third of  your workforce is a bitter  pill to swallow                                                                    
     - no  matter what community  you are in  - particularly                                                                    
     in light  of other  challenges faced  by municipalities                                                                    
     as Mr. Semmens pointed out  - PERS, TRS, tax caps, cost                                                                    
     of fuel, senior citizens tax exemptions and the like.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The   situation   is   further   complicated   by   the                                                                    
     retroactive aspect  of the bill.  Section 2  applies to                                                                    
     the presumption of coverage to  claims made on or after                                                                    
     the effective date even if  the exposure leading to the                                                                    
     occupational  disease  occurred  before  the  effective                                                                    
     date of this act.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He said that life-long liability for former employees was never                                                                 
really contemplated in the development of these rates.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     It  represents  an  unfunded  liability.  Coverage  for                                                                    
     legitimate workers' compensation  claims already exists                                                                    
     for this  class of  workers. The  statistical relevance                                                                    
     of   the   incident   rates  of   these   diseases   is                                                                    
     inconclusive  in many  instances.  Providing a  blanket                                                                    
     presumption for  communicable diseases like  AIDS, HIV,                                                                    
     TB, meningitis  and hepatitis is  also a  real stretch.                                                                    
     In  fact,  when  the  public  safety  personnel  follow                                                                    
     departmental procedures,  the incidence rate  should be                                                                    
     lower than the  general population. Cancer presumptions                                                                    
     are offered only  if the employee has been  shown to be                                                                    
     clear of cancer by a  qualifying medical exam, which is                                                                    
     a good  idea. While municipalities may  not be required                                                                    
     to  give  the medical  exam,  I  would think  employees                                                                    
     would insist on having a  medical exam in order to take                                                                    
     advantage of the presumption.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     In the past,  I had misunderstood that  EMTs might also                                                                    
     be  included in  the  medical screening.  If it's  only                                                                    
     firefighters, I  would say that  we have  roughly 5,600                                                                    
     volunteer  and professional  paid  firefighters in  the                                                                    
     state of Alaska. We tried  to pencil this out last year                                                                    
     in terms of how much  would cost per medical screening.                                                                    
     The rates  vary from  $750 to  $1,500 depending  on the                                                                    
     age  of the  applicant.  If we  say  5,600 times  $900,                                                                    
     which I  think is  probably a  low estimate  on medical                                                                    
     screening,  you're looking  at somewhere  upwards north                                                                    
     of $5  million for the  medical screening in  the first                                                                    
     year.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     The cancer  presumptions are offered  if you  have this                                                                    
     qualifying medical  exam, but if  you go to  the doctor                                                                    
     today - if any of us go  to the doctor today - there is                                                                    
     no guarantee that  we won't come out clean  and when we                                                                    
     come out clean,  there is no guarantee  we're not going                                                                    
     to have  cancer. In fact,  the American  Cancer Society                                                                    
     says there is a little less  than one out of two chance                                                                    
     for men to contract or  die of cancer in their lifetime                                                                    
     - for women,  the statistic is more than  one in three.                                                                    
     This is across all categories in all occupations.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     As  I said,  these claims  are already  covered by  the                                                                    
     workers'  compensation  system  when they  are  clearly                                                                    
     work-related,  but many  of the  illnesses contemplated                                                                    
     here  have  at  their   core  a  genetic  or  lifestyle                                                                    
     component. If  a firefighter has  a heart  attack while                                                                    
     lugging a  hose or  carrying a  pump, these  claims are                                                                    
     covered, but if a firefighter  has a heart attack three                                                                    
     days  after the  response to  a  fire, I  think it's  a                                                                    
     stretch to presume the  heart condition is job-related,                                                                    
     particularly in  light of America's  demographics where                                                                    
     we're all  getting older and  we're in  general getting                                                                    
     heavier. If  they are not  covered by the  comp system,                                                                    
     they  will  generally  be   covered  by  the  employer-                                                                    
     provided health care system.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     The  International  Association of  Firefighters  Union                                                                    
     also  makes  available   a  catastrophic  health  plan.                                                                    
     Therefore, if  passed, this bill would  assure that the                                                                    
     cost  shifts  from   the  employer-provided  or  union-                                                                    
     provided health  care system to the  less-efficient and                                                                    
     more expensive workers' compensation system.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:18:57 PM                                                                                                                    
     You  have  heard  that 38  other  states  have  similar                                                                    
     legislation. To be more  accurate, that number includes                                                                    
     states  where   these  presumptions  are   included  in                                                                    
     pension and  retirement plans.  Up until  recently, the                                                                    
     Anchorage police and  firefighter pension plan included                                                                    
     an   occupational   disability   for   a   heart   lung                                                                    
     presumption.  As  best as  I  can  determine, the  real                                                                    
     number   of   states    whose   workers'   compensation                                                                    
     presumption   -  it's   a  workers'   comp  presumption                                                                    
     - is closer to nine.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     I think  I speak for  all the municipalities  in Alaska                                                                    
     when I say  municipalities appreciate our firefighters,                                                                    
     our  EMTs,  our  policemen. However,  the  coverage  is                                                                    
     already  in place  for legitimate  claims. The  cost of                                                                    
     complying  with   presumption  in  this   bill  without                                                                    
     providing   the  accompanying   funding  must   not  be                                                                    
     ignored. It's for these reasons that we oppose HB 31.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:19:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEN  STEVENS asked if  this subject was discussed  in the                                                               
Medical Services Review Committee for workers' compensation.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SMITH replied no.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEN  STEVENS asked if the  statistic that one in  two men                                                               
die from cancer referred to men in general or just firefighters.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. SMITH  replied that  statistic was  from the  American Cancer                                                               
Society's  website. It  referred to  men across  all occupations.                                                               
Cancer  and heart  disease are  problems for  all Americans,  not                                                               
just firefighters.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEN STEVENS  asked him to explain what he  meant by death                                                               
and disability  coverage is available now  for presumption causes                                                               
in the retirement and pension plans  of 38 states versus the nine                                                               
states.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. SMITH explained that Mr.  Drygas testified that 38 states had                                                               
passed legislation  similar to  HB 31,  but as  best as  he could                                                               
determine,  those  38  states are  inclusive  of  retirement  and                                                               
pension  plans, not  a peer  workers' compensation  presumption -                                                               
the type  of workers'  compensation that  was considered  in just                                                               
nine other states.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEN STEVENS  asked  if there  could be  an  option in  a                                                               
retirement  plan to  buy additional  coverage for  getting cancer                                                               
later in life.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SMITH  replied  that  it's  not  so  much  an  option  as  a                                                               
negotiated  item in  the pensions  themselves.  For example,  the                                                               
Anchorage firefighter  and police pension  plan has a  heart lung                                                               
disability.  Then they  moved to  the PERS  system and  he didn't                                                               
know  if  that same  disability  existed  under that  system.  He                                                               
mentioned  that he  could  almost guarantee  that  any new  hires                                                               
under Tier  4 would not be  offered a pension that  included that                                                               
occupational disability.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:23:16 PM                                                                                                                    
PAUL  LISANKIE,  Director,  Division  of  Workers'  Compensation,                                                               
Department of  Labor and Workforce  Development (DOLWD),  said he                                                               
wasn't sure if long-term disability  was available. He knew there                                                               
were   non-occupational   disability   provisions  as   well   as                                                               
occupational.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He said he wanted them to  base this serious policy decision on a                                                               
clear understanding  of what exists  and how it would  change. He                                                               
said  it  is   not  absolutely  correct  to   say  that  workers'                                                               
compensation is only aimed at traumatic injuries.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Since  1959,   our  definition  of  injury   under  the                                                                    
     Workers'  Compensation  Act has  included  occupational                                                                    
     diseases.  The   way  I  would  characterize   it,  Mr.                                                                    
     Chairman  and members  of the  committee, is  that this                                                                    
     would kind  of stand  on its  head how  an occupational                                                                    
     disease is proven  and who has to  prove it. Currently,                                                                    
     if  someone wants  to make  a claim  that they  have an                                                                    
     occupational disease, they have  to carry the burden of                                                                    
     proof to  persuade someone that the  disease was caused                                                                    
     by the  conditions of their  employment and  that those                                                                    
     employment conditions  carry with  them a  greater risk                                                                    
     of incurring  that disease than  those that  prevail in                                                                    
     employment  and  living  conditions generally.  As  you                                                                    
     might expect,  that can be  a very difficult  burden to                                                                    
     carry. It  takes some evidence  and when you  deal with                                                                    
     some of  these diseases  that we're talking  about, I'm                                                                    
     not sure  that science  really understands  what causes                                                                    
     them definitively anyway.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     What the bill would do  is, in essence, take four major                                                                    
     groups of  diseases and  say, as a  matter of  law, for                                                                    
     the two  groups that are  impacted by this  bill, these                                                                    
     diseases  are  occupational   diseases.  So,  it  would                                                                    
     remove the burden of making  that association. It would                                                                    
     be  made   by  matter   of  law  to   their  employment                                                                    
     conditions. And  then it would  require that  to defeat                                                                    
     such  a  claim  for  benefits, that  the  self  insured                                                                    
     employer  or the  insurer, as  the case  may be,  would                                                                    
     have  to  come  forward  with a  preponderance  of  the                                                                    
     evidence -  essentially to prove  to someone  that it's                                                                    
     more   likely  than   not   -   not  withstanding   the                                                                    
     presumption that it's not caused by the work.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     I think it's unfair to  characterize the bill as saying                                                                    
     that  the self-insured  employers or  insurers have  no                                                                    
     capability of defeating the  claim. I might personally,                                                                    
     based  on my  experience,  say that  it's  going to  be                                                                    
     difficult,  but I  don't think  that it's  fair to  say                                                                    
     that  it's impossible,  because  the  sponsor has  made                                                                    
