Alaska Gov. Signs Six Bills; Emergency Responders, Airstrip Liability Among Areas Covered

June 8, 2004

Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski has signed into law six bills sponsored by Fairbanks legislators. He also read and signed a joint resolution.

The bills covered the following issues: protection for emergency responders; liability for airstrips; garnishment of PFDs for overdue University bills; traffic preemption devices; navigable waters; and state submerged lands.

Among the bills signed:

HB 438, sponsored by Rep. Jim Holm requires drivers approaching an emergency responder, such as police car, ambulance, or fire truck, to move out of the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, and to slow down to a reasonable and prudent speed. “This bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate,” Murkowski said. “It is aimed at reducing the risk of emergency responders being hit by other drivers when they are doing their jobs.”

HB 474, also by Rep. Holm, revises current civil liability statutes that relate to runways, airfields, and landing areas to provide the same degree of liability protection against accidents that occur in those areas, regardless of what entity owns the airfield. The bill extends liability protection to corporations that may own the airstrip. “Alaskans are highly dependent on air transportation, and should be able to land an airplane on a landing strip, even if it is owned by a corporation,” Murkowski said. “Extending protection from liability for accidents that could occur at their airstrip will help to ensure that more airstrips are ready in the event of an emergency.”

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