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Bill to eliminate Alaska comp appeals commission introduced

Posted On: Mar. 7, 2019 3:11 PM CST

A crane accident at a construction worksite in Fairbanks, Alaska

Alaska lawmakers are considering legislation to eliminate the state’s Workers Compensation Appeals Commission.  

S.B. 76, introduced Wednesday by Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, would repeal the commission and require all petitions for review or appeals of orders of the Alaska Workers Compensation Board that have not been filed by June 1, 2019, to be brought before the Alaska Superior Court.

The Alaska Workers Compensation Appeals Commission has only been in existence in the state since 2005 and its case load has been declining, from 49 cases in 2007 to 20 in 2016, according to Sen. Wielechowski’s office.

Currently, the Workers Compensation Appeals Commission is one of the only administrative appeals systems left in the state, which has a budget deficit estimated at $1.4 billion by Gov. Michael Dunleavy’s office in December 2018.

Moving workers compensation appeals to the Superior Court system — which the senator’s office said can absorb the additional case load without any increase in the budget — could save the state about $400,000 a year.