     sure to  put in  the bill that  the presumption  may be                                                                    
     rebutted by  a preponderance  of the evidence  and that                                                                    
     evidence   could  include   personal  use   of  tobacco                                                                    
     products,   physical    fitness,   weight,   lifestyle,                                                                    
     hereditary factors  and the other things  that you have                                                                    
     heard  from   the  some  of  the   testimony  that  are                                                                    
     associated with  some of these diseases.  So, while I'm                                                                    
     not trying  to minimize  how difficult  it might  be to                                                                    
     rebut such  a presumption,  the sponsor has  given them                                                                    
     an opportunity to address it.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:27:49 PM                                                                                                                    
     There has also  been some testimony about  the, I guess                                                                    
     I would  call it,  the four  groups of  conditions that                                                                    
     the bill  envisions becoming occupational  diseases and                                                                    
     what  you  have to  do  to  bring yourself  under  that                                                                    
     presumption. I would like to clarify a few points.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     The  four  groups  of   conditions  are  -  respiratory                                                                    
     disease is  one, certain cardio vascular  events within                                                                    
     a 72-hour period is the  second, certain cancers is the                                                                    
     third and  certain infectious  diseases is  the fourth.                                                                    
     Only one  of them,  the certain cancer  one is  the one                                                                    
     that requires  that you have  X-number of years of  - I                                                                    
     believe it's  10 years of  experience - on the  job and                                                                    
     some  type of  a  baseline physical  to  establish -  I                                                                    
     presume in the absence of that condition.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     The other, as  I read the bill, the others  do not have                                                                    
     either a requirement for a  baseline examination of any                                                                    
     sort  or a  requirement that  it only  happen after  so                                                                    
     many years.  That, in  my experience,  is a  little bit                                                                    
     different than  some of the  states that I  was looking                                                                    
     at when I did try and educate myself on this....                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     I would also  like to clarify one thing  that's come up                                                                    
     in  some of  the testimony.  As I  read the  bill under                                                                    
     that  list   of  certain  cancers  that   would  become                                                                    
     occupational  diseases,  lung  cancer is  not  on  that                                                                    
     list. So,  while I  don't want to  say the  entirety of                                                                    
     the  testimony  about  the  concerns  about  cancer  is                                                                    
     erroneous, it  just so happens  that lung cancer,  as I                                                                    
     read the bill, is like  one cancer that is not actually                                                                    
     subject to the  presumption you are being  asked to put                                                                    
     in law.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The  two   groups  that  are  affected   are  obviously                                                                    
     firefighters. They get the presumption  for all four of                                                                    
     these disease groups  and then there is  a final group,                                                                    
     peace   officers,   emergency,   medical   and   rescue                                                                    
     personnel  -  and  they  are  only on  line  to  get  a                                                                    
     presumption for those infectious diseases.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     I tried to find if  there were definitions somewhere of                                                                    
     firefighters, peace officers  and emergency medical and                                                                    
     rescue  personnel. The  last one  has been  included in                                                                    
     the bill.  There is  a definition.  Peace officers  - I                                                                    
     found  two definitions  in Alaska  statutes. One  is in                                                                    
     Title  01, which  applies to  all  legislations. So,  I                                                                    
     think there  is certainly  a valid definition  of peace                                                                    
     officer.  Firefighters  - I  did  not  actually find  a                                                                    
     definition that's broadly  applicable although there is                                                                    
     a definition  in Title  9 that has  to do  with certain                                                                    
     liability   cases.  And   that   is   a  fairly   broad                                                                    
     definition, but is  basically if you are  employed by a                                                                    
     fire department or a volunteer fire department.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:31:17 PM                                                                                                                    
     Finally,  there  have  been some  questions  about  the                                                                    
     scope  of the  examinations. As  I read  the bill,  Mr.                                                                    
     Chairman,  the  Department  of   Labor,  if  this  bill                                                                    
     becomes   law,  will   be  required   to   make  up   a                                                                    
     determination and publish it,  I guess, in a regulation                                                                    
     about  what type  of examination  will be  a qualifying                                                                    
     examination.  That  will  be,   I  think,  kind  of  an                                                                    
     interesting question  as it's  explored.... On  the one                                                                    
     hand, the more - I guess  what I'm trying to say is I'm                                                                    
     not  sure how  you rule  out the  existence of  certain                                                                    
     cancers, but  I imagine  it could be  pretty expensive.                                                                    
     For example, brain cancer might  be a CAT scan. I mean,                                                                    
     that would be  pretty expensive. On the  other hand, if                                                                    
     we make a very broad  watered-down thing and say if you                                                                    
     had your  basic physical, that it  was sufficient; then                                                                    
     I could  see municipalities having a  concern there and                                                                    
     saying you  haven't really ruled  out the  existence of                                                                    
     kidney cancer if you've had  a basic physical. So, that                                                                    
     will be kind of a conundrum for us.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:32:20 PM                                                                                                                    
     The  other thing  is  that there  is  a provision  that                                                                    
