to job training signed into law
June 30, 2004
HB 513, sponsored by Eagle River Rep. Pete Kott, changes the name of the Child Support Enforcement Agency to the Child Support Services Agency. This change more accurately reflects the mission of the agency as a service provider for parents and children. The bill also closes a loophole in the driver's license suspension program.
Current law allows the suspension of a driver's license when more than four months child support payments are due and following a 150-day administrative review and appeal process. However, an individual could make a payment on the 151st day, receive their license and if delinquent, the 150 review would have to start all over.
The bill closes the loophole to not require subsequent 150 day review periods, when substantial non-compliance can be shown within two years of the initial revocation.
HB 514, also sponsored by Rep.
Kott, addresses cases of long-overdue child support. Alaska currently
has more than 14,000 cases where a parent is more than $10,000
in arrears or has failed to make a payment for more than 24 months.
Often, a parent unable to collect child support has no choice
but to turn to public assistance to help raise his or her children.
"This is very significant legislation," Murkowski said.
"It will help address the problem by giving the Child Support
Agency and the state additional tools to enforce child support
HB 29, sponsored by Anchorage Rep. Norman Rokeberg, was brought forward by the Alaska Association of Realtors and is a product of several years' work by an industry task force. The bill amends the real estate statutes to create a new article codifying the relationship and duties between a real estate licensee and a buyer, seller, lessor, or lessee. "This important change establishes guidelines spelling out who the agent represents, when an agent can represent more than one client, and the disclosure and consent requirements for those relationships," Murkowski said.
HB 418, also sponsored by Rep. Rokeberg, extends the Real Estate Commission until June 30, 2008. Without this legislation, the commission would have ended June 30, 2004. "With more than 2,000 licensed real estate professionals in Alaska, the Real Estate Commission plays an important role in helping ensure Alaskans are represented by qualified, competent and ethical agents when buying and selling residential and commercial properties," Murkowski said.
HB 451 extends the pilot program for the therapeutic courts in Anchorage and Bethel until June 30, 2006. It also makes permanent a superior court judgeship in the Third Judicial District (Anchorage), which is set to expire June 30, 2004. While the therapeutic courts have been able to claim success with dealing with recidivism, a complete evaluation and publication of their results will not be available until after the courts are due to sunset on June 30, 2004. The bill extends the therapeutic courts for two more years to fully evaluate the impact of the pilot program.
HB 285, sponsored by Anchorage Rep. Lesil McGuire, adopts the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which has been adopted by 44 other states and the District of Columbia. "The primary objective of this Act is to establish the legal equivalence of electronic records and signatures with paper writings and manually signed signatures," Murkowski said. "This update to our statutes will facilitate Alaskans' transactions with parties both within and outside our state."
HB 385, also sponsored by Rep. McGuire, creates a rebuttable presumption that a parent who has a history of perpetuating domestic violence may not be awarded sole legal custody of a child. "No Alaskan should live with domestic violence and decisions to seek help should not be clouded by a fear of losing custody of your child," Murkowski said. "Thanks to the work of Rep. McGuire and many individuals and organizations around the state, we now have a law that will help protect Alaska's children and ensure we do not punish a battered co-parent by awarding custody to the parent who has been the abuser."
HB 536, sponsored by Anchorage Rep. Cheryll Heinze, grants a 90-day extension to file for a Permanent Fund dividend application for members of the armed forces who qualify for hostile fire or imminent danger pay. "This bill also allows an individual who would have otherwise been eligible and was receiving hostile fire or imminent danger pay, 90 days to file for a 2003 and 2004 dividend," Murkowski said. "This bill is a reflection of our support for the military and those who place their lives on the line in order to defend our nation and preserve our freedoms."
HB 421, sponsored by Anchorage
Rep. Tom Anderson, provides a procedure for the reconveyance
of a deed of trust which was collateral for an obligation which
HB 123, sponsored by Unalaska Rep. Carl Moses, re-allocates funds appropriated to the Alaska Workforce Investment Board to include funding for the Southwest Alaska Vocational and Education Center (SAVEC) in King Salmon and the YUUT Elitnaurviat, Inc. People's Learning Center in Bethel. "As we work to create new job opportunities in rural Alaska, we need to make sure we have a trained workforce to fill those jobs," Murkowski said. "This bill will help provide local training to fill jobs within the region."
SB 274, sponsored by the governor,
was introduced because the rural teacher-housing loan program
currently on the books does not work for rural Alaska. "We
changed the very restrictive language and expanded the loan program
to apply to multi-family units that may be either owner-occupied
or non-owner occupied," Murkowski said. "This change
should provide an incentive to develop additional housing in
small communities, which will also be available to teachers.
The bill also changes the housing assistance revolving loan fund.
This is a very important provision the current revolving
loan fund is insufficient to meet the demands for loans in rural
Alaska. By managing its assets differently, the Alaska Housing
Finance Corporation could continue to originate, purchase, and
refinance loans for small community housing as well as building
materials for renovations and improvements to small community
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