We have received many calls and emails today regarding the recent work by the House Finance Committee on the Governor’s Medicaid expansion proposal. It’s important to set the record straight: Medicaid expansion is not dead, and work on its evaluation will continue in the Legislature. After hearing extensive testimony on problems with our Medicaid Management Information System, which processes claims and pays providers, and insecurity as to whether Alaskans would be able to enroll, it seemed that more information and refining was needed before the state undertakes such an enormous project. Alaskans need dependable, sustainable health care coverage, and the plan as it stands today does not have that guarantee.
What’s next for expansion? The House is going to be consulting with experts in Medicaid expansion, people who have assessed the strengths and weaknesses of other states’ approaches and evaluated Alaska’s needs, while we wait for the Governor’s plan to come back from their contractor. We believe that this will help ensure that we don’t move ahead with an unsustainable system, and repeat past costly mistakes.
We all share the goal of seeing our friends and neighbors healthy and stably insured, and the Legislature, along with the assistance of consultants and experts, will continue thoroughly examining the proposal of expansion to make sure that it meets this common objective.
School’s (Almost) Out!
It’s graduation season here in Anchorage, and the Class of 2015 deserves our sincere congratulations. It’s so encouraging to see what bright, enthusiastic young people we have entering the world, and it will be exciting to see what they accomplish.
A special shout-out to our Service Cougar grads who received their diplomas just last night!
Does your child receive free or reduced lunch during the school year? During the summer break you can find meal information, and locations here: http://www.asdk12.org/studentnutrition/
Reminder: the last day of school is next Thursday, May 21st.
Anchorage Firefighters Open House
This Saturday, May 16th, 2015 the Anchorage Firefighters Local 1264 and the Anchorage Fire Department (AFD) will be hosting the 10th annual department wide open house. The event will be held at the Anchorage Fire Training Center, located at 1150 Airport Heights Road from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. This is an opportunity for the Anchorage Firefighters to open their doors to the community and showcase both traditional fire apparatus and to highlight the work of some of AFD’s special response teams. A full schedule can be found below.
The year’s open house will feature several interactive and live demonstrations. A live fire demonstration will be held at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM showing the rapid rate of fire progression from inception to flash over in a simulated residential living room. Additionally, firefighters will be on hand to demonstrate techniques used to extricate an individual from a vehicle involved in an accident. Anchorage Firefighters Local 1264 will be featuring their Union Engine and BBQ grill to provide free food & beverages to those who attend the open house.
Parking graciously provided by Alaska Regional Hospital. Please park in the north lot.
Events & Activities:
-Elliot Taylor Memorial Blood Drive
-Tiny Turnouts & Interactive Hose Station
-Home Exit Drill
-AFD Special Teams Demonstrations:
Urban Search & Rescue
High Angle Rescue Team
-911 Dispatch – What Happens When You Call 911?
-Free Food & Drink provided by Anchorage Firefighters Local 1264
-Safe Kids Car Seat Inspections (10 am- 12pm)
Special Session Continues
As we continue the work of the special session, please visit our website, http://akleg.gov/index.php for daily meeting schedules and live-streamed public hearings.
Also, please continue to reach out by email at Rep.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov or call the office at 907-269-0222, with your ideas and comments. It’s incredibly valuable to have your input as we move forward with such important issues.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message, and for staying engaged.
admin @ May 15, 2015
White House approval means summer program may proceed
Monday, May 11, 2015, Barrow, Alaska – Alaska House Resources Co-Chair Ben Nageak thanked the president and U.S. Dept. of the Interior for their conditional approval allowing Shell’s summer drilling program in the Arctic to proceed.
“It’s about time they recognized that we in the Arctic will do all we can, as a people and a state, to uphold our rigorous conservation and land protection standards,” said Nageak, D-Barrow. “The Big Environmental lobby has fought for decades to deny my people the economic and societal opportunity that responsible and well-managed exploration and development will bring. We are thankful for the decision and look forward to the company complying with all permit provisions and will welcome them back to the Chukchi.”
The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s decision is predicated on Shell’s ability to gain a series of remaining drilling permits for the project, originally slated for summer 2012.
“I’m encouraged that the President and Interior Department have finally awakened to the reality that Shell will follow the law and do right by the State of Alaska, indigenous peoples and federal regulators,” said Alaska House Majority Leader Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage. “We hope this signals a change in the federal government’s attitude toward their own permitting system and Outside environmental interests, who don’t have the Alaskan people in mind. We’re the nation’s Arctic. We’re the nation’s energy future. It’s time for the Obama administration to let us unleash our potential and build on our decades of energy production expertise. Today is a good day.”
admin @ May 12, 2015
Great Alaska Good Friday Earthquake Remembrance Day
It was 51 years ago today the Good Friday Earthquake rocked Southcentral Alaska. The largest earthquake in North American history tore apart entire communities and claimed more than 100 lives.
