Alaska Gov. Inks Several Bills

June 22, 2004

Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski has signed into law a number of recently-passed bills, which address issues ranging from small claims to getting drunk drivers off the streets.

HB 227, sponsored by the House Judiciary Committee, Anchorage Rep. Lesil McGuire, Chair, increases the jurisdictional limit on small claims from $7,500 to $10,000 and the jurisdictional limit of district courts from $50,000 to $100,000 to reflect inflation. The bill also expands the types of cases the District Court can hear to include actions for false imprisonment, libel, slander, and malicious prosecution if the amount in controversy does not exceed $100,000.

HB 273, also sponsored by Rep. McGuire, is intended to increase both the availability and affordability of sports and recreational activities for children. Availability and affordability have reportedly become issues because of the amount of litigation and costs inherent in exposure to potential litigation. The bill accomplishes this goal by allowing a parent to release or waive in writing a child’s prospective negligence claim against a sports or recreational activity provider.

Finally, HB 423, sponsored by Anchorage Rep. Tom Anderson, is a “Good Samaritan” bill for taxicab drivers, which is targeted at getting more drunk drivers off Alaska streets. “This bill allows taxicab drivers to drive an intoxicated person or an intoxicated person’s motor vehicle to the person’s home or another location and limits the taxicab driver’s liability in the event an accident occurs,” Murkowski said.

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