CARPENETI, Chief Justice.
Does the Alaska Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission have subject matter jurisdiction to review interlocutory orders of the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board before a final Board decision? In 2006 the Commission decided that it had implied jurisdiction to hear motions for extraordinary review, which are similar to petitions for review in the appellate courts. In 2008 an employer asked the Commission to review and to stay the Board's non-final order denying a change of venue from Fairbanks. The Commission first issued a partial stay, permitting the case to go forward in any venue other than Fairbanks. It later reviewed the merits of the Board's decision to deny the change of venue and reversed it. The employee contends that the Commission did not have subject matter jurisdiction over motions for extraordinary review because the legislature only granted the Commission jurisdiction to hear appeals of final Board orders. Because we find that jurisdiction to hear interlocutory appeals is necessarily incident to the Commission's express power to hear appeals from final Board decisions, we affirm the Commission's decision.
II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
Kenneth Monzulla hurt his back in 1999 when he was working for Voorhees Concrete Cutting in Fairbanks. As the Board noted in one of its decisions in the case, "[t]he medical and legal records in this case are voluminous." In September 2001, the parties entered a partial compromise and release agreement to settle all issues except future medical care for his lumbar and thoracic spine; their more recent substantive disputes have involved the extent of this medical care.
The parties have also disagreed about venue for the proceedings. Because Monzulla injured his back in Fairbanks, venue for Board proceedings related to his injury was initially in Fairbanks.
Voorhees's first petition for a change of venue was filed in November 2006. After a hearing, the Board denied the petition, finding that "Fairbanks [would] better serve the balanced interests of the parties, witnesses, and the [Board], and would provide a speedier remedy." The Board held a hearing on March 1, 2007, on various claims raised by Monzulla; in its decision, it granted some claims and denied others. Voorhees appealed the Board's final decision to the Commission and at the same time appealed the interlocutory order denying its petition for change of venue. On February 4, 2008, the Commission affirmed in part and reversed in part the Board's orders. On the venue issue, the Commission affirmed the Board's denial of a change of venue with a cautionary instruction to the Board not to consider its own interest when evaluating a change of venue request.
On July 16, 2008, Voorhees again petitioned the Board to change venue; the Board again denied the petition. Voorhees filed a motion for extraordinary review and request for stay with the Commission on October 24, 2008. The Commission granted extraordinary review of the venue question, stayed the Board proceedings "in the northern venue, but not proceedings in other venues," and invited the participation of the director of the Division of Workers' Compensation because of the question's potential impact on Board procedure.
In its decision on the merits, the Commission decided that the Board had abused its discretion in failing to change venue to Anchorage "because it relied on an impermissible consideration, its own interest, under 8 [Alaska Administrative Code] 45.072(2) and because it lacked sufficient evidence to find that Fairbanks was a more convenient forum than Anchorage for the parties and witnesses."
After the Commission reversed the Board's venue decision, an attorney entered an appearance on behalf of Monzulla and moved for reconsideration of the Commission's decision. He argued that the Commission did not have subject matter jurisdiction to consider the motion for extraordinary review and had misconstrued the case law in its discussion of the law of the case doctrine. The Commission declined to consider Monzulla's challenge to its subject matter jurisdiction because he had not raised it previously in the appeal and had not distinguished Commission precedent on the subject. But it ordered briefing on whether it had misconstrued our case law. Monzulla filed an appeal in this court related to the Commission's subject matter jurisdiction on October 2, 2009. On October 8, 2009, the parties filed a stipulation with the Commission dismissing Monzulla's motion for reconsideration; the Commission issued an order dismissing the motion for reconsideration and indicating that its decision dated August 6, 2009, was the final decision of the appeals commission. Monzulla appeals the Commission's exercise of jurisdiction over the motion for extraordinary review and its partial stay of the Board's venue order.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
In an appeal from the Alaska Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission, we review the Commission's decision rather than the Board's decision.
A. Monzulla's Challenge To Subject Matter Jurisdiction Was Timely.
Monzulla contends that the Commission erred because it did not consider whether it had jurisdiction to hear interlocutory appeals. He asserts that his "failure to object to the Commission's lack of subject matter jurisdiction [before reconsideration] is immaterial."
The Commission refused to consider Monzulla's challenge to its subject matter jurisdiction because he did not raise it until he moved for reconsideration of its decision on the merits and had not established "that there [were] grounds to distinguish or overturn" Eagle Hardware & Garden v. Ammi.
