Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - News, Features, Opinions...


Murkowski Signs 18 Bills


June 27, 2005

Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski signed 18 bills into law Friday, June 24 including legislation to protect public health, reform insurance regulations, reform Alaska's elections system and finally put Amerada Hess funds to work for Alaskans.

"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:

  • HB 26, sponsored by Rep. Carl Moses regarding short-term commercial fishing crew member licenses;
  • HB 161, sponsored by Rep. Jim Elkins extending the sunset of the PERS/TRS retiree rehire program;
  • HB 210, sponsored by Rep. Lesil McGuire amending existing statutes regarding blood testing of individuals who may expose certain public safety officials to bloodborne pathogens;
  • HB 211, sponsored by Rep. Kelly extending the Board of Dental Examiners;
  • HB 215, sponsored by Rep. Norm Rokeberg granting the Permanent Fund Board of Trustees the authority to establish and administer a legal investment list in regulation rather than in statute;
  • HB 249, sponsored by Rep. Mike Hawker regarding enhanced 911 surcharges;
  • Senate Bill 101, the "revisor's" bill;
  • SB 125 regarding consolidation of the DHSS licensing functions;
  • SB 139 regarding occupational boards; HB 26, sponsored by Rep. Carl Moses regarding short-term commercial fishing crew member licenses;
  • HB 97 revising the notary and state seal statutes;
  • HB 279, regarding encroachments into DOT rights-of-way by outdoor advertisements;
  • HB 119, extending the sunset date of the Alaska Regional Economic Assistance Program;
  • HB 98, regarding nonunion public employee salaries and benefits; and
  • HB 102, sponsored by Rep. Bill Stoltze regarding medical license requirements.



Source of News:

Office of the Governor
Web Site

E-mail your news & photos to

Publish A Letter on SitNews
        Read Letters/Opinions
Submit A Letter to the Editor

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska