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House Labor & Commerce Chair Kurt Olson, R-Kenai - re: AKDoA announcement on Public Safety Employee medical benefit proposed regulations

Kreitzer proposal addresses HB 87 and AK medical benefit statutes

Thursday, March 25, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – House Labor & Commerce Committee Chair Rep. Kurt Olson, R-Kenai, released the following statement this evening after learning of Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Annette Kreitzer’s proposal to draft regulations to do away with a loophole in state law denying major medical coverage to public safety employees who become injured on the job near the end of their careers until they turn 60.

“I applaud Commissioner Kreitzer for coming to the table with HB 87 sponsor Charisse Millett, the Department of Law and myself,” Olson said. “The commissioner and I agreed that the best way to address the concerns brought forward by the firefighter union and the bill was by regulation. After careful consideration once the bill came to the Labor & Commerce Committee, I asked that the department review the proposed legislation and meet with us to find a solution amenable to all parties. I am hopeful that all parties will continue to remain in contact and consultation as we await the draft regulations, and will encourage the Joint Administrative Regulation Review Committee Chair to give them a proper vetting during the next legislative session. I have the utmost respect for Rep. Millett, but believed the proper avenue for resolution was within the purview of the department. Sometimes the best legislation is the legislation you don’t have to pass, because other avenues can lead to the same, if not better, results. Alaska’s public safety employees didn’t deserve to fall between the cracks. Thanks to the kind ear and determination of Commissioner Kreitzer, the loophole will be closed.”

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