The question of subject matter jurisdiction can be raised at any time,
B. The Legislature Did Not Explicitly Grant Interlocutory Review Jurisdiction To The Commission.
Monzulla's appeal raises the question whether the Commission has jurisdiction to review interlocutory Board orders before the Board issues a final decision. He argues, based on the statutory language, that the legislature did not grant the Commission this power. Monzulla contends that the legislature "was aware of how to fashion broad extraordinary discretionary review power when it enacted the Commission's statutory powers and authority" but chose to limit the Commission's jurisdiction to review of final decisions. Because the legislature in AS 23.30.007(a) limited the Commission's jurisdiction to administrative appeals,
Voorhees responds that the legislature directly granted jurisdiction over interlocutory appeals to the Commission. Voorhees asks us to interpret the statute, particularly AS 23.30.125(b)
We interpret a statute "according to reason, practicality, and common sense, taking into account the plain meaning and purpose of the law as well as the intent of the drafters."
In construing a statute, we look at the meaning of the words used and the legislative history.
As noted, Voorhees argues that in AS 23.30.125(b) and AS 23.30.128(b) the legislature specifically granted the Commission jurisdiction to review interlocutory orders. According to Voorhees, these statutory subsections are meaningless unless they grant the Commission discretionary review jurisdiction. Voorhees contends that if they are not interpreted this way, they would be in conflict with AS 23.30.007(a) and AS 23.30.008(a).
The parties agree that "all sections of an act are to be construed together so that all have meaning and no section conflicts with another."
The statutory subsections at issue here can be harmonized. Alaska Statute 23.30.007(a) is the express grant of jurisdiction to the Commission; its jurisdiction is "limited to administrative appeals." Alaska Statute 23.30.008(a) provides that the Commission's decisions are final and conclusive and have the force of precedent for the Commission and the Board; it expressly limits the Commission's jurisdiction to workers' compensation cases. Alaska Statute 23.30.125(b) clarifies that review of Board decisions is done by the Commission, not the superior court. Alaska Statute 23.30.128(b) sets out the Board actions the Commission can review and the standards of review for the Commission to apply.
C. The Commission Has Implied Jurisdiction To Hear Interlocutory Appeals.
We next consider whether the Commission has implied jurisdiction to hear interlocutory
In deciding whether an administrative agency has properly exercised an implied power, other courts have considered whether the implied power is consistent with the legislature's objectives in granting powers to the administrative agency,
Applying these principles here, we hold that the Commission has implied jurisdiction to review interlocutory Board orders. The Commission "performs a quasi-judicial function that is akin to appellate review."
The goal of the statutory amendment that established the Commission was "to increase the efficiency and flexibility of the current system ... and reduce some of its costs."
Discretionary review jurisdiction in the Commission can further all of these goals: increasing efficiency, providing precedential decisions from a body with expertise in workers' compensation, and reducing costs in workers' compensation appeals. Discretionary review can speed the ultimate resolution of a case when review concerns a controlling legal issue.
We have already noted that, in creating the Commission, the legislature intended to replace review by the superior court with review by the Commission. We agree with Voorhees that the legislature wanted those seeking review of Board decisions to have the same procedural rights of review that they had in the superior court. We recognize, as Monzulla argues, that the discretionary review previously available in the superior court has a different origin
D. The Commission Had Authority To Stay The Board's Decision.
Monzulla argues separately that the Commission was without jurisdiction to stay the Board's decision because the workers' compensation statute and the Commission's regulations only permit stays of "compensation orders," which are a limited class of Board orders. Voorhees does not address this argument separately.
The only provision of the Alaska Workers' Compensation Act related to stays by the Commission is AS 23.30.125(c), which states:
Monzulla does not dispute that the legislature gave the Commission some power to stay Board decisions; he argues that because a compensation order refers only to a Board order denying a claim or making an award of compensation,
Given the purposes of the legislation, we do not think that the legislature intended the Commission's power to issue stays to be confined to compensation orders. The statutory language does not expressly limit stays to compensation orders nor does it prohibit stays of other Board orders. The statute sets out the standards the Commission must apply when a party seeks to stay a monetary award from the Board.
In addition, without authority to stay Board decisions while review is pending, the Commission's discretionary review jurisdiction would be meaningless. If the Commission could not stay a Board order while it reviewed the order, issues could become moot while review was pending.
Because discretionary review of non-final Board orders is necessarily incident to the Commission's express power to hear appeals from final Board decisions, we AFFIRM the Commission's decision that it had jurisdiction to stay and review the Board's venue decision in this case.