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Governor Signs Workers’ Compensation, Criminal Sentencing Legislation

June 23, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – In an effort to relieve some of the burden on small employers, Governor Sean Parnell today signed House Bill 141, dealing with workers’ compensation.

By defining the rates for out-of-state services, HB 141 eliminates the potential for workers’ compensation claims provided in another state to be billed at Alaska’s higher rates for the same service. Alaska has some of the highest premiums in the nation. The bill helps small employers by creating more stability and predictability when dealing with workers’ compensation claims. HB 141 was sponsored by the House Labor and Commerce Committee, chaired by Representative Kurt Olson. Senator John Coghill sponsored companion legislation in the Senate.

The governor also signed HB 218 into law, adding assault on a correctional officer as an aggravating factor for sentencing. Multiple misdemeanor assaults on other types of peace officers are already included as an aggravating factor. Additionally, the bill disallows the citizenship or deportation status of a defender to be a factor in sentencing or referral to a three-judge panel. HB 218 ensures both citizens and non-citizens are afforded the due process they are entitled to. The legislation was sponsored by Speaker Mike Chenault.

Governor Parnell also signed Senate Bill 116, sponsored by Senator Dennis Egan. The legislation allows peace officers to leave a citation for minor offenses with a fine of $500 or less without personally serving the citation. SB 116 fixes an unintentional consequence from Chapter 29 SLA 2010, which set in statute that all citations be personally served.

Senate Bill 58, also sponsored by Senator Egan, was signed into law by the governor. The legislation clarifies that insurance on property that has been entirely abandoned can be cancelled in Alaska.

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