Legislature Addresses Medical Licensing, Regulation, and Family Therapy

Juneau – In a bipartisan effort to improve health care, the Alaska Legislature acted to streamline medical licensing and addressed regulatory issues in the medical field on the final day of session. House Bill 280, an extension for the Board of Marital and Family Therapy sponsored by Representative Andy Josephson (D—Anchorage), was amended to include portions Senate Bill 108 sponsored by Senator Giessel (R—Anchorage), which dealt with reforms requested by the state Medical Board.

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Coalition Members Reflect on the 30th Alaska Legislature

Juneau – After a flurry of legislative action, the Alaska House of Representatives joined the Alaska Senate in adjourning the Second Session of the 30th Alaska Legislature sine die early Sunday morning. Members of the Alaska House Majority Coalition reflected on the legislative achievements of the session.

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Budget Deal Reached; State Operating Budget Passes the Alaska Legislature

Juneau – A compromise budget agreement between the Alaska House of Representatives and the Alaska State Senate was reached today, resulting in the passage of the fiscal year 2019 operating budget for the State of Alaska. Today’s budget deal prevents any disruption in essential public services as the State of Alaska enters the busy summer tourism and fishing seasons. House Bill 286 features total General Fund spending of $6.27 billion. The budget includes Alaska House Majority Coalition priorities such as $942 million to inflation-proof the value of the $65 billion Alaska Permanent Fund, $1.02 billion to pay for $1,600 Permanent Fund Dividends for each eligible Alaskan, a $10 million investment in the University of Alaska above the Governor’s proposal, and multiple measures to improve public safety and law enforcement in Alaska.

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Workers’ Compensation Reform Passes the Alaska Legislature

Juneau – Today, the Alaska Legislature passed legislation put forward by Alaska Governor Bill Walker to improve Alaska’s workers’ compensation system. House Bill 79 allows for electronic filing, reduces administrative costs, more clearly defines ‘independent contractor’, and provide adequate funding to administer the workers’ compensation system.

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House Votes to Strengthen Penalties for Spills of Oil and Other Hazardous Substances

Juneau – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed legislation to give the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) additional tools to address spills of oil and hazardous substances in Alaska. House Bill 322 updates civil penalties that have been eroded over time due to inflation and provides administrative penalties that DEC can quickly levy to stop and prevent spills. Both penalties would be automatically adjusted for inflation every ten years. Additionally, HB 322 stipulates that trucking companies transporting oil share with DEC any spill plan they submit to the federal government.

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