     says.... the nature and quantity  of a person's tobacco                                                                    
     product  use  needs  to  be   defined,  again,  by  the                                                                    
     Department  of  Labor.  And  certain  personal  use  of                                                                    
     tobacco   would  cause   that   person   to  lose   the                                                                    
     presumption   for  respiratory   diseases  and   cardio                                                                    
     vascular events.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. LISANKIE said that Washington  State has similar language and                                                               
they have  published a  grid that  says if  you have  asthma, for                                                               
instance,  you cannot  be currently  a smoker  and you  must have                                                               
been  off of  cigarettes for  at least  two years.  For the  more                                                               
serious conditions,  it says you can't  be a smoker and  you must                                                               
have quit at least 15 years ago.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:33:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BUNDE  asked him to  guess what the financial  impact would                                                               
be on rates.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. LISANKIE replied that Director  Hall usually carries the rate                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:34:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEN STEVENS questioned whether  qualification for the 10-                                                               
year exemption on page 2, line 17, applied to cancer only.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. LISANKIE replied that was his understanding.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEN STEVENS  said it also states that  the individual has                                                               
to have a medical exam either prior to or during employment.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. LISANKIE replied yes, that was his reading of the bill.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEN STEVENS asked if an  individual had an exam and found                                                               
he had heart disease or a  respiratory disease under (a) and (b),                                                               
would  he still  be under  the presumption  - even  if he  hadn't                                                               
worked for the employer for 10 years.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. LISANKIE replied that was his understanding of the bill.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON said  he  would  entertain an  amendment                                                               
adding 1(a)  and 1(b) to  page 2, line  17 so that  a presumption                                                               
wouldn't be  applied. He  also said  he wouldn't  oppose deleting                                                               
peace  officers from  the  bill on  page 2,  line  28. He  would,                                                               
however, add  peace officers  to page  3, lines  4 through  8. He                                                               
intended to target firefighters.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:38:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SEEKINS arrived.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  asked if  he was  suggesting the  10-year employment                                                               
apply to all presumption for all diseases.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON replied  that  he would  like to  confer                                                               
with Mike Davidson on that.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  said he would  like to set HB  31 aside for  work on                                                               
amendments.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:41:00 PM at ease 2:41:24 PM                                                                                               
      CSHB 392(L&C) am -SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AUTHORITIES                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CON  BUNDE  announced  CSHB  392(L&C)  am  to  be  up  for                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PEGGY  WILSON, sponsor  of HB 392,  introduced her                                                               
staff to comment on the bill.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA ROONEY,  staff to  Representative Wilson,  explained that                                                               
each Alaskan  produces about  6.6 to  7 pounds  of solid  waste a                                                               
day, which amounts to 90 tons  per year in Southeast Alaska. Many                                                               
waste-to-energy  plants and  incinerators  have  closed over  the                                                               
past  10 years.  Some communities  have resorted  to shipping  by                                                               
barge  to the  Lower 48  super  landfills.   Recycling and  solid                                                               
waste disposal is  expensive here and people pay  between $77 and                                                               
$200  per ton  to ship  solid wastes  south while  Anchorage pays                                                               
only $40  a ton. HB  392 would provide  a way for  communities to                                                               
come together  to form an authority  to do what no  one community                                                               
has been able to do.  Working together, they can create economies                                                               
of scale, reduce administrative  costs and afford a state-of-the-                                                               
art  processing  facility.  The authority  would  also  help  the                                                               
region's   economy  by   keeping  jobs   in  Southeast.   Several                                                               
communities have agreed to be  part of the Solid Waste Authority.                                                               
Upon formation it would decide on  where the facility will be and                                                               
what technologies  would be  used. It  could include  things like                                                               
material  recovery  or   recycling,  state-of-the-art  landfills,                                                               
thermal  reduction  or  waste-to-energy type  processing  plants,                                                               
space for composting and a way to treat oily soils.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The bill  is modeled after  the Port Authority and  requires that                                                               
each municipality's voters approve  joining it. The Authority has                                                               
an independent  legal existence from  the municipalities  and the                                                               
state.  It  may issue  bonds,  enter  into contracts  and  borrow                                                               
money. The  board would be  responsible for creating  by-laws and                                                               
regulations   that   would   govern  the   authority   and   each                                                               
municipality would representation on the  board. It would allow a                                                               
municipality to  withdraw from  the authority  without dissolving                                                               
it.  However, the  withdrawing municipality  would remain  liable                                                               
for  existing   obligations  to   the  authority  or   the  other                                                               
participating municipalities.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:44:56 PM                                                                                                                    
The Southeast  Conference has been  spearheading this  effort for                                                               
several  years and  they have  secured funds  for three  separate                                                               
studies. The  first study  was a recommendation  on what  was the                                                               
best  entity or  vehicle to  use  to create  this authority.  The                                                               
authority model  is used most often  in the Lower 48  and that is                                                               
what was  recommended to Southeast  Conference. The  second study                                                               
provided language  that is used  in HB  392. The third  study has                                                               
not been  delivered yet,  but they are  looking at  the different                                                               
