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Update for May 27th

Update for May 6th

Update for April 22nd

LEGISLATURE PASSES MILLETT’S BILL PROMOTING CHILD SAFETY

Update for May 27th

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Budget, Education, Service High School | Comments (0)

Dear neighbors,

I hope that you’re enjoying these beautiful early summer days! The Legislature is continuing its work down here in Juneau, having been called into special session by the Governor. There are many big issues on the table, including the budget and the Governor’s plan to restructure the Permanent Fund, and we plan to give all their due. Below is an update on the goings-on down here, and ways to participate.

End of Regular Session

After 120 days of working on the issues before us, the Legislature was incredibly close to a compromise on the budget, whose passage would have allowed us to adjourn and avoid a special session. Unfortunately, parties involved were unable to meet all of the last minute requests of the House and Senate minorities, and important cooperation was prevented. While this was a frustrating turn of events after long hours of negotiations, we all understand that a budget must be passed and are committed to continue to work hard and find common ground.

Special Session Topics

Eleven items are on the Governor’s special session agenda including the budget, an omnibus proposal for taxes on Alaskans and businesses, a Permanent Fund restructure, a reinsurance plan for self-insured Alaskans, insurance coverage for surviving families of public safety, oil and gas tax credits, and others.

The House and Senate passed a resolution on the second day of special session to better use the time before us to pass a budget and other bills on the governor’s proclamation. The resolution prioritizes the passage of a fully funded budget in a timely manner that will ensure state workers remain employed and essential state services continue uninterrupted and keeps us from having to wipe the slate clean and start all over, saving time and money during this special session.

While a wide range of bills are before us, the first priority has to be passing a budget, and ensuring that state employees don’t need to worry for their jobs and Alaskans maintain critical services. On the last night of session, compromise was within our sight line, and we’re all confident that momentum from last week will continue into special session.

As we move through special session, there will be numerous opportunities to testify on bills before the Legislature, as well as televised and streamed meetings if you’re interested in following along. More importantly, our office is always so grateful to get your calls and emails, and hopeful that you will reach out with any questions, concerns or ideas.

House Bill 4002

Our office was particularly encouraged by the Governor’s introduction of House Bill 4002, which mirrors our bill, House Bill 66 and provides for major medical coverage for the surviving spouses and children of public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty. Alaska’s peace officers and firefighters put their lives on the line for all of us every day, and do so without the comfort of knowing that if they make the ultimate sacrifice, their families will have health coverage. This policy would allow for families of slain peace officers and firefighters to enter early into the retiree health plan, and have secure coverage through the state.

When we ask our state employees to run into danger, the state should be prepared to honor them and protect their families when the worst happens. The families of Troopers Johnson, Rich and Toll, all troopers slain in the line of duty, have been unfailing advocates for this small protection, and we are truly looking forward to the possibility of its passage this year.

The pace is picking up here in Juneau. The committees are busy reviewing bills and drawing closer to agreements to bring the special session to a successful conclusion. We respectfully ask for your patience as we move towards adjournment and thank everyone who has contacted our office with thoughts, ideas and suggestions. We are listening and count on all of you to guide our decision making process.

Road Construction

Remember to be courteous and check your speed in road construction zones this summer. Two major road projects are underway now in the Abbott Loop area. Abbott Road from Lake Otis to Jupiter Street will be widened from two to three lanes and will make the road safer and keep traffic moving during the morning and evening rush hours.

Three years will be necessary to finish widening the New Seward Highway between Dowling and Dimond. Expect lane closures, detours and flaggers for the $50 million project as work has already begun to widen the highway from four to six lanes. Construction is scheduled to be complete by the third quarter of 2018.

Go Cougars!

The school year is over but Cougar sports remain in high gear. The ASAA Track and Field Championships started today and continue through Saturday at Dimond High’s outdoor track. The Cougar boys and girls soccer teams are competing in the state tournament at the Eagle River and Service High fields.

Last but certainly not least, we want to say farewell and happy retirement to Service High School Principal John Gaskins. John was a pleasure to work with the past few years on the new home field, PTA meetings and so much more. His dedication to the students is admirable and showed each and every day at Service. Let’s all wish John and his family well as he begins a well-earned retirement.

As always, we can be reached in Juneau, by our toll free line, 1-888-269-3879 or by email at rep.charisse.millett@akleg.gov No one could ask for better weather this holiday weekend so take the family out and enjoy it!

 

Sincerely,

Charisse Signature bold

 

 

 

 

 

 

admin @ May 27, 2016

Update for May 6th

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Announcements, Budget, Service High School | Comments (0)

Gov. Walker signed HB 76 into law this week. Jill Burkert with the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education and Rep. Millett's staffer Grace Abbott attended the signing ceremony.

Gov. Walker signed HB 76 into law this week. Jill Burkert with the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education and Rep. Millett’s staffer Grace Abbott attended the signing ceremony.

Dear neighbors,

We will remain in Juneau for a while longer to reach agreement on a package of legislation to reform our state’s criminal justice system and bring solutions to the state’s multibillion dollar budget deficit.

We really appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work with our colleagues in the house, senate and administration to find common ground on the issues and legislation remaining this session.

Continued Session Work

The Legislature is continuing its work down here in Juneau, and have now transitioned into temporary offices as the Capitol’s seismic upgrades proceed. There is still much work to do, and issues being considered include the Governor’s tax proposals, the operating and capital budget, plans to restructure the Permanent Fund, criminal justice reform, and oil and gas tax credit reform. This has been a truly unprecedented year, and as a result a lot of careful consideration is needed of the pieces of policy before the Legislature. Every legislator is here to represent their constituents, and bring with them perspectives as diverse as this state. It is so valuable to all of us when our constituents share their ideas and concerns on issues faced by our communities, and we truly are here to listen. Please continue calling and emailing with your thoughts!

