Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/13/1994 09:09 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up HB 277 (INDEMNIFICATION OF PUBLIC                    
 EMPLOYEES) as the next order of business before the Senate State              
 Affairs Committee.  The chairman calls Mr. Musser to testify.                 
                                                                               
 Number 265                                                                    
                                                                               
 ERIC MUSSER, Aide to Representative Porter, states HB 277 would               
 codify current state policy, which indemnifies employees for                  
 actions that occur during the normal scope of their employment.  HB
 277 also provides for exceptions to the indemnification of                    
 employees.  An exception would occur when a collective bargaining             
 agreement addresses indemnification.  The collective bargaining               
 agreement would supersede the provisions in HB 277.  Also, if the             
 acts or omissions of the employee were the result of gross                    
 negligence or misconduct, the employee would not be indemnified.              
                                                                               
 MR. MUSSER states there is also a provision in the bill                       
 establishing the employees rights.                                            
                                                                               
 MR. MUSSER states there is a provision allowing the employer to               
 settle claims or actions without the consent of the employee, so              
 long as it settles all claims or actions on behalf of the employee.           
                                                                               
 Number 308                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. Musser if there have been cases of                    
 employees who have had suits brought against them and who have not            
 been defended by their employer.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 312                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. MUSSER responds the impetus behind the legislation is that                
 there have been several cases where employees who were in the                 
 process of either buying or selling a home, were stopped from doing           
 so because they were a party to an action.                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there are further questions of Mr. Musser.             
 Hearing none, he calls Ms. Cox to testify.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 336                                                                    
                                                                               
 SUSAN COX, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law reiterates           
 Mr. Musser's statements, and says it will not change any existing             
 practices, but simply codify them.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 349                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. Musser if the Alaska Municipal League has             
 taken a position on HB 277.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 350                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. MUSSER responds the Alaska Municipal League supports HB 277,              
 and there should be a letter of support in committee members bill             
 file packets.                                                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if any opposition has been voiced to HB 277.              
                                                                               
 MR. MUSSER replies there has been no negative testimony on the                
 bill.                                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks if HB 277 would merely codify common law.                 
                                                                               
 Number 359                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. COX responds she does not know that there is necessarily a                
 common law obligation for employers to indemnify their employees.             
 But it is certainly ongoing practice to do so.                                
                                                                               
 Number 363                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR says he has been told, regarding other legislation,            
 that a letter of indemnification has been sent to volunteers                  
 working in behalf of the state on emergency response planning                 
 teams.  When it was researched, there was nothing found to indicate           
 an emergency response planning team or a member of a team had ever            
 been sued in the United States.  Senator Taylor continues to                  
 describe a problem in indemnifying emergency response planning                
 teams.  He comments that situation is directly related to this                
 bill.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 387                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. COX replies she is not familiar with the situation to which               
 Senator Taylor is referring.  However, there may be a difference              
 between indemnification of public employees and indemnification of            
 volunteers.                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR comments the state ought to stand behind volunteers            
 who perform a public service for the state.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 408                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there are any further questions of the                 
 witnesses or if anyone else wishes to testify.  Hearing none, the             
 chairman calls a brief at ease.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 409                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN calls the Senate State Affairs Committee back to               
 order.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 413                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR makes a motion to discharge HB 277 from the Senate             
 State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.                      
                                                                               
 Number 415                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, orders HB 277 released from             
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    

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