technologies available  for this management. The  Authority would                                                               
ultimately  decide what  kind of  technologies  to implement.  It                                                               
would also  provide data  that would  be used  to make  sure that                                                               
operations are financially feasible.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE said this would  put government in competition with a                                                               
private entity  that ran  a solid waste  enterprise and  asked if                                                               
she had heard opposition to this bill from them.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROONEY replied  no; the only private entity that  has come to                                                               
her is the  Juneau Waste Management Facility and it  wanted to be                                                               
a bidder.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:46:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CINDY ROBERTS,  Liaison to the  Denali Commission,  Department of                                                               
Commerce,  Community  &  Economic Development  (DCCED)  said  her                                                               
interaction with this legislation is  that the Commission was one                                                               
of the funders  of the original study that looked  at the type of                                                               
vehicle  that  would  be  best   suited  to  put  together  these                                                               
authorities. She said  the Department is very  pleased to endorse                                                               
HB 392.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:49:06 PM                                                                                                                    
ROB  ALLEN,  Interim  Executive Director,  Southeast  Conference,                                                               
said  it has  been working  on bringing  communities together  on                                                               
this issue for several years.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     We see this as a mechanism  to take care of solid waste                                                                    
     in  a better  manner  than  we are  now.  We have  good                                                                    
     expectations of  this being  successful and  being able                                                                    
     to get more into recycling,  as well, by bringing a lot                                                                    
     more  volume  of material.  So  we  see it  on  several                                                                    
     levels as being very good for  the region with a lot of                                                                    
     potential,  then,  throughout  the rest  of  Alaska  if                                                                    
     we're successful.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:50:05 PM at ease 2:52:38 PM                                                                                               
SENATOR SEEKINS  moved to  pass CSHB  392(L&C) am  from committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal  note(s).                                                               
Senators Ben Stevens,  Davis, Seekins and Chair  Bunde voted yea;                                                               
and CSHB 392(L&C) am moved from committee.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:53:56 PM                                                                                                                    
            HB 382-RECORKING WINE SERVED WITH A MEAL                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced HB 382 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JIM  POUND, staff  to Representative  Jay Ramras,  sponsor of  HB                                                               
392, said  it is aimed at  lowering the blood alcohol  content of                                                               
individuals  who would  enjoy having  a bottled  wine with  their                                                               
meal. It accomplishes  this by eliminating the  desire to consume                                                               
the entire  bottle of wine  while at the restaurant.  Now, either                                                               
the entire  bottle must be  drunk or left behind  partially full.                                                               
The later choice seldom happens.  HB 382 would allow the customer                                                               
to ask that  the bottle be recorded  or sealed so that  it may be                                                               
transported home. The  cork must be replaced so  that a corkscrew                                                               
is  required to  open it  again or  sealed as  determined by  the                                                               
Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC).                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He said that HB 382 is  a solution to an acceptable practice that                                                               
already exists -  having wine with a meal. Its  goal is to assure                                                               
that it's not too much wine.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:55:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BUNDE asked if there was any opposition.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. POUND replied he had heard of none.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:55:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS  moved HB  382  from  committee with  individual                                                               
recommendations  and attached  fiscal note(s).  Senators Seekins,                                                               
Ben  Stevens and  Chair Bunde  voted yea;  so HB  382 moved  from                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:56:01 PM                                                                                                                    
      HCR 34 am -ALASKA AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS FOR TOURISTS                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CON BUNDE announced HCR 34 am to be up for consideration.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
JANE PIERSON, staff to Representative  Jay Ramras, sponsor of HCR                                                               
34, said  it was  a win/win  bill for  everyone involved.  It was                                                               
established to  promote Alaskan-grown  produce and  food products                                                               
to the visitor industry. It is  the intent of the "Fresher by Far                                                               
Program"  to  bring  together   the  Department  of  Agriculture,                                                               
farmers,   related   farm    associations,   producers,   seafood                                                               
producers, distributors  and the visitor industry  in restaurants                                                               
and related culinary support associations  to provide visitors to                                                               
the state  of Alaska  with wholesome  quality Alaska  produce and                                                               
products.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:58:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BUNDE if it cost the state any money.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. PIERSON replied no.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  moved to  report HCR 34  am from  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations   and  zero  fiscal   note.  Senators                                                               
Seekins, Ben  Stevens and  Chair Bunde  voted yea;  so HCR  34 am                                                               
moved from committee.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:59:46 PM                                                                                                                    
              SB 241-JOINT INSURANCE ARRANGEMENTS                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
CHAIR  BUNDE announced  CSSB 241(L&C),  version G,  to be  up for                                                               
consideration. He  moved to  adopt Amendment  1 and  objected for                                                               
discussion purposes.                                                                                                            
                                                      24-LS1465\G.1                                                             
                                                            Bailey                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                      A M E N D M E N T 1                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
OFFERED IN THE SENATE                          BY SENATOR BUNDE                                                                 