House Bill 76

This week our office was proud to see Governor Walker sign HB 76 into law. This bill gives clarity to the mission of the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education, and removes unnecessary statutory confusion. The Governor’s Council does truly essential and amazing work both for and with Alaskans experiencing disabilities – helping facilitate employment, transportation and other critical services. Our office is proud to serve on the Council, and dedicated to continue to support their important work. Thank you to Governor Walker for joining us in understanding the importance of this legislation, and signing it into law.

Trails for Rilke

Here is a fun event to mark on your calendar. The Rilke Schule German Immersion School is holding an Outdoor Trail Kickoff Event for the entire community tomorrow, May 7th to celebrate its plans for outdoor spaces and new trails this summer. This should be a good time and all are welcome! Checkout this poster for details.

Service T&F Logo

Go Cougars!

The Cougar sprinters, jumpers and throwers have a lot happening on and off the track right now. This morning, the track and field teams participate in an outdoor meet against the Dimond Lynx

If you have children that will be attending Service in the future and are interested in becoming a Cougar track and field athlete, the school will hold its annual Cougar Track Camp for kindergarteners through incoming ninth graders, May 23, 24, and 25th. Details about the camp are posted on the team website at: www.servicetrackandfield.com

The boys and girls soccer teams host the Bartlett Golden Bears tonight at 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. The Green and Gold are having successful seasons so let’s make sure to give them the support they need to continue their winning ways.

Hanshew PTA Meeting

Hanshew Middle School PTA holds its final meeting of the school year this Monday, May 9th at 4:00 p.m. in the school library. The meeting will focus on planning for the 2016-2017 school year.

Road Construction Priorities

The Municipality of Anchorage is asking all community councils to prioritize two road projects for future funding in a municipal road and drainage bond. Our Abbott Loop Community Council is reviewing the dozen or so projects that are in various stages of development to determine which two are the most important.

Your input is needed before final selections are made at the May community council meeting. This Capital Improvement List contains the road projects in the Abbott Loop area. Please look it over and weigh in on this important decision.

 

Before we go, let’s all give a big Cougar congratulations to the Service High School Class of 2016. These young adults receive their diplomas next week and we wish them the very best in all their future endeavors.

We may still be in Juneau but we are never more than a phone call or email away. Call us toll free anytime at 1-888-269-3879.

Spring is here so get out and enjoy it!

 

Best,

Charisse Signature bold

admin @ May 6, 2016

Update for April 22nd

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Budget, Education, Service High School | Comments (0)

Rep. Millett and House Speaker Mike Chenault discussing the floor session during at at ease last week.

Rep. Millett and House Speaker Mike Chenault discussing the floor session during an “at ease” last week.

Good afternoon everyone,

Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy day to read about our efforts to represent you and your family. We are in extra innings here in Juneau, continuing to work hard to address the state’s $4 billion dollar budget gap in a manner that protects the state’s economy and your pocketbook to the greatest extent possible.

Continued Work

The Legislature is continuing its work down in Juneau in this year of unprecedented revenue shortfalls and budget deficits, there is still much to work on. As the session extends, the issues left on the table are criminal justice reform, tax credit reform, final budget details, and revenue options. The House has had meetings and floor sessions every day, and will continue to during the weekend, and until our work is done.

After the state’s 65% reduction in income, legislators and the Administration are working diligently to come up with solutions and innovations. These are solutions not easily found and often compromises not easily struck. Everyone is looking to protect Alaskans and keep our state whole, and the path of every legislator towards a sustainable state budget is going to differ slightly. Your comments, questions and ideas are still incredibly important, and we so value all the input we receive from Alaskans as we work through these incredibly difficult issues.

House Bill 379

As a measure to get state spending under control, this week the House Finance Committee is evaluating a bill brought by our office and Representative Craig Johnson to freeze state government raises until oil prices begin to rise. Businesses across the state have begun to downsize, with many laying off our friends, family and neighbors. State government, in spite of our change in fiscal circumstances, is scheduled to give its employees pay increases this year, resulting in tens of millions of dollars of spending. In this financial climate, during a period where many are unsure of their job security, the state of Alaska needs to prioritize private and public sector stability and economic health. While merit pay has been an advantage that many look forward to as a part of state employment, maintaining as many stable, healthy Alaskan families as possible must take priority.

The state’s spending needs to best reflect the reality of our fiscal situation, and while the price of oil hovers at $40 per barrel, we simply cannot afford to dole out automatic raises. Under House Bill 379, merit increases would be frozen until such as time as oil prices increase. As prices rise, employees would share in the increase, and the state would reintegrate the increases.

No employee should lose their job in order to pay a colleague’s raise, nor should Alaskans be asked to pay a share of their personal or business income, in the form of a tax to increase the pay of a state worker. This bill proposes no salary cuts or position eliminations. It simply represents an accurate reflection of the state’s finances, and places priority on keeping Alaskans employed.

facebook-20160420-160024

Go Cougars!

The winning streak continues! Both the boys and girls soccer teams notched victories over the Eagle River teams Monday and yesterday the Ladies defeated South High. Next up are the Dimond Lynx teams on Monday the 25th at Dimond. The girls take to the field at 5:00 p.m., the boys at 7:00 p.m.

The Service Track and Field team competes next Saturday, April 30 in a quad meet against Dimond, South and Eagle River at Eagle River High at noon. All three Cougar teams can use your support so get out and cheer on the green and gold!

Also, we have for you the April edition of the Service High newsletter.

New School Websites

The Anchorage School District is actively redesigning webpage’s for all its schools and several in our area are up and running. The redesigns make it easier to navigate the sites plus more complete information on each school for students and parents is now available.

