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Governor Signs Five More Bills Into Law

June 18, 2004

Fairbanks, Alaska - Governor Frank Murkowski signed into law five new bills Thursday, following remarks at a Fairbanks Rotary luncheon.

SB 179, sponsored by North Pole Senator Gene Therriault, makes changes relating to criminal history records and background checks. Through the bill, Alaska will retain its ability to perform background checks on teachers, security guards, nurses, attorneys, collection agency operators, process servers, and others in sensitive occupations.

SB 323, sponsored by Fairbanks Senator Ralph Seekins, extends the duty to make sure workers compensation insurance is available for workers "up the ladder" to the actual project owner. As long as the injured worker actually receives compensation benefits, either from his employer or the project owner, a project owner will receive the benefit of protection from a tort claim by an injured worker.

"Insulating project owners from liability for a workers common law tort claim is only fair," Murkowski said. "The project owner indirectly pays the cost of workers compensation coverage for workers on the project when he agrees to pay the independent contractor's price for the job. Allowing employees of an independent contractor to sue the project owner gives those employees a "second bite at the apple". Such an employee could receive workers compensation benefits from the contractor and turn around and sue the project owner.

SB 306, also sponsored by Senator Seekins, creates a seven-member task force to review and report to the legislature on naturopaths and issues related to the safety and scope of the practice of naturopathy. The task force will report its written findings and proposed legislation and other recommendations to the legislature by December 1, 2004.

SB 327, sponsored by Senator Seekins, addresses on a statewide basis, a legal challenge brought in Fairbanks concerning the use of in-line skates, rollerskates, and similar devices on public roads. Using rollerblades, rollerskates, or similar devices on public roads is important because some Alaskans, including competitive cross-country skiers, train in the summer months using such devices.

SB 344, also sponsored by Senator Seekins, makes technical revisions to Alaska's trust and estate laws. The bill:

1) Updates provisions relating to virtual representation;
2) Clarifies when a trustee can be relieved from liability; and
3) Makes a number of other technical changes.


Source of News Release:

Office of the Goveror
Web Site



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