     TO:  CSSB 241(   ), Draft Version "G"                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Page 15, following line 22:                                                                                                     
     Insert a new subsection to read:                                                                                           
          "(d)  The state is not liable for, and does not                                                                       
     guarantee or insure, the obligations of an association of                                                                  
     employers or its members, or an association of self-insured                                                                
     employers or its members, under this chapter."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He explained that his concern was  that if this bill becomes law,                                                               
he did  not want the  state to  become liable if  joint insurance                                                               
arrangements become unsuccessful or defaulted.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE  removed  his  objection.   There  were  no  further                                                               
objections; and so Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  VOGEL,   Pro-Group  Management,  said  he   was  a  plant                                                               
administrator for  self-insured groups in Nevada  and New Mexico.                                                               
He offered to answer questions.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE asked  if he  was aware  of any  self-insured groups                                                               
that didn't have the reserves to sustain them and defaulted.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  VOGEL  replied  that he  runs  four  different  self-insured                                                               
groups and in the  last 12 to 13 years about  two or three groups                                                               
have  run  into  problems.  The   most  notable  were  Associated                                                               
Industries  of  Kentucky   and  Tennessee  Truckers  Association.                                                               
However, during that time the  assessments were made upon members                                                               
and claims were paid and no one went without payments.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He explained  that the United  States has had thousands  of these                                                               
groups over the  last 40 years in over 37  states. Several groups                                                               
have had problems, but he  pointed out that hundreds of insurance                                                               
companies  have had  much bigger  problems during  that time,  as                                                               
well.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:03:50 PM                                                                                                                    
LINDA  HALL,  Director,  Division  of  Insurance,  Department  of                                                               
Commerce,  Community  &  Economic Development  (DCCED)  said  she                                                               
wanted to  discuss some policy  issues today. She said  that this                                                               
committee has  had a  lot of  talks about  workers' compensation,                                                               
which in  itself is  a compromise  between labor  and management.                                                               
Employees got  immediate benefits, both  medical and wages,  in a                                                               
no fault  system. Employers got  an exclusive remedy  for on-the-                                                               
job injuries  so they  are not tied  up in  expensive litigation.                                                               
These  days she  is seeing  in their  debates that  labor is  not                                                               
supporting any kind  of reform to the  current system; management                                                               
wants out of the system and describing it as broken.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HALL   said  she  had   four  primary  concerns   with  this                                                               
legislation: liquidity,  the lack  of a  guarantee fund,  who has                                                               
the liability, and  no requirement for licensing  of adjusters or                                                               
a process to deal with insolvent groups.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HALL took  exception to  Mr.  Vogel's comment  about who  is                                                               
going  to  pay.  She  understood  the  Associated  Industries  of                                                               
Kentucky  had  a court-ordered  assessment  of  $90.7 million  of                                                               
which its members  paid about $68 million in  cash and promissory                                                               
notes. So,  she was not  sure there  was sufficient money  to pay                                                               
the assessment.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The  bill  still has  no  provision  for requiring  licensing  of                                                               
claims adjusters. This  would bring some oversight.  Title 21 has                                                               
specific provisions for rehabilitation and oversight.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:06:53 PM                                                                                                                    
She wanted  to rebut  some comments  that have  been made  in the                                                               
past months. It's  been indicated that the director  would have a                                                               
huge  amount of  authority because  he can  decline applications.                                                               
However,  she  would  assume  if   the  Legislature  passes  this                                                               
legislation, it's  because they think  it's a good idea.  She did                                                               
not think they  would want a director who would  just decline all                                                               
the applications because he/she  didn't like the legislation. She                                                               
didn't think that could be called authority.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
She emphasized that the two  financial requirements that are most                                                               
critical that  are found  in most  other states  are missing  - a                                                               
guarantee mechanism of some sort and a liquidity requirement.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. HALL said she has watched  the marketplace for the past three                                                               
years and how it tried to  attract new companies. Since Alaska is                                                               
such a  small market, in most  areas we are last  in the country.                                                               
So,  Alaska needs  an  environment that  is  conducive to  people                                                               
doing business. When it allows  cherry picking, such as this bill                                                               
would provide,  it is  further damaging  the marketplace  and its                                                               
attractiveness  to insurers.  They  have  heard testimony  saying                                                               
they wouldn't let everybody in, only the good risks. She asked,                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Well, what does that do  with the rest of our business?                                                                    
     What are we  going to have left for them?  You do and I                                                                    
     do  receive on  a  regular  basis concerns,  complaints                                                                    
     about  the assigned  risk pool.  And we  can't have  an                                                                    
     assigned  risk pool  without  insurance companies,  but                                                                    
     that is  a market of  last resort  and I don't  want to                                                                    
     see  our  businesses  end  up  with  no  really  viable                                                                    
     alternatives.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
She related  that as  a regulator, she  receives a  magazine. She                                                               
just  watched  Ohio's  workers'   compensation  fund  invest  $50                                                               
million  in rare  coins,  $1 million  of  which were  inventoried                                                               
badly and stolen  for all practical purposes.  These are examples                                                               
