June 27, 2005
"I was pleased to sign these important pieces of legislation into law," said Murkowski. "This Legislature addressed a number of important issues for Alaskans - and Alaskans will benefit from these new laws."
House Bill 95 clarifies the mission and general powers of the Department of Health and Social Services as they relate to public health. DHSS is authorized to collect and analyze health information, conduct investigations, quarantine, isolate and provide medical treatment to people exposed to contagious diseases. HB 95 also spells out the powers of DHSS and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs when the Governor declares a public health disaster. The departments would be authorized to take necessary steps to protect the public from contaminated facilities or materials.
"As many countries have seen firsthand in the last few years, it is essential that governments be prepared for public health emergencies. This bill moves Alaska forward in its preparedness - making our communities, our citizens, and our state safer," said the governor.
HB 187 establishes the Alaska Capital Income Fund. The fund will be capitalized with interest earned from the portion of the permanent fund principal awarded to the state as a result of State vs. Amerada Hess. The original settlement award was $250 million and today the total is in excess of $400 million. The annual income earned that would be available for transfer into the Fund would be approximately $30 million.
"HB 187 provides the mechanism to finally put the Amerada Hess funds to work for Alaskans," said the Governor. "Earnings from the Amerada Hess fund cannot be used for dividends. Government should not accumulate money without putting it toward a legitimate public purpose - now, we are using the Amerada Hess funds to benefit Alaskans."
HB 147 provides increased protection for Alaska's insurance consumers while making the regulation of insurance more efficient for the state. The bill authorizes the Division of Insurance to regulate health discount plans that would not otherwise be regulated as insurance. Such plans are attractive to consumers because they appear to provide health care benefits at reduced costs.
HB 94 updates and reforms Alaska's elections laws. The bill improves the sections related to initiatives, referendums, and recalls by making the process consistent and user friendly. It also makes changes to allow voters through power of attorney to register to vote, make changes to their registration, or to fill out an application for a ballot by mail. The bill improves ballot security, requires the division to implement "ballot rotation," adds standards for voting machines and vote tally systems, requires election boards to report the number of ballots destroyed to increase the accountability of ballots, and makes other important reforms.
The Governor also signed:
Source of News:
Publish A Letter on SitNews Read Letters/Opinions
Submit A Letter to the Editor