Here are the Abbott Loop schools with redesigned websites:

Kasuun Elementary: http://kasuun.asdk12.org/

Trailside Elementary: http://trailside.asdk12.org/

Hanshew Middle School: http://hanshew.asdk12.org/

Service High School:  http://service.asdk12.org/

 

Anchorage Assembly

The Anchorage Assembly meets this Tuesday, April 26, starting at 5:00 p.m. Here is a pair of highlights.

  • An ordinance creating a retail sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products. The new tax was overwhelmingly approved by voters earlier this month.
  • Another ordinance setting the rates of tax levy, approving the amount of municipal property tax, and levying taxes for all service areas of the Municipality of Anchorage General Government for 2016.

The meeting, like all assembly meetings, takes place at the Loussac Library.

We are working seven days a week for you. Stay in touch with our toll free number, 1-888-269-3879 or send an email to rep.charisse.millett@akleg.gov

Warmly,

Charisse Signature bold

admin @ April 22, 2016

LEGISLATURE PASSES MILLETT’S BILL PROMOTING CHILD SAFETY

Posted in: Announcements | Comments (0)

HB308 provides protections for installment and evaluation technicians

 

Sunday, April 17, 2016, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska Legislature passed a bill promoting child passenger safety by providing protections to certified technicians who install and evaluate safety seats.

HB 308 by Rep. Charisse Millett limits the civil liability of certified technicians. The Senate passed the bill today, a week after the House.

“All throughout Alaska we have Car Passenger Safety Technicians who are working to make Alaska safer for children. This bill protects those good Samaritans,” said Millett, R-Anchorage, and the House Majority Leader. “Our firefighters, police officers, medical professionals and others offer installation and inspection every year, typically at no cost. HB308 is meant to provide assurance that trained technicians can go about their civic service without the threat of a lawsuit down the line.”

HB308 will take effect 90 days from the Governor’s signing it into law.

 # # #

 

admin @ April 18, 2016

Update for April 16th

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, General, Service High School | Comments (0)

Rep. Millett with her good friend and colleague Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins wearing their kuspuks. Every Friday during session is Kuspuk Friday, A tradition in the legislature to honor native culture.

Rep. Millett with her good friend and colleague Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins wearing their kuspuks. Every Friday during session is “Kuspuk Friday”, a time honored tradition in the Alaska  Legislature to honor native culture.

 

Friends and neighbors,

One day remains in the regular session; work is proceeding on the budget; our personal legislation is moving forward, and other important issues have the final touches made this weekend. Today we have the latest from Juneau and much, much more.

Budget Work

The Conference Committee, a committee of both Representatives and Senators, has been evaluating the differences between the House’s and Senate’s drafts of the state operating budget. They have been taking input from the public received since the passage of both drafts of the budget into account, and evaluating the impacts of the different budget actions on our communities. This committee’s report should be in front of us in the coming days, and will be up for evaluation by all legislators. We will continue to keep you posted as this process continues!

Criminal Justice Reform

The House has been working diligently on the criminal justice reform package presented by the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission over the past few months. After the Senate passed the suite of reforms last week, changes have been made to the bill, , which takes into account the extensive public testimony that we’ve heard since the package was introduced. Protections for victims and law enforcement were among the most important changes made to the bill.

A new section to the bill, added in the House, SB 91 would allow for the surviving spouses and children of fallen public safety officers to maintain their health insurance. This policy is one that our office has been working on for years, and would provide a small level of comfort to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The State of Alaska asks their public safety employees to provide for the protection and safety of our communities. It is only right that when our employees give their lives in the service of the state that we continue to serve the family they have left behind.

Other Legislation

There are many pieces of legislation that legislators are considering as we move closer to adjourning the session. Here is a brief list of legislation for which our office is proudly advocating and working to get passed this year:

  • HB 125: Limits the sale of often-misused medicines to minors
  • HB 311: Provides the Legislature with a report on a sustainable amount of state spending
  • HB 27: Allows for additional protections and services for youth in foster care
  • HB 77: Instructs law enforcement in how to best help Alaskans with disabilities
  • HB 83: Repeals the collection of unnecessary, burdensome information on civil litigation
  • HB 188: The ABLE Act – allows Alaskans with disabilities to save for future care without losing critical services
  • HB 328: Allows all Alaskans to have smoke-free workplaces
  • SB 180: Provides parents in distress the option to give their children a safe home and temporary power of attorney

 

There are many other important pieces of legislation up for consideration in these next days, and our office will keep you posted as things move forward!

House Bill 76

We are so pleased that this legislation is now heading to the governor for his signature. HB 76 removes the term “gifted” from the enabling statutes for the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education.

This bill eliminates any confusion about who the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education serves, and has served so well since its inception in 1978. The Council’s critical mission of providing access to housing, employment, independent living, health, transportation and community inclusion for Alaskans with disabilities is preserved under this legislation, and its enabling statutes now reflect a clear path forward.

House Bill 308

Our legislation to limit the civil liability for Child Passenger Safety Technicians passed the House last weekend and is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Its goal to increase the recruitment of child safety seat technicians is enthusiastically supported by health and safety professionals, firefighters, paramedics and healthcare professionals.

Here are some organizations that inspect seats and teach parents how to install them properly.

Alaska Injury Prevention Center – 907-929-3939

Anchorage Fire Department – 907-267-5045

Safe Kids Alaska State Coalition – 907-212-3194

Service Soccer Logo

Go Cougars!

Four games into the 2016 season, the Service High boys, and girls soccer teams are both undefeated! Both teams have two games apiece next week, and they can use your support.

