From Nuisance Moose to Anatomical Gifts, Governor Signs Twelve Bills
June 17, 2004
HB 188, sponsored by Anchorage Rep. Mike Hawker, broadens the jurisdiction of the state Department of Natural Resources to issue citations for violations of the Alaska Ski Safety Act that occur on private lands. "The goal of this bill is to put some teeth into the laws prohibiting certain actions by skiers," Murkowski said. "One key concern is skiing in closed areas, which poses real dangers for the skiers, as well as rescuers who come to their aid when they get into trouble."
HB 227, sponsored by the House Judiciary Committee, Anchorage Rep. Lesil McGuire, Chair, increases the jurisdictional limit on small claims from $7,500 to $10,000 and the jurisdictional limit of district courts from $50,000 to $100,000 to reflect inflation. The bill also expands the types of cases the District Court can hear to include actions for false imprisonment, libel, slander, and malicious prosecution if the amount in controversy does not exceed $100,000.
HB 252, sponsored by Rep. McGuire, amends the Department of Community and Economic Development statutes regarding board terms and requirements of continuing education requirements. It specifies that a person who has served two years or more of a four year term as a member of the State Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors is considered to have served a full term. Previously, any partial term was considered a full four-year term and counted toward the two-term limit in law.
HB 273, also sponsored by Rep. McGuire, is intended to increase both the availability and affordability of sports and recreational activities for children. Availability and affordability have become issues because of the amount of litigation and costs inherent in exposure to potential litigation. The bill accomplishes this goal by allowing a parent to release or waive in writing a child's prospective negligence claim against a sports or recreational activity provider.
HB 337, sponsored by Rep. McGuire establishes the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act in Alaska, helping those Alaskans waiting for an organ transplant or tissue, bone, tendon, skin, heart valve, cornea, etc., donations. Nationwide, there are nearly 84,000 men, women, and children waiting for organ transplants. The bill creates a donor registry program in which a donors license number / ID information would be placed on record with the Life Alaska Donor Services, the state's organ and tissue donor program. "This will create a much more effective and accessible donor database than the current system," Murkowski said. "The bill also sets up a monetary donation program under which a motor vehicle license applicant could donate $1 or more to the Organ & Tissue Donation Awareness Fund."
HB 423, sponsored by Anchorage Rep. Tom Anderson, is a "Good Samaritan" bill for taxicab drivers, which is targeted at getting more drunk drivers off our streets. "This bill allows taxicab drivers to drive an intoxicated person or an intoxicated person's motor vehicle to the person's home or another location and limits the taxicab driver's liability in the event an accident occurs," Murkowski said.
HB 452, sponsored by Anchorage Rep. Cheryll Heinze, will help the Department of Fish and Game collect information that will be valuable in managing our fisheries. It establishes a sport fish operating license and a sport fishing guide license and requires those license holders to meet minimum qualifications and submit information such as the amount of fishing effort, catch, and harvest by clients.
HB 500, sponsored by Anchorage
Rep. Ralph Samuels, simply adds the Joint Commission on Accreditation
of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) to the narrow state law
definition of a "review organization." This will allow
JCAHO to perform accreditation of health care facilities in Alaska
with the same level of statutory protections that other reviewing
organizations have. JCAHO, a not-for-profit organization governed
by physicians, nurses and consumers, sets the standards by which
health care quality is measured, evaluating more than 16,000
health care organizations nationwide.
SB 373, sponsored by the Senate
HESS Committee, Chaired by Senator Fred Dyson,
HB 255, sponsored by Anchorage Rep. Norman Rokeberg, changes the minimum salary for exempt employees in retail and service establishments who spend up to 40% of their time performing non-exempt duties to 'two times the state minimum wage for the first 40 hours of employment each week." This change will reduce the minimum salary that must be paid to satisfy the white collar exemptions from overtime pay requirements for such employees to $572 a week. This bill will assist retail and service establishments by correcting an unintended consequence of the January 1, 2003 minimum wage increase.
SB 299, sponsored by the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee, Senator Bunde, Chair, is designed to help businesses that receive NSF(Non-Sufficient Funds) checks by increasing the maximum fee by $5 (from $25 to $30) and removes the requirement that businesses account separately for their costs in processing the bad check.
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