of the need for real regulatory oversight.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:09:50 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HALL  said Alaska's  marketplace is  improving slowly.  As an                                                               
example, its  assigned risk  pool marketshare  has gone  down for                                                               
the  first time  in a  number of  years to  15 percent;  when she                                                               
started it was  at 19 percent. For the first  time in eight years                                                               
in 2005,  Alaska's assigned  risk pool did  not lose  money. That                                                               
means  it is  breaking-even and  it's  no longer  a detriment  to                                                               
insurers thinking about coming here to do business.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
On  guarantee funds  assessments, she  said that  suggestions had                                                               
been made  to increase those  up to 4  percent, but for  2006 the                                                               
guarantee fund did  not do an assessment. This will  take a while                                                               
to appear  on workers'  comp policies,  because it's  assessed at                                                               
renewal. Through  a variety  of means,  such as  really reviewing                                                               
claims,   looking  at   judicious  settlements   of  claims   and                                                               
recoupments from insolvent insurer  states, they have accumulated                                                               
enough  money, that  they  did not  feel it  necessary  to do  an                                                               
assessment in 2006. This is another good sign in a marketplace.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Thirdly,  she is  seeing  is an  increased  interest in  Alaska's                                                               
market and  she hasn't had a  chance to see any  effects from the                                                               
2005 reform  legislation yet.  That takes time  to work  into the                                                               
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. HALL said  that she has seen the results  of reforms in other                                                               
states. In California  from July of '03 to January  '06 there was                                                               
a 46  percent decrease in  workers' comp premiums that  appear to                                                               
be  directly  related  to  workers' comp  reform,  a  60  percent                                                               
decrease over what it would have  been without it. Last week, she                                                               
saw rates for  Pennsylvania had dropped about $100  million - due                                                               
to reform. Those are predominantly  workplace safety reforms. She                                                               
encouraged them:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     There are things  we can do. And I would  submit to you                                                                    
     that we  have not had  a lot  of support for  work comp                                                                    
     reform and  now we  have a number  of groups  that just                                                                    
     want to carve  themselves out of it. I  think that does                                                                    
     a disservice to businesses  that don't have the ability                                                                    
     to form  self-insured groups. I  would submit to  you -                                                                    
     and while  I can't make amendments,  I have amendments.                                                                    
     If we  really want  to do something  for work  comp, we                                                                    
     need to  do something  for the cost  of the  system. It                                                                    
     doesn't  matter who  writes the  check to  pay for  the                                                                    
     claim, if it continues to escalate in cost.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     We   had  a   proposal  last   year  that   was  highly                                                                    
     controversial  and  I thought  if  I  was going  to  be                                                                    
     controversial  today, I  might as  well continue  that.                                                                    
     Put the  A-Con guidelines in!  I mean that is  a proven                                                                    
     in other states' cost  saving mechanisms. Probably more                                                                    
     realistically,  I   would  propose  you   have  already                                                                    
     extended  the Work  Comp Task  Force. That  is extended                                                                    
     through next year. And I  would propose this is a topic                                                                    
     that has been on the  agenda.... There has not been any                                                                    
     recommendation;  there   has  not  been   any  results.                                                                    
     Certainly Senator  Seekins could  speak to  that better                                                                    
     than I.  But I would propose  that we put this  back in                                                                    
     where  we put  everything else  dealing with  work comp                                                                    
     reform as  opposed to passing  this bill. With  that, I                                                                    
     would be happy to answer questions.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
An  unidentified speaker  asked if  there was  a House  companion                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE replied yes, HB 51.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:14:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEN STEVENS  didn't disagree with anything  she said, but                                                               
he  said the  Legislature hasn't  been able  to pass  reform that                                                               
would seriously  reduce rates  and has also  tried to  arrest the                                                               
increasing  rates. So,  the reason  he  supports the  bill is  to                                                               
support the  entities that  are paying  the increased  rates that                                                               
aren't actually causing or having  increased claims. He asked how                                                               
else they could be given relief.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:17:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BUNDE  asked Mr. Vogel why  he decided not to  use licensed                                                               
adjusters in his plan.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. VOGEL replied that the original  House bill did not specify a                                                               
licensed examiner. He assumed that  an examiner would be licensed                                                               
and HB 51 has been amended to include that.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE  moved to adopt  conceptual Amendment 2 to  require a                                                               
licensed adjuster. There  were no objections and  Amendment 2 was                                                               
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. LISANKIE commented that he  still had continuing concerns, as                                                               
the person  who would get  the calls,  with the viability  of any                                                               
insurance  group.  He  was  very  concerned  that  there  was  no                                                               
guarantee  mechanism. He  testified  earlier that  26 percent  of                                                               
workers in Alaska  work for the large self-insurers  and that's a                                                               
significant potential  insurance market that is  gone already and                                                               
so he focused  on other small population states  that allow group                                                               
self insurance.  Six other  states and  the District  of Columbia                                                               
have  populations of  one million  or  less. Four  states do  not                                                               
generally permit  group self-insurance,  but of that  four, South                                                               