The boys take on Wasilla, Monday the 19th at 7:00 p.m. in Wasilla, and play the Eagle River team Tuesday the 19th at 7:00 p.m. at Eagle River High School, while the young ladies also kick off against Eagle River on the 19th at 5:00 p.m. and host their hillside rivals, the South High Wolverines on the 21st at 7:30 p.m.

The season is off to an amazing start – but there are some excellent teams out there waiting to challenge the Cougars for the Cook Inlet Conference title and eventually at the state tournament. So get out and cheer the teams on.

Social media can keep you in touch with both teams all season. The Lady Cougars have a Twitter page @SHS_WSOC while the young men have their own page on Facebook.

Meanwhile, the Service High Track and Field Team competes in an indoor tournament against Dimond, West and South at The Dome, this Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Lots of information about the sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers is just a click away at: http://www.servicetrackandfield.com/

Anchorage Walks for Autism 2016

The Anchorage Walks for Autism is an annual event coordinated by the Alaska Autism Resource Center. The purpose of the Walk is to help establish a sense of community spirit among parents, educators, professionals, and people living with autism.

It is not a race! Walk one lap or run several miles, the distance is up to each participant, all ages and abilities are welcome.

The Walk takes place Saturday, April 23rd from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at The Dome, 6501 Changepoint Drive. For more information, contact Phylicia Christian at 334-1300 or send an email to aarc@sesa.org

Before we go, let’s all give a warm congratulations to our constituents and friends Kikkan Randall and husband Jeff Ellis who welcomed their baby boy, Breck Stuart Randall Ellis into the world Thursday. Breck tipped the scales at 8 pounds and 11 ounces. We wish Kikkan and Jeff the best as new parents and welcome Breck to our community!

We will be working all weekend, but that never means we do not have time for our friends and neighbors. Reach out to us using our toll-free number at 1-888-269-3879.

Have a great weekend everyone,

Charisse Signature bold

 

admin @ April 16, 2016

Update for April 8th

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Budget, Education, Service High School | Comments (0)

Kenai Peninsula Rep. Kurt Olson and Rep. Millett during a floor session break.

Kenai Peninsula Rep. Kurt Olson and Rep. Millett during a floor session break.

 

Good afternoon everyone,

 Hanshew students Johnson and Miller

As we approach the end of session, there are still outstanding issues to be discussed in the Legislature, and much happening in South Anchorage as well!

Budget Discussions

This week the House and Senate formed a conference committee, comprised of Democrats and Republicans from both of the Finance committees. The conference committee will meet and discuss the items that the House and Senate disagreed on in the budget. This includes money in just about every agency, and policy calls that will affect how much our state needs to withdraw from its savings account.

The House’s goal in this discussion is to prioritize funding government at a sustainable level – that is, attempting to match our spending with our revenue. With the drop in oil prices and state income, there are simply some programs that the state can no longer afford. We will be looking to preserve funding for public safety, emergency and health, and community stability.

Criminal Justice Reform

A lot has been happening in the Legislature over the past few days in regards to criminal justice reform. The House Judiciary Committee has been hearing amendments over the past few days in response to public input regarding House Bill 205, the House’s draft of the package. Alaskans weighed in on sentencing concerns, offender supervision, and critical reinvestment in violence prevention and treatment – which have been incorporated in the amendments being adopted.

The Senate is going to be hearing their draft of the bill, Senate Bill 91, on the Senate floor this weekend, with the intent of voting on it and sending it to the House for further evaluation. Many edits have been made to the original recommendations provided by the Criminal Justice Commission, which will need to be vetted in the House by legislators and agency experts.

The goal of this suite of reforms is first and foremost ensuring public safety. We know that our current justice system is broken, and needs fixes to better serve victims and our communities. Please continue to reach out with your ideas and concerns – your input really does make a difference and we are so grateful for your engagement.

House Bill 76

We are proud to report that  HB 76 passed the Alaska Legislature on Wednesday. This bill eliminates any confusion about who the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education serves, and has served so well since its inception in 1978. The Council’s critical mission of providing access to housing, employment, independent living, health, transportation and community inclusion for Alaskans with disabilities is preserved under this legislation, and its enabling statutes now reflect a clear path forward.

House Bill 76 now heads to the Governor for his signature.

Speaker Chenault and Rep. Millett manage the floor session ins the Alaska House.

Speaker Chenault and Rep. Millett manage the floor session ins the Alaska House.

House Bill 308

House Bill 308 moved through the House Judiciary Committee and should be up for a final vote on the house floor any day now. The bill will limit the civil liability of Child Passenger Safety Technicians who install, inspect and adjust child safety seats and educate parents about their proper use. The way the current law is written makes it much tougher to recruit and train technicians, so if HB 308 is passed, we will have more technicians ensuring safety seats are properly installed so our children are protected in the event of an automobile accident.

The legislation has broad support from Alaska’s law enforcement officers, health and safety professionals, firefighters, paramedics and healthcare professionals.

If you have young children in your life, you might want to get their car seat inspected. Visit www.carseatsak.org or call the numbers below to learn how to install correctly your child’s safety seat.

In Anchorage:

Alaska Injury Prevention Center – 907-929-3939

Anchorage Fire Department – 907-267-5045

Safe Kids Alaska State Coalition – 907-212-3194

For other locations around the state go to: http://www.carseatsak.org/Links/index.cfm?fuseaction=CheckUpLocations

 

Hanshew PTA Needs You!

The Hanshew Middle School PTA is actively recruiting executive committee members for the 2016-2017 school year. The board needs Hanshew parents, or anyone just interested in education, to step up and serve in the secretary, vice-president and treasurer positions.  If you are interested and available, please contact PTA President Bright Nygard at HanshewPTA@gmail.com

 We also have the April newsletters from Trailside and Kasuun elementary schools for you to read.