The moment the ground stopped shaking Alaskans banded together to rescue the injured, reestablish vital services, rebuild homes and businesses before the return of winter. For those who survived the quake it was a transformative event and the reconstruction process transformed Anchorage into the modern city it is today.
Today the legislature passed my legislation, House Bill 35, establishing every March 27 as Great Alaska Good Friday Earthquake Remembrance Day. It requires the governor to issue a proclamation each March 27 commemorating the day and have the state flag flown at half-mast. Communities and civic groups can hold observances honoring the Alaskans who perished and to remind everyone how important it is to be prepared for natural disasters.
Everyone send a big congratulations to Service High School varsity basketball players Brad Wacker, Pindo Drammeh and Nathan Fromm for being named to the 2015 All-State 4A Boys Basketball Team. Three great athletes who guided the Cougar hoopsters to an 18-4 regular season record.
Have a great weekend,
admin @ March 27, 2015
Several recent announcements from the federal government have brought bad news for Alaska’s natural resources based economy. This week we got some good news for a change.
This month remediation work will begin on several Travesty Wells in the Umiat area located in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Old oil and gas exploration wells will be plugged and the wellheads removed.
Who left this mess behind? A private oil and gas company? No, the federal government.
That is right. The feds drilled dozens of exploration wells across the arctic from the 1940’s up to the early 1980’s and left the wells unplugged and the sites covered with trash and pollution. We and Senator Lisa Murkowski have been pushing BLM to accept responsibility and start mitigating the sites for the past three years. Thanks to Senator Murkowski’s leadership $50 million in federal funding was secured to accelerate the cleanup.
Remediating every Travesty Well will take years and a lot of pressure from elected officials and Alaskans to keep BLM officials doing their job.
Bills on the Move
House Bill 76, which clarifies the mission of the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, passed out of the House Health and Social Services Committee yesterday. Next up, the House floor and then hopefully the Senate!
Operating Budget Testimony
A sincere thank you to everyone who called in and showed up to testify on the operating budget this week. Your thoughts and sentiments really do help as we work through this difficult budget cycle. We also truly appreciate the emails, calls to our office, and conversations in person. Every day is public testimony day in our office, and we are available throughout the year to hear your opinions and ideas regarding this budget.
Just to reiterate what we posted last week, this is the first step in a long, constructive budget process. In the coming week, the House Finance Committee will be weighing potential amendments to the budget, which will result in a new draft of the bill that we as a full body will hear on the House floor. At that point all members of the House will have the ability to weigh the budget, and amend the bill as they see fit. The budget will then be considered in the Senate, and the House will be tracking their process closely. This is all to say, we are far from done with the budget, and there are many discussions, further reductions, and opportunities for testimony, to come.
April Municipal Election
The April 7th Municipal election is just four weeks away. If you want to vote absentee your absentee application needs to be received at the Municipal Clerks Office by 5:00 p.m. March 31st.
The form is available online. Click on this link www.muni.org/elections
For all elections questions, please call Amanda Moser, Deputy Clerk – Elections at 907-343-4314 or at 243-VOTE (8683).
We need to hear from you so please keep your emails and phone calls coming.
admin @ March 9, 2015
admin @ March 3, 2015
Operating Budget Progress
This week marks the first step in the Legislature’s budget evaluation, and in our House Finance Budget Subcommittees, we’ve been pouring over the details of each department’s budget, looking for efficiencies and ways to scale down the size of government. As I’m sure you’ve heard and read, this is one of the toughest budget cycles our state has faced in decades. With oil prices declining and revenues dropping, the Legislature is taking a very hard look at what programs we can afford, while still providing essential services.
This is by no means the end of the budget’s journey through the Legislature. This is the first step in a long process aimed at establishing a state budget that will first, reduce our spending, and second, provide a responsible amount of funding to maneuver our state’s business. The percentages and proposed cuts you see in the media will be further refined and debated, and it is premature to judge this first stab at finding efficiencies and cuts.
