Senate Bill No. 98

Introduced By thomas

By Request of the Board of Regents

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act authorizing the university system to elect workers' compensation coverage under plan No. 1, plan No. 2, or plan No. 3; amending section 39-71-403, MCA; and providing an effective date."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 39-71-403, MCA, is amended to read:

"39-71-403.   Plan three exclusive for state agencies -- election of plan by other public corporations -- financing of self-insurance fund -- exemption for university system -- definition. (1) If Except as provided in subsection (5), if a state agency is the employer, the terms, conditions, and provisions of compensation plan No. 3, state fund, are exclusive, compulsory, and obligatory upon both employer and employee. Any sums necessary to be paid under the provisions of this chapter by any state agency are considered to be ordinary and necessary expense of the agency. The agency shall make appropriation of and pay the sums into the state fund at the time and in the manner provided for in this chapter, notwithstanding that the state agency may have failed to anticipate the ordinary and necessary expense in any budget, estimate of expenses, appropriations, ordinances, or otherwise.

(2)  A public corporation, other than a state agency, may elect coverage under compensation plan No. 1, plan No. 2, or plan No. 3, separately or jointly with any other public corporation other than a state agency. A public corporation electing compensation plan No. 1 may purchase reinsurance or issue bonds or notes pursuant to subsection (3)(b). A public corporation electing compensation plan No. 1 is subject to the same provisions as a private employer electing compensation plan No. 1.

(3)  (a) A public corporation, other than a state agency, that elects plan No. 1 may establish a fund sufficient to pay the compensation and benefits provided for in this chapter and chapter 72 and to discharge all liabilities that reasonably incur during the fiscal year for which the election is effective. Proceeds from the fund must be used only to pay claims covered by this chapter and chapter 72 and for actual and necessary expenses required for the efficient administration of the fund, including debt service on any bonds and notes issued pursuant to subsection (3)(b).

(b)  (i) A public corporation, other than a state agency, separately or jointly with another public corporation, other than a state agency, may issue and sell its bonds and notes for the purpose of establishing, in whole or in part, the self-insurance workers' compensation fund provided for in subsection (3)(a) and to pay the costs associated with the sale and issuance of the bonds. Bonds and notes may be issued in an amount not exceeding 3% of the taxable valuation of the public corporation as of the date of issue. The bonds and notes must be authorized by resolution of the governing body of the public corporation and are payable from an annual property tax levied in the amount necessary to pay principal and interest on the bonds or notes. This authority to levy an annual property tax exists despite any provision of law or maximum levy limitation to the contrary. The revenues derived from the sale of the bonds and notes may not be used for any other purpose.

(ii) The bonds and notes:

(A)  may be sold at public or private sale;

(B)  do not constitute debt within the meaning of any statutory debt limitation; and

(C)  may contain other terms and provisions as the governing body determines.

(iii) Two or more public corporations, other than state agencies, may agree to exercise their respective borrowing powers jointly under this subsection (3)(b) or may authorize a joint board to exercise the powers on their behalf.

(iv) The fund established from the proceeds of bonds and notes issued and sold under this subsection (3)(b) may, if sufficient, be used in lieu of a surety bond, reinsurance, specific and aggregate excess insurance, or any other form of additional security necessary to demonstrate the public corporation's ability to discharge all liabilities as provided in subsection (3)(a). Subject to the 3% of taxable valuation limitation in subsection (3)(b)(i), a public corporation may issue bonds and notes to establish a fund sufficient to discharge liabilities for periods greater than 1 year.

(4)  All money in the fund established under subsection (3)(a) not needed to meet immediate expenditures must be invested by the governing body of the public corporation or the joint board created by two or more public corporations as provided in subsection (3)(b)(iii), and all proceeds of the investment must be credited to the fund.

(5) The provisions of subsection (1) do not apply to the Montana university system.

(6) As used in subsections (2) and (3), "public corporation" includes the Montana university system."

NEW SECTION. Section 2.  Effective date. [This act] is effective July 1, 1997.