NFIB, State Still Far Apart on Defining Independent Contractors for Workers' Compensation Purposes

Date: March 11, 2017

Alaska should also pay for contraception coverage for its employees if it wants to mandate it for private employers

NFIB/Alaska State Director Denny DeWitt’s report from Juneau for the legislative week ending March 10

NFIB has been working on two measures (House Bill 79 and Senate Bill 40) sponsored by Gov. Bill Walker that would change the definition of an independent contractor for workers’ compensation coverage.

Although NFIB has made some progress negotiating with the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, it’s not near enough to remove small businesses’ opposition. HB 79 is scheduled for two hearings next week, March 15 and 17.

NFIB’s lobbying efforts were noticed in the Alaska Journal of Commerce, which quoted State Director Denny DeWitt, “We believe (the definition) is far too narrow and (would) prevent many Alaskan entrepreneurs functioning as the independent contractors they truly are.”

Contraception Coverage

House Bill 25 was heard this week. It would mandate insurance coverage for 12 months for contraception pills. NFIB is opposed the bill for two reasons: It opposes any mandates, and it doesn’t include state employees. 

NFIB maintains that if it is mandated on our members, it should cover state employees, too. The bill has been held in committee to deal with state employee coverage — a partial win that a will pay dividends when the state must admit to the cost of these mandates.

Senate Bill 53, a companion measure, is scheduled for a hearing March 13 in the Senate Health and Social Services Committee.

Civil Forfeiture

House Bill 42 on civil forfeiture will be heard again March 13. NFIB continues its support of this bill.

UI Minimum Wage

House Bill 142 was introduced by Rep. Chris Tuck. It would increase the maximum wage for unemployment insurance from $42,000 to $59,500 then allows for inflation increase every two years.

NFIB continues its opposition to legislation during this time of recession in Alaska. NFIB will be meeting with the Department of Labor & Workforce Development at its request. NFIB knows the department wants more money for more benefits, but what will it offer small businesses to offset increased costs in a recession environment. Click here to read NFIB’s letter of opposition to HB 142.

State Income Tax

NFIB will continue its opposition to House Bill 115, the state income tax bill that also restructures the use of the Permanent Fund Earnings Reserve.

Previous Reports & Related News Releases

March 3 Report—NFIB to Fight Alaska bid to Spike UI Wages

February 24 Report—Gas Tax Increase, State Income Tax Bills Still Alive

February 17 Report—NFIB to Testify Against Assault on Independent Contractors

February 10 Report—NFIB Looking at Four Fixes to Omnibus Crime Bill

February 3 Report—Flaw in SB 91: What Penalty for Petty Theft?

January 27 Report—Independent Contractors Once Again in Crosshairs of Alaska Legislature

January 20 Report—Costly Bills Make Return Engagement in Juneau

January 5 News Release—Poll: Alaska Should Not Be in The Retirement Business

[Tile photo of House Finance Committee Co-chairmen Paul Seaton and Neal Foster courtesy of The Alaska State Legislature website.]

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