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Search & Rescue Volunteers Gain Workers' Comp Coverage
Senate Passes Meyer's HB 320: Affords Same Benefit as Other Volunteer Classifications


April 12, 2008

(SitNews) ­ The Alaska State Senate has unanimously passed House Bill (HB) 320, a measure that will protect volunteer search and rescue personnel. The bill, sponsored by House Finance Committee Co-Chair Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, treats search and rescue volunteers assisting the Alaska State Troopers in a mission as state employees for the purpose of providing workers' compensation. While the State of Alaska provides workers' compensation to many different types of volunteers, the brave men and women assisting the Troopers in search and rescue missions have not been covered.

"Alaskans and visitors alike enjoy the different experiences our vast back-country has to offer, but unfortunately, that same explorers' paradise can be an unforgiving and dangerous place," said Rep. Meyer. "In just the past two months we have seen tragedy in Turnagain Pass and the rescue of two teenagers in Ketchikan. Within the past 6 years, volunteers and the Troopers have returned more than 2,300 Alaskans to their friends and families. The least we can do as a state is ensure that if they are hurt while serving us on a rescue mission, the state will provide the same coverage we would a volunteer firefighter or ambulance attendant."

The bill also has language allowing municipalities to provide coverage to their volunteers, but does not mandate that coverage.

HB 320 will be transmitted to the Governor for her signature.


Source of News:

Alaska Legislature


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Ketchikan, Alaska