Let’s quickly go through the Legislature’s budget process. First, the Governor’s budget is transferred to the Legislature, with all of his suggestions for possible increases and decreases for every department. This is an enormous document. The House Finance Committee then assigns each of its members two departments, whose budgets we go through with a fine toothed comb, through hearings and individual study, as Budget Subcommittees. The Subcommittees come up with their recommendations after hearing the departments’ thoughts, individuals’ amendments, and the chairman’s suggestions. Those recommendations are then forwarded to the Finance committee. This is the point we are at now. Next, the Finance committee members will review the recommendations from subcommittees, hear the departments’ reactions and public testimony, offer further amendments with additional cuts, and finally pass the budget on to the House floor for even further decreases, amendments, and a vote.
This process then repeats itself in the Senate, with further input from legislators, departments, outside experts, and the public. This is the very first look we have had at initial cuts and their effects, and we are far from done with the budget this session. There will be multitudes of opportunities for further reductions, and evaluation of their impacts as we progress these next few months. As legislators, we will continue to pour through this budget and make sure the end result best reflects the people’s will and our fiscal realities. You should also note that here will be additional bills, outside of the budget, that will reflect significant budget reductions in front of us this session. There will be many opportunities for you to weigh in on important programs or needed slices and have your voice be heard as well. We will keep you posted on these opportunities, but also encourage you to follow the budget on our website.
We’ve been hearing quite a bit recently from the administration, legislators and the public regarding the issue of expanding Medicaid. It is important for me to set the record straight on this issue. I believe we cannot have expansion without reform. If implemented correctly, Medicaid expansion could be an incredibly important tool to turn the tide on Alaskans’ health. However, it cannot be slipped into a single department’s budget with so few details included. This is why my colleagues and I have asked the Governor to introduce a comprehensive bill outlining not only the expansion’s funding mechanism, but also an implementation plan, addressed by all affected departments. The Governor, as the head of all departments involved and the source of the bulk of the data we have received on this policy, is the most appropriate sponsor for this legislation. As a line-item in the budget, we lose the salient details of the program’s expansion, as well as needed reforms to our current Medicaid operations, including reimbursements and duplicative coverage. We need an open and transparent process, in depth committee discussion and study, and the opportunity for a large public dialogue. This is an important piece of public policy that will spark not only a conversation regarding the state’s budget, but also our vision for the state’s future. I look forward to seeing a bill introduced by the Governor soon, and discussing with departments, my colleagues, and interested Alaskans, the best way to move this state forward.
Bills on the Move
House Bill 76 – clarifies the mission of the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, will be heard in the House Health and Social Services Committee on Tuesday. The Governor’s Council works tirelessly to advocate for and access housing, employment, independent living, health, transportation and community inclusion for Alaskans with disabilities. This bill updates Alaska law with the most accurate representation of the mission and work of the Council, as well as provide future Council membership with a clear road-map for success.
House Joint Resolution 6 – Urges the federal government to clean up contaminated lands transferred to native corporations under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The federal government’s legacy of polluting Alaska and never cleaning it up is shameful. The bill was heard this afternoon in the House Resources Committee.
Abbott Loop PTA
The Abbott Loop PTA needs your help. The PTA needs to grow its membership so it can hold monthly meetings. If you would like to get involved in making the school even better contact Abbott Loop PTA President Cassie San Miguel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before we go, we want to send a big congratulations to the Service High School Boys Cross Country Ski Team for capturing the state title last week at Kincaid Park. If you know one of the team members be sure to congratulate them for a great season on the trails.
That is all for now. Get out and enjoy Fur Rondy this weekend!
admin @ February 27, 2015
Majority leader’s bill creates day of reflection for Alaskans
Friday, February 20, 2015, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House today unanimously passed legislation honoring the roughly 130 lives lost and countless men and women who put the needs of others before their own during the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake.
House Bill 35, by House Majority Leader Charisse Millett, establishes March 27 of each year as Great Alaska Good Friday Earthquake Remembrance Day. The bill also directs the governor to fly the Alaska flag at half-mast every March 27.
“I was only three months old when the earthquake happened so I don’t remember it, but what I do remember are the stories told by Alaskans of the heroes who put their lives second to help others,” Millett, R-Anchorage, said. “This bill serves as a reminder every year for those who lost their lives and those who saved lives. I’m thankful that my colleagues supported it unanimously.”
The Good Friday earthquake, measuring a 9.2, struck at 5:36 p.m. March 27, 1964, and lasted roughly three minutes. The tsunami generated by the quake claimed lives and devastated communities from the Gulf of Alaska to the West Coast of the United States and Canada. The maximum recorded wave height of 67 meters was in the Valdez Inlet. HB 35 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.
