HB 126 Protects Alaskans from Unexpected Financial Liabilities
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2017
Juneau – The Alaska House of Representatives today unanimously approved legislation to extend workers compensation coverage to members of Alaska’s organized militia. Members of the Alaska State Defense Force are covered by workers compensation when ordered into active state service, however, that protection does not extend during training exercises.
House Bill 126 would fix that discrepancy by extending workers compensation to cover injuries incurred during training. House Bill 126 was introduced by the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans’ Affairs, which is chaired by House Majority Leader Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage).
“Sometimes there are easy solutions to issues, and this is one of those times,” said Rep. Tuck. “By expanding workers compensation coverage to training, we can protect the men and women who stand ready to defend and help Alaskans at a moment’s notice. This simple change will also save Alaska money, which is important in the face of the state’s current fiscal challenges.”
Recently, a member of the Alaska State Defense Force suffered a leg injury during a training exercise, which left this individual unable to work. Since workers compensation was not available, litigation was the only course of action. Although this case was settled out of court, it still cost the state twice the amount of the annual budget of the Alaska State Defense Force.
“Without passage of HB 126, militia members injured while training have very limited recourse to cover the expenses associated with that injury. This can lead to lawsuits against the State that can easily be avoided if the militia members were simply covered by workers compensation whenever they are called up, whether it be for state active duty or training,” said Rep. Tuck.
HB 126 passed the Alaska House of Representatives today by a vote of 39-0. The bill will now be sent to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.
For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.