 Service T&F Logo

Go Cougars!

Spring is here, the snow is gone, and the Service High spring sports programs are well underway. The Cougar Track and Field teams have been competing since late March and have an indoor meet today (3:00 p.m.) and tomorrow (11:00 a.m.) at The Dome, 6501 Changepoint Drive. Track meets will take place outdoors starting April 20th.   

The team has its own webpage so Cougar fans can follow the action all season long. Go to:

http://www.servicetrackandfield.com/

 Be Firewise

 The risk of wildfires is so high in the Anchorage bowl right now the Anchorage Fire Department has banned the use of burn barrels and is not issuing any burn permits until conditions improve. Abbott Loop has many large wooded areas that can erupt into a devastating wildfire if someone becomes careless, so please heed the ban and take all brush and tree material to the nearest wood lot.

Information on how to protect your property and family from a wildfire and where wood lots are located are just a mouse click away at http://www.muni.org/Departments/Fire/Wildfire/Pages/default.aspx

The legislative process may be in high gear but we always have time to respond to your questions, concerns or comments. Call our toll free number at 1-888-269-3879, or send an email to Rep.Charisse.Millett@akleg.gov

Be sure to follow us on social media – Twitter @RepMillett or Facebook at facebook.com/representativemillett

 The forecast shows lots of sun this weekend so be sure to get out and enjoy it!

  

Warmly,

 Charisse Signature bold

 

 

 

admin @ April 8, 2016

Update for April 2nd

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Service High School | Comments (0)

Emily Tyrrell visited Rep. Millett last week.

Emily Tyrrell visited Rep. Millett last week.

Hello everyone,
 
Today is day 73 of the 90 day session and our plan is to complete the people’s business within the 90 day session. We are working hard to represent your interests here in Juneau on the issues that are important to you and your family. Thank you for making our weekly legislative update part of your busy schedule.
 
House Bill 205
 
Criminal Justice Reform
 
This week, both the House and the Senate have continued their vetting of the justice reform package brought to us by the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission. Understanding that our current system is broken and re-victimizing those who are already victims, our priority has been making sure that any measure passed keeps our families and communities safe.
 
While both of the bills, House Bill 205 and Senate Bill 91, are being discussed in the Legislature, they truly were the product of work done by the experts in the criminal justice system, law enforcement, victims’ advocates, and violence prevention professionals who made up the Justice Commission. These Commissioners, and other Alaskans, have been speaking out regarding the need for their recommended reforms. Here are a few of their voices, as published in media around the state:
 
“Working smarter to prevent, address crime in Alaska”
http://www.adn.com/article/20160228/alaska-can-work-smarter-prevent-and-address-crime
 
“Justice Reinvestment needed for both victims and offenders”
http://juneauempire.com/opinion/2016-03-31/my-turn-justice-reinvestment-needed-both-offenders-and-victims
 
Video: “Forum@360: Criminal Justice Reform”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfflTddpZ08
 
“Senate Bill 91 relies on reinvestment to reduce crime”
http://www.alaskapublic.org/2016/03/30/senate-bill-91-relies-on-reinvestment-to-reduce-crime/
 
We know that these bills are not ready for primetime – changes still need to be made to ensure public safety and positive outcomes. We have been listening to Alaskans’ voices, and want their input and ideas to be reflected in any bill moving forward. Both the House and Senate will be taking up amendments to the packages this coming week, and we will keep you updated along the way.
House Bill 308
 
This one moved out of the House Labor & Commerce Committee this week and is now up for consideration in the House Judiciary Committee on April 6th at 1:00 p.m. House Bill 308 limits the civil liability of Child Passenger Safety Technicians who install, inspect and adjust and educate parents about the proper use of child safety seats. Recruiting new technicians is difficult due to a lack of liability protections in current state statutes.
 
The legislation has broad support from Alaska’s law enforcement officers, health and safety professionals, firefighters, paramedics and healthcare professionals.
 
Legislators and staff gathered for a group photo in front of the Capitol Building this week.

Legislators and staff gathered for a group photo in front of the Capitol Building this week.

Capital Projects Improvement List
 
The Municipality of Anchorage is asking community councils to choose a road project and a park project for funding in a future municipal bond package. Our Abbott Loop Community Council began the process last night but held off making its selections until the next meeting April 28th.
 
The available choices are listed on the current Capital Improvement List.  The city also $75,000 available for traffic calming projects in our area, the council will review the neighborhood streets eligible for the funding next month. Of course, we will have more details about the meeting in the weeks ahead.
 
Bundles of Joy
 
Today at the Sears Mall, you can participate in a charity event to help mothers with infants who can use a little assistance with baby basics like diapers, bottles and strollers. The Soroptimist International of Anchorage on Cook Inlet is holding the “Bundles of Joy” Community Baby Shower from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
 
Any items that a new mother can use are needed and will be gratefully accepted. Donations will be distributed to other non-profit organizations like Clare House and AWAIC.
 
Service Soccer Logo
Go Cougars!
 
The Service Cougar Soccer program kicked into high gear this week with back to back victories at The Dome Tuesday night. The Lady Cougars topped Chugiak 4 to 1, while the young men shutout Chugiak.
 
The action continues next week when both teams hit the field against West High. On Friday, April 8 at 8:20 p.m., the ladies team take the field against the Eagles, the young men face off against West on Saturday, April 9 at 5:00 p.m. Both games take place at The Dome, 6501 Changepoint Drive.
Anchorage Votes
 
Before we go, please remember to vote in Tuesday’s citywide election. Several bonds, propositions, an assembly and two school board seats are on the ballot. Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
 
Not sure where you go to cast your vote? The city has a website for locating polling locations at http://gis.opendata.muni.org/anchoragepolling/  and if you have any questions about the election, give the Municipal Clerk’s office a ring at 343-4311.
 