Dakota  has  a  bullet  exception for  electrical  utilities  (he                                                               
wasn't sure  why); two  do allow  group self-insurance,  but only                                                               
with a guarantee  fund in one instance and  a guarantee mechanism                                                               
in  the  other;  only  one state,  Vermont,  allows  group  self-                                                               
insurance  and  does  not  have a  guarantee  fund  or  guarantee                                                               
mechanism.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE asked  Mr. Lisankie to give him more  details about a                                                               
guarantee mechanism  when the  bill is  in the  Finance Committee                                                               
and he would adjust it there. He closed public testimony.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:22:25 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  SEEKINS  moved  to  pass  SB  241  from  committee  with                                                               
individual  recommendations. Senators  Seekins,  Ben Stevens  and                                                               
Chair Bunde voted yea; and CSSB 241(L&C) moved from committee.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:23:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                CSHCR  4(JUD)-METH WATCH PROGRAM                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR   CON  BUNDE   announced  CSHCR   4(JUD)  to   be  up   for                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAY  RAMRAS, sponsor of  HCR 4, explained  that it                                                               
is  a mechanism  to  attract dollars  to  an educational  program                                                               
teaching  the  evils  of methamphetamine  use  -  mainly  through                                                               
schools. The  second prong was  education of retailers  about the                                                               
products  necessary to  produce  the product.  He mentioned  that                                                               
Mayor  Begich has  raised $200,000,  Mayor  Whittaker has  raised                                                               
$20,000,  he,  personally,  had  requested  $100,000  from  House                                                               
Finance  and Senator  Murkowski was  working on  getting matching                                                               
federal  dollars.  He  said  it   is  an  excellent  preventative                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BUNDE noted  that it  has a  zero fiscal  note and  has no                                                               
opposition.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:277:06 PM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR SEEKINS  moved to pass  CSHCR 4(JUD) from  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations   and  zero  fiscal   note.  Senators                                                               
Seekins, Ben Stevens and Chair  Bunde voted yea; and CSHCR 4(JUD)                                                               
moved from committee.                                                                                                           
3:27:53 PM                                                                                                                    
       CSSSHB  31(FIN)-WORKERS' COMP: DISEASE PRESUMPTION                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CON BUNDE  announced  CSSSHB  31(FIN) to  be  back up  for                                                               
consideration.  He  moved to  adopt  conceptual  Amendment 1  and                                                               
objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                     CONCEPTUAL AMENDMENT 1                                                                                     
To CSSSHB 31(FIN)                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 17:                                                                                                                
     Replace "(1)(C)" with "(1)(A)-(C)"                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Page 2, line 28                                                                                                                 
     Delete "Peace Officers"                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Page 3, line 11 (conceptual)                                                                                                    
     Insert  "(e)  The provisions  of  (c)(1)-(5)  apply to  fire                                                               
fighters covered under AS 23.30243,  peace officers and emergency                                                               
medical rescue personnel;"                                                                                                      
     Renumber the remaining sections appropriately                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Page 3, line 13 (conceptual)                                                                                                    
     Insert "(1) for purposes of (b)(1)-(5) of this section..."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
HEATH HILYARD,  staff to Representative  Anderson, sponsor  of HB                                                               
31,  said  the  amendment  was   consistent  with  the  sponsor's                                                               
suggestion. On page  2, line 17, there was some  concern that the                                                               
presumption and  the 10-year employment requirement  applied only                                                               
to  the  cancers  listed  in   (b)(1)(c)  through  (7),  so  that                                                               
presumption was applied to all of  the diseases listed on page 2,                                                               
lines 2 through 12.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
On  page  2,  line  28,  peace officers  were  removed  from  the                                                               
presumption for  diseases found  on page 2.  So now  that section                                                               
applies to only firefighters and emergency medical personnel.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The two  conceptual pieces  say that  the presumption  applies to                                                               
peace  officers for  the  infectious diseases  found  on page  3,                                                               
lines 4 through  8. That is primarily because  those diseases can                                                               
be acquired on  a single exposure at any given  time, whereas the                                                               
cancers and cardio vascular disease  are generally after repeated                                                               
exposure.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Lastly, language  on page 3,  line 13,  was amended to  say there                                                               
must be  a pre-employment medical  examination to screen  for all                                                               
of the medical  conditions included in the bill  rather than only                                                               
those on page 2. This was suggested by the firefighters.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:31:16 PM at ease 3:31:33 PM                                                                                               
CHAIR BUNDE noted that Senator Ben Stevens had stepped out.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS  asked how infectious diseases  that are acquired                                                               
through reckless  behavior (like HIV),  not as a result  of their                                                               
employment, were addressed on page 3.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. HILYARD  replied that clearly  a pre-employment  medical exam                                                               
would indicate  that a person has  not been infected with  any of                                                               
those prior to  employment. However, verifying the  source once a                                                               
person is employed would be difficult.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR SEEKINS asked if someone  who didn't have contact as part                                                               
of their  job, but did have  contact because of their  own sexual                                                               
activity, would still get the presumption.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. HILYARD  replied yes;  that was  his understanding.  The bill                                                               
did  not  have  a  specific   provision  that  would  exempt  the                                                               
exposure.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:33:37 PM at ease 3:33:50 PM                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BUNDE announced that he would  hold HB 31 and adjourned the                                                               
meeting at 3:34:09 PM.                                                                                                        

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