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For more information, contact Rep. Millett’s office at 907-465-3879.
admin @ February 20, 2015
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities will hold an open house on the proposed Abbott Road Rehabilitation Project Tuesday, February 17 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Alaska Zoo, located at 4731 O’Malley Road.
Abbott Road is of course a major roadway in the Abbott Loop area and the construction phase will have a major impact on homeowners living near the road. The design is 95 percent complete so it is important for everyone to take a look at what the engineers have down on paper before the work begins. The plan is to widen Abbott between Lake Otis Parkway and Birch Road, flattening the road to improve the line of sight for drivers and creating a right hand turn lane from Abbott onto Birch Road.
Check out the project website at www.abbottroadrehab.com
Have a great weekend,
admin @ February 6, 2015
I thought I’d send along an update now that we’ve settled into our new Capitol office (we are now in Room 204) and back into Juneau. Today is the 7th day of session, and we have lots of work ahead of us. Let me update you on a few of the issues that we have been addressing in these first days.
This year I have the honor of serving on the House Judiciary Committee; Economic Development, Tourism and Arctic Policy Committee; Ethics Committee; Transportation Committee; and Fisheries Committee. I look forward, as these committees are beginning to meet, to thoroughly vet all legislation that passes through, and prioritize fiscal responsibility and meeting the needs of Alaska’s communities. My office will continue to keep you posted as session continues regarding the topics and actions of these committees.
With the price of oil so steeply declining, my colleagues and I anticipated that much of our session would be spent looking for ways to reduce our operating and capital budgets, and stemming our state’s deficit. So, it was no surprise that on Day 3 of this session, as the Governor delivered his State of the Budget speech, we received budget summaries from the administration with marked cuts in nearly every area of the state. The Governor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, which amounts to approximately $13 Billion, represents a 5.3% reduction from the previous year. One of my top priorities this session, during the Legislature’s budget process, is to make sure that we balance finding government efficiencies and reductions with protecting our economy.
Interestingly enough, today, January 26th, marks the 56th anniversary of the very first day of the State Legislature’s regular session. The Legislature convened just three weeks after President Eisenhower signed the Statehood Proclamation. Check out this website that has chronicled the beginning of each legislative session, both as a territory and a state.
This session, I am sponsoring legislation ranging from empowering our children to protect themselves from sexual assault, to providing medical coverage for the spouses and children of state employees who have died in the line of duty. I will keep you posted as these pieces of legislation move through the legislative process.
BP Teachers of Excellence
Do you know a teacher in your child’s school or community that deserves recognition? BP is accepting nominations for their Teachers of Excellence program until January 30th. Winning teachers receive $500 and a matching $500 grant for their school. One teacher is named the BP Teacher of the Year, and receives a $1,500 scholarship for continuing education.
Just a quick reminder – now that we are back in Juneau, my toll-free number is available if you need to get in contact with my office. That number is 888-269-3879. As always you can reach us in the office at 907-465-3879, and by emailing Rep.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov.
Until next time,
admin @ January 26, 2015
I just wanted to provide a little information for all of you before the long holiday weekend.
This month I was honored by my colleagues to serve as House Majority Leader for the 29th session of the Alaska Legislature. Legislative leadership is challenging and tremendously rewarding at the same time. My staff and I are committed to meeting and exceeding the expectations placed on us.
My committee assignments include House Chair of the Legislative Ethics Committee, Judiciary, Transportation, Legislative Council, Economic Development, Tourism and Trade and Fisheries.
Anchorage legislators will hold a pre-session hearing of the Anchorage Caucus on Saturday, January 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Assembly Chambers at the Loussac Library. After brief presentations from Mayor Dan Sullivan’s office and the Anchorage School District, public comment will begin around 9:30 a.m.
We want you your ideas on how to address education funding, transportation, public safety and whatever else is on your mind. When you arrive make sure to sign in if you wish to testify and be patient because we expect a full house.
Sustainable Education Task Force
The Alaska Legislature’s Sustainable Education Task Force has spent the past 18 months studying Alaska’s educational system with the goal of making recommendations to the Alaska Legislature before it convenes in January. The final meeting will be held Monday, December 29 from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Anchorage LIO at 733 W 4th Avenue.
Public comment will be taken near the end of the meeting. You can also watch online at http://www.alaskalegislature.tv/
We will relocate to Juneau in early January but before we do we want to hear your ideas for legislation or anything else. Sent your ideas to me at email@example.com
Before we go here is a link to a special holiday video message from me to you and your family http://vimeo.com/115310111
admin @ December 23, 2014