We are here to serve you, your family, neighborhood and schools. If there is anything we can do for you, call us toll free in Juneau at 1-888-269-3879. We love hearing from our friends and neighbors.
 
 
Have a relaxing weekend,
 
Charisse

admin @ April 2, 2016

Update for March 25th

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Education, Service High School | Comments (0)

Reps. Millett and Gattis at last weekend's Legislative Shoot in Juneau. All profits from the event go to a worthwhile charity.

Reps. Millett and Gattis at last weekend’s Legislative Shoot in Juneau. All profits from the event go to a worthwhile charity.

Dear friends,

Welcome to our weekly blog page update where we fill you in on what is happening here in Juneau and around the Abbott Loop area. Things are super busy in the state capitol building with less than a month to go in the regular session. Let’s get started with a progress report on some legislation.

Criminal Justice Reform

This session, the Legislature has been reviewing a package of reforms to our criminal justice system. Senate Bill 91 and House Bill 205 are the vehicles for recommendations brought to us by the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission, a diverse group comprised of victims’ advocates, law enforcement, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, legislators, leaders in the Native community and other experts in criminal justice and community rehabilitation. After years of examination of Alaska’s justice system, successful policies, data, and outcomes, the Commission came out with a report of 21 recommendations to reduce crime, hold offenders accountable, and heal our communities. Those recommendations make up SB91 and HB205.

As legislators, we are looking closely at every one of these policy recommendations to ensure a few things, including:

 

  1. Alaskans are safe in their homes and communities
  2. Our state does not go too easy on people who break our laws
  3. Underlying causes of crime, like substance abuse and addiction, are being addressed
  4. We are not spending our money on policies that don’t work

We owe all Alaskans a safer environment than what we have today. Longer sentences and a lack of treatment options have led to higher crime rates and even higher rates of re-victimization and recidivism. People aren’t getting better before they’re getting worse, and a fix is needed. The Legislature will not be rubber stamping the Commission’s recommendations. We aren’t sure yet whether these bills represent a solution to the problems we’re facing, but we will be vetting them closely and taking your input throughout the process. Please call, email, write, or testify with your concerns and ideas!

 

Rep. Millett serves as Majority Leader in the Alaska House.

Rep. Millett serves as Majority Leader in the Alaska House.

House Bill 308

This bill has its first hearing in the House Labor and Commerce Committee on Monday afternoon. Child Passenger Safety Technicians install, inspect and adjust and educate parents about the proper use of child safety seats. Recruiting new technicians is difficult due to a lack of liability protections in current state statutes.

House Bill 308 limits the civil liability of certified technicians, or those who facilitate their program, in the case that an accident results from an act or omission in the inspection, installation, or adjustment of a child passenger safety device. With the goal of having our state’s children safe and secured in their car seats and booster seats, this bill hopes to increase the numbers of those who can effectively install and inspect devices and direct liability to those who actually commit wrongful, criminal acts.

The legislation has broad support from Alaska’s law enforcement officers, health and safety professionals, firefighters, paramedics and healthcare professionals.

 

House Bill 241

House Bill 241 will be heard in the House Fisheries Committee on March 29.  Alaska’s commercial fishing industry has long attracted fisherman from across the United States, and around the world, to seek their fortunes, and join Alaskan fisherman in the state’s bountiful waters. For a commercial fishing operation to participate in a fishery with limited access, they must apply for a permit, which if accepted, comes with a fee. The state levies different fees for permit applicants and holders who are Alaska residents than those who are nonresidents.

This legislation seeks to address concerns that many current permit holders and applicants who pay fees meant for residents of Alaska are in fact, living outside of the state. To better determine the qualifications for in-state residents, this bill uses existing infrastructure in the form of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation’s eligibility criteria for the permanent fund dividend. House Bill 241 would require that the Permanent Fund Corporation confirm for the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission that an individual applying for a permit or renewal has received, or is eligible to receive a permanent fund dividend.

Cell phones seem to be capable of about anything these days. Now track legislation with your phone by using SMS Bill Tracking. This is a great feature. Text a bill number (ex: HB1) to 559-245-2529 to enroll in text alerts. You will receive an enrollment confirmation and instructions on how to stop receiving the alerts.

Rep. Millett hosts the weekly House Majority news conference for the news media.

Rep. Millett hosts the weekly House Majority news conference for the news media.

Get Involved in Education

Parents, teachers and administrators gather for monthly PTA meetings throughout the school year. Here is the slate of meetings for April.

Abbott Loop Elementary PTO – Tuesday, April 12 at 6:00 p.m.

Kasuun Elementary PTA – Thursday, April 7 at 4:00 p.m.

Trailside Elementary PTA – Thursday, April 7 at 3:45 p.m.

Polaris K-12 School PTO – Wednesday, April 13 at 4:30 p.m.

Hanshew Middle School PTA – Monday, April 4 at 3:30 p.m.

Service High School PTA – Tuesday, April 12 at 6:00 p.m.

Go Cougars!

The Service Girls Soccer Team held its first game of the season Wednesday, defeating East High 7-0. The season is off to a great start so let’s make sure to cheer on the Lady Cougars all season long. Their next game against Bartlett takes place March 26 at 8:15 p.m. in the Anchorage Sports Dome. Meanwhile, the boys’ soccer team takes on Bartlett the same day, same place, at 6:30 p.m.

Before we go, remember that the deadline to file for this year’s PFD is one week away, March 31. File online at  http://pfd.alaska.gov/

Thank you so much for your support over the years and have a wonderful weekend.

 

Best,

 

Charisse

 

 

admin @ March 25, 2016

Update for March 18th

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Announcements, Education, Service High School | Comments (0)

Gov. Walker met with Rep. Millett and Brandy Johnson about House Bill 66 this week.

Gov. Walker met with Rep. Millett and Brandy Johnson about House Bill 66 this week.

 

Dear neighbors,

 

We hope all of you are doing well, if your family had the opportunity for a spring break vacation, we hope it was fun and relaxing. Here in Juneau, we are down to the final month of the regular session, the pace is picking up in committees and floor sessions as substantive discussions are taking place and finishing touches on legislation are being made.

House Bill 66

We were incredibly lucky this week to have Brandy Johnson, the widow of Trooper Scott Johnson, join us in Juneau to advocate for health benefits for the families of fallen officers. With Brandy’s help and leadership, our office and the past two administrations have been working to pass HB 66, which would provide secure health benefits for the spouses and dependents of those who die in the line of duty.

This bill represents a small token of thanks to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and died protecting and serving Alaskans. The Johnson family, along with other families of fallen heroes, are currently left without the security of continuing health care coverage after the loss of their loved one. House Bill 66 seeks to rectify this wrong, and allow our protective occupation employees the comfort of knowing that if the worst were to occur, their families would be cared for.

This bill will soon be heard in both the House and Senate, and our office will keep you posted as it progresses.

KTVA and KTUU both produced news reports on Brandy and her family’s effort to secure medical coverage for the families of slain law enforcement officers.

http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/wife-of-fallen-trooper-pushes-legislature-to-change-survivor-benefits/38555368

http://www.ktva.com/widow-of-slain-trooper-calls-on-legislators-to-help-grieving-families-receive-healthcare-benefits-209/

Rep. Millett and Speaker Chenault discussing the floor session during an at ease.

Rep. Millett and Speaker Chenault discussing the floor session during an at ease.

House Bill 125

This week the Alaska House passed House Bill 125, legislation designed to combat the abuse threat coming from products containing dextromethorphan (DXM) which is commonly used in over-the-counter cough syrup medications.

The legislation limits the sale of products containing DXM to persons 18 and older, unless the buyer has a written prescription from a licensed medical provider. Ten other states have similar requirements. We sponsored this legislation because young people are consuming products with DXM to get intoxicated. When taken in high doses, DXM causes dangerous hallucinations, loss of motor control, blurred vision and more. Restricting access to products containing this ingredient can deter abuse and protect the health and safety of young Alaskans.

HB 125 was referred to the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

 

House Bill 205

Our office’s version of the crime bill, House Bill 205, is up for a public hearing on Tuesday, March 22 at 5:00 p.m. The latest version contains revisions recommended by the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission.

Testimony can be given at the Anchorage LIO office, located at 716 W 4th Avenue. We recommend arriving on time and please be patient because there could be many people planning to testify. If you are unable to attend, written comments can be emailed to lhsjud@akleg.gov

 

The "Travel Guru" Scott McMurren visits Juneau each session.

“The Travel Guru” Scott McMurren visits Juneau each session.

Anchorage Assembly

The Anchorage Assembly gathers for a meeting this coming Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. in the Loussac Library.

Here is a sample of what the board is considering:

 

  • A resolution appropriating $120,000,000 from Short Term Borrowing Program (STBP) for the purchase of ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc.’s interest in property within the Beluga River Unit to Municipal Light & Power Department, ML&P Beluga River Gas Field Fund
  • An ordinance regarding the measuring of separation distances between marijuana establishments and protected land uses in Chugiak/Eagle River, and waiving Planning and Zoning Commission review
  • Reviewing the Anchorage School District’s proposed 2016-2017 school year budget

The library is still undergoing extensive renovations so look for the signs indicating the temporary entrance to the assembly chambers. Call the Municipal Clerk’s office if you need any additional information at 343-4311.

Majority Leader Millett hosts the House Majority news conference twice a month during the session.

Majority Leader Millett hosts the House Majority news conference twice a month during regular session.

 

2016 PFD Application Deadline

If you have not applied for the 2016 Permanent Fund Dividend, the deadline is Thursday, March 31.  Go to the PFD webpage: http://pfd.alaska.gov/ to file your application electronically and if you have any questions call the Anchorage PFD office at 269-0370.

 

 

Get Involved in Education

Trailside Elementary School holds its annual Math/Science Night from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 24. This is always a popular event at the school that promotes and encourages kids to learn two important subjects in a fun, interactive way.

Volunteers are needed! If you can help out, call the school at 742-5500.

Before we go, let’s all give a round of applause to Service High basketball player Nathan Fromm for being named to the 2016 4A Boys All-State Basketball Team! Nathan was a real sharpshooter on the court all season and deserves to be recognized as one of the very best players in Alaska.

Thanks so much for reading our weekly blog post. Do not hesitate to call our Juneau office during the session at 1-888-269-3879 if there is anything you need.

 

Warmly,

 

 

Charisse

admin @ March 18, 2016

Update for March 11th

Posted in: Anchorage Issues, Announcements, Budget, Education, Service High School | Comments (0)

Reps. Drummond, Tarr and Millett at the Thanksgiving in March fundraiser for the Southeast Food Bank of Alaska this week.

Reps. Drummond, Tarr and Millett dished out food at the “Thanksgiving in March” fundraiser for the Southeast Food Bank of Alaska this week.

Good afternoon neighbors,

Today is day 53 of the legislative session and after a lengthy floor session, extending well past midnight, we passed the House’s preliminary version of the state operating budget (House Bill 256) early this morning. We have a recap of what happened in Juneau and as always, the latest community news and events.

A Real Hero Among Us

Courage, valor, personal responsibility are just some of the values the Navy ROTC program instills in students at Service High School. Seaman Apprentice Taylor Engstrom demonstrated those values and much more when he helped save the life of a fellow student.

It happened last September when Taylor received a call from a friend who was contemplating suicide. Demonstrating maturity and compassion under circumstances that would challenge many adults, Taylor kept his friend on the phone until police could arrive at his friend’s house.

His friend’s life was saved and for his good deed, Taylor was awarded the Meritorious Service Award this week during a special ceremony at Service High School. The highest decoration that can be given to an ROTC student.

Congratulations to Taylor for not just the award, but for saving a life. Check out this touching video about Taylor and his good deed. http://www.adn.com/video/video-jrotc-cadet-awarded-saving-life

Rep. Herron, his wife Margaret and their two lovely granddaughters.

Rep. Bob Herron, his wife Margaret and their two lovely granddaughters dropped by Rep. Millett’s office on Wednesday.

FY 2017 State Operating Budget

Our priority in looking at the budget this year was reducing the cost of our day-to-day government, closing our fiscal gap, and maintaining a strong savings account to allow for a glide path into our new fiscal reality. To accomplish this goal, our subcommittees studied each state agency and their budget, gathering input from all stakeholders. We held over 100 meetings and took public testimony from across this state. Alaskans were – and continue to be – incredibly engaged and helpful in assessing the impact of every budget item on our communities and families.

The House, after significant scrutiny of all of our state functions, has identified nearly $640 million of reductions at this stage. Our number does not reflect the draft that we will soon receive from our Senate colleagues, or the work that will be undertaken by our joint Conference Committee. It also doesn’t reflect our work to reduce the footprint of government and the state’s deficit that has been introduced in separate legislation this year.

Our work is not done – this is just the first step in the state’s budget process. Now that the budget has cleared its first hurdle, it will be further reduced by our colleagues in the Senate, and then finally reviewed by both bodies together. We are all, as your legislators, still looking for your budget questions, ideas and concerns. The House’s draft of the budget was not created in a vacuum, it included over 30 hours of testimony from all corners of the state, and we still want to hear from you about ways in which state spending touches you and your family. Please continue to call, email, and leave messages on the Idea Line (1-844-414-5949, in Anchorage call 334-5949). We are truly grateful for your engagement.

Session’s Next Steps

The House Majority’s resolution to allow for full focus on the budget was truly successful – members gave their all in our subcommittees and we were able to meet the challenge of this unprecedented fiscal situation head on. As the budget clears the House for a few weeks, our committees will be back to hearing non-budget bills. You can anticipate that our discussions will expand to a number of different topics important to Alaskans, and there will be much to follow.

Our office has a number of bills that will be moving now that this resolution has been lifted. Here are a few to look out for:

–           HB 205 – Includes recommendations from the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission on measures to reduce Alaska’s rate of criminal recidivism and re-victimization. This is a comprehensive criminal justice reform package estimated to save $424 million over ten years, while improving public safety. If passed, this bill would reduce Alaska’s average daily prison population by 21 percent and reinvest dollars saved into evidence-based services for offenders and crime victims. This bill holds offenders accountable, prioritizes public safety, and uses proven approaches to helping Alaska become “right on crime”.

–           HB 241 – Defines Alaska residency for the purposes of attaining a commercial fishing permit from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. By using Permanent Fund Divided eligibility criteria, the state will be able to crackdown on non-residents paying much lower fees for fishing permits and attain both justice and additional state revenue.

–           HB 308 – Helps to increase the number of trained professionals who can help safely and securely install car seats and booster seats by providing for their security from undue litigation.

–           HB 66 – provides spouses and children of public safety employees who have been killed in the line of duty with security and coverage by allowing them to continue to be covered by their existing plans. House Bill 66 provides security for families and clarity for the state when approaching a line of duty death of a state employee.

Additionally, we will be hearing a package of Medicaid reform measures, which will bring our state substantial savings, and is a critical portion of our budget equation. Here is a link to this bill in its current form.

These are just a few of the issues we will be discussing these next few weeks, but our office is always available to answer any questions you might have about all of the legislation being reviewed.

Rep. Ivy Spohnholz was appointed to the Alaska Legislature this week.

Rep. Ivy Spohnholz was appointed to the Alaska Legislature this week.

Welcome to a New Member

The Legislature was proud to welcome a new member into our family this week. After the truly heartbreaking loss of our friend and colleague Rep. Max Gruenberg, Ivy Spohnholz answered the call to public service and has gracefully and admirably stepped up to serve East Anchorage in the House of Representatives. She has unparalleled shoes to fill, but getting to know Ivy, it is clear already that she will be a strong, tireless advocate for her constituents. We are all glad to have the opportunity to work with her this session. Welcome to the family, Ivy!

The Abbott Loop PTO meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m.

The Abbott Loop PTO meets the second Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m.

Get Involved in Education

The annual Spring Auction and Chorus Concert at Abbott Loop Elementary School takes place on Saturday, April 9th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Students, parents and staff spend months putting the program together to raise money for the school’s Parent Teacher Organization. A spaghetti lunch and student magic show are also on the agenda, so this sounds like a great time will be had by all. Donated auction items are welcome and appreciated. If you can help out, or need additional information, call the event coordinator at 245-5088.

Kasuun Elementary School started a student cooking club. Check out this adorable video. http://www.adn.com/video/video-kasuun-elementary-food-club Kudos to first grade teacher Kellie Mitchell and health teacher Karen Bronga for teaching a basic and always important life skill.

The Kasuun PTA is actively recruiting for new board members for next school year, read the details in this month’s school newsletter.

 

We will be back next week with more about our progress on the budget and much, much more.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Warmly,

 

 

Charisse

